Dog Owners Encouraged to 'Take the Pledge'

Control Your Dog on Farmland campaign continues to tackle blight of livestock worrying

Dog owners across Scotland are being encouraged by NFU Scotland to ‘take the pledge’ to be responsible when walking their pets on farmland.

This week, as thousands of people descend on the Royal Highland Show at Ingliston, Edinburgh, the Union will be engaging with as many pet owners as possible, handing out free poo bags and posters. As part of this, the Union will be asking people to sign a pledge board and publicise on social media that they have committed to being responsible when walking on farmland as part of its popular 12-month Control Your Dog on Farmland campaign.

In addition to this, there will be the chance to take a selfie with our Ambassa-dog, with a competition to win prizes throughout the four days.
The key messages of the campaign, which has seen various local initiatives and wide-spread support, are aimed at farmers and dog owners and include:

  1. Be informed – know your responsibilities under the Code
  2. Plan ahead – know your route, ensure you have poo bags and a lead
  3. Control your pet - keep dogs on a lead around livestock. Know the steps to take if things don’t go to plan – cattle charging, dog escapes?
  4. Don’t leave it hanging - picking up your dog’s poo is not enough, take it with you and put it in a bin, even if on the fringes of farmland. Do not just ‘flick it’ into the bushes.    
By taking the pledge, signatories will be committing to following these key messages and obligations when walking on farmland.

In early December, NFU Scotland surveyed farmers, crofters and landowners about the issues they have with irresponsible access, either through livestock worrying by dogs, or the impacts of owners failing to pick up after their pets on or near farmland.
The survey had more than 340 responses, which showed that:
  • 72 per cent of respondents had an issue with livestock worrying on their land
  • 100 per cent of survey respondents said they have an issue with dog fouling on their land – this included plastic bag pollution as well as instances where livestock have contracted diseases from eating dog poo and plastic bags.
NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick commented: “Many people underestimate the damage dogs can do – whether that is attacking livestock when being off a lead or causing them to contract dangerous diseases through their poo – we need dog owners to take responsibility for controlling their dogs.

“By taking the pledge, dog owners can show their support to our campaign and help us spread the word about taking responsibility to control their dog when walking on farmland – whether they live, work or visit the countryside throughout the year.

“Attacks on livestock are happening all too often and we need the support of local dog owners to help prevent this. You think your dog is ‘just playing’ with the sheep but that could change in an instant and you will have no way to stop the dog when it starts to attack.

“Please come by NFU Scotland’s stand 169 at Avenue 7, opposite the main ring, at the Royal Highland Show to sign the board and promote this on social media. By taking this pledge you can help us to reduce the blight that irresponsible dog owners are having on Scotland’s countryside.” Ends

Notes to Editors
  • Photographs from those taking the pledge will be available from
  • To find out more about the Control Your Dog on Farmland campaign, including accessing posters to print off, visit
  • If covering this story on social media, use the hashtag #ControlYourDog and tag @nfustweets on Twitter or NFU Scotland on Facebook if appropriate.

Contact Ruth McClean on 0131 472 4108.

Author: Ruth McClean

Date Published:

News Article No.: 85/19

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About The Author

Ruth McClean

Having worked in the communications and journalism industry for the last 11 years, NFU Scotland’s Communications Manager Ruth McClean understands the needs of journalists and has extensive knowledge of the wider agricultural industry. After growing up in Argyll and Bute and working in the area as a reporter for local newspapers for eight years, Ruth joined NFU Scotland in 2013 in her current role. She is also Editor of the Union’s membership magazine the Scottish Farming Leader.

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