PHRP and Police Scotland issue joint statement
Find out here how to visit the Regional Park with your dog during this crucial time in the farming calendar.
APPEAL TO DOG OWNERS
To own a dog is a privilege, however with ownership comes responsibilities. The vast majority of dog owners are very responsible, however unfortunately there is a small minority who are not.
Dog owners have a responsibility to ensure that they are in control of their dogs at all times and should avoid fields with livestock, where possible. Where livestock are unavoidable, dogs should always be kept on a lead or under close control. Even if they are usually very obedient, it is every dog’s instinct to chase. They don’t understand the impact of this – but as an owner you do.
Recently there has been an increase in the number of sheep attacked by dogs in the Pentland Hills, especially in the Flotterstone area. Pentland Hills Regional Park and Midlothian Police urge the public to keep their dogs on leads or under close control. The Flotterstone area has suffered at least four attacks on sheep since April, with injured, drowned and dead animals resulting. We urge the public to call police immediately if they witness an attack.
If a dog is found to have attacked livestock the owner may face criminal action. Livestock attacks are not just when a dog chases or attacks an animal, but can also be when a dog is in close proximity to livestock. This can cause sheep or other livestock to panic and flee, resulting in serious injury or death. As well as the distress and harm caused to the animals, these incidents have both a financial and emotional impact on the farmer that is completely avoidable.
If you are out walking a dog, remember that you can meet livestock anywhere in the countryside, don't be complacent with routes you have previously travelled, it is important to remember livestock are moved around.
Be assured that any incidents of livestock attacks will be robustly dealt with, and offenders reported to the Procurator Fiscal and be aware that the owner of the livestock may also take direct action at the time including shooting the dog to protect their stock.
Cllr Neil Gardiner, Convenor of the Regional Park Joint Committee said: “I know that most dog owners respect the countryside code. Unfortunately a small number may not be aware of the potentially devastating impact caused by their pets: as animal lovers I ask that all dog owners think of welfare of farm animals. Where farm animals are injured or killed by a dog it’s owners may face prosecution. Let’s all enjoy the countryside safely and be aware of our impact on others including the welfare of farmers and their livestock.”
Please enjoy your visit to the Regional Park, support the local farming community, and keep within the law by keeping your dog under proper control at all times.