A spate of dog attacks in Scotland has prompted a new partnership by three organisations in a bid to tackle the problem.
British Horse Society (BHS) Scotland, the Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) and the Kennel Club have created a new advisory poster to be displayed in woodlands and online.
The trio joined forces in July following a dog attack in Morayshire. The horse, who was being ridden at the time, was attacked in Roseisle Forest and died after she was chased on to a road and was hit by a car. BHS Scotland held a joint “responsibility day” on 16 August.
There have been around six serious dog attacks in Scotland over the past 18 months.
BHS members can request that the FCS display the signs at specific locations on the National Forest Estate and these will feature a contact number for the relevant forest office to report any incidents.
Alan Hiscox, BHS director of safety, said he hopes by working together they can prevent dog attacks on ridden horses and the potentially “very serious consequences”.
“Dog owners should be aware of the safety issues around horses, and the dangers that are involved to horse, rider and the dogs themselves,” he said.
“The BHS recommends socialising dogs around horses from a young age and training the dog to behave when they are nearby.
“Everyone visiting the Scottish countryside with animals has a responsibility and [must] respect others’ needs and safety.”
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Paul Hibberd of Forest Enterprise Scotland, which is part of the FCS, said they want to ensure everyone enjoys their visits to the forests.
“The forests we manage across Scotland are an incredibly popular recreational resource for a wide range of visitors,” he said.
“We welcome everyone — walkers, mountain bikers, dog walkers and horse riders — and it’s important that everyone recognises that on a forest visit, other people’s needs might not be quite the same as their own.”
Don Milton, chairman of BHS Scotland’s access group, added: “This new resource will be welcomed by land managers and riders alike.
“We will make use of them at the dog familiarisation days that we arrange for our members to help raise awareness of how dog owners — and horse riders — should behave.”
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