Dog owner escapes a fine after sheep worrying horror
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
Fantastic fun from Fyne Fusion in the Islay Frigate.