Outdoor Access

CAUTION: Some of these pictures are graphic and upsetting. It is not our intention to upset anyone and if you are of an easily offended nature it may be better not to view them. Some pictures depict the unfortunate outcome of people unintentionally allowing thier dogs to bother sheep.

Does your dog love to play and run around with livestock?
Even if your dog does not attack livestock and even if you think Rover is just playing with chasing sheep,....... this is sheep worrying.

Jacquie and Tony are members of Renfrewshire Local Access Forum, and we are working alongside each group to help bring educational awareness to the public with regards to safety and control of your dog in and around the countryside.  We have approached and are voluntarily working with Renfrewshire Council, Clyde Muirshiel Regional Parks,
The Forest Commission, RSPB Royal Society of Protection of Birds, as well as, land owners, and farmers to help bring awareness to the devastation caused to sheep/cattle (livestock) and ground-nesting birds by people unwittingly letting their dogs worry them.

There has been an increase in the number of incidents in Scotland recently due to dogs not being under the close control. On too many occasions people are losing their lives because they are walking near cattle with their dogs.  Cows will protect their calves and if they become upset or aggressive they will approach trampling all those beneath their hoves.

What to do:
We are urging dog owners and all people alike to learn
The Outdoor Access Code and enjoy your country walks in safety.  

If you must cross the field, please give livestock a wide berth.  If Cattle approach, drop the leash and calmly get yourself to a safe place.  A dog can run faster and spin on a sixpence making it easier for them to get away.   But in reality, it is better the dog is injured than a human.  Be safe, give cows a wide berth. 

Uncontrolled dogs
will scatter flocks of sheep causing abortion of lambs, when this happens the umbilical cord is still attached and as one farmer described it. The fetus is like a bag of marbles and don't forget the pain and injury to the sheep's womb. (vet fees)   Even if your dog does not touch a sheep but just runs around and plays: shock and stress is setting in and the sheep can die due to this incident hours later.  This is obviously very distressing for both the farmer (who feels the economic effects for years, for every sheep and subsequent loss of lambs thereafter) and the dog owner (who loses their family pet).

Never get close to pigs!

The farmer has the right to shoot to kill your dog if they worry their livestock. (Dogs- Protection of Livestock Act 1953. Animals(Scotland) Act 1987)

Did you know there are only 600 breeding pairs of Hen Harriers in Britian, Scotland has 450 pairs and Muirshiel Regional Park have only 12.  A dog will do what they do naturally, have you ever seen your dog sniffing through heather and small bushes and birds flying up?  Then you are not aware of the consequences to ground nesting birds.  Disturbance may result in birds failing to nest, abandoning the nest, eggs failing to hatch, chicks dying of cold or lack of food and the nest becoming vulnerable to predators. 

It is a criminal offense to disturb rare breeding birds, intentionally or not with fines up to £20,000 and imprisonment possible.


Police involvement
Court action
Financial penalty
Possibility of your dog being destroyed.

Information available to help you

Walkies leaflets
Scottish Outdoor Access Code
Keep Scotland Beautiful
Dog Owners Leaflets

Countryside Memories

Happy Hill

Community Safety Guidelines in the Countryside

Observe all signs displayed.

Please avoid all fields with livestock in them.
If you must enter, give them a wide berth. 
Keep your dog at close control (heel) or on a 2 metre leash.

Keep your dog calm at all times

There are no bad dogs.