Scotland expected to pass new livestock worrying bill

The Scottish bill increases the penalties for the offence of livestock worrying
The Scottish bill increases the penalties for the offence of livestock worrying

The imminent passage of Scottish legislation to deal with dog attacks on livestock has been welcomed by rural groups in the country.

Farming organisations have thrown their weight behind the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill.

The members’ bill, brought forward by Emma Harper MSP, increases the penalties for livestock worrying to a fine of £40,000, 12 months’ imprisonment, or both.

The bill also extends the definition of livestock to include modern types of farmed animals, such as alpacas, llamas and buffalo.

The piece of legislation will be debated for the final time by the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 24 March.

If passed, as expected, the bill will modernise and strengthen legislation regarding attacks on livestock.

Farmers say the attacks have traumatic consequences for not only the animals involved, but those who must deal with the aftermath.

The bill follows extensive awareness and education campaigns by police, government and countryside organisations.

Rural business group Scottish Land & Estates (SLE) said the time had come for tougher penalties on irresponsible dog owners who put livestock at risk.

Jason Rust, the group's legal adviser said: “Current legislation does not adequately protect farmers and their livestock.

“We have been pleased to offer Emma Harper MSP our full support in bringing this bill forward.

“Rural organisations alongside government and police will continue to raise awareness to ensure dogs are kept on a short leash when around livestock."