POLICE in the Scottish Borders are urging dog walkers to ensure their dog is under control at all times and kept well away from livestock

Livestock attacks and worrying is the phrase used when a dog attacks or worries livestock animals in rural and farmland areas.

This crime usually takes place in the countryside and is a particular problem when dogs, even those that are well trained, are off their leads or are roaming without an owner or person in charge with them. In doing so, they often scare or attack livestock animals.

Whilst many owners are unaware of the impact their dogs are having on livestock, it is their responsibility to ensure attacks and worrying don't happen.

They should ensure their dog doesn't disturb or attack these animals, otherwise there are consequences under the law if it does occur.

Border Telegraph:

Some examples of livestock worrying include: a dog chasing livestock in a manner that could cause injury or suffering, the stress caused to the animal by the presence of the dog, could, in the case of female livestock, cause abortion or miscarriage, livestock becoming desperate in their attempts to escape and injure themselves in doing so or dogs who chase ewes or lambs may cause them to separate from their mothers, later dying of starvation or hyperthermia.  

Officers are asking the public to call 999 if the crime is ongoing and animals are being injured.

To report a crime which isn't ongoing call 101

Under this new law, owners of dogs that attack or worry livestock can be fined up to £40,000 or even sent to prison for up to 12 months.

It's important for dog owners to be aware that livestock are valuable assets and any harm to them could significantly affect the livestock owners livelihood. 

Police say that there is a number of things owners can do to reduce the chances of their dog committing a livestock attack or worrying crime.

“When in the countryside, be wary of your dog approaching other animals. Try to stop your dog coming into contact with livestock. Remember, in the countryside, it may not always be obvious when animals are around.

“If you're in an area where livestock are nearby, always keep your dog in your sights and maintain control over them. If you can't guarantee this, use a lead.

“It's important to be aware that under certain circumstances, land owners can shoot your dog if it is attacking or causing distress to their animals.”