AN SNP MSP has put out a warning to dog owners after sharing a “devastating” image of 16 lambs killed by someone’s pet.

Police are probing the incident on Blairadam Farm, Kelty, which saw six of the young animals killed by a loose dog and a further 10 having to be euthanised due to their injuries. The attack is estimated to have cost the farmer about £7000.

Jim Fairlie, the MSP for Perthshire South and Kinross-shire, is looking to further raise awareness to prevent further repeat attacks which cause the farmers stress as well as costing time and money.

He said the Kelty dog incident was only the latest – and one other example had seen almost one hundred pregnant ewes put at risk of death from stress or injury.

Fairlie told The National: “I’m very disappointed by recent reports in my constituency of serious sheep worrying incidents. We have been raising these issues for many years now but clearly the message is not getting through.

“A sheep farmer I know well has reported 16 lambs were killed by a pet dog within the space of a few hours in between his checks on lambing sheep in his fields. This is a devastating loss of lambs, as well as severe anguish to the ewes.

“A few weeks ago there was another incident of a dog running off their leash and chasing a flock of 93 pregnant ewes. The act of uncontrollable chasing alone can make ewes abort unborn lambs or die from stress as a result.

“While folk may think their dog wouldn’t hurt anything, or that they are only playing, the reality is that this kind of action is reckless and dangerous to the lives of livestock. If it’s cows with calves that are in the fields, owners put their own lives at risk as cows will chase dogs and people have been killed as a result. This is a very serious issue that people need to understand.”

The news came as Scottish Land and Estates urged dog owners to keep their dogs on a leash when walking them near farmlands.

Simon Ovenden, policy adviser at Scottish Land and Estates, said: “Such incidents are not the dog’s fault, but that of the owner, and declaring that a dog has never acted in such a manner previously is of no importance when dealing with the aftermath of an attack on livestock.

“Dog walkers should enjoy rural Scotland but with care and caution practised at all times.”

Inspector Stephen Gray, of Police Scotland, said: “Inquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances of the incident and we are appealing to anyone with information to come forward.

“The lambing season has started and worrying can cause stress to sheep that can result in them losing their lambs, as well as injuries that can lead to their death. All of this is at considerable cost to farmers."

READ MORE: The future of Scottish farming debated ahead of new Agriculture Bill

Police are appealing for anyone with any information to come forward by calling 101 and quoting incident number 1580 of Monday April 3 2023.

Fairlie is to hold an event at his farm in his constituency to try to raise public awareness of why dogs must be kept under control when coming into contact with nearby sheep.

He said: “People might not be aware but it is a criminal offence to allow a dog to worry sheep, and dog owners under new legislation can be fined up to £40,000 and face 12 month imprisonment according to the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 2021.

“The reasons for such penalties are entirely reasonable once you know the facts of the matter.”

The SNP MSP added: “My message for people is to be mindful of their surroundings and if there's a chance they might come into contact with sheep and lambs please make sure your pet is kept under control because the reality is this causes completely unacceptable and serious harm for livestock and devastates the livelihoods of hard working farmers.”