Animals on public rights of way

If an animal (horse, dog, bull, etc.) causes injury to anyone using a public right of way, then the owner of that animal is held responsible, and may be prosecuted. Anyone who owns an animal which they know to have dangerous tendencies should not keep that animal in a field which is crossed by a public footpath, bridleway, restricted byway or byway.

Bulls

Generally, bulls must not be kept in any field crossed by a public right of way. The exceptions to this are:

  • Where the bull is not more than 10 months old;
  • Where the bull is not a recognised dairy breed, and is accompanied by cows or heifers.

Recognised dairy breeds include: Ayrshire, British Friesian, British Holstein, Dairy Shorthorn, Guernsey, Jersey and Kerry.

HSE Cattle and public access in England and Wales (PDF, 39.63 KB)

Dogs

Landowners dogs

If the dog poses no threat to members of the public, then the owner can keep the dog on his own land, or on land where he has the landowner’s permission.

However, where a dog effectively prevents use of a right of way, for example by standing in the middle of a path facing on-comers with snarls and bared teeth, or where it merely frightens users, for example by running around them barking in a threatening manner, this constitutes a public nuisance. Such conduct may also constitute an obstruction of the highway which is an offence in criminal law.

You can report this to paths@warwickshire.gov.uk, but it is the Police who are responsible for enforcing the removal of the dog.


Walking with your dog

Follow these simple steps to ensure you and your pet have a safe and enjoyable visit.

Warwickshire’s Public Paths

The 1,700 miles of paths cross land in private ownership, much of which is used to grow the food we eat. You can bring your dog provided:

  • Dogs are on a lead or under close control;
  • Your dog is with you on the path, not straying off to one side, or in front;
  • Where live stock are present, we strongly recommend a short lead;
  • Exercise caution where cows have calves. Let go of the lead if approached – your dog will take care of himself;
  • In the interests of good hygiene, always clean up after your dog;
  • As dogs can carry parasites which are harmful to farm animals, it is essential that your dog is regularly wormed.

Dogs at other countryside locations

Country parks

Dogs are welcome at our country parks. Waste bins are available at all parks apart from the Kenilworth Greenway. Dogs are allowed on a lead only at Ufton Fields

Nature Reserves

Dogs are not usually permitted. When using a public path crossing a reserve we strongly recommend a short lead. For more information on dogs in Warwickshire Wildlife Trust reserves please telephone 024 7630 2912.

Reservoirs

For information on Draycote Water please visit Draycote Water.

Canals

Please clean up after your dog and keep it under control. For more information, visit the Canal & River Trust site.

Commons and Open Access Land (‘Right to Roam’ areas)

The law states that dogs must be on a short lead. Other restrictions may be in force. See Natural England for more information.

Permissive access, countryside stewardship areas and other managed sites

Pet owners are advised to check with the site managers and in all cases to observe any local Bylaws and advisory notices.

Horses

Horses may be kept loose in fields crossed by public rights of way as long as they are not known to be dangerous.

Horses may not be ridden on public footpaths unless the landowner has given permission. A horse rider may be asked to leave any land over which they do not have the right to ride, and may be asked to pay for any damages caused. If a horse being ridden on a public bridleway or byway injures another person, the owner of the horse may be held responsible for the injuries, and the horse rider may be held responsible if they are shown to be negligent in controlling the horse.

More information about horse riding.

Animals on public rights of way was last updated on May 11, 2016.


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