Dogs will to be banned from a Denbighshire beauty spot if a councillor gets his way.
After another dog off a lead attacked sheep last weekend at Moel Famau and Cllr Huw Williams is calling on the council to prohibit dogs from the popular beauty spot.
According to Cllr Williams, the farmer who grazes on the site has lost 30 sheep so far this year with staff for the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty still finding dogs off their lead on the hill, despite signs to the contrary.
The RSPCA have also warned that dog owners should keep their pets on leads at all times when around farm animals.
Cllr Williams says the only other alternative is for the council to pay the farmer to stop grazing on the site, which will be an end to 300 years of farming and have a significant impact on the landscape.
“There was another sheep killed up there on Sunday, so I’m calling for a ban of all dogs at Moel Famau,” he said.
“The farmer was told by the AONB member of staff who bought the sheep back that they’d told seven people to put their dogs on a lead and had counted 70 dogs up there.
“He’s lost 30 sheep this year alone - he can’t carry on running a business like that. A female might sell for £100 and it could have six lambs at £60 each.
“It’s irresponsible dog owners ignoring the signs that have no respect for animals or anyone else.
“These sheep have been hefted up there and they’ve been there for 300 years, you can’t just go to Farmers Auction in Ruthin and replace them. They stick to their patch, it’s unfair.
“The other option is for the council to pay not to graze Moel Famau and it’ll be overgrown and nobody will want to go there.”
Dogs are banned from playing fields in the county after a significant number of dog owners allowed their animals to soil areas where children play.
Cllr Williams believes that Moel Famau should follow suit.
“I’ve asked Denbighshire about it and said I’d like to see a protection order there as what’s happening now with the playing areas, which I agree with.
“It’s got worse recently, it’s horrendous, and it spoils it for the good people who look after their dogs.
“The definition of a dog under control is one by your heel all the time, not running 20 or 30 yards off in front of you.
“The AONB could do a lot more, they could have more of a presence there and be calling for more wardens to be visible there on busy days, but they’d struggle 24 hours
“I’m also told by North Wales Police that they intend to start using a drone as it is an offence to have a dog out of control there.”
If dogs are banned from more areas of countryside, RSPCA Cymru are appealing for the Council to establish parks where dogs are explicitly permitted
An RSPCA Cymru spokesperson said: “Incidents involving dogs and sheep are hugely distressing, and can cause extreme stress, injuries and sometimes death. Dog owners should remember that they can face prosecution, and as an absolute last resort, the law allows their dog to be shot, if they are caught worrying sheep.
“Owners have a responsibility to ensure dogs are under proper control at all times – and this is very pertinent in the countryside. It is imperative those walking dogs take care around farm animals; if they can’t avoid them completely then they need to be kept on the lead at all times. Many dogs, if given the opportunity, will chase or show interest in livestock.
“The current climate within Local Authorities in Wales has been to restrict the available space for dog owners through Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs). RSPCA Cymru will continue to urge Councils to ensure the utilisation of PSPOs does not unintentionally compromise dog welfare.
“Responsible dog owners must have opportunities to walk their dogs all year round, in appropriate, accessible spaces – so it is vital, where a PSPO is used in this way, that alternative and safe spaces for dog exercise are available.
“We also want to see the wide-ranging promotional materials with a strong educational element about the need to keep dogs under control – including around livestock, to help keep all animals safe.”
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