Monday, 2 May 2011

The Ignorance Gets Worse

Once again, we have been plagued over the bank holiday weekends with people walking through the fields with children and dogs. There is, unfortunately for us, a public footpath which runs through our land and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. The lack of signs is simply due to the fact that any warnings of danger are looked upon unfavourably and seen as hostile. We want to put signs up in order to a) protect our livelihood, and b) protect the general public who think it is their given right to wander through private property, without an ounce of common sense or a scrap of thought that their precious pooch or perfect child might get attacked. Of course, if that happened, who would be to blame? In the eyes of the law, a farmer has a right to shoot a dog that he/she finds roaming amongst his/her livestock, but would they have the same right if it were a child chasing lambs, taunting sheep and causing a general nuisance?

I could answer that but I won't. This is a family blog.

Yesterday, Amy and I were feeding Nibbles, the pet lamb. We could hear voices in the fields, children playing and a rather noisy dad shouting. When I looked over the wall, there they were; mum, dad, 4 kids, one in a pram, and 2 dogs. One looked like it was off the lead but I couldn't be sure. And then I noticed a couple of boys who looked around 7 or 8, chasing sheep. I couldn't believe what I was witnessing. This kind of behaviour is as bad as breaking into a shop and stealing stock; or let me word it another way, it's as bad as anti-social behaviour that causes distress. In this case, it was causing distress to our sheep. As you know from previous posts, this isn't an exceptional incident but is fast becoming the norm. Having the public footpath is the biggest pain in the arse for this farm, but when people take advantage of their "right to roam", they have absolutely no idea what damage they're actually doing. So, I've decided it's time to put up those signs. If I get told to take them down, so be it. But for now, they will be attached to gate posts because I am sick and tired of ignorant idiots who use my land as a playground for their dogs and kids. Here's what I devised. Let me know what you think.

PLEASE RESPECT THE COUNTRYSIDE:

CLOSE ALL GATES

DO NOT SWING ON GATES

DO NOT CHASE LAMBS OR SHEEP

KEEP YOUR DOG ON A LEAD

DO NOT LET YOUR CHILD RUN NEAR SHEEP AND LAMBS

SHEEP WILL PROTECT THEIR YOUNG

43 comments:

  1. I think putting up signs like that should be allowed - after all, you're not only protecting your land and livestock but you're trying to protect those idiots who don't think of the consequences of letting their children taunt sheep and lambs.

    I hope they work CJ x

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  2. I think that's perfectly fair.

    We're lucky enough to live in beautiful countryside, our house backing onto woods and field, and at this time of year the sheep are out with their lambs. Like yours, one of these fields has a public right of way, but when the sheep are in it I wouldn't dream of walking through with the dog.

    It's common sense and courtesy really. We've been chased by cows before, so now I steer clear when the cows are in the field too! They're particularly wary of dogs, especially when they've got young, which is natural. As a dog owner you HAVE to be responsible, and not assume nature is benign. People DO get trampled by cows.

    When I was a child I saw a farmer shoot two dogs that had been worrying the sheep in the field opposite our house for days, and the image has always stayed with me.

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  3. I really feel for you. It is obviously about ignorance on one level, some people just don't understand animals and how their actions affect them. However my personal feeling is that there is an increasing number of parents who just don't teach their children basic respect for others and their property. I use public footpaths and would oppose the closure of them but as a family we are always respectful of the fact we are using somebody else's land. We have a responsibility to follow any guidelines you choose to post. Your sign is neither rude or aggresive, put it up to give those who really don't get the "country" a chance and ignore those who complain.

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  4. No one can object to that sign. It is polite and responsible. Let's hope it is taken notice of.

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  5. Please put the signs up. I agree.

    xxxx

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  6. I agree, you should be allowed to put up signs. The very least ppl should respect the animals that you have. We live in a rental property and right behind us is a sheep paddock. In fact the fence comes right up to our deck. The farmer who owns that also owns our rental property. From the word go we have taught our kids that under no circumstances are they to go into that paddock, make noises that are too loud, throw things into the paddock or at the sheep. It is a matter of respect.

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  7. Personally, as a true city dweller, I would appreciate signs. If we were lucky enough to have a countryside outing I would prefer to know what is and isn't allowed before stepping foot on someone else's land for a walk so that I could tell my son what's expected.
    Having said that, the signs you are proposing seem very much like common sense so I can certainly understand your frustration at people's stupidity.

