Members of the public have been asked to “act responsibly” when walking their dogs in the countryside.
The plea from Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing comes as spring lambing begins on farms and crofts across Scotland.
He said incidents of dogs attacking or disturbing sheep and cattle, also known as livestock worrying, affected both the welfare of farm animals and the livelihood of farmers.
“Dog owners who walk, or keep, dogs in and around farmland should act responsibly at all times when exercising their animals in the countryside and always be mindful that there may be grazing livestock nearby,” added Mr Ewing.
“This is particularly important at this time of year when spring lambing season is underway.”
He praised the efforts of Police Scotland to tackle the issue and the ongoing commitment from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service to take a robust approach to prosecuting offences.
Mr Ewing added: “While the reduction in reported incidents of sheep worrying is to be welcomed, I would encourage farmers to continue to report all incidents to the police and that the wider public remain mindful of this issue when visiting the countryside.”