Scottish Outdoor Access Code: What you need to know
For most dog owners, springtime means spending more time outside and exploring the countryside or city parks with their favourite companion. However, some people may not be aware of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code which highlights your rights and responsibilities as a dog owner.
The main points of the country code are as follows:
- Don’t take your dog into a field where there are lambs, calves or other young animals.
- Don’t take your dog into a field of vegetables and fruit.
- Keep your dog on a short lead or under close control in: –
A. Fields where there are cows and horses.
B. Fields where there are sheep.
C. Areas where ground-nesting birds are breeding and rearing their young.
D. Near Reservoirs and stream intakes.
E. Near Recreational areas and other public places.
- Always clean up after your dog in any public open place.
Did you know…
- Cows can get very aggressive when protecting their calves.
- A dog running loose in a field of pregnant animals or mothers with their young will cause immense stress to the animals.
- A farmer can have the right to shoot your dog.
- If possible try to avoid walking through fields with cattle during breeding season.
- If you have to cross a field make sure your dog is on a lead and under control. Give the animals distance and walk slowly and calmly.
- An excited or barking dog can spook livestock particularly if they are pregnant or with their young.
- Diseases can spread from leftover faeces to your dog and other animals.
- Diseases can be transmitted from fields containing fruit and vegetables to your dog.
- Keep your dog under close control – Particularly in Spring, with the arrival of new calves and lambs, dogs chasing farm animals can cause considerable upset. A pregnant ewe can miscarry or a newborn lamb may become separated from its mother and rejected upon its return.
- Cattle can act aggressively and risk injury and distress to themselves and others if provoked. If possible, avoid taking your dog through these fields with young farm animals or, alternatively, have them on a short lead to keep them close at hand.
- Avoid disturbing ground-nesting birds – They can be found in areas such as moorland, forests, grassland and shores. It is very important that these nests remain undisturbed as an adult bird can abandon its young altogether if forced off the nest. Listen out for alarm calls and look out for birds circulating the area to best minimise disturbance.
- Working breed dogs – These dogs are most likely to cause disturbances of birds and farm animals as they characteristically love to run through the undergrowth sniffing everything as they go. Typical dogs can include springer/cocker spaniels, labradors and of course labradoodles and many terrier types. I just avoid these areas with my working cocker spaniel during breeding season. Usually the larger country parks put up notices to remind walkers.
- Breeding season can last from March through to June.