asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether, in view of the large number of cases of sheep-worrying by dogs, he will consider increasing the penalties for infringements of the law.
The suggestion that the penalties for infringements of the law in these cases might be increased has already been considered, along with various other suggestions as to measures that might be taken to reduce the incidence of sheep-worrying by dogs. The penalties that may be imposed are already substantial and I do not consider that merely to increase them would have the effect desired by the hon. Gentleman.
Is the Minister aware that last year in Inverness-shire alone 132 sheep were killed and 53 injured by dogs, and does he not think that something urgent ought to be done to prevent these severe depredations?
I shall be very anxious to look at any practical consideration, but I do not think that an increase of the maximum penalty would achieve the purpose desired.
Has the right hon. Gentleman conferred with the Home Secretary in this matter, in view of the fact that English Members have complained that this matter is becoming a national scandal of the greatest magnitude?
I know the interest on the benches opposite in this subject, and my right hon. Friend and I have had consultations.