Inverness Councillor Isabelle MacKenzie is calling for action from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, UHI and Highland Council to prevent a recurrence of a horrendous incident at Ashton Farm near Inverness Retail Park and the UHI Campus on the 18th of September. After running off from their owner, two out-of-control dogs savaged numerous prize pedigree sheep and lambs, causing injuries that needed urgent treatment from the Vet. Fortunately none of the sheep died from their injuries.
Mr and Mrs Munroe, who own Ashton and also rent adjacent fields from HIE for growing barley, spent many hours gathering together the sheep scattered by the attack and needing treatment. The full story is being covered by the Inverness Courier which is helping to publicise the problem of dog attacks.
The Munroe’s have appealed to Cllr MacKenzie for assistance in persuading land-owners HIE and UHI to improve the fencing on the path the dogs were being walked along. They also want to see improved signage on all footpaths adjacent to farms to remind dog-owners that they have a legal duty to keep their animals under control. It is an offence to allow your dog to chase, worry or attack livestock of any sort, and this case has resulted in the dog owner being reported to the Procurator Fiscal for possible prosecution. The courts have the power to order that dogs involved in attacks on livestock are destroyed.
Cllr MacKenzie is asking the Highland Council Dog Warden to publicise this incident and improve efforts to prevent such attacks in the future. According to the insurer NFU Mutual, as reported by the BBC News website earlier this year, dog attacks on sheep in Scotland have risen by 67% in just two years. The cost to Scottish farmers of dog attacks has quadrupled in the same period, according to NFU Mutual.
"The solution to the problem is very easy: when walking dogs anywhere near livestock, or on or near farmland that might have livestock on it, keep your dog on the lead and under control. It really is that simple."