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Scottish SPCA urges public to keep dogs under control after recent attacks on wildlife

By Kirsty Brown

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The Scottish SPCA has appealed for the general public to keep their dogs under control at all times following a distressing rise in attacks on wildlife and livestock.

Scotland’s animal welfare charity recently issued a warning on sheep worrying and is now concerned wildlife is being harmed by dogs.

With more walkers using rural routes during the coronavirus pandemic, inspectors for the Society have had to deal with reports of wildlife being fatally injured by dogs.

Scottish SPCA animal rescue officer Amy Stirton said: “Pandemic or not, people should not let their dog off-lead if they cannot control them.

“I have now attended two deer in as many weeks which have been brought down by dogs.

“These deer often get away, but not before sustaining fatal injuries.

"This means we have to then try to find them so we can put them to sleep and prevent further suffering.

“Sometimes the deer end up in hard to reach places, meaning I need to call on another rescue officer or inspector to help me.

"This uses up vital resources at a time when we are already stretched to our limit by this pandemic.

“I have also attended incidents of fox cubs which have been lifted by dogs in parks.

"The owners then mistakenly take the cub home before calling us.

“We would never recommend moving an animal unless it was in immediate danger.

"If your dog has moved a fox cub, leave it where it is and phone our helpline immediately.

“We appreciate people are trying to help, however once so much time has elapsed, and as often the caller does not know exactly where the cub came from, we have to take it to our National Wildlife Rescue Centre at Fishcross to be cared for."

The Scottish SPCA’s ongoing #WildlifeWise campaign highlights the costs and resources involved in hand-rearing a fox cub and the stress it can cause to a vixen to find their baby missing.

Anyone should have their dog under control at all times and on a lead whenever they are near livestock or wildlife. During the pandemic, the Scottish SPCA’s advice is for dogs to be kept on a lead at all times.

Continuing Amy said: “We’d also like to remind the public that at this time if their dog runs off and becomes lost, then nobody will be able to come out and search for it.

“Dog warden services are suspended due to coronavirus and we do not have the resources to search for missing animals.”

If anyone comes across wildlife which is injured or abandoned, the Scottish SPCA’s advice is not to attempt to move or touch it and call the charity’s animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

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