Much discussion ensued and yes, it is such a shame that this is the point we have arrived at – irresponsible dog owners are the detriment of those of us that like to climb with our four legged companions. I spent many happy years doing all sorts of routes in these fine mountains with my now passed dog – she was a super climber and loved heading off with us and spending a long demanding day in the hills. So I’m very disappointed that I am no longer allowed this pleasure with my current dogs. The blame can not be directed at the landowners but must be directed toward the ignorance of a small few.
“Living in the foothills of the Reeks and also being a SARDA Dog Handler (www.sardaireland.com ) with a fully qualified Mountain Rescue Dog, I would love nothing more than to ramble about the mountains in the company of my dog who is highly trained, stock tested and proven to be no threat to livestock. Of course if there is a call out with a requirement for a search dog there is no issue with one being used – we have recently held a very successful National Training weekend in The Reeks where we were given permission to access. So that should answer the query on whether search dogs are allowed – yes on prior permission for training or when on a shout.
Out of respect for the people that own and farm the land and are allowing us access, these are now the only times I take my dog into the Reeks. But that’s me – being a responsible dog owner and respectful to those who are kind enough to allow me access to their land. The unfortunate issue is that not everyone is as responsible or respectful!
The crux of the issue is this – Many dog owners think “their” dog is no threat (and most aren’t) strolling past the “Please do not bring your dog” sign to find that after leaving them off the leash when they think no one is about that the dogs start roaming off (and quite often the owner has difficulty reigning them in) and just by doing so is causing stress, endangering and very recently even causing death to livestock. So what is a landowner to do? Of course feel that they must take a more drastic approach and threaten those that blatantly ignore the polite request with a more off-putting sign –although people are still walking past it – may as well be giving the landowners the two fingers in doing so.
This issue stems from the ignorant dog owners – I can’t blame the landowners for being pushed towards drastic action and I’m at a loss as to what signage they can put up that everyone will stop and take notice of and respect. Yes the wording is shocking – I think that’s the whole idea. It is regrettable that those of us who can control our dogs are hit with this restriction but, the fault is with those that can’t control their dogs taking them in anyway and causing havoc and making dogs an issue for landowners in the first place.”