Following a spate of attacks on sheep, a leading Highland MSP has called for dog owners to take greater care with their pets whilst out walking near farming livestock.
Kate Forbes MSP said it was “nothing short of disgraceful” that there were still attacks on sheep and other farm animals each year, meaning bodies like Police Scotland and the National Farmers Union of Scotland had to issue reminders again and again, and described dog owners who do not muzzle or have their pets on a lead whilst near livestock as “thoughtless, selfish and foolish”.
Her comments came after it emerged that a Highland farmer had a dozen rare breed sheep – thought to be worth more than a combined £12,000 – savaged to death by a dog.
Kate Forbes MSP said: “I find it staggering that we are still talking about dog worrying and dog attacks on livestock. Owners should know that dogs must be on the lead if passing near sheep.
“Every year, there are additional warnings issued by the usual bodies and yet we see story after story about sheep being killed and maimed by dogs.
“The results are truly gruesome, particularly when sheep are pregnant or there are lambs.
“Apart from the wretched images of maimed sheep, with half their faces missing, a dog can also cause severe damage by just being in a field with sheep. In particular, it can cause sheep to abort lambs or to be separated from lambs.”
The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch continued: “Of course, these attacks affect farmers financially and emotionally when farming is tough enough. It is thoughtless, selfish and foolish not to put a lead on a dog when near livestock.
“The police have warned dog owners that their animals could actually be killed if it is found amongst sheep, even if it has not physically attacked or chased them.
“There is really no excuse and it is nothing short of disgraceful that these warnings still need to be issued every year.”