A leading UK food production company has hit back at outraged dog owners after a move to bar them from walking their animals in a privately-owned field.
The field, situated on Sandbraes Lane off the North Kelsey Road, once belonged to Cherry Valley, but is now owned by Faccenda, a poultry production company.
Caistor town councillor and avid dog walker Clive Rudd took a petition to Caistor Post Office after finding that he would no longer be allowed access to the field,
The purpose of the petition was to ask the company to reconsider their decision to prevent dogs owners from exercising their pets in the field.
Coun Rudd told the Mail: “I took the petition to the Post Office expecting to get 30, perhaps 40 signatures.
“I was pleasantly surprised when, two days later, a saw that an extra sheet had been pinned up as the two I had suppiled were completely full.
“After five days the petition had achieved well over 100 signatures.”
Coun Rudd attributes the passion behind the petition to the fact that, aside from the Cherry Valley field, dog walkers in Caistor have no other suitable space in which to walk their dogs.
Coun Rudd added: “Some weeks ago Faccenda contacted me inviting me to discuss the matter with their Managing Director and the Estate Manager from Nickerson’s, who has use of the plot.
“Since then Faccenda have appointed a new Managing Director who has declined to oblige such a meeting.
“I spoke to a member of West Lindsey District Council who suggested the possibility of a community incentive scheme.
“We hoped a financial offering might help influence any decision by Faccenda.
“I have since received correspondance from Faccenda suggesting that a financial token will not sway them.”
A spokesman for Faccenda told the Mail ‘a blind eye’ had been turned to dog walkers using the field in the past.
He said: “As one of the biggest employers in the area, we understand that we are part of a community.
“We take this seriously, however, the land in question is farm land and not open to the public.
“We think the fairest solution is for the dog walking community, which the petition has shown to be sizeable, to have somewhere they can exercise their pets without relying on private landowners ‘turning a blind eye’ – us or anyone else.”
The spokesman adde: “The field has been fenced and marked as private property since 2011, however, at some point the fence was cut and dog walkers have subsequently used the field to exercise their pets.
“Walkers have never been given permission to access the land, so far as we are aware.’
Coun Rudd said: “Dog owners in Caistor have been using the Cherry Valley Field for over thirty years to exercise their pets.
“There is nowhere else in Caistor that is suitable for us.
‘‘Faccenda’s action has caused a huge amount of ill feeling towards them.”