NFU Scotland joined forces with local officers from Police Scotland, the Ranger Service and Environmental Health and Animal Welfare officers from West Lothian Council on Sunday to highlight issues surrounding livestock worrying and other rural crime to members of the public.
During the event, at Beecraigs Country Park near Linlithgow, dog owners were reminded they must be careful with their pets around sheep and other livestock and were encouraged to report instances of worrying by other dogs.
The event also provided an opportunity to discuss other rural crime with walkers, such as fly tipping, and encouraging them to report such incidents to the authorities.
Unfortunately, farm businesses in West Lothian and particularly those adjacent or close to popular dog walking spots such as Beecraigs and Almondell Country Parks have experienced several cases of livestock worrying which have included both chasing, attacking and killing of sheep. NFU Scotland has been working with the Ranger Service in an effort to highlight to the public the dangers of letting their pets run out of control.
NFU Scotland Regional Manager Kerry Clark said: “The number of incidents where dog owners have allowed their animals to run uncontrolled in these areas remains a huge worry.
“Tragically, these regular incidents have resulted in the death and injury of sheep and lambs and have a huge impact on those farmers trying to raise their livestock safely.
“The clear message from Police Scotland and NFU Scotland is that dogs must be kept under close control at all times when out in the country and especially when around vulnerable livestock. There are no irresponsible dogs, only irresponsible dog owners.”