Wednesday, June 25, 2008


It has been a bad week for badger watching!
Last week, leading another Sussex Wildlife Trust badger watching event, the night was curtailed very dramatically when the 3 dogs that have for months chased wildlife repeatedly across the woodland ran right across the sett during the watch. One of the terriers even tried to enter one of the sett entrances. They then turned growling and barking at the group once they realised we were there and I had to throw sticks at them to get them away from the sett as well as the people.
This cannot be allowed to happen, so on the weekend I made extensive enquiries to trace the owners of the dogs. It appears that these dogs are notorious and many people are fed up with them. I even spoke to one landowner who stated that she had lost sheep in the past but obviously did not have direct evidence of the culprits. Eventually, I was given the contact details of the owners and was wished 'good luck!'. On speaking to the owner, she seemed oblivious that her dogs had strayed so far but was apologetic and assured me that it would not happen again.
Unfortunately, last night, the same thing occurred. This time the dogs were chasing deer relentlessly, while I was trying to photograph the badgers. Again, I phoned the owners and she admitted that she just lets the dogs out every day and does not exercise them properly.
This is an unfortunate situation and one that I think will go on for some time. I feel that I have given a reasonable opportunity to the owners and that they are in effect continuing to allow the dogs to run out of control. My next recourse is to seize the dogs and hand them over to the local dog warden. This, I believe incurs an £84 fee for restoration, for each dog! Maybe, this is the way to get the message across to the owners.

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