People in the Western Isles are being urged to take part in the public consultation on proposals to tackle incidents of dogs attacking livestock.
The consultation, which ends on 15th May, was launched last month by SNP MSP Emma Harper, who has the support of a number of organisations, including NFU Scotland, the Scottish SPCA, and Police Scotland, and others, to strengthen livestock attack laws.
The public can take part in the consultation on the following link: https://www.parliament.scot/gettinginvolved/111027.aspx
SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar Alasdair Allan said: “Over the last decade there have been 77 reported offices of attacks on livestock by dogs in the Western Isles. Given the large amount of crofting activity we have here it is a topic of particular concern to the islands.
"At this time of year sheep will be pregnant and even the chasing of a sheep by a dog - without any physical contact taking place - can be so stressful for the ewe that it can abort the lambs it is carrying. It is important that people ensure that when walking dogs near livestock they keep their dog on a lead to prevent further attacks.
“I would ask my constituents to take part in this public consultation and make their views known.”
Clare Slipper, Political Affairs Manager of NFU Scotland, added: “Despite a vast amount of awareness raising, livestock worrying continues to blight Scottish farmers and crofters. Dogs themselves are not to blame, it’s their irresponsible owners who need to wake up and understand the devastation this is causing.
“We are delighted to work with Emma Harper MSP on the launch of the consultation for the Members Bill and feel this is a real opportunity to clamp down on the issue once and for all – hopefully saving our members immeasurable heartache and considerable financial losses.
“We urge as many people as possible to fill out the consultation and give their views on an issue that continues to blight Scottish agriculture.”
Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “We fully support Emma Harper MSP and the public consultation with regards to dogs attacking livestock.
“This is an issue that we are constantly campaigning to raise awareness of and we are pleased this is now at a stage where it is being looked at in Parliament.
“Our animal helpline, rescue officers and inspectors are regularly contacted regarding livestock attacks and we welcome the opportunity this consultation creates to reduce these potentially devastating incidents.
“We encourage everyone to take part in this consultation. It’s up to everyone who enjoys the countryside to be a responsible citizen and to be fully aware of their impact on the surrounding environment.”