Police are asking for information.
Police in Caithness are appealing for information and issuing a warning following a recent incident of sheep worrying.
The incident occurred between 6pm on Friday and 9.30am on Saturday on a farm just south of Wick. Sadly, two sheep were attacked by a dog, resulting in injuries so severe the sheep were humanely destroyed.
As part of ongoing enquiries, officers are appealing to anyone with information or who may have witnessed the incident.
Commenting on today’s launch of the Livestock Worrying Campaign, Inspector Jane Donaldson, Police Scotland's Rural Crime Co-ordinator, said:
“The worrying of livestock can have devastating consequences for farm animals and has an obvious financial and emotional impact on farmers and their businesses. This campaign is being launched to coincide with the spring lambing period because this is when sheep are at greatest risk.
“The vast majority of livestock worrying incidents involve sheep and can occur when a dog attacks, chases or in the case of sheep, is at large (not on a lead or otherwise under close control) in a field where livestock is kept. The devastating effects of a dog attack are evident and cannot be overstated but significant damage can also be caused by a dog simply being present in a field. Pregnant ewes can abort their lambs or lambs can be separated from their mothers, causing distress and in some cases malnutrition.
“The advice to dog owners who live in rural areas or anyone walking and exercising their dogs in the countryside is to ensure that they are under control at all times and avoid going into fields where livestock is grazing. The Scottish Outdoor Access Code says that dogs shouldn’t be taken into fields where there are lambs or other young farm animals.”
“We are encouraging farmers and landowners to engage with dog walkers and to put signs up on gateways and on key roads and paths alerting them to the presence of sheep and lambs in their fields” added Inspector Donaldson.
A dog attacking, chasing or even being at large in a field where sheep are kept can lead to significant injury and often leads to the sheep being killed or destroyed. Such attacks have a financial and emotional impact on the farmer and cause immense suffering to the animals and are avoidable if dog owners follow some simple steps.
Farmers and those who use the countryside are urged to report all incidents of livestock worrying to police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.
Preventative measures can be also be taken using Dog Control Notices issued by the local authority. These written Notices can be served on owners who do not keep their dogs under proper control and place control measures such as keeping the dog on a lead or being muzzled in a public place.
Police Scotland will also enforce the existing legislation robustly, ensuring all reported cases of sheep worrying are thoroughly investigated and offenders reported to the Procurator Fiscal.