Julie Owen, the co-ordinator for Devon Loves Dogs, with her dog Maisie

Free membership scheme for dog owners and dog walkers in South East Devon aims to create a caring doggy community

Devon Loves Dogs is creating a community of dog lovers, who love where they live and care about the special environment in South East Devon. Members of Devon Loves Dogs want to protect the local countryside for wildlife, dogs and people to enjoy for many years to come.

The project launched in July 2017 during Heath Week in East Devon and at the opening of Dawlish Countryside Park in Teignbridge at the beginning of September.

Members of Devon Loves Dogs get:

  • Dog ID tag for engraving with your details
  • Car sticker
  • Dog identity card – in case your dog should lose you
  • Quarterly e-newsletter from Devon Loves Dogs (optional)
  • Your copy of our “Top 20 Local Dog Walks”
  • Invites to events and guided walks for you and your dog
  • Exclusive special offers and money off vouchers – for your dog of course!
  • Your dog’s photo on our website (optional)
  • Entry into our monthly free prize draw
  • Opportunities to take part in dog related consultations

Devon Loves Dogs co-ordinator, Julie Owen, said:

“My role is to help educate dog walkers about responsible ownership and the amazing local wildlife. I also want to understand the issues that dog owners face so that I can represent the needs and concerns of dog walkers to landowners and managers.

“Devon Loves Dogs is made up of a partnership of organisations, including East Devon District Council, Teignbridge District Council, Exeter City Council, Natural England, Clinton Devon Estates, RSPB, Devon Wildlife Trust, the Exe Estuary Management Partnership and the National Trust.

“This partnership is known as the South East Devon Habitat Regulations Partnership (SEDHRP) and funds Devon Loves Dogs. It has been formed to protect the three very special wildlife sites of the Pebblebed Heaths (Woodbury and surrounding commons), the Exe Estuary and Dawlish Warren.”

Julie went onto explain more about the project:

“The Devon Loves Dogs ethos is to respect other visitors, landowners, animals and wildlife when out on daily dog walks. To help make sure we’re all following the best advice, please adopt the Four Paws Code:

  • Keep your dog in sight and think of other visitors
  • Prevent your dog from chasing wildlife or grazing animals
  • Protect nesting and feeding birds on heaths, dunes and wetlands
  • Bag It and Bin It… wherever you are
  • Read and follow signs and notice boards
  • Limit the number of dogs that you walk
  • Join Devon Loves Dogs!

“We realise that dog walkers can have many positive effects on the countryside. You can help by being extra eyes and ears, helping to deter damage and record any sightings of wildlife.”

Neil Harris, who is the Delivery Manager for SEDHRP, said:

“A great deal of preparation work has gone into the Devon Loves Dogs scheme and I’m really excited to see that years of officers’ time planning and setting up this project has come to fruition. It’s great to finally see it in action, bringing the strategy to life, from plans to people.”

A wide range of measures to protect the environment have been put in place by SEDHRP. One of these measures was the recruitment of two Habitat Mitigation Officers – Sama Euridge and Amelia Davies – who spend their time on the three protected wildlife sites, helping to educate people about the special nature of these places and how to best care for them for future generations. These officers will also be involved with Julie and Devon Loves Dogs.

Sama Euridge, explained what she has been doing:

“We work closely with Julie and will be helping her lead guided dog walks in the area.

“The first walk, which we led as part of Heath Week, was hugely successful. We had around 30 dogs bounding around, having a great time interacting with each other. It was a great social occasion for the dog walkers too, helping connect like-minded people. Many of those who came along said they would love to see more guided dog walks - as an opportunity to learn a bit more about the area's wildlife and how they and their dogs can avoid disturbing it.

“This means their four-legged friends have another chance to see their new Devon Loves Dogs pack-mates.”

Find out more at www.devonlovesdogs.co.uk