WALKERS are being warned to stay off private land around the Hunterston Estate following a dog attack that saw a farm animal lose its life.

A lamb was killed and another injured as a result of the incident that saw a Largs woman charged with failing to keep her dog under control.

One man said he was unsurprised by the incident after claiming people are trespassing in the area at will.

They added: “Almost hourly we have trespassers walking across the private Hunterston land.

“That particular incident happened along the public walkway, but there are dog walkers who roam the private areas with their pets off their lead - and they don't clean up after them either.

“Walkers have been approached on many occasions but all we get is a mouthful of abuse. Notices have been posted on the gateposts, but they get torn down or they simply walk past them.”

The anonymous local says residents at the estate are considering legal action to keep trespassers away.

They added: “There is Hunterston House, where the family live and five cottages along the main walkway. The public are not allowed along that path or on any part of the private land.

“It will get to the point where the family will have no option but to attain a court order to prosecute anyone who trespasses in the future.

“Everyone here at Hunterston is still traumatised after the attack. When you live rurally you get very close to the animals.

“There are cattle, sheep, deer, pheasants and many varieties of wild birds, so people need to adhere to the notices as they are there for a reason.”

Councillor Todd Ferguson, who represents West Kilbride, says the animal's death showed the serious consequences of people being irresponsible.

He said: “The recent dog attack on livestock at the Hunterston Estate is a sad reminder of the danger of having no control over your dog.

“The message is clear that you should keep it on a lead when around livestock. It is not a hard message to follow.

“It is important to remember that you are walking on someone else’s land, and the irresponsible behaviour of some leads to a financial and emotional cost to our farmers.

“In years gone by dogs running near livestock would have been shot on sight. Thankfully our farmers are more restrained these days.”

Cllr Ferguson, a dog owner himself, is urging residents to keep their animals under control moving forward.

He said: “I echo the views of farmers and the community by reiterating the message to keep dog on leads when walking in farmland areas.

“I own a Rottweiler myself and no matter how much I think I may be in control of her, I always have her on a lead around livestock.

“I urge people to do the right thing and keep their pet under control when out and about.

“The Scottish Outdoor Access Code reminds us that in certain circumstances farmers may exercise their rights by shooting dogs in order to protect their livestock. We do not want it coming to that.”