DOGS must be on leads at local lakeside walks, says the South West Lakes Trust, following recent attacks on wildlife.

The Trust has 17 lakes and reservoirs accessible to the public in Devon and Cornwall, including Siblyback, Colliford, Roadford, Tamar Lakes, and Burrator.

“Unfortunately, we have had some recent incidents where wildlife has been hurt or killed due to dogs off leads,” said a Trust spokesperson.

Dogs are welcome at our lakes, we only ask that you pick up after your pooch and they are kept on a lead at all times.”

Setting out the reasons for the policy, the Trust says: that reservoirs are not safe for dogs to swim in or drink from; that the lakes are home to many kinds of wildlife and any disturbance to their habitats can be detrimental; and that it’s currently ground-nesting bird and lambing season.

There have also been reports of anti-social behaviour from dogs off leads towards visitors and other dogs, and the Trust says it wants to make sure that visits to the lakes are “safe and enjoyable for everyone”.

Higher Tremar resident Karen Price has been one of those affected. She said that she had stopped walking at Siblyback Lake after her puppy had been attacked three separate times.

The reminder from the SW Lakes Trust was met mostly with agreement from people who left comments on the Siblyback Lake Facebook page.

One person said: “Despite the signs, some people seem to think it doesn’t apply to them, and their “friendly” dogs rush at other dogs and walkers.”

Martine Mills felt that the signs that are up about dogs on leads “need to be bigger and bolder” to capture people’s attention. And Mary Houghton, from Callington, said: “We walked there recently and nearly every dog was off the lead despite signs. Maybe they should introduce a fine?”

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