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  8. Hi, found your blog on Bloggy Moms.

    Wow I really feel for you. It would drive me crazy to have strangers wandering on my land. I think the signs really sound like a good idea.

    I look forward to reading about it.

    Monnie x
    http://thediaryofadietingdiva.blogspot.com/

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  9. Our town wanted to do the same thing at the back of our property. All of us landowners, which means we OWN the land, drew up a petition and all signed it. The path never went through. I feel exactly as you, keep your dogs, kids, what have you, off "MY" property!!!! There is a law that you cannot harass wildlife, same should be for farmlife! I would have so many signs up it would look like a political event! Now you have got me going.....I have to go meditate now.... >8>{

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  10. I am appalled. You need signs hostile or not.
    These people have probably come into the country from cities.

    Some parents just don't care about what their children do. I have watched children chasing after & tormenting pigeons in our city and their parents just laugh.
    I know its only pigeons....... but I hate cruelty of any kind.......... especially if the parents are encouraging it.

    Is it possible to put the sheep somewhere else? Maybe the footpath goes through all the big meadows?
    It will probably be very costly to fence off the areas where the public can go? Leaving just paths with fencing separating them & your stock? Might be worth the expense if it wasn't a huge area.
    I am from the city but understand completely the laws of the country.
    I went for many walks through fields of sheep when I was a child & I was never allowed to chase them...... nor would I have wanted to.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

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  11. Some people are so thoughtless and stupid. Put up your signs - they need to be told. I think I would add that you would be within the law to shoot dogs found worrying your sheep - that would make them think.

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  12. As someone who rambles regularly, I think it is quite common to put up signs these days, so I wouldn't worry about appearing hostile. However, I would perhaps shorten it to the following to increase the impact?
    PLEASE RESPECT THE COUNTRYSIDE:
    DO NOT CHASE LAMBS OR SHEEP
    KEEP YOUR DOG ON A LEAD
    CLOSE ALL GATES

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  13. I think your being perfectly fair. I think my version of the notice would be much fiercer with the odd hint of a shotgun!

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  14. Seems fair enough to me....

    saz x

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  15. Signs? I'd put electric wire around the whole area! Although that could be dangerous for the lambs. To be honest, signs are good and you can say that people are warned, but are ignorant idiots who don't use common sense and nevermind respect someone's property, protect their own child gonna give them any notice?

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  16. Think the signs are good, would not hesitate to put them up! Some people are just rude and thoughtless, but this is your livelihood and you have every right to protect it! Nat x

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  17. Maggie - No, we have fields purposely for livestock which are unsuitable to use as working land, i.e. crops. These fields have been used for livestock for centuries and even recently, up until the late 90's, they were filled with cattle which are much more dangerous than sheep. And besides, we shouldn't have to move our stock. I know what you're saying though. Unfortunately, it just isn't feasible.

    Anon - it's good to hear from a rambler's pov. I'll take your suggestion and shorten the sign. If it doesn't work, then I'll put up my original ones.

    Thank you for your comments, CJ xx

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  18. Definitley put up the signs; people nowadays are so separated from the countryside that they don't know what to do or not to do; your signs will be a great help!

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  19. I would think as a matter of courtesy and safety, signs should be erected that are very clear: you are on my land at your own risk. Sheep are large livestock and are capable of injuring a child. If your dog injures my sheep, you are responsible for the action and consequences.

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  20. in my area you will get shot for trespassing...ugh...yeah on the signs...

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  21. Sounds Good to Me! They are Not demanding Anything...they are simply making statements!
    I hope they work!!
    hughugs

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  22. I think right after

    Sheep will protect their young.

    You should also say

    And the farmer will protect his sheep.

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  23. Totally. Put the signs up - some people don't realise farms are people's businesses and not just a pretty place put there for townies to walk in.
    x

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  24. Too bad you don't have a llama or two for guards. A swift kick or two from one of them, or a spit in the face of the criminals would go a long way toward keeping your land private.

    I think your sign is fine, but if people are as dumb as you describe, I wouldn't count on their ability to read.

