Preparing to deal with dog attacks on livestock

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Police Scotland hosted a day of discussion and learning around the growing problem of dog attacks on livestock, particularly concerning sheep.

Aimed primarily at Lochgilphead and Campbeltown police officers, the evidence gathering and legislative workshop was supported by Argyll and Bute Council, National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) and Dalriada Vets in Lochgilphead.

The clear message is that dogs must not be allowed off the lead when near livestock at any time, but there is a particular problem in spring when ewes are lambing.

A number of recent incidents in Mid Argyll where loose dogs have chased or attacked sheep provided the backdrop to the event, held on Tuesday May 7 at Lochgilphead Police Office and later at Carnasserie Farm, Kilmartin.

NFUS Argyll and the Isles regional chairman John Dickson attended, and he said afterwards: ‘It was an interesting day for me. In my present farm on Bute I’ve probably had six or seven sheep attacks by dogs.

‘I wish I had known then what I know now. I would have been better informed about what to expect when contacting the authorities and how it will be dealt with.’

He added: ‘With all the agencies working together, you are bound to get a more effective response, so it’s good to see everyone here today.’

PC Ben Rusden said: ‘It’s good to get officers on to the farm for training and to interact with farmers.’

South Scotland MSP Emma Harper is pushing for new a Scottish Bill to update legislation covering dog attacks on livestock. A public consultation on the proposals will close on Wednesday May 15.