A north MSP has pleaded with dog walkers to remain vigilant and responsible when out walking near sheep as lambing season gets underway across much of the north and north east.
Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP Kate Forbes issued the appeal after a number of reported incidents in the past few months, with incidents of livestock worrying in Dufftown and at a farm in Inverness.
Ms Forbes urged dog walkers to keep their companions on a lead and to keep away from sheep and lambs during walks.
She said: “There is absolutely no excuse to take a dog off the lead anywhere near sheep or lambs.
“If the dog scares the sheep or attacks them, it is highly likely the lambs and possibly even the sheep will be lost.
“Apart from the obvious emotional impact of this, there is also a significant financial impact as well.
“Farmers and crofters are working incredibly hard, at all hours, to provide the public with essentials like food.”
Latest police figures show there were 28 recorded incidents of sheep worrying at farms across the Highlands in 2018, with the Crown Office also revealing that over a 10-year spell from 2008 to 2018, the number of offences of dogs attacking livestock increased by more than 40%.
Any member of the public who witnesses such actions is urged to contact police immediately.