A farmer has spoken of the “lasting damage” caused by a dog attack that killed one of his family’s sheep and injured several others.
Dog drove sheep into the sea and drowned it
The incident happened on October 26, when a tourist was walking along the beach near Laide in the northwest Highlands with a large German Shepherd-type dog. The dog was not on a leash, despite the owner having one in his hand. The dog chased a group of ewes that were grazing on a hill that runs down to the shore. The dog drove one sheep across jagged rocks and into the sea, where it repeatedly pounced on it and held it down under the water. The sheep suffered severe injuries and drowned.
Farmer rushed to the scene after receiving a call from his mother
The farmer, Andrew Ross, told The National that he rushed to his parent’s farm after receiving a phone call from his mother. He said that he found several other sheep that had injured themselves on the sharp rocks while running away from the dog. He said that the flock was only 50 sheep, so losing one was a significant loss. He also said that the sheep that died was in her first year and had not even lambed yet. He added that the other sheep looked “traumatised” and that stress could affect their ability to breed.
New legislation to punish irresponsible dog owners
Ross said that more awareness was needed to make sure that dog owners exercise responsibility around livestock. He said that the dog’s behaviour was not its fault, but the owner’s. He also said that the dog could have easily been shot by the farmer. He pointed out that the Scottish Government had brought in legislation in 2021 that allows pet owners to be charged up to £40,000 or face a prison sentence of up to a year if their dog is found to have attacked livestock.
Dog attacks on livestock are a serious problem in Scotland
According to the National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS), dog attacks on livestock are a serious problem in Scotland. The NFUS said that there were 179 incidents of dog attacks on livestock reported to them in 2020, resulting in 242 sheep and 18 cattle being killed and 165 sheep and 10 cattle being injured. The NFUS also said that these figures were likely to be an underestimate, as many cases go unreported. The NFUS urged dog owners to keep their dogs on a leash and under control when near livestock, and to report any incidents to the police and the farmer.
What will happen to the dog and its owner?
The farmer said that he had reported the incident to the police and that they were investigating the matter. He said that he did not know what would happen to the dog and its owner, but he hoped that they would face justice. He said that he wanted to prevent such incidents from happening again, and that he hoped that other dog owners would learn from this tragedy.