Spring is approaching and with it, animal mating season where hares, deer, geese, songbirds, foxes and other native wild animals conceive and give birth to their offspring. For the protection of wild animals, dog owners should keep their dogs on a leash from March through to July, especially in areas where wild animals live.
Dogs love to roam freely through nature, however straying or foraging dogs can become a deadly danger for young animals. If disturbed, wild animals may not return to feed their offspring. Ground breeders like curlews and lapwings are particularly threatened by free-roaming dogs; as soon as a dog gets wind of them, their hunting instinct awakens, and they will track them down. Ground breeders will either defend their young or flee, and if the young animals stay behind, it usually results in their death.
For fawns, young hares and nestlings of various birds, every free-roaming or poaching dog represents immense stress and danger. Environmentalists complain that free-running dogs can scare hundreds of breeding birds. The sad consequence is abandoned or destroyed nests.
What are alternatives for the dogs
The four to five months when breeding grounds are off-limits need not be frustrating for either dog or owner as there are many alternatives to bridge the time positively.
- Possible alternatives to woods or nature reserves are dog parks which are often spacious, in proximity to nature and mostly fenced, making them an attractive destination for dogs and owner.
- If dog parks are not an option, a towline can be used as an alternative to the standard lead as it is several meters long and thus offers sufficient running possibilities whilst allowing the owner to keep their dog under control.
In case of emergency
Despite the best precautions, dogs sometimes still injure or even kill a wild animal, in which case, the dog owner is responsible for contacting the competent authority. By acting in this way, an injured animal can still be helped. It is advisable to have the necessary contact details with you at all times (save them in your phone) but in case of doubt, the police may be able to help.