Dog owners are being urged to keep their pets under control in the countryside after sheep were killed near Portlethen.
The National Farmers Union, who made the appeal, said: “With the better weather coming in and more people getting out and about in the countryside NFU Scotland is urging dog owners and dog walkers to keep their pets under control around livestock.
“Incidents of sheep-worrying are growing with more farmers across the country seeing their livestock distressed, hurt or killed by dogs.
“At this time of year, with fields full of pregnant ewes ,or ewes with young lambs at foot, an incidence of worrying can have a devastating impact on a flock and cause severe distress to the shepherd.”
North Kincardine councillor Ian Mollison backed the appeal adding: “Portlethen Community Council heard last week that eight sheep locally had been killed by a dog or dogs between the town and Old Portlethen.
“There is a responsibility on dog owners to keep their pets under control on farmland.
‘‘We have the right to roam, however this doesn’t give us the right to trample over fields or let our dogs chase and kill sheep.
‘‘The deaths of eight sheep can be worth well over £1000.
‘‘This is thoughtless in the extreme.”
The clear and consistent message from NFU Scotland is for members of the public to be responsible, and to keep their pets under control.
One farmer commented: “Whenever dog owners come to me looking for their dog that has run off on our land, they tell me the dog won’t bite and ‘just wants to play.’
‘‘Would you put your children in a pen with lions that ‘just want to play’?
“Our plea is to keep your dog under control.
‘‘If it doesn’t come back automatically when you call, then don’t let it off the lead. We don’t want to stop people going out to enjoy the countryside; however we need to make sure that they are being responsible.
‘‘Our sheep are our livelihood and we can’t risk having them distressed, hurt or killed by dogs that have irresponsible owners.”