Dogs and rural crime

Find out how to prevent dog attacks on livestock.

The Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime (SPARC), led by Police Scotland, has provided further guidance to help prevent dog attacks on livestock.


Help prevent rural crime and protect your own and your neighbours’ livelihoods by reporting anything unusual or suspicious you see in the countryside.

  • Police Scotland recognises the impact of sheep worrying (and the worrying of other livestock) on the animals as well as the emotional and financial impact this can have on the farmer and any witnesses
  • Police Scotland encourage farmers and members of the public to report sheep worrying incidents and "near misses"

You should report:

  • any stray dog out on its own
  • a neighbour who lets their dog out to roam on its own
  • a dog you know that escapes from its owners garden
  • a dog worrying or attacking sheep

All of the above indicate a dog that isn’t being properly looked after. A roaming dog could get injured if out on its own or cause an accident if it’s crossing roads with traffic. If a dog is not under proper control it can be a danger to livestock. It is a dog’s natural instinct to chase and livestock worrying attacks often result in serious or fatal injuries to sheep. In some circumstances the farmer can kill the dog to stop it attacking the sheep.

  • Contact your local authority Dog Warden or equivalent member of staff to report a straying dog
  • If you witness a dog attack on sheep call 101 for non-emergencies, in an emergency call 999. You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.
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