Appeal to dog owners after livestock chased into ditch at nature reserve near Lowestoft

A loose dog on private ground near to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust'’s Carlton Marshes nature reserve.

A loose dog on private ground near to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust'’s Carlton Marshes nature reserve. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

Owners have been encouraged to keep their dogs on leads after some livestock were chased into a ditch.

A recent incident, on private grazing land, saw a loose dog chase some cows and calves – leading to some of them falling into ditches.

It happened on the border of Suffolk Wildlife Trust's Carlton Marshes nature reserve near Lowestoft.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is now asking the public to contact the police if they see dogs off their leads in the Suffolk countryside.

The incident was witnessed by a member of the public in an overlooking residential area, who took pictures of the dog owner and his vehicle before alerting the site manager Matt Gooch.

Details were passed to Suffolk Police, who have confirmed the owner of the dog was traced, interviewed, and dealt with accordingly.

Mr Gooch said: 'The dog had been chasing the animals for about an hour, causing some of the animals grazing on the marsh to fall into the water.

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'It's likely the dog was let off his lead and left a public footpath on the surrounding land and had gone through, or under, a gate or perhaps through a dyke and on to grazing marsh.

'This isn't an isolated incident in the area and we have had issues with dogs disturbing ground-nesting birds on our reserves such as red shank, lapwing and skylark, which are very sensitive in terms of breeding.'

Claire Wright, CLA East Regional Surveyor, said: 'This type of incident has been repeated time and time again across the region; it is vital that dog owners understand their responsibilities when walking their dogs in the countryside, on farms, or grazing land.

'Dogs, when allowed to run off their leads and out of control, can not only cause a headache for farmers and landowners, but for other people trying to enjoy the countryside too.

'They should always be under close control when walked on farmland and, unless they stay closely to heel, this normally means that it should be on a lead to prevent them from getting too close to livestock who may become distressed.

'If anyone sees a dog loose from a lead worrying livestock, they should report the incident to the Police. We know that Suffolk Police take a very dim view of this and will pursue reports if they are given sufficient details of the incident, including the registration number of the dog owners' vehicle if it is available.'

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