"Heartbreaking" consequences to livestock worrying

North and North East police were called out to more than 220 incidents of dogs worrying livestock since 2016, according to new figures.

By Dawn Renton
Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 6:15 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 6:15 am
Livestock worrying can have serious consequences
Livestock worrying can have serious consequences

Questions by Scottish Conservative MSP Alexander Burnett found that Aberdeenshire accounted for 88 attacks reported to Police Scotland in that time. The Highlands saw 100 reports, Moray 27 and Aberdeen City 14.

The data was published after two sheep were destroyed outside Inverurie, prompting a call by local officers to keep dogs under close control.

All offences were recorded under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 so the number of incidents may be higher.

Scottish Conservative Mr Burnett supported NFU Scotland’s “Take a Lead” campaign which called for legislative changes, leading to a strengthening of powers in March 2021.

Mr Burnett said: “As a representative of a rural constituency, I believe the strengthening of police powers should protect farms while cracking down on thoughtless dog owners.

“There are heartbreaking consequences to thoughtlessness – both for the owner and the farmer.”

North East Division Crime Reduction Officer PC Mike Urquhart said: “Dogs can cause unnecessary stress to livestock often causing the animal to panic and can even contribute to the premature death of livestock. As well as the distress and harm caused to animals, these incidents have both a financial and emotional impact on farmers.”

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