Investigation is launched after attack on sheep

Andrew Redpath of Stichil grazes sheep at Nottilees near Sprouston and has had his flock worried by dogs.
Andrew Redpath of Stichil grazes sheep at Nottilees near Sprouston and has had his flock worried by dogs.

Dog owners have been warned farmers can shoot pets found worrying livestock following an attack on sheep with lambs near Sprouston last week.

The Redpath family lost one lamb and had three others plus a ewe injured in the attack in a field near the old railway line.

Andrew Redpath and his family rent grassland in the area, where they run a flock of 200 sheep.

The lamb was lost after it had to be destroyed by a vet, while the three injured needed stitches to wounds and a ewe requiored treatment after having an ear ripped off, following what appears to have been a dog attack on a field of 26 ewes and 31 lambs.

Police Scotland confirmed to The Southern this week that its officers have been investigating the incident and enquiries are still ongoing.

Mr Redpath told us: “We’ve never been bothered by dogs before.

“The lambs in the field concerned were about 10 to 12 weeks old and we are lucky we didn’t lose more.”

The farmer said none of the family living locally saw anything, but warned dog owners that they need to keep their pets under control when near livestock.

He warned: “Farmers are entitled to shoot dogs they see worrying their livestock and at this time of year, when there are so many lambs around, dog owners should ensure their animals are under control at all times.

A Police Scotland spokesperson told us: “Farmers have the right to take necessary precautions to protect their livestock.”

The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act, 1953, defines worrying livestock as (a) attacking livestock, or (b) chasing livestock in such a way as may reasonably be expected to cause injury or suffering or, in the case of females, abortion, or loss of or diminution in their produce; or (c)being at large (not on a lead or otherwise under close control) in a field or enclosure with sheep.

However, a person must have a lawful excuse for shooting or injuring a dog, or they could face an offence of causing criminal damage.

And shooting a dog can also give rise to potential firearms difficulties.