Author Topic: Dog chasing bird/mouse/rabbit is it illegal?  (Read 613 times)

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Offline Gazrob

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Dog chasing bird/mouse/rabbit is it illegal?
« on: April 30, 2018, 05:58:44 PM »
This is a strange question. I have a cocker spaniel that I don't work. I take him out for walks around my neighbourhood. I occasionally take him onto some fields near my home where many other dogs go. I think some of it is public and some is farmland. lots of people use this route to walk their dogs.My dog does chase the occasional bird. There is no cows or sheep in this area just fields. The other day I was out with dog and he was running about in the field and a man who goes shooting in this area threatened to phone the police if I don't control my dog and put him on a lead. Can I be prosecuted for my dog chasing the occasional bird even though he has never caught one. Seems to me that this man is only concerned that he won't have any game to shoot in the coming months.

Offline its.sme

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Re: Dog chasing bird/mouse/rabbit is it illegal?
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2018, 07:02:07 PM »
I'm sure someone will be along with the answer , but as you don't know if it's a Public land or not you could be trespassing and that might have been what upset the Man with the Gun, after all he probably had permission to be there.

Offline ejp

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Re: Dog chasing bird/mouse/rabbit is it illegal?
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2018, 07:30:02 PM »
Trespassing was my first thought, plus if the birds are reared for shooting that may have an impact too.

Offline Gazrob

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Re: Dog chasing bird/mouse/rabbit is it illegal?
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2018, 08:11:45 PM »
He's just a local who goes shooting he doesn't own the land. He didn't have a gun. He was out walking his dog in the same field I was in. my dog was having a run in the long grass he wasnt chasing anything but he wasnt happy that he wasn't on his lead he said he's scaring the birds away that are nesting in the fields and that this is where he goes shooting. He said if I don't put him on a lead and take him somewhere else he will call the police if he sees us there again. But lots of people take their dogs here so I know it's not private. Does he have a case or is he just trying to scare me? I can't keep my dog on a lead all the time as he needs a lot of exercise.

Offline elaine.e

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Re: Dog chasing bird/mouse/rabbit is it illegal?
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2018, 08:56:06 PM »
What kind of land is it? If it's the sort of terrain where ground nesting birds make their nests he may be genuinely concerned about that, or there may even be a local by law or order from the land owner making it illegal to have dogs off lead on the land during the ground nesting season, which is generally viewed as 1st March to 31st July.

The National Trust, as an example, own pockets of land all over the place, and where ground nesting birds may be present they have a code of practice for dog walkers during ground nesting season, which includes keeping to footpaths and keeping dogs on leads if they can't be kept under close control.

My local parish council owns a local common on the edge of the New Forest and they have an order in place stating that dogs must be kept on leads on the common from 1st March to 31st July.

So it may be worth finding out who owns the land and if they have placed any restrictions on it, either legally binding or as a code of practice.

Offline MIN

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Re: Dog chasing bird/mouse/rabbit is it illegal?
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2018, 09:07:56 PM »
if there is no written sign about breeding birds and asking for dogs to be kept on leads  then ignore him. I can not see the police getting involved.
The man himself wants to watch what he is doing. the police do not taken lightly gun owners who show aggression regardless of whether they are carrying a gun or not .
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Offline Gazrob

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Re: Dog chasing bird/mouse/rabbit is it illegal?
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2018, 09:53:22 PM »
Thanks min. There is no signage at all. It's a popular dog walk that is just a few fields some of it does belong to the farm but again half of the neighbourhood uses it and there are no signs anywhere.  My dog is just doing what dogs do he's not killing any birds. He's a cocker so he will always chase the odd bird. If I see him again I'll tell him there's nothing he can do.

Offline Pearly

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Re: Dog chasing bird/mouse/rabbit is it illegal?
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2018, 01:12:30 PM »
if there is no written sign about breeding birds and asking for dogs to be kept on leads  then ignore him. I can not see the police getting involved.
The man himself wants to watch what he is doing. the police do not taken lightly gun owners who show aggression regardless of whether they are carrying a gun or not .

I dont think this is strictly true Lorna, sorry. 

If the chap has Permission he will be rightly upset if nesting birds are being disturbed as they will abandon nests/young.

