A panicked farmer who rushed to the rescue of his flock of sheep after they were attacked by an “out-of-control” dog has found himself in hot water with the police.
Jonathan Sloan said he was forced to act after neighbours told him his animals were in danger – as the dog’s owners tried and failed to bring it under control.
The 28-year-old successfully intervened but was slapped with a £40 fine after being accused of “threatening behaviour” for hitting the dog with his shepherd’s crook in a heated argument with its owners.
Mr Sloan described the decision as “inexplicable” as it emerged no action is to be taken in connection with his allegation of sheep worrying.
The incident took place less than a week after Police Scotland launched a campaign to raise awareness among dog owners about the devastating effects of attacks on livestock.
Mr Sloan and his family have been farming at Springbank Farm near Kinross for more than 12 years and this was the first incident of its kind on their land.
His flock of 60 black-faced lambs were in a field near Scotlandwell when a loose Husky-type dog burst into the field.
The farmer said: “One of my neighbours called to say the dog was in the field and had been chasing my flock for five or 10 minutes, with its owners running around after it to regain control, but without success.
“It took me 10 minutes or so to get to the field myself and the dog was still there, still chasing my sheep with its owners in pursuit.
“I used my sheepdog to lure it away and then hit it with my shepherd’s crook before grabbing it.”
Mr Sloan said his actions resulted in an altercation with the dog’s owners, prompting him to call the police.
“I spoke to police officers but in the end I was hit with a £40 fixed penalty for a breach of the peace,” he said.
“I just can’t understand that. As far as I know no action is being taken against the dog or its owners.”
“The attack was quite distressing but it could have been a whole lot worse. I’m just thankful that none of the sheep appear to have been hurt.
“One is limping but I can’t say for sure whether that relates to the attack.”
Police Scotland confirmed officers had received calls from Mr Sloan and from a member of the public who reported that sheep were being chased by a dog.
A spokeswoman confirmed a man had been issued with a fixed penalty notice following a “disturbance”.
Speaking at the launch of the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime’s month-long campaign, Police Scotland’s rural crime coordinator, Inspector Jane Donaldson, said: “Rural dog owners and those who choose to exercise their dogs in the countryside must ensure they are under control at all times and try to avoid going into fields where livestock is grazing.
“The worrying of sheep and other livestock by 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.”