SNP MP for Gordon, Richard Thomson has welcomed a move by SNP MSP Emma Harper to introduce legislation to the Scottish Parliament to update 70-year-old laws to protect livestock from attacks from dogs.
A total of 321 livestock worrying cases were reported to Police Scotland between April 2018 and March 2019. Incidents cause extreme distress to sheep and other farm animals, many of which suffer horrific injuries and have to then be euthanised, causing great financial loss to farmers.
First created in 1953, the amendments to the Protection of Livestock Bill being presented today will give greater powers to police to investigate and enforce the law, while increasing the penalties for dog owners who allow their pets to attack or worry livestock. The amendments would also extend the protection to include llama, deer and buffalo.
Mr Thomson said: “Rising numbers of attacks on livestock by out of control dogs has been a real concern in rural Scotland for some time. It’s clear that current legislation needs brought up to speed to protect farmers and crofters, as well as to make it easier to tackle the minority of irresponsible dog owners who let their dogs chase, frighten and attack field animals.
“This is a timely initiative by my colleague Emma Harper and I hope MSPs will ensure that there is enough Parliamentary time made available for the bill to pass in the time that remains in the current Parliamentary session.”
The amendments put forward include bringing punishment in line with current animal welfare legislation by increasing the maximum imprisonment to 12 months and a maximum fine of £40,000.