A major four-month campaign to crack down on sheep worrying has been launched ahead of the Scottish outdoor lambing season.
The appeal to persuade dog owners to act responsibly when exercising their animals and respect the countryside as a working place has come from Police Scotland and five rural organisations.
The campaign will run until the end of May and Police Scotland has pledged to enforce the existing legislation and ensure all reported cases of sheep worrying are thoroughly investigated and offenders reported to the procurator fiscal.
Police Scotland’s rural crime co-ordinator, Inspector Jane Donaldson, said crime figures showed that livestock worrying incidents rise over the spring months.
“The effects of a dog attacking sheep are evident and cannot be overstated, but significant damage can also be caused by a dog simply being present in a field,” she said.
Inspector Donaldson advised 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. Farmers and anyone using the countryside have been urged to report all incidents of livestock worrying to police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.