Many of us love our dogs but keeping them under control when out walking is vital.
A Bill going through the Scottish Parliament if passed would see increased penalties for dog-owners whose pets chase, attack or kill farmed animals. The Bill which was introduced by Emma Harper MSP, SNP, who lives in a rural constituency suggests a £5,000 fine and/or 6 months imprisonment for the owner of any dog found to have done this. There would also be increased powers to the police to ensure enforcement. The maximum fine at the moment is up to £1,000.
Link: Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill
A committee of the Scottish Parliament is now seeking the views of the public on what is proposed in this Bill.
Committee Convener, Edward Mountain MSP, said:
“Dog attacks cause suffering to farm animals, resulting in distress and significant financial cost to farmers.
“Emma Harper believes the current law in relation to livestock worrying is out of date and that tougher enforcement powers and penalties are needed to act as a deterrent.
“The purpose of the committee’s call for evidence is to understand the need for further legislation in this area and to seek views on whether the additional powers and increased punishments proposed are sufficient and proportionate.”
The closing date for sending in your views is Friday 28 August 2020.
You can access the consultation here Link: Call for Evidence
Click on this if you wish to download information about the Bill: Explanatory Notes Dogs Protection of Livestock Amendment Scotland Bill
Livestock-worrying is only part of the problems which basically result from the Scottish Access Code. The Code certainly needs overhaul and more scrutiny. Long have farmers been burdened with the negative effects of people accessing their ground, something unthinkable the other way round. Just imagine, a farmer ands his livestock were to enter private land (a garden, a park estate), to trample plants, defecate in the bushes, leave rubbish and litter behind and gates open…
The public’s need and vested interest in recreational access to greenspaces does end where it constitutes not only a nuisance but also a danger. In these days of a pandemic, the Access Code should termporaily be suspended, insofar that grasslands (for fodder or grazing) cannot be accessed by the public whether with or without their dogs. We do not yet know enough about the virus, studies whether it could affect cattle and other livestock are underway but not many results have been published yet. Some scientists do not rule it out that the virus could well be transmitted between different host species. It seems to have happened in Dutch mink farms, in both directions. And since it is still not clear what interim host the virus has used before its jump to humans, we should err on the side of caution and exclude any risk of potentially viable material ending up uncontrolled in the environment where it could pose a danger to livestock or wildlife.