A three month Police Scotland campaign was launched last week to raise awareness amongst dog owners about the devastating effects of livestock worrying.
The campaign will see Scottish Natural Heritage working with the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime, a multi-agency partnership which includes Police Scotland, NFUS and Scottish Land and Estates, to encourage dog walkers to act more responsibly in the countryside.
The campaign seeks to highlight the impact of livestock worrying, ensuring that dog owners who live in or walk their dogs in the countryside act responsibly and keep their dogs under close control.
The worrying of livestock can have devastating consequences for farm animals and for farmers and their businesses and this campaign is being launched to coincide with the spring lambing period because this is when sheep are at greatest risk.
A dog attacking, chasing or even being at large in a field where sheep are kept can lead to significant injury and often to sheep being killed or destroyed. Such attacks have a financial and emotional impact on the farmer and are avoidable if dog owners follow some simple steps.
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.
Preventative measures can 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.
Police Scotland say they will enforce the existing legislation robustly, ensuring all reported cases of sheep worrying are thoroughly investigated and offenders reported to the procurator fiscal.