General Advice for Dog Owners
Where can I take my dog in the National Park and does it need to be on a leash/lead?
Our general advice to all dog owners is to ensure that your dog is on a lead at all times when in the vicinity of livestock.
The countryside is a great place to exercise your dog but this should be done responsibly and where your dog does not become a nuisance or danger to livestock, wildlife or other people (or other dogs). It is an offence to allow your dog to attack or chase livestock under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 and a farmer may legally shoot any dog that is behaving in this way without notice or any form compensation to the owner.
There are principally two types of access provision available to the public within the National Park which have slightly differing rules on dogs. One is `access land` as designated by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CROW)2000 and is marked on the OS maps in a cream wash which is encompassed within a brown line. This states that you must put your dog on a lead whilst on access land between 1st March and 31st July. This is to avoid disturbance to stock – mainly sheep and cattle but other local restrictions for nature conservation may also apply i.e for ground nesting birds, rare plant communities or certain colonies of insects (such as rare butterflies).
The second type of access to the countryside is using the Public Rights of Way network such as Public Footpaths. This legislation differs slightly in that your dog needs to be only under 'close control' and not specifically on a lead. However, the same rules apply. That is - do not allow your dog to chase or attack livestock or be a nuisance to others.
Dogs and other animals
Dog owners may also need to be aware that at certain times of the year upland landowners undertake sheep gathering to bring their flocks off the hill for various reasons (typically for shearing or dipping and for taking them off the mountains over the winter months). So when you see large numbers of sheep making their way across or down a mountain in any vicinity, which is possible at any time of the year, then always put your dog on a short lead to avoid disruption to this activity. Your cooperation would be much appreciated by landowners.
Dog owners may not be aware of the particular danger that cattle potentially pose, especially when they have young calves at foot. Dogs can arouse very protective instincts in cattle and we strongly advise members of the public, when accompanied by dogs, to avoid them or give them a wide berth whenever possible. If pursued, you should immediately release the dog’s lead and concentrate on your own safety. Your dog will very likely run away only to return to you later when you have safely removed yourself from harm.
Llanberis Path, Snowdon (© SNPA)
Dog owners should be aware of the significant risks that dog faeces pose to cattle. Cattle can be infected with Neospora caninum which causes cows to abort their calves. There is no vaccine or cure for this disease and unfortunately Infected cows have to culled as they will continue to abort their calves following infection.
So it is imperative that dog owners clear up after their dogs i.e. bag it, remove it and dispose of it in a proper manner (and not left in bags on footpaths or roadsides)
What do I do if I come across horses in the National Park?
In some areas of Snowdonia you may encounter feral or other horses. Horses do not ordinarily pose a threat to humans but they may take a dislike to your dog even when they may be well behaved. So it is best to avoid them where possible.
Although you may be tempted, you should not attempt to give food or treats to horses as this can cause friction within their social group and however well meaning you may be it is possible to get badly injured inadvertently if they lash out against one another when in close proximity.