50% rise in livestock worrying incidents

There has been a rise of more than 50% in livestock worrying incidents being reported to Police Scotland.
There has been a rise of more than 50% in livestock worrying incidents being reported to Police Scotland.

A four-month, multi-agency campaign to tackle livestock worrying saw a rise of more than 50% in incidents being reported to Police Scotland.

This has resulted in 55 people being reported to the procurator fiscal.

Run between February and May, a total of 81 incidents were investigated, which is 28 more than in the same period last year, and is attributed to farmers being more willing to report such cases, although it is believed there are still a large number of incidents which are being under-reported.

Sheep overwhelmingly remained the most affected livestock animal with most of the incidents resulting in injury and/or death to the livestock.

In many incidents the dogs responsible were alone with no owner or responsible person present, and over half of the reported incidents involved a dog that was local to that area.

Chief Superintendent John McKenzie, who chairs SPARC (the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime), said: “Tackling livestock worrying is a priority for Police Scotland and our partners in SPARC, and while these figures are higher than before, it does indicate a greater willingness by people affected to report incidents to us.”

The chief superintendent added: “These figures indicate further work requires to be done in highlighting not just the message about an owner or person responsible keeping a dog on a lead if there is livestock near, but a more general awareness message regarding responsible dog ownership, both in the home and when outside in the environment.

“To that end, the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime is already planning the 2019 campaign which will, for the first time, run from January to May and again have awareness-raising, education and prevention as key messages.”