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Lothians and Borders Initiative Targets Irresponsible Local Dog Owners

Initiative stems from Union’s Control Your Dog on Farmland campaign

With collaboration across the agricultural industry increasing to tackle the blight of livestock worrying by dogs, NFU Scotland’s Lothians and Borders region has teamed up with local police to launch a local initiative.

On the back of the Union’s Control Your Dog on Farmland campaign, launched in early February, regional initiatives are being set up to support the campaign.

At Flotterston, Penicuik at the bottom of the Pentland Hills, on Saturday 30 March, Lothians and Borders Regional Manager Lindsay Brown met with Police Scotland to launch the local initiative. The team spoke to local dog walkers, encouraging them to keep their dogs on a lead on farmland and pick up after their pets.

Further local events are planned across the region in the coming months to educate dog walkers about their responsibilities when walking on or near farmland, as well as distribute publicity material available to local businesses and farms to raise awareness of the national campaign.

The key messages 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.                    


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.

Regional Manager Lindsay Brown 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.

“With many farms and fields being nearby to public areas, particularly in Lothians and Borders, it is even more important that dog owners ensure their pets are kept on a lead around farmland, and that they pick up after their pets.

“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.”

Notes to Editors

  • Photographs from the launch in at Flotterson, Penicuik, are available, as well as campaign posters and flyers, email media@nfus.org.uk.
  • Interviews with local farmers who have been affected by these issues are available, email media@nfus.org.uk for further information.
  • To find out more about the Control Your Dog on Farmland, including accessing posters to print off, visit www.nfus.org.uk/campaigns
  • If you are covering this story on social media, please use the hashtag #ControlYourDog and tag @nfustweets on Twitter or NFU Scotland on Facebook if appropriate.


Ends

Contact Ruth McClean on 0131 472 4108

Author: Ruth McClean

Date Published:

News Article No.: 44-19


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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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