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  25. It seems reasonable to me to put the signs up. Could you imagine what would happen if you walked into someone's back garden and started taunting their dogs and children?

    xx

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  26. Perhaps adding : ALL VIOLATORS WILL BE SHOT! (joking)

    I cannot see a problem with putting up signs. I have come across signs before now when walking.

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  27. That seems very fair and polite to me. There are always going to be ignorant so-and-so's who will ignore any sign, polite or otherwise, who only seem to take note when you confront them and I can understand your reticence to do that. And admire you for it. I doubt I would be that patient.
    Can you not fence your land on your side of the footpath, leaving it free for walkers but affording your livestock some protection from these people.

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  28. Perfectly reasonable signs. If somebody doesn't think so, they need to rethink.

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  29. Hi! C.J...
    I see nothing wrong with the warning signs going-up...Because Of all the aforementioned reasons that you have pointed out in your post. I hope that this problem is solved soon!
    Thanks, for sharing!
    DeeDee ;-/

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  30. There are signs like that all over the countryside where we are. Courteous and to the point. I don't see anything wrong with them.

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  31. Public foot path or not, I say PUT UP THOSE SIGNS! Like you said, the worst thing is that you get told to take them down. But I feel that you have a right to put them up because this IS your livelihood, after all.

    It's all about respect!

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  32. You definitely need to put up those signs. We love going into the country but are really careful where we go and to be honest there are enough country and woodland parks to take kids/ animals without having to go on private land. I for one would welcome the info if I was about to venture onto private land...public footpath or not!!

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  33. the signs seem completely rational and sane. Perhaps you need some visuals: a picture of a Mama sheep chasing down two small boys.

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  34. When I first read your post,"A Harsh Warning to Dog Walkers", I mentioned it on my blog www.greycountymusings.weebly.com hoping that people here would listen. I'm so sorry that they still haven't there, yet. I wonder if a letter to the editors of a few local papers there,strongly worded, would help?!

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  35. I think your signs are quite reasonable and not at all rude. Maybe the walkers just don't understand. You'd be doing them a service educating them.

    Good luck! Hope they work for you!

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  36. You want to know what I think? If there is a public footpath running through your land, then the council should put up signs that are hard hitting and say that anyone not respecting the fact they are walking through a working farm with sheep and lambs and who are found to be causing a nuisance will be prosecuted.
    Surely they are duty bound to do this and if I were you, I would put a sign saying:

    You are now entering a working farm. Please keep dogs on leads as they may otherwise be shot. Our sheep are liable to attack you or your children if they feel their young are being threatened so please keep children under control at all times and close gates behind you. Thank you for your consideration and respecting the country.

    Tell 'em straight girl and good luck xxx

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  37. Someone said to keep it short okay, here we go again.

    WARNING
    Dogs off leads may be shot.
    Children not under control are liable to attack from sheep.
    Please take care and close gates behind you.
    Thank you.

    There, that should do it. It would scare the bejesus out of me and I'd probably walk elsewhere!

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  38. We put signs up saying 'Do not step on the grass!' So I think your signs are more than acceptable, they're a necessity. I can't believe the ignorance of some people and the sadder point is there are so many of them bringing their chidlren up to be just as stupid.
    It's so frustrating.
    I sincerely hope things get better for you x

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  39. NIcer sign then I would put LOL...I'd tell them to just keep the hell out. trespassers will be shot LOL

    New follower btw, thanks for stopping by earlier =)

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  40. "Entry free but the bull may charge" signs are apparently illegal in Scotland nowadays - causing fear and alarm to the public is against the law. The public causing fear and alarm to sheep and lambs is OK it seems...

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  41. I think you should add to the sign that farmers have the legal right to shoot dogs that frighten sheep. That'll also deter people from letting their kids run off the path.

    The National Trust put up signs similar to yours all over the Lake District, so I don't see why you should worry about whether you're allowed to put them up on your farm.

    I think much of the problem is that people don't understand that 'right of way' is just that: you are allowed to walk along a path, not picnic on it or run around the adjoining field.

    People will insist on thinking that the countryside is one giant theme park for their entertainment :(

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  42. I agree with you whole heartedly. Although I now live an urban life, I grew up in the countryside and had the countryside code instilled in me as firmly and as often as other essentials, table manners, for example. I think it is something that should be taught to all children, irrespective of whether the family live in the country or a city.
    changing bag

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