Dog owners are being called upon to keep their pets under control after a spate of savage attacks on sheep.
One farmer in Oban who had five pregnant ewes killed said if people don’t control their animals, next time it could be a child that is hurt.
Recent attacks in Argyll have been described by police as “particularly serious” and “traumatic”.
Two pregnant ewes were killed and four injured on the isle of Mull at Craignure near the hospital between 3pm on Tuesday and 10.30am on Wednesday.
In Oban five pregnant ewes were brutally killed in a field near Nant Drive between 4pm on Monday and 4pm on Tuesday.
And in Lochgilphead a small dark coloured Spaniel type dog was seen chasing sheep in a field near Dunadd Farm on February 6 at around 5pm.. Police reports say it was eventually caught by the person in charge of it and taken away in a vehicle.
Walter MacIntyre, who lost the five ewes in Oban, said the animals had been pulled apart and hadn’t died quickly. Mr MacIntyre said: “If the owners don’t sort these dogs out it could be a child next time. If they can do that to sheep there is no saying they wouldn’t do it to a child.”
Police are appealing for information on all three incidents.
Sergeant Iain MacNicol of Lochgilphead Police Station said: “These incidents are particularly serious attacks and would have been extremely traumatic for the animals involved. Such incidents are also very emotionally distressing for the farmers and witnesses involved.
“Dog owners have a responsibility to keep their dogs under control at all times and dogs should be kept on a close lead when anywhere near livestock. It is particularly important in the lead up to and at lambing time for owners to keep dogs well away from sheep because even just the sight of a dog in the distance can be enough to panic sheep and scare them away from their lambs.
“It is a criminal offence for dogs to be allowed to attack or chase livestock. It is also an offence for dogs to be at large (ie not on a lead or otherwise under close control) in a field in which there are sheep. Dog owners can be prosecuted and fined up to £1,000. Dog owners can also be held financially liable for damages done by a dog.
“Livestock owners are legally entitled to protect their animals as necessary, which can result in the destruction of the dog if necessary to protect the lives of other animals.”
Officers are investigating the incidents and are appealing for any witnesses or anyone with any information to contact them on 101.