Dog walkers have been urged to keep their four-legged friends on a lead at all times when walking in areas with livestock.
The plea from the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) comes ahead of lambing time, which will soon be in full swing on farms and crofts across the north and north-east.
According to CNPA land management adviser and local farmer, Bruce McConachie, allowing dogs to run loose in fields with pregnant sheep and newborn lambs can have in devastating consequences.
“Dog owners are being reminded they must be careful with their pets around sheep and other livestock,” said Mr McConachie.
“Pregnant ewes and newborn lambs are extremely vulnerable and nervous at this time of year and should not be worried by dogs that have been allowed to run loose.
“The consequences can be devastating, from miscarriage to injuries as a direct result of chasing or attacks by dogs that are out-of-control.”
CNPA recreation and access manager, David Clyne, said many dog owners may not be fully aware of their dogs’ reaction to sheep and lambs in a field.
He said: “That is why it is best to have your dog on a short lead at all times, especially near farmland.
“Never let your dog off a lead where there could be pregnant ewes or newborn lambs.
“Please continue to enjoy your daily dog walks just to do so with the utmost care.”
Police Scotland’s rural crime coordinator, Inspector Jane Donaldson, said incidents of dog attacks on sheep tend to increase during the lambing period.
She said: “We urge dog owners to remember that it is every dog’s instinct to chase and that simply chasing a sheep or a lamb in a field will cause it significant distress.
“Dog owners should also be aware that a farmer has the right to kill or injure any dog worrying their livestock and no one wants to see sheep or someone’s family pet being killed or injured.”
The inspector has urged anyone who witnesses dogs attacking livestock to call the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.
That plea was backed by Gemma Cooper from farmers’ union NFU Scotland (NFUS).
Ms Cooper said livestock worrying remained a blight on Scottish livestock farming and reports of dogs attacking livestock were all too common.