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WATCH: Heartfelt plea from Ross-shire crofter after dog attack results in distressing death of sheep in Laide

By Hector MacKenzie

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The sheep suffered horrific injuries.
The sheep suffered horrific injuries.

THE distressing attack by an unleashed dog that resulted in the death of a Ross-shire crofter's sheep was caught on camera by a passer-by.

The upsetting incident on land clearly marked with signs warning of livestock has prompted a heartfelt appeal to dog owners to keep their pets on a leash amid a rise in concern over sheep-worrying.

Andrew Ross (30), who is based in Muir of Ord, was alerted by a relative over the incident which it is understood is now being investigated by the police.

He said it happened at Laide in Wester Ross where his ewes are on common grazing land which runs down to the shore. He said a group of gimmers – a ewe between one and two years old – had stayed close to the beach and that "despite signs on all the gates that livestock are present here a tourist was walking along the beach with a large German Shepherd type dog way ahead of him not on a lead, despite having one in his hand".

He says the dog drove one sheep across jagged rocks and into the sea, killing it by pouncing on it and holding it down under the water, "causing terrible injuries in the process".

He said: "When the owner eventually caught up with the dog it was far too late. Other ewes were also chased so the lasting damage is yet to be known, as they're all just about to go to the rams, so fertility may have been affected and cause us more problems further down the line. This young gimmer was only at the start of her life.

The sheep suffered horrific injuries.
The sheep suffered horrific injuries.

"The police were contacted and are dealing with this. I'm so fortunate that the whole attack was caught on camera so charges will be forthcoming."

Mr Ross stressed: "Unfortunately this isn't the dog's fault; the fault and responsibility lies firmly with the owner."

Retsaing his plea to people to keep dogs on leads, particularly around livestock, he said: " I've spoken with a friend since who's also been plagued by dog worrying incidents, one pre-lambing last year in a field of twins, dog chasing sheep and the owner nowhere to be seen. He then saw a lot of cases of abortions and underdeveloped lambs due to the increased stress caused by the incident while the ewes were heavily pregnant. He's also had problems with dog walkers in fields of cows and calves. It's not the first time it's happened to me at home. Also a tourist in the area on holiday that has the attitude of 'my dog wouldn't do that, they don't chase sheep'. There's been a huge increase in irresponsible dog owners in the countryside of late. It's not the dog's fault, it's the owner's responsibility."

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Warning: distressing footage captured by a passer-by shows the reported attack on the sheep taken from a distance.

Police have been contacted for comment.

They have clear warnings on sheep-worrying

Police Scotland advice on the issue states: "Whilst many owners are unaware of the impact their dogs are having on livestock, it is their responsibility to ensure attacks and worrying don't happen. They should ensure their dog doesn't disturb or attack these animals, otherwise there are consequences under the law if it does occur."

Some examples of livestock worrying include:

a dog chasing livestock in a manner that could cause injury or suffering,

the stress caused to the animal by the presence of the dog, could, in the case of female livestock, cause abortion or miscarriage,

livestock becoming desperate in their attempts to escape and injure themselves in doing so,

dogs who chase ewes or lambs may cause them to separate from their mothers, later dying of starvation or hyperthermia.

Call 999 if the crime is ongoing and animals are being injured. To report a crime which isn't ongoing call 101 or submit an online Contact Us form.

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