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Dogs kill record number of lambs


DOGS HAVE killed a record number of Lambs in the Midlothian Pentland Hills leading to Park Rangers being put on high alert to prevent any further maulings by uncontrolled dogs.
There have been more attacks on sheep by dogs in the area in 2008 than in any previous year. More patrols have been drafted in after a spate of lamb killings and attacks on pregnant ewes last weekend.

There have been reports of six cases this year where sheep and lambs have been killed or have had to be put down as a result of dog attacks. There have also been regular reports of dogs chasing sheep which in some cases have caused the death of unborn lambs.

It is thought that there may be more cases which have simply gone unreported by the farmers involved. Under the 1953 Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act, it is an offence for dogs to attack, chase or worry any livestock at any time of the year.

Farmers are allowed to shoot a dog caught worrying sheep. One dog has been shot this year and at the weekend there were three separate incidents of sheep being attacked and lambs being killed.

Alastair Paisley, vice chairman of the Pentland Hills Regional Park committee, said: ‘We have seen a worrying number of dog attacks on lambs this year - much more than in previous years and we want to put a stop to it.’

He added: ‘The park signs are clear but when they are ignored there is a real risk of lambs being killed. Nobody wants to see any more horrific attacks on sheep so we're urging all dog owners to keep their pets on a lead.’

Local farmer Graham Hamilton, whose sheep were attacked at the weekend, said: ‘This lambing season has been the worst for many years, with dog owners ignoring signs and allowing their pets to run free in areas where sheep and lambs are grazing. We've had some horrendous attacks this year and the industry can't take much more.’

The Park Rangers are on high alert at the moment and will be reporting cases of dogs running free to the police.