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Pet owners encouraged to be more “sheep-wise” when outside

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The UK’s largest dog organisation has thrown its weight behind a campaign to encourage pet owners to be more “sheep-wise” when walking in the countryside.

The Kennel Club has backed the sheep-wise campaign, which is run by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and the National Sheep Association (NSA).

A promotional video for the campaign was produced in collaboration with organisations, including the Police and NFU Scotland, to warn the public about the consequences of failing to control their dogs.

It features first-hand accounts of sheep worrying from NSA Scotland chairman and north-east farmer John Fyall, vet David McLaren of Kirkton Veterinary Centre in Stonehaven, and Scottish SPCA senior inspector Gill MacGregor.

“For farmers, as well as lost income, it is heart-breaking to witness horrendous injuries in the sheep they work hard to look after,” said NSA Scotland’s vice-chairwoman Kathy Peebles.

“For pregnant ewes, the result of being hounded by dogs can be miscarriage of unborn lambs and for ewes with young lambs at foot the result can be offspring getting separated from ewes and dying of hypothermia or starvation. The outcome could be a vet putting a healthy dog down which is distressing for the owner.”

Kennel Club secretary Caroline Kisbo, said: “Repeatedly allowing a dog to stray is a clear sign of irresponsible ownership; it needlessly puts dogs’ lives at risk, as well as farm animals and wildlife.”

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