It is nesting season and we should all be mindful where we let our dogs roam plus have dogs under control on lead or off.  If you are able to demonstrate a reliable stop, also recall, you may find the ďman who owns a gun but not with himĒ may be a little more relaxed about your dog having a run.  Are you keeping to the footpath?  and that means up to 2m either side (including your dog!)  Do you know what the field is used for? Is it a young crop and damage may be done to yield?

We have Permission on the land behind our house.  This time of year we dont go on to it, even though there is a foot path and we have explicit permission to use the whole field!  Its full of wild flowers, grass seeds, small animals and nesting birds including pheasants!

Whilst the field looks ďunusedĒ he is paid to leave it alone as its classed a wild flower meadow.  (Dreadful for hayfever!).

Chasing is a dog out of control.  Most songbirds are protected in the UK so I donít understand why you would allow your dog to chase them.  Chasing rabbits is also bad form and may well be the Permission the man is getting upset about. 

Iím sure this isnt what you want to read but I would suggest teaching your dog not to chase so you can both enjoy your time outside and be able to demonstrate he is under control!

Offline Gazrob

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Re: Dog chasing bird/mouse/rabbit is it illegal?
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2018, 01:54:48 PM »
Hi thanks for your reply. I'm not deliberately taking my dog out to chase birds etc he just sometimes comes across the odd pheasant, rabbit etc. I don't like him doing this but it's in his nature he's a cocker spaniel. I do let him off the lead to get a bit of exercise as an on lead walk is not enough. It's not his land. I wasn't happy with him threatening to get the police. He's only worried about having some birds to shoot.  My dog is not trained to go working although he is trained to the whistle however when he starts chasing a bird he doesn't always listen. I think I will stop taking him on this field anyway as its not worth the hassle.

Offline Pearly

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Re: Dog chasing bird/mouse/rabbit is it illegal?
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2018, 02:58:16 PM »
Iím typing on a mobile phone which isnt always easy so my note may have been a bit abrupt!  Apologies if it came across that way.

All dogs chase.  Even show type cockers who show no interest in doing so until 6 years old... its our responsibility to help them understand that it is not acceptable behaviour, under any circumstance.  Saying that its in his nature, Iím sorry, this is just an excuse for a disobedient dog.  Its taken me 3 years, so far, to train Coral and she will be a work in progress all her life.  Its also one of the main reasons so many working dogs  are rehomed.

Perhaps you could contact the landowner to obtain permission to be on the land?

Offline Gazrob

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Re: Dog chasing bird/mouse/rabbit is it illegal?
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2018, 03:40:55 PM »
It's a local dog walk everybody takes their dogs here. I can control him most of the time it's just when he gets a scent that's when he switches off from all commands. What do you suggest I do to try and stop his chasing? I try and take him to places where there are less things to chase but this isn't always possible.

Offline Londongirl

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Re: Dog chasing bird/mouse/rabbit is it illegal?
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2018, 04:15:25 PM »
It's a local dog walk everybody takes their dogs here. I can control him most of the time it's just when he gets a scent that's when he switches off from all commands. What do you suggest I do to try and stop his chasing? I try and take him to places where there are less things to chase but this isn't always possible.

Itís hard work, but you need to train him to recall away from the highest distraction. Which means starting with the lowest distractions and building up gradually. And keeping him on a lead in situations where he might chase and youíre not yet confident that he will recall. Every rehearsal of a behaviour you donít want sets the training back because itís so rewarding.

It sounds drastic, to not let him chase birds, when they so obviously enjoy it. But if he is completely heedless when chasing, he wonít stop if he reaches a road, or crosses paths with a tractor, or... well, you get the idea.

Henryís recall (as regular readers know!) has been a source of great trial and tribulation to me and Iím still working on it. In situations where I know he has the opportunity to chase birds, I keep him on the lead.
Rachael (me) and Henry (him)


Offline Gazrob

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Re: Dog chasing bird/mouse/rabbit is it illegal?
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2018, 04:39:57 PM »
Yeah that sounds like good advice and I do actually do this as much as I can. I can generally stop him on the whistle if it's just a small bird but if it's a pheasant he's away.  The trick is to try and read his body language and keep my eyes on him at all times because if I take my eyes off him for a second he can be away. He's got that sly glint in his eye.  ;) thanks for all the advice I'll take it all on board.