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An attack on sheep on Davaar Island last week has sparked a renewed appeal to dog owners to keep their pets under control while in and around farmland.
A 33-year-old woman was charged by police this week, after sheep on the island, which is also home to a herd of wild goats, were allegedly chased by a dog at about 2.30pm on Monday February 8, with at least one animal falling from a cliff.
Catherine Cannon, whose family owns the island, said: ‘After the incident last week, with our sheep being chased off the cliffs, we are keen to stress the importance of keeping dogs under control and on a lead at all times whilst visiting Davaar.
‘We are aware of at least six incidents in the last 12 months involving dogs being out of control, chasing livestock on the island. Last year, two dogs died in separate incidents after falling to the bottom of the cliffs having chased after the goats and sheep – neither of these dogs had a history of worrying livestock so it was a shock and very upsetting for the dog owners and all involved.
‘Often, people aren’t aware how steep the cliffs are around much of the island. We are also putting up additional signs to remind visitors.
‘We would like to thank Campbeltown police for their very swift response and help in resolving the situation last week.’
Sergeant Iain MacNicol of Lochgilphead Police Station said: ‘With lambing season approaching, I would like to remind all dog owners that they have a responsibility to keep their dogs under control at all times and dogs should be kept on a close lead when anywhere near livestock.
‘It is particularly important near lambing time for owners to keep dogs well away from sheep because even just the sight of a dog in the distance can be enough to panic pregnant sheep and scare them away, causing them to abort. Ewes can easily be separated from their lambs by being scared and running off from the sight of a dog.
‘Sheep and other livestock attacks obviously impact on the animals but there is an emotional and financial impact on the farmer and any witnesses.
‘It is a criminal offence for dogs to be allowed to attack or chase livestock. It is also an offence for dogs to be at large – not on a lead or otherwise under close control – in a field in which there are sheep. Dog owners can be prosecuted and fined up to £1,000. Dog owners can also be held financially liable for damages done by a dog.
‘Livestock owners are legally entitled to protect their animals as necessary, which can result in the destruction of the dog, if necessary, to protect the lives of other animals.’