POLICE are urging dog owners to keep their pets under control during lambing season after the death of a number of ewes in the Cumnock area.

PC Hanford-Bennett, Preventions and Interventions Officer for East Ayrshire said: "At this time of year sheep are grazing in fields and they can be expectant mothers.

"The presence of a dog running off the lead can cause them to abort their pregnancy or go into early labour which can cause devastating effects.

"A dog attacking or chasing sheep can lead to significant injury and often unfortunately lead to the sheep being killed or destroyed.

"Such attacks have a financial and emotional impact on the farmer and cause immense suffering to the animals."

Police are asking dog owners to follow the rules of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code which advises dogs should not be taken into fields where there are lambs, calves or other young farm animals.

PC Hannaford-Bennett added: "We treat all reports of livestock worrying seriously and all reported cases of sheep worrying are thoroughly investigated and offenders reported to the Procurator Fiscal."