The Scottish SPCA (SSPCA) has urged the public to keep dogs under control on walks following a rise in attacks on wildlife and livestock.
The animal welfare charity is concerned an increasing amount of wildlife is being harmed by dogs during walks at the time of lockdown.
With more walkers using rural routes during the pandemic, inspectors have reported a rise in reports of wildlife being fatally injured by dogs.
SSPCA animal rescue officer, Amy Stirton, said: “Pandemic or not, people should not let their dog off-lead if they cannot control them.
“I have now attended two deer in as many weeks which have been brought down by dogs. These deer often get away, but not before sustaining fatal injuries. This means we have to then try to find them so we can put them to sleep and prevent further suffering.”
She added: “Sometimes the deer end up in hard to reach places, meaning I need to call on another rescue officer or inspector to help me.
“This uses up vital resources at a time when we are already stretched to our limit by this pandemic.”
She also warned that there was a rise in reports of fox cubs being injured by dogs in parks.
The charity’s #WildlifeWise campaign highlights the costs and resources involved in hand-rearing a fox cub and the stress it can cause to a vixen to find babies missing.
Because of this, the SSPCA has renewed its call for dogs to be kept on a lead at all times.
Stirton added: “We’d also like to remind the public that at this time if their dog runs off and becomes lost, then nobody will be able to come out and search for it.
“Dog warden services are suspended due to coronavirus and we do not have the resources to search for missing animals.”