Calls for dog owners to be responsible on Rye reserve

Harbour Reserve
Harbour Reserve

RYE Harbour Nature Reserve manager Barry Yates has called for tighter controls on dogs on the Reserve.

Mr Yates, a dog owner himself, says that dogs can bring people together and encourage people to get out more and explore the countryside.

But he says dogs should be kept under strict control by responsible owners, particularly on the reserve.

He said: “I think dogs in public and on nature reserves should be kept under strict control and preferably on leads. There are extender leads available which give dogs a lot of freedom.

“Many dog owners are responsible, keeping their dogs under close control, and they clear up after them. But many dog owners are not responsible.

“This creates a situation where people feel uncomfortable.

“It also creates a large volume of dog waste left in public areas, increasingly in plastic bags.

Dogs can be involved in sheep worrying, which ends in bloody and costly death, and cause disturbance to roosting or nesting birds.

“It can often be difficult to hold a satisfactory conversation with owners of poorly behaved dogs and I don’t want to spend much of my time being a dog warden.

“Perhaps we need yet more signs in the countryside reminding dog owners of their responsibilities, some national campaign to discuss the issue or enforcement.”

There have been complaints in the past about dog-owners leaving plastic bags containing waste hanging on bushes alongside paths on the nature reserve.

There have been a number of cases of dogs attacking and killing sheep in the Rye area.