Walkies without worries

A sign asking people to keep off a hill during lambing.

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Farmers and crofters in Argyll are joining calls from across Scotland for dog owners to take walkies without worries.

NFU Scotland has launched a new social media campaign and website hub to promote responsible dog ownership in the countryside.

As Covid restrictions ease, farmers concerns are on the rise with fields full of heavily pregnant cows and ewes and large numbers of new-born lambs and calves.

The pandemic has seen more people than before walking in the countryside, many who are new to it and there has also been a big increase in people owning dogs in the last 12 months at a time when puppy and dog training classes have been unavailable.

As part of the new Walkies Without Worries campaign, the public is being urged to take heed of a number of messages including keeping dogs on a lead around sheep, choose alternative routes rather than go through fields of calves and lambs, pick up dog poo and get rid of it responsibly, leave gates as they find them and don’t let dogs disturb wildlife and ground-nesting birds.

Seil farmer Seamus Anderson who supports the campaign said: ‘It doesn’t take a dog being off the lead to put livestock at risk. We are just asking that people do the right thing in not disturbing farm animals and that they show respect.’