PLEASE KEEP DOGS UNDER CLOSE CONTROL!

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 as part of an ongoing campaign by the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime, in partnership with Police Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, NFUS, Scottish Land & 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 dogs 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 and 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.”

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