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Dog owners encouraged to be responsible in Cairngorms National Park

21st April 2009

Dog owners are being encouraged to act responsibly in the Cairngorms National Park so their pets don’t  frighten livestock or spoil other people’s enjoyment of the area.

The plea by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) and The Highland Council, comes amid a busy start to the holiday season with fine weather prompting many people to head outdoors.

Anyone with a dog should keep their pet under close control or on a lead as the lambing season is well under way and a number of cattle are calving at this time of year.

Ground nesting birds – such as capercaillie and dotterel – who are breeding and rearing their young – are also particularly vulnerable.

The message to dog owners is:

  • Keep your dog under close control which means either on a lead or close at heel.
  • If your dog is off a lead make sure that it can respond to your commands at anytime.
  • Do not take your dog into a field where there are young animals.
  • Remove any excrement left by your dog.

The latter problem is not only unsightly and smelly but it also creates a health hazard. Dog owners are required to bag their animals’ excrement and then bin it rather than bagging it and hanging it up from branches of trees as some people do.

CNPA Board Member and local Councillor Jaci Douglas, said: “If people leave their dog’s excrement lying around it will really discourage visitors to come back to the Park, particularly if they have children. We are working with Highland Council on this issue.”

Iain Dyce, Highland Council’s local community works manager, endorsed the CNPA’s plea, adding: “People walking dogs in the National park should take their pets’ mess away so other people in the Park can look at the views rather than wondering where they are putting their feet!”