City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Unleashed Dogs Terrorising Lambs in Pentlands

By edg - Posted on 13 May 2008

More lambs are being killed by dogs in the Pentlands in 2008 than in any previous year according to park rangers and farmers. Environmental Wardens and the Pentlands Hills' rangers have been put on high alert and will be carrying out extra patrols after another spate of lamb killings and attacks on pregnant ewes at the weekend.

Under the 1953 Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act, it is an offence for dogs to attack, chase or worry any livestock at any time of the year and a farmer is allowed to shoot a dog caught doing so. One dog has been shot this year and only this weekend there were three separate incidents of sheep being attacked and lambs being killed.

"We have seen worrying number of dog attacks on lambs this year - much more than in previous years and we want to put a stop to it. The park signs are clear but when they are ignored there is a real risk of lambs being killed," said Cllr. Alastair Paisley Vice Chair of the Pentland Hills Regional Park Committee.

"Nobody wants to see any more horrific attacks on sheep so we're urging all dog owners to keep their pets on a lead. Our wardens are on high alert at the moment and will be reporting cases where dogs are allowed to run free to the police.

"We don't want to see any more cases where dogs have to be shot either - this must be an awful experience for owners. The best place in the Pentlands to let your dog to run free is Hillend Country Park, where there are no sheep grazing. Almost everywhere in the hills you are running the risk of dogs and sheep coming together."

Local Farmer Graham Hamilton whose sheep were attacked this weekend, said:

"This lambing season has been the worst for many years, with dog owners ignoring signs and allowing their pets to run free in areas where sheep and lambs are grazing. We've had some horrendous attacks this year and the industry can't take much more.

"On top of the attacks it seems that a lot of people don't realise that simply letting a dog run near sheep kills unborn lambs. It is vital to the future of industry in this area that dogs are kept on a lead at all times."

Parks rangers have had reports of 6 separate cases this year where sheep and lambs have been killed or have had to be put down as a result of dog attacks. It is thought that there may be more cases which have gone unreported. There have also been regular reports of dogs chasing sheep which in some cases have caused the death of unborn lambs.