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Partnership Tackling Livestock Worrying Launches New Banner Campaign

26 June 2019

SCOTLAND, UK - A partnership involving NFU Scotland, Police Scotland and Argyll and Bute Council continues to promote responsible dog ownership in the region in a bid to prevent further devastating attacks on livestock.

With the school holidays imminent and visitors to the area expected to increase, farmers, landowners and the local vet met with representatives from Police Scotland and Argyll & Bute Council to highlight the ‘Control Your Dog on Farmland’ campaign. The meeting was held at Nether Largie farm, Kilmartin, courtesy of Iain Malcolm, with the aim of encouraging responsible dog ownership throughout the whole year, and not just at lambing time when sheep are most vulnerable.

Councillor John Armour attended accompanied by two team leaders from the local authority and three out of the four Environmental Enforcement Officers who cover dog warden duties in the area. Police Scotland Chief Inspector, and Area Commander, Marlene Bailey also attended, along with PC Ben Rusden, who has been leading on the campaign.

The partnership launched new banners, which will be used at strategic points around Argyll to raise awareness with dog owners.

Argyll and Islands Regional Manager Lucy Sumsion: "Livestock worrying remains a blight on Scottish farmers and crofters and some of the worst incidents in recent times have been in this region.

"As a partnership, we remain on the front foot on this issue. We have developed new signage and guidance for farmers, crofters and landowners and provided advice on what to do in the event of an attack.

"We have assisted in the provision of inhouse training for Police Scotland personnel on what they need to do when investigating an attack and issued open letters to dog owners highlighting their responsibilities.

"As a Union, we are very supportive of Emma Harper MSP’s Protection of Livestock (Scotland) Bill going through the Scottish Parliament and the changes that we believe are needed – more investigative powers for the Police in order to secure evidence, increased sentencing and the ability to remove dogs from an owner when required.

"In addition, NFUS would support more widespread use of Dog Control Notices (DCNs) and the need for a national data base for people who have had a DCN issued on them.

"The launch of the new banners by the partnership builds on that momentum in promoting this serious issue for farmers and crofters in the region."

Although unable to attend, Michael Russell, MSP for Argyll and Bute, said: "Livestock attack is a serious and very damaging matter which can not only cost farmers a great deal of money but which can also result in considerable trauma and distress for livestock owners and pet owners alike.

"It is astonishing that that law covering attacks on livestock attack has not been updated in my lifetime so I am very much in favour not just of a sustained information campaign by all the key players including the NFUS, the police and the Council but also strongly support my colleague Emma Harper MSP in her bid to get modern regulations in place.

"The new law would mean that if individuals do not heed the clear warnings about what can happen, sometimes accidently, when dogs are allowed to roam without proper and firm control then there are effective remedies in place to prevent recurrence and to properly compensate those who have suffered."

Councillor Roddy McCuish, Policy Lead for Roads and Amenity Services said: "We are proud of the Argyll and Bute model, which has received wide-spread praise. The local dog warden, police officer and NFU representative work together to engage with local farmers and the public about the severity of livestock attacks.

"As a team, we are able to use our different skill sets and the legal tools available to us not just to enforce the law where required, but to encourage and develop responsible dog ownership and prevent suffering to animals and damage to businesses."

Police Scotland Area Commander, Chief Inspector Marlene Bailey added: "This continues to be an excellent example of meaningful partnership working in Argyll and Bute to address an issue that is important to the Farming Community and to Dog Owners across our area.

"The Police, NFU Scotland and Argyll and Bute Council are committed to raising awareness of the impact of livestock attacks which includes financial detriment to farmers, suffering to animals which can often include the dog involved and upset to all parties as a consequence. We are also keen to educate people regarding the legislation and penalties that can be enforced and providing practical advice on how to prevent such horrific incidents occurring in the first place."

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