“There are no irresponsible dogs, only irresponsible dog owners" - this is the clear message to dog walkers who plan to get out and about to enjoy the countryside this summer.
Scotland’s farmers and crofters continue to count the cost of livestock worrying, and are pleading with the public to keep their dogs on a short lead and under close control, avoiding fields containing livestock.
To continue its fight against the issue, signs are now available for NFU Scotland members and NFU Mutual customers to help make the public aware of their responsibilities. The signs will be available on stands at many of the local agricultural shows this summer in addition to local NFU Scotland and NFU Mutual offices in the coming weeks.
The Union has held several events around the country already this year in conjunction with local councils and Police Scotland, speaking to dog owners and professional dog walkers around the country to educate them about their responsibilities and the damage that can be done if their dogs run out of control.
NFU Scotland’s head of member services Kerry Clark, who has organised some of these events, said: “Last year saw the highest number of instances of livestock worrying in Scotland from over the last seven years, and we need dog owners to take heed of our warnings, to keep dogs on a lead and under close control, avoiding fields with livestock where possible and taking an alternative route.
“We will be continuing our work to raise awareness about this serious issue which continues to cause problems for our farmers and crofters. There are no irresponsible dogs, only irresponsible dog owners and we need those who are acting irresponsibly to change their ways.”
“As the insurer of many of Scotland’s farm and crofts, we are all too aware of the heart-break and huge financial loss that dog attacks cause,” said Martin Malone, NFU Mutual regional manager for Scotland.
“For small farms, the loss of a number of stocks can have a huge impact on the business. While insurance can cover the cost of replacing stock killed and the treatment of injured animals, there is a knock-on effect on breeding programmes which can take years to overcome.
“While the majority of dog owners act responsibly and ensure that their dogs are always kept under control and on a lead when near livestock but a small minority either don’t know their responsibilities - or simply do not care that their pet can inflict the most terrible injuries on livestock – which can often result in death.”