More support for ‘Take the Lead’

Andrew Redpath
Andrew Redpath

Local farmers and politicians are backing a national campaign to reduce dog attacks on livestock.

Regional support comes in the wake of attacks earlier this year when sheep were drowned after being chased by a dog into the sea at Craster. Others, worth £900, were mauled to death near Eskdalemuir in March. And in April vets had to euthanise a lamb and patch up others, including a ewe with her ear ripped off, following an attack on Andrew Redpath’s sheep near Sprouston.

Norham sheep farmer and Lib Dem councillor Dougie Watkin, said: “More often than not, people don’t realise their dog is going for sheep until it’s attacked. I encourage people to ensure they have their dog on a lead and are aware of its whereabouts when walking through fields as dogs worrying sheep is an increasing problem in rural Northumberland.”

Police statistics for last year for the Edinburgh, Lothians and Borders show there were 34 incidents of dogs worrying sheep, broken down into three incidents of chasing, 16 of dogs attacking sheep and 15 involving killings.

The National Sheep Association and national farming paper, the Farmers Guardian, launched their ‘Take the Lead’ campaign, urging dog owners to put their pets on leads, earlier this year and have been lobbying vets, dog shows and publications for support.

NFU Scotland Lothian and Borders regional chairman Stuart McNicol supports the campaign, which also urges owners to clean up after their dogs and to be responsible for their own actions.