Dog owners warned as part of spring campaign
DOG OWNERS are being warned their animal could be killed if it is found to be in the presence of sheep, even if it has not physically attacked them or chased them.
The warning comes at the start of a campaign launched on Monday February 13 by the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime, in conjunction with Police Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, the National Farmers’ Union Scotland, Scottish Land and Estates and the Kennel Club to raise awareness among dog owners about the devastating effects of livestock worrying.
The campaign seeks to highlight to dog owners who live in or walk their pets in the countryside that they must act responsibly and keep their dogs under close control.
Results from a similar campaign last year showed two-thirds of all reported crime involved a dog which was either local to the area or allowed to roam free or had escaped from a house or garden.
A dog attacking, chasing or even being at large in a field where sheep are kept can lead to significant injury and often leads to the sheep being killed or destroyed.
Such attacks have a financial and emotional impact on the farmer and cause immense suffering to the animals, all of which are avoidable if dog owners follow some simple steps.
Inspector Jane Donaldson, Police Scotland’s rural crime co- ordinator, said: ‘The worrying of livestock can have devastating consequences for farm animals and has an obvious financial and emotional impact on farmers and their businesses.
‘This campaign is being launched to coincide with the spring lambing period because this is when sheep are at greatest risk.
‘The vast majority of livestock worrying incidents involve sheep and can occur when a dog attacks, chases or, in the case of sheep, is at large (not on a lead or otherwise under close control) in a field where livestock is kept.
‘The devastating effects of a dog attack cannot be overstated but sig- nificant damage can also be caused by a dog simply being present in a field.
‘Pregnant ewes can abort their lambs or lambs can be separated from their mothers, causing distress and in some cases malnutrition.’
Farmers and those who use the countryside are urged to report all incidents of livestock worrying to police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.
Preventive measures can be also be taken using Dog Control Notices issued by the local authority.
These written notices can be served on owners who do not keep their dogs under proper control and place control measures such as keeping the dog on a lead or being muzzled in a public place.