The campaign hopes to encourage farmers and owners to engage with dog walkers and alert them to the presence of livestock in surrounding fields.
Police Scotland have today (November 1) launched a month-long campaign to raise awareness among dog owners about the devastating effects of livestock worrying.
It coincides with a rise in dog attacks on livestock during November at a time when sheep are brought down to low lying pasture in areas more accessible by people exercising their dogs or by local dogs that are allowed to roam free.
A three month campaign during the lambing season earlier this year saw reports of livestock worrying increase by 55 per cent.
The Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime, a multi-agency partnership which includes Police Scotland, National Farmers Union of Scotland and Scottish Land & Estates, is working with Scottish Natural Heritage to promote responsible dog walking in the countryside.
Police Scotland rural crime co-ordinator Inspector Jane Donaldson said: “The worrying of sheep and other livestock by domestic dogs not only has an obvious financial and emotional impact on farmers when their animals are killed or injured, but also has an effect on the animals themselves, their productivity and welfare.
“Rural dog owners and those who choose to exercise their dogs in the countryside must ensure they are under control at all times and avoid going into fields where livestock is grazing.”
Police Scotland are urging farmers to engage with dog walkers to help educate them and prevent similar incidents occurring.
Inspector Donaldson said farmers should be utilising signs and posters to alert dog owners to the presence of sheep and other livestock in surrounding fields.
“During a campaign in this year’s spring lambing season we discovered in nearly three quarters of livestock worrying cases, the offending dog was local to that area, with more than half of all incidents involving a dog roaming free and where no owner or responsible person was present."
Gemma Cooper, policy manager for NFU Scotland added: “Instances of dog worrying are never acceptable; they cause our farmers personal heartache, and often substantial and ongoing financial loss.
“It is disappointing that instances are still high in number.
“We would urge farmers affected by this issue to ensure that they report this via 101 as this will help ensure that the multi organisation momentum that has been ongoing for some time now is kept up.
“In addition, we would urge Local Authorities to use Dog Control Notices more frequently, as this option can be very effective, but is currently quite underutilised as a method of dealing with this problem."
Farmers and those who use the countryside are urged to report all incidents of livestock worrying to police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.
For more information, visit www.jessthedog.org.uk
FG remains committed to driving down the number of incidents and has been working with police to educate officers about the seriousness of the crime and its impact on farmers and the countryside.
To request Take the Lead signs which warn dog owners to keep their pets on a lead around livestock, send a self-addressed A4 envelope with at least three first class stamps to:
FG Take the Lead, Farmers Guardian,
Unit 4, Fulwood Business Park,