An angry Staffin crofter has gone to the police after discovering one of his sheep badly injured in a suspected dog attack.
John Gillies found the bloodied Blackface hogg on the Sartle township's grazings near the Quiraing on Thursday afternoon (12.5).
The young sheep had been mauled around its neck and back end but was still breathing and was transported to the vet for treatment.
It comes after Calum MacInnes, of the Linicro sheep club, yesterday found its badly injured sheep on their grazings at the Quiraing, which borders Sartle. Calum and John have both reported the incidents to the police in Portree and are appealing to the public for help in identifying their owners.
John warned anybody with dogs not to be taking their animals off the lead when walking on croftland at the Quiraing or anywhere else in Staffin.
He said: "It is absolutely sickening when you find them like this. People with dogs need to keep their pets on lead all the time when at the Quiraing, even if they don't think any livestock is that close to them. I am warning them now that I would shoot any dog I see doing this. I'm going to the police after the vets to report this."
There are far stiffer penalties for dog owners allowing their animals to attack and kill animals with fines of up to £40,000 and prison sentences following the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 2021.
Visitors looking to enjoy the spectacular scenery and fresh air are warmly welcomed to Staffin but please use your common sense and respect the livestock you will encounter on foot.
People walking in Staffin’s 23 crofting townships’ hills and common grazing pastures, as well as the in-bye crofts, should be fully aware of the danger their pets can pose to livestock. There is very little public land in the community, almost all of it is part of the active crofting land. For example, even the Staffin Slipway and Staffin Beach area is part of the Garafad common grazing.
Sheep get anxious when they see dogs who are descended from wolves and are their natural predators. A sheep can’t tell whether a dog is on a lead or not, or if it is with a responsible owner. Worrying can include anything from a dog being ‘at large’, that is, being loose in a field with sheep in it, even if it’s some distance from the animals, to a dog chasing the sheep, or attacking them. Cattle are also grazing in the area and many of them also give birth in spring, the same caution is advised.
Staffin has a reputation amongst buyers at the autumn sales as a source of top quality store lambs and crofters already have to protect their stock at lambing time from predators such as crows, foxes and sea eagles so they can ensure a financial return later in the year for their efforts. They do not need the additional concern of pet dogs causing problems, please respect that.