DOG owners in Fife have been given a police warning to keep their animals under strict control following a spate of sheep-worrying incidents across the county since the start of the year.

Between January 27 and 28, three sheep were attacked and killed at a field near Leslie, before a further sheep was badly injured within a field near Leven between February 24 and 25. The injured animal had to be put down.

Police officers in Cardenden then received a report of five sheep having been seriously wounded at a farm near Cardenden between March 6 and 7. During this incident, two were killed instantly and three more had to be put down by a local vet as a result of the injuries they sustained.

Dog owners are being urged to keep pets on a lead when around other animals and to always be aware of cattle and livestock when in rural settings. In addition, dogs should only be walked by someone who is able to control the animal and who can reward good behaviour, while correcting bad or dangerous behaviour.

Crime prevention officer PC Fraser Laird said: "Throughout the Fife area we have seen a number of incidents already this year of dogs being dangerously out of control. We are appealing to dog owners to ensure proper control of their dogs.

"Legislative changes recently introduced mean that dog owners may now be prosecuted even when the dog is within its own home and it is important that this is borne in mind. Offences relating to dogs are taken very seriously and I would warn dog owners to adhere to our advice or face a visit from us."