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Sedgemoor Ramblers

Registered Assistance Dogs are allowed to walk with their owners on all Sedgemoor Ramblers walks, in accordance with the Disability Equality Act (2010). Assistance dogs covered by the Act are: hearing dogs, guide dogs, service dogs, therapy dogs, seizure alert dogs. Where the programme states ‘Dogs Welcome’, the Walk Leader has agreed that a Ramblers member can walk with their dog.

The first priority is the safety of walkers, and therefore the following will apply to all dogs on walks: -

• All dogs should be kept on a lead and walked at the back of the group. If livestock is encountered, the owner should keep the dog separate from the rest of the group and wait until the group have passed through before proceeding. Cattle and horses can become unsettled by the presence of a dog and give chase. In this case, Ramblers suggest that it may be safer to let the dog off the lead to avoid getting hurt by trying to protect it. The dog will be much safer if it is allowed to run away from a farm animal in these circumstances, and the attention will be directed away.

• Anyone wishing to bring their dog on a walk must contact the Walk Leader, in advance, for permission. Dog owners are responsible for being aware of their responsibilities and adhering to them. Walk Leaders need to remind dog owners of their responsibilities in advance of the walk.

• In some cases, dogs may be banned from certain areas that people use, or there may be restrictions, byelaws or control orders limiting where they can go. In some area, e.g. at the coast, there may also be some local restrictions to require dogs to be kept on a short lead during the bird breeding season, and to prevent disturbance to flocks of resting and feeding birds during other times of the year.

• It is the dog owner’s responsibility to ensure that their dog does not alarm other people, or put their safety at risk, and they must clean up after their dog – ‘bag it and bin it’.

• On coastal walks, the Coastguard reminds dog walkers to keep dogs on leads near cliffs.

• Incidences caused by dogs are covered by the insurance policy, as long as the activity is a recognised and planned Ramblers activity.

Further information about dogs on walks is available on the Ramblers website www.ramblers.org.uk/Volunteer/Factsheets.