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Police are to work with farmers and dog owners in Argyll and Bute to guard against livestock attacks – ahead of these offences potentially carrying a jail sentence.
A report by a newly-appointed senior police officer for Mid Argyll and Kintyre has said that campaigns remain ongoing to stop dogs attacking animals.
Under a new law which is to be introduced later in 2021, dog owners could face a £40,000 fine or a 12-month prison term if they allow any such attacks to happen.
The report by Inspector Paul Collins, recently given responsibility for the Lochgilphead and Campbeltown areas, went before Argyll and Bute Council’s Mid Argyll, Kintyre and the Islands (MAKI) community planning group on April 28.
Inspector Collins said: ‘The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill – brought forward by Emma Harper MSP and which was supported by MAKI officers, local farmers and the local council dog warden – was debated in parliament for the third time at the end of March and it will now proceed to Royal Assent before becoming law in about six months’ time.
‘Under the provisions of the new Bill, dog owners could be fined up to £40,000 and/or 12 months’ imprisonment for letting their dog chase or kill livestock.
‘The outdated 1953 UK Bill will also be modernised to extend the definition of livestock to include protection for the likes of alpacas, llamas and buffalo.
‘With lambing in full swing across the country, livestock attacks traditionally increase at this time of year and officers will work with farmers and dog owners to help prevent and detect these crimes.
‘We regularly publish campaigns and increase awareness of the issue through our social media channels.’
The inspector also gave an update on the easing of Covid restrictions, which has recently seen travel restrictions lifted and pubs and non-essential shops allowed to re-open.
He added: ‘As we move forward with the continuing easing of lockdown restrictions, we have put a local policing plan in place to direct, guide and inform officers as the various different restrictions are relaxed.
‘Officers are directed to monitor the main arterial routes, ferry ports, popular tourist areas and known wild camping areas.
‘Officers will also be monitoring some retail premises and licenced premises as they open and restrictions relax on the purchase of alcohol.
‘We will be liaising with Argyll and Bute Council environmental health and trading standards where there are issues identified.
‘Officers are generally still instructed to follow the strategic police response which is the four-step escalation principles of engagement, explanation, encouragement and finally enforcement.’