Dog owner es­capes a fine af­ter sheep wor­ry­ing hor­ror

Argyllshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE -

The law is in the spot­light af­ter a man whose dogs killed and in­jured sheep in two hor­rific In­ver­aray at­tacks was sen­tenced to carry out com­mu­nity ser­vice.

Farm­ing union NFU Scot­land ex­pressed frus­tra­tion as it seeks harsher penal­ties for those who let their dogs at­tack live­stock.

On March 4 this year 56-year-old Ni­cholas Row­ley, of East Princes Street, Rothe­say, al­lowed four dogs he had re­spon­si­bil­ity for to se­ri­ously in­jure and kill a to­tal of 17 sheep on farm­land near In­ver­aray.

The to­tal dam­ages of the at­tacks are es­ti­mated at £4,100. The in­juries in­flicted on the sheep dur­ing the at­tack were so se­vere that pho­to­graphs taken after­wards were deemed un­suit­able for pub­li­ca­tion.

Row­ley pre­vi­ously pleaded guilty to this of­fence at the Lochgilp­head an­nex of Dunoon Sher­iff Court un­der the Dogs (Pro­tec­tion of Live­stock) Act 1953, Sec­tion 1 (1) and (6).

On Tues­day Septem­ber 11, Sher­iff Thomas Ward sen­tenced Row­ley, for­merly of Lochgilp­head, to an 80-hour com­mu­nity pay­back or­der, to be com­pleted within three months.

Sher­iff Thomas Ward told the Lochgilp­head court he ac­knowl­edged that Row­ley was in no po­si­tion to pay ei­ther a fine and/or any com­pen­sa­tion to the af­fected farmer.

Mr Ward ex­pressed frus­tra­tion that un­der the cur­rent leg­is­la­tion he was un­able to im­pose a prison sen­tence, nor could he dis­qual­ify Mr Row­ley from keep­ing dogs.

The owner of the sheep, Brian Walker of Car­loo­nan Farm, was dis­ap­pointed – but not sur­prised.

‘This in­ci­dent was par­tic­u­larly stress­ful,’ said Mr Walker. ‘Although we took a heavy fi­nan­cial loss, this has not been my fo­cus.

‘These ewe hoggs would have been used on the farm for breed­ing for years to come.

‘We have done ev­ery­thing by the book since this hap­pened to en­sure it was fairly and prop­erly put through the jus­tice sys­tem. How­ever, even with do­ing this we have been let down by an­ti­quated leg­is­la­tion.

‘The lo­cal po­lice and dog war­den have been fan­tas­tic through­out this, and I re­ally thank them for the time, ef­fort and sup­port they’ve given.

‘Un­for­tu­nately, once these dogs have a taste for it, they are likely to at­tack again, and I fear the next time it may not be an an­i­mal, but some­one’s child.’

An­drew McCor­nick, NFU Scot­land pres­i­dent added: ‘Live­stock wor­ry­ing con­tin­ues to be a blight on Scot­tish agri­cul­ture, and greater sanc­tions and fur­ther pub­lic aware­ness are needed so dog own­ers are fully aware of their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to keep their an­i­mals un­der con­trol.

‘De­spite the dogs in this case be­ing sub­ject to a Dog Con­trol No­tice, the in­di­vid­ual re­mains with four of his dogs in his care – this is a real worry for lo­cal farm­ers.’

Lochgilp­head-based Po­lice In­spec­tor Julie McLeish said: ‘This was a par­tic­u­larly dis­tress­ing in­ci­dent for ev­ery­one in­volved and it is dis­ap­point­ing that de­spite the high-pro­file cam­paign, live­stock wor­ry­ing still oc­curs.’

A late change in venue for the grand fi­nale did noth­ing to dampen the en­thu­si­asm of Tar­bert fes­ti­val-go­ers.

Rain loomed large in the weather fore­casts, so or­gan­is­ers made the de­ci­sion to move the Tar­bert Mu­sic Fes­ti­val Sun­day con­cert on the quay to the drier sur­round­ings of the vil­lage hall. With the build­ing still fill­ing with peo­ple, Tre­ble Trou­ble got the au­di­ence warmed up with a crack­ing set of cov­ers, be­fore up-and-com­ing Ar­gyll trad star­lets Rhu­vaal re­ally got the party started.

The hall was jump­ing by the time Dunoon band Soap and Red Pine Tim­ber Com­pany from Perth came on stage.

Around 15 bands per­formed over the fes­ti­val, held be­tween Septem­ber 14 to 16, as pubs and ho­tels pro­vided in­ti­mate venues for gigs around the vil­lage.

Re­cently-formed Loch Fyne Pipe Band en­ter­tained on the Sun­day evening, while Sat­ur­day night saw cham­pion of cham­pi­ons Mid Ar­gyll Pipe Band per­form a stir­ring set on the har­bour.

Then there were the ‘fringe’ events’. A well-at­tended cof­fee morn­ing in the Tem­plars Hall, com­plete with de­li­cious home bak­ing, raf­fle and bot­tle stall, raised more than £700 for Tar­bert Mu­sic Fes­ti­val.

Across the har­bour to the pon­toons, the mar­quee was packed with ex­hibitors from across Ar­gyll for a craft fair.

Vis­i­tors trav­elled from near and far to en­joy the Tar­bert craic – and they were not dis­ap­pointed.

Tar­bert was the place to be crack­ing mu­sic and great fun at the week­end for the an­nual mu­sic fes­ti­val. As usual, fundraiser ex­traor­di­naire Mar­garet Hen­der­son, pic­tured with friends, was at the cen­tre of things. Don’t miss our photo fea­ture

06_a38Tar­bMusFest03_FyneFu­sion

Fan­tas­tic fun from Fyne Fu­sion in the Is­lay Fri­gate.

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