Sixteen lambs have been killed and a further four were injured after a dog attack at a farm in Fife.
Six lambs were found dead on Blairadam Farm in Kelty as a result of the attack, and ten were so severely injured they had to be put down.
Officers believe that the animals were attacked by at least one dog between 10.30am and 1.30pm on Monday April 3.
The estimated value of the damage to the farmer is around £7,000.
Police are appealing to anyone who may have been in the area at the time to come forward.
The attack comes after farmers and land managers renewed their appeal for dog walkers and owners to take care around livestock in rural Scotland as lambing season is under way.
Scottish Land & Estates (SLE), which represents rural businesses, said it was crucial to minimise the risk of dog attacks when the lambing season was under way and with a spike in visitors to the countryside expected in the coming weeks.
A total of 301 incidents of livestock attacks by dogs were recorded in Scotland in 2021, with yet to be finalised statistics suggesting that number dipped, but only slightly, to 262 incidents in 2022.
This is the second lambing period since tougher legislation for livestock attacks under the new Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 2021 came into force. Dog owners could face a fine up to £40,000 or even be sent to prison – or both – for allowing their dog to attack or worry farmed animals, including alpacas and game birds.
A recent survey, carried out by NFU Scotland, of more than 1,100 dog owners found that despite 64% of owners admitting their dogs chased other animals, almost half of those (46%) believe their dog is not capable of injuring or killing livestock.
Inspector Stephen Gray said: “Enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances of the incident and we are appealing to anyone with information to come forward.
“The lambing season has started and worrying can cause stress to sheep that can result in them losing their lambs, as well as injuries that can lead to their death.
“All of this is at considerable cost to farmers.
“Dog owners could face prosecution if their dog attacks livestock so we are urging them to keep dogs on a lead when walking near livestock as well as making sure they do not run or escape into fields on their own.
“I am asking all dog owners to be considerate. Please remember that it is your dog and your responsibility to keep them under control.”
Anyone with any information, is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101, quoting incident number 1580 of Monday, April 3, 2023.