As the lambing season gets underway at farms across the Highlands, Kate Forbes MSP has urged dog owners to be responsible when out walking their pets during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Last year there were a number of sheep worrying incidents across the north of Scotland – with police figures showing there were 28 recorded instances at Highland farms in 2018.
According to statistics from the Crown Office, the number of offences of dogs attacking livestock have increased by over 40 per cent during the past decade (2008 to 2018).
Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said:
“As lambing season starts, I’d like to appeal to dog owners to be responsible when walking dogs.
“There is absolutely no excuse to take a dog off the lead anywhere near sheep or lambs.
“If the dog scares the sheep, or attacks them, it is highly likely that the lambs and possibly even the sheep will be lost.
“Apart from the obvious emotional impact of this, there is also a significant financial impact as well.
“Farmers and crofters are working incredibly hard, in all hours, to provide the public with essentials like food.
“The least we can do is respect their work and keep dogs on a lead.
“If you take your dog for a walk on the one permitted exercise during the Covid-19 lock-down, don’t take them near sheep or lambs.”
Anyone who witnesses such a crime should report it to police on 101 or 999 if it is an emergency.