‘Shameful’ dog owners slammed after latest sheep horror

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An Inveraray farmer who last weekend suffered the third attack by dogs on his sheep in little more than 18 months said it was only the alertness of a neighbour that prevented a much more serious situation.

As it was, six blackface wether lambs had significant injuries after the attack. Two of the lambs suffered serious bite marks to the head, while the others were bitten on the legs and body.

Sheep owner Brian Walker was unsure whether the pair with head injuries would survive earlier this week.

The attack happened at around 2.30pm on Sunday October 27 in a field near Mr Walker’s Carloonan Farm.

Police Scotland are investigating the incident and confirmed that a man who is the owner of the dog will be the subject of a report to the procurator fiscal.

Mr Walker said: ‘I was working at the farm when my wife came out to tell me our neighbour had been on the phone to say an Alsation-type dog was chasing sheep.

‘The dog was in full flight attacking the lambs when I got there.

‘Even after it was caught and put on a lead, it was still yelping looking to chase the sheep.’

NFU Scotland Argyll and the Islands Regional Manager Lucy Sumsion, said: ‘Our sympathies go out to Mr Walker, for whom this is far from the first incident of its kind. The emotional and financial effects these attacks can have on farmers and crofters should not be underestimated.’

There were two dog attacks on sheep belonging to Mr Walker in the spring of 2018, after which 11 animals died or were put down.

A multi-agency campaign was launched to inform dog owners of their responsibilities around livestock and South of Scotland MSP Emma Harper initiated a Private Members Bill in the Scottish Parliament.

Sheep attacked by dogs in a field near Inveraray
Sheep belonging to Mr Walker which survived a dog attack in spring 2018

The proposed Protection of Livestock (Scotland) Bill aims to give police, courts and potentially other agencies more powers to properly tackle offences of dogs attacking livestock.

Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell said: ‘I am very sorry to hear of this latest attack at Brian’s farm. It shows once again that some people are incapable of controlling their pets, with fearful consequences for livestock and for the livelihoods of farmers.

‘Emma Harper’s Bill on livestock attack will, I understand, be presented to parliament before Christmas and I am supporting it.

An Argyll and Bute Council spokesperson said the council ‘will take all appropriate action available to it’ relating to this latest attack, adding: ‘That people continue to walk their dogs off-lead in areas where livestock is grazing is shameful and unacceptable.’