The Scottish SPCA has issued a stark warning to dog owners after a family pet was shot dead in Fife.
A dog was recently shot at a farm in Ballingry while off the lead in a field of sheep.
Farmers legally allowed to shoot dogs
Animal welfare charity Scottish SPCA reminded pet owners that farmers were legally allowed to shoot dogs if their livestock is at risk.
Scottish SPCA chief superintendent, Mike Flynn, said: “As we enter lambing season, we want to take the opportunity to remind dog owners to keep dogs on a lead around farm animals at all times.
“Sheep and lambs are more vulnerable at this time of year and the stress caused by a sheep being chased can lead to them miscarrying or even death.
“It can also be devastating for the farmer responsible for the sheep, emotionally and financially.
“Often lambs or sheep caught by a dog have to be put to sleep due to their injuries.
“Farmers are legally allowed to shoot a dog if it is seen to be worrying their animals so please always keep your dog away from all farm animals and on a lead at all times.”
Cows can pose danger to walkers
Mr Flynn said dog owners should be aware of all livestock, not just sheep.
“It’s not just sheep that owners should be aware of. Cows can see dogs as a threat to their herd or any young they may have,” Mr Flynn added.
“Cows are very powerful and become very protective so they can turn on dogs that find themselves in their field.
“We have been working very closely with Emma Harper MSP and the Scottish Government to tighten the law around livestock worrying and the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill passed through the Scottish Parliament with unanimous cross party support on Wednesday March 24.”
Following the incident in Ballingry last week, Sergeant John Nicol, of Cowdenbeath Police Station, said officers attended but found the farmer was not at fault.
“Around 11.55am on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, police were made aware that a dog was shot and killed on a farm in the Ballingry area following an incident of sheep worrying,” Sgt Nicol said.
“Officers attended to carry out enquiries and no further action was required.
“Instances of sheep worrying cause a great amount of emotional distress and often substantial financial loss to farmers. And in this tragic case, the dog owners have also suffered personal heartache as a result of the attack.
“The lambing season has started and so anyone exercising their dogs should make sure they keep their pets on a lead and under close control when walking near livestock. A dog will not understand the consequences of its actions, however you do. Please remember that it is your dog and your responsibility.”