Concern about livestock is a major problem for farmers in the frontier

Her appeal comes after a suspected dog attack killed 14 sheep on a farm near Jedburgh at the start of March.

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Ms. Hamilton said that while she wants to see as many people as possible enjoying the Borders Crossing, dog walkers must do so responsibly, especially at this pivotal time.

She added that concern about livestock and dog attacks was a major problem for farmers across the border, but by following the Outdoor Access Act in Scotland, avoiding fields with livestock, following signs and keeping dogs on leads, this problem could be avoided.

Dog owners could face a fine of up to £40,000 or even be sent to prison – or both – for allowing their dogs to disturb or attack farmed animals, including game birds.

Ms Hamilton said: “As the longer days and warmer weather allow us more time to enjoy the outdoors in the spring, it is absolutely right that we do all we can to get outside and enjoy the benefits of exercise and fresh air.

“As a dog owner, I love nothing more than to see my dogs happy and healthy, strolling along our wonderful country trails. However, to help keep our farmers’ livestock safe, it is imperative that this be done responsibly, particularly during the spring gestation period .

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“I was saddened to hear of a suspected dog attack near Jedburgh earlier this month. There are huge economic and animal welfare implications to situations like this, and my thoughts are with those who work on that farm as they recover from it.

“The countryside is still a working environment and we have to keep that in mind at all times of the year.

“Simple steps such as following the Outdoor Access Act in Scotland, avoiding fields with livestock, following signs and keeping dogs on leads while outside can help us prevent situations like this from happening.

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