A FARMER whose sheep were attacked has applied for permission to run dog exercise fields between Port Glasgow and Kilmacolm.

Robert Ritchie of Barrangary Farm, Bishopton has already set up one dog area on land at Craigmarloch, beside Port Glasgow Road.

He didn't realise planning permission was required to change the use from agricultural land and has now applied to Inverclyde Council for consent for two dog fields at the site plus a car park with seven spaces, shelters and fencing.

Mr Ritchie has submitted a detailed statement to the council explaining the proposal.

He says: "I am a farmer who would like to see more secure areas where owners can exercise their dogs without risk to the public, other dogs or livestock.

"In 2017, I had an incident where a dog walker was exercising her dog off the leash near my sheep.

"She could not control the dog and it ended up in the field biting and attacking the pregnant ewes.

"Subsequently she was charged with the offence and appeared in court.

"She had only recently rescued the dog and knew it was unpredictable off the leash.

"In court she stated that there was nowhere for her to safely exercise her dog.

"If a facility like Run Free Dog Fields had been available to her, then the incident might have been prevented and a lot of anguish saved.

"There are a lot of anti-social dogs, many of which are rescue dogs, that cannot be exercised in public because they are aggressive, reactive or have poor recall.

"These dogs represent a risk to people, especially children, other dogs and livestock."

Mr Ritchie says he has already received such positive feedback.

He added: "Run Free Dog Fields provide an exercise facility that is greatly needed by dog owners.

"Run Free has received lots of positive reviews and no negative feedback.

"The ability to exercise a dog without any worry has been described as 'life changing' by some owners of reactive dogs.

"In using the secure dog fields, owners of dogs with behavioural issues will be able to keep their dogs away from the public."

The application is now being considered by planning officials.