Ayrshire rural organisations and Police Scotland have combined forces to highlight new legislation to protect livestock from dog attacks.

The Ayrshire Partnership Against Rural Crime and its partners were at Dumfries House on Sunday, April 10 to promote the new legislation which protects animals from dog attacks through a range of measures.

These include updating the livestock definition to include all other farmed animals alongside cattle and sheep; fines up to £40,000 and prison sentences for owners who let their pets worry, kill or injure farmed animals.

East Ayrshire region is very popular for dog walking and there has been an increasing numbers of farm animal attacks in the area.

The campaign will run through the lambing season, when sheep and lambs are most vulnerable to attacks and will be then run again in the autumn.

Speaking at the event, NFU Scotland Ayrshire regional manager Christine Cuthbertson said:

“We are lucky to have beautiful countryside in Ayrshire which includes the stunning Dumfries House Estate, but it is very much a working landscape.

"Easter is a time for the arrival of baby lambs and calves, and we ask that those taking access respect their own safety and that of expectant and new mums by avoiding fields with livestock and always having your dog on a lead or under very close control.

"We want people to enjoy their walks as it is so important for people’s wellbeing, but it is vital that dog owners act responsibly to keep everyone safe and well.”

Julie McLeish Inspector, Cumnock Doon Valley and Irvine Valley said:

“Attacks on livestock by dogs is an emotive issue that impacts on rural communities throughout Scotland and Ayrshire is no exception, therefore Police Scotland welcomes this new legislation which can hopefully assist in preventing, reducing and tackling such instances.

“Its introduction is timely given the increase in dog ownership experienced during Covid and the aim of the campaign is designed to educate and raise awareness amongst dog owners, whether new or experienced, that their dog is very much their responsibility.”

PC Lynn Black, National Rural and Acquisitive Crime Unit, said: ‘We have 15 local PARC’s across Scotland currently and we have encouraged them all to support this national campaign.

"Ayrshire PARC are an enthusiastic and passionate group and their engagement with members of the public and partners at events like these is to be highly commended.”