It is lambing time in the Cairngorms National Park and dog owners are being reminded to ‘lead’ by example and be careful with their pets around sheep and other livestock.
Pregnant ewes and newborn lambs are extremely vulnerable and nervous at this time of year and should not be worried by dogs that have been allowed to run loose.
The consequences can be devastating from miscarriage to injuries as a direct result of chasing or attacks by dogs that are not in control.
Bruce McConachie, a Land Management Advisor at the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) and a farmer himself said: “Spring has definitely sprung, we’re all happy to see the sunshine at last and everyone is getting out and about in the Park. However, we would urge dog owners to please keep dogs on leads near farmland. Dogs that are not on leads near sheep can be a real problem and attacks by dogs can result in a big financial burden for farmers in terms of stock loss or vets bills, not to mention the emotional upset that is caused, as we’ve seen in the press in recent weeks.”
Police Scotland recently launched their three month campaign to raise awareness about the effects of sheep worrying. The campaign involves Scottish Natural Heritage working with the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime – a multi-agency partnership which includes Police Scotland, National Farmers Union of Scotland and Scottish Land & Estates – to encourage dog walkers to use the countryside responsibly. The campaign seeks to highlight the impact of livestock worrying, ensuring that dog owners who live in or walk their dogs in the countryside act responsibly and keep their dogs under close control.
David Clyne, the CNPA’s Recreation & Access Manager commented: “Getting out and about in the National Park is great for our health and wellbeing and having a dog for many people is what encourages them to be active every day. The best way to keep your dog under close control when near lambs is to use a lead. You can then relax and enjoy your daily walk.”
For more information on enjoying the outdoors responsibly please check out the Scottish Outdoor Access Code http://www.outdooraccess-scotland.com/Practical-guide/public/Dog-walking