Friday 02 December 2022
Dog owners are being reminded to keep their dogs under control and to pick up their waste after them, particularly as we head into the winter months.
It can be easy to lose track of dogs when walking in the dark, therefore it is important to keep dogs close so that their waste can be picked up and to ensure they are under control near other users, particularly children or other vulnerable people.
Picking up dog waste is particularly important when near agricultural land, as dog faeces can carry diseases which may lead to lifelong sickness, animals aborting young and premature culling. Dog owners should remove any waste on cliff paths, beaches, pavements, walkways and other public land by bagging and binning it. Failing to do so risks the owner facing a £100 fine.
Although the summer dog ban has been lifted, dogs are not permitted on Lihou causeway or Lihou Island and islanders are strongly encouraged to honour the voluntary dog ban at the Richmond end of Vazon. These are valuable feeding areas for birds and frequently attract migrant waders. Dogs are perceived as predators by birds and each time birds are put to flight whilst feeding, vital energy reserves are wasted. This is particularly important during cold and stormy winter weather when shorter hours of daylight and high tides may mean there is less time for birds to feed. It is also essential that birds can build up reserves of energy to successfully rear their young, or for onward migration.
Wading bird species Turnstone and Dunlin have seen declines locally of over 90% since 1980's. Giving birds space to feed will help to decrease pressures on the populations. Lihou and the surrounding area is a Ramsar site and has been designated a wetland of international importance, partly due to the important resource it offers winter waders on the yearly migration.