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Scottish rural campaign raises livestock worrying reports by 55%

 

A co-ordinated rural crime campaign has seen reports of livestock worrying rise by 55 per cent in Scotland.


Alice   Singleton

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Alice   Singleton
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More than half of the incidents involved a dog roaming free with no owner present
More than half of the incidents involved a dog roaming free with no owner present

 

The success of the campaign, which found reports over the lambing season rise from 45 to 70, has meant it will now be run annually to clamp down on the continuing issue of dog attacks.

 

Police officers investigated all reported incidents, and 60 per cent were detected and the dog owner or person responsible reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

 


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Statistics from the campaign

  • The bulk of the offences reported were in Aberdeenshire, Highlands and Islands and Lanarkshire
  • Sheep were the most common animal affected
  • In 79 per cent of incidents, livestock were killed and/or injured
  • On average the attacks involved two or three sheep per incidents
  • 70 per cent of the incidents involved only one dog
  • In 73 per cent of cases, the offending dog was local to that area
  • More than half of the incidents involved a dog roaming free where no owner was present

Under-reported

 

Inspector Jane Donaldson, Police Scotland rural crime co-ordinator said: “Livestock worrying has previously been under-reported.

 

"Farmers were often reluctant to report incidents to police, particularly where there was a ‘near miss’ and no physical damage was done to their livestock.

 

"A significant part of the Spring campaign was to get this message out to farmers and encourage them to report all incidents and I think that this is reflected in the increase in reported crimes.

 

"More accurate reporting has improved our understanding of the problem, increasing intelligence about the how, where and why these incidents are occurring.”

 

Reporting

 

Police Scotland said their advice to farmers and those who use the countryside are is to report all incidents of livestock worrying to police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

 

Gemma Thomson, policy manager with the National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS), said: "NFUS is pleased that Police Scotland is taking such a keen interest in this issue. NFUS members, particularly those on urban fringes or heavily used recreational spaces continue to be victims of this crime.

 

"There is still a real issue with under reporting, and we would urge anyone who is affected by livestock worrying to ensure they report this."

 

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code says that dogs should not be taken into fields where there are lambs or other young farm animals.

 

Theresa Kewell, policy and advice, communication at Scottish Natural Heritage said: "We are extremely pleased so many dog walkers visited the Scottish Outdoor Access Code website to find out more about how to safely walk their dog when it is lambing time.

 

Any incident involving animals can be traumatic for all concerned so we continue to encourage all dog walkers to find out how to be the most responsible at any time of year, by taking a look at the advice at jessthedog.org.uk."

 

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