NFU Mutual are warning those visiting the local area to keep their pets under control after a recent spate of livestock worrying.

Although there has been a fall in reported incidents of livestock worrying to Police Scotland last year, a spate of attacks in 2021 has sparked concern, particularly as a new survey of dog owners commissioned by NFU revealed that 64 per cent of dog owners are letting their pets roam free in the countryside.

On January 24, officers in South Ayrshire were appealing for witnesses in relation to a sheep worrying incident which took place at Auchincruive Estate in Ayr and involved a number of dog-walkers.

Mark McBrearty, Regional Manager for Scotland at NFU Mutual, said: “With more people walking in the countryside as COVID restrictions continue and an increase in dog ownership, we have seen many more brutal attacks resulting in large numbers of sheep being killed and a trail of horrific injuries.

“It’s a critical time in the farming calendar and there is widespread concern as we enter the peak lambing season, that there will be a surge in new visitors who are simply unaware of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code or how their dog will behave around farm animals.

“We want people to enjoy the countryside as it’s so important for people’s wellbeing. It’s vital that dog owners act responsibly and keep dogs on a lead and under control whenever there is a possibility livestock are nearby.”

Report attacks by dogs and sightings of dogs roaming the countryside to the police or local farmers.

Anyone with information last month’s incident should contact 101 and quote incident number 2365 of 24/01/2021