The next two months are vital to every farmer with sheep however dogs allowed to roam free near their livestock can cause a lot of trouble.
Lambing season is just round the corner and farmers have enough to worry about without dogs chasing, scaring and even biting their animals.
Jamie Smart (52) a farmer in Linlithgow and a member of the National Union of Farmers Scotland explained the consequences of sheep worrying.
He said: “Sheep can suffer abortions, abandon their lambs and even the stress of a dog chasing them can cause them to never become pregnant again or in some cases die.”
However Jamie stressed it is not the dogs fault and the blame lies squarely at the feet of the owner. He said: “Dogs are always one thought from becoming a wolf; one thought from forgetting their training and obedience. “Chasing sheep is natural for a dog so owners must take care when near the animals.”
The solution to the problem is simple, keep your dog on a leash until it is safe to let it off. By keeping your dog under control it stops a situation leading to the worst possible outcome.
Jamie said: “A farmer does have the legal right to shoot a dog if it poses a threat to sheep on his property. This is always a farmers last resort but they can shoot the dog and the owner could face a fine.”
Jamie believes people are simply unaware of the true impact sheep worrying has on animals and farmers and is hoping to spread the message.
He said: “The more people know the less it will happen.”