Animal charity’s plea to dog owners

Dog owners have been warned to keep their pets under control following increased attacks on other animals.

Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 1:15 pm
The coronavirus lockdown has seen more people taking their dogs to rural areas

The Scottish SPCA recently highlighted incidents of sheep worrying and is now concerned by attacks on wildlife.

The coronavirus lockdown has seen more people taking their dogs to rural areas and Scottish SPCA inspectors are aware of animals being killed by these pets.

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 charity’s #WildlifeWise campaign is highlighting the cost and resources needed to handraise fox cubs and the stress vixens experience when discovering their young have gone missing.

Dogs should always be kept under control and it is especially important to keep them on a leash when near livestock or wildlife. The Scottish SPCA is also calling for dogs to be on a lead at all times during the pandemic.

Amy added: “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.”

Anyone who finds injured or abandoned wildlife should not attempt to move or touch it. Instead call the Scottish SPCA animal helpline on 03000 999 999.