New film targets owners of dogs that are out of control
A NEW ‘sheep-wise’ campaign to warn the public about the consequences of failing to control their dogs has been launched by the National Sheep Association of Scotland (NSAS) and Quality Meat Scotland.
Scotland’s rural organisations are uniting behind the campaign which also has the support of the Scottish SPCA, Police Scotland, the British Veterinary Association, NFU Scotland, Scottish Land and Estates, and Scottish Natural Heritage.
The initiative includes a high-impact, two-minute film aimed at highlighting the devastation, for farmers and dog owners, caused by sheep worrying.
The film features powerful accounts of sheep worrying from Aberdeenshire farmer and chairman of the NSAS John Fyall, vet David McLaren, and Gill MacGregor, Scottish SPCA senior inspector.
The film also articulates the anguish which dog owners face, along with potential prosecution, if they fail to control their dogs in the countryside.
Kathy Peebles, NSAS vice- chairwoman, said: ‘ For farmers, as well as lost income, it is heart-breaking to witness horrendous injuries in the sheep they work hard to look after.
‘For pregnant ewes, the result of being hounded by dogs can be miscarriage of unborn lambs and for ewes with young lambs at foot the result can be offspring getting separated from ewes and dying of hypothermia or starvation.
‘The outcome could be a vet putting down a healthy dog, which is distressing for the owner and could easily be avoided.’
Mike Flynn, Scottish SPCA chief superintendent, also urged people to ensure their dogs are kept secure at home because in many cases the source of the problem is dogs which are unaccompanied and allowed to roam.
Police Inspector Jane Donaldson, rural crime co- ordinator, added: ‘Police Scotland recognises that the worrying of livestock can have devastating consequences for farm animals and has an obvious financial and emotional impact on farmers and their businesses, particularly during the spring lambing period. The Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime (SPARC) livestock worrying campaign runs from February-May and the advice to dog owners is to keep your dog under control at all times and avoid going into fields where livestock is grazing. 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.’
More information for dog owners is available by visiting www. outdooracess- scotland. com.
John Fyall and Gill MacGregor, who feature in the Sheep-wise film.