A month-long campaign has been launched by Police Scotland to raise awareness among dog owners about the devastating effects of livestock worrying.
It coincides with a rise in livestock attacks by dogs during November, a time when sheep are brought down to low lying pasture, in areas more accessible by people exercising their dogs or by local dogs that are allowed to roam free.
The Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime, a multi-agency partnershipincluding Police Scotland, NFU Scotland and Scottish Land and Estates, is working with Scottish Natural Heritage to promote responsible dog walking in the countryside.
Inspector Jane Donaldson, Police Scotland rural crime co-ordinator, said: “Rural dog owners and those who choose to exercise their dogs in the countryside must ensure they are under control at all times and avoid going into fields where livestock is grazing. The Scottish Outdoor Access Code says that dogs shouldn’t be taken into fields where there are lambs or other young farm animals.
“The worrying of livestock by domestic dogs has an obvious financial and emotional impact on farmers when their animals are killed or injured, but also has an effect on the animals themselves.
“During a campaign in this year’s spring lambing season we discovered in nearly three quarters of livestock worrying cases, the offending dog was local to that area, with more than half of all incidents involving a dog roaming free and where no owner or responsible person was present.”
“The partners involved in this initiative are encouraging farmers to help educate dog owners and dog walkers and prevent incidents occurring by putting up signs up on gateways and on key roads and paths alerting them to the presence of sheep and other livestock.”