The Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association (SGA) is seeking a change in the law to make it compulsory for dogs to be restrained in all habitats with large populations of ground-nesting birds during the breeding season from April to August.

The SGA’s chairman Alex Hogg said: “I’m arguing for legislation that would require all dogs to be kept on leads whether on farmland, in woods or by the sea, rivers and lochs.”

Mr Hogg is hoping to get the measure into the Scottish Government’s Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill, the consultation for which was launched on 15 June by

environment secretary Richard Lochhead.

According to the SGA, anecdotal evidence from members has suggested that there has been a rise in unruly dogs threatening Scotland’s birdlife. Mr Hogg has said he believes a change in legislation is required to protect all ground-nesting birds, but in particular rare species such as lapwing, plover and curlew.

Mr Hogg added: “I’ve seen roe fawns killed by dogs. It is not the dog’s fault, it is the owner’s. When the owners find out they are aghast. They do not realise that something like this could happen. I am not anti-dogs, but it is a case of trying to find a balance so that we protect birds that nest on the ground at that critical time before their young can fly.”

The rest of this article appears in 25 June issue of Shooting Times.

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