Tougher sanc­tions needed for live­stock wor­ry­ing cul­prits

Campbeltown Courier - - FARM­ING -

NFU Scot­land is seek­ing harsher penal­ties for peo­ple who let their dogs at­tack live­stock, af­ter an Ar­gyll man ap­peared be­fore the sher­iff court. Nicholas Row­ley, of East Princes Street in Rothe­say but for­merly of Lochgilp­head, al­lowed four dogs he had re­spon­si­bil­ity for to se­ri­ously in­jure and kill a to­tal of 17 sheep on farm­land near In­ver­aray on March 4 this year, leav­ing the farmer with dam­ages of around £4,100. The in­juries in­flicted on the sheep dur­ing this at­tack were so se­vere that pho­to­graphs taken after­wards were deemed un­suit­able for pub­li­ca­tion. Row­ley pre­vi­ously pled guilty un­der the Dogs (Pro­tec­tion of Live­stock) Act 1953, Sec­tion 1(1) and (6) and Sher­iff Thomas Ward sen­tenced him to an 80-hour com­mu­nity pay back or­der to be com­pleted within three months. NFU Scot­land wants tougher sanc­tions on peo­ple who let their dogs at­tack live­stock and will be send­ing a brief­ing on this court case to Emma Harper MSP to back up her ef­forts for a Pri­vate Mem­bers’ Bill on the is­sue. Dur­ing the court hear­ing, Sher­iff Thomas Ward told the court he ac­knowl­edged that Row­ley was in no po­si­tion to pay ei­ther a fine and or any com­pen­sa­tion to the af­fected farmer. He ex­pressed frus­tra­tion that un­der the cur­rent leg­is­la­tion he was un­able to im­pose a prison sen­tence, nor could he disqual­ify 56-yearold Row­ley from keep­ing dogs. The vic­tim, Brian Walker of Car­loo­nan Farm, said that the out­come of the case had been dis­ap­point­ing but he was not sur­prised. ‘This in­ci­dent was par­tic­u­larly stress­ful. Al­though we took a heavy fi­nan­cial loss, this has not been my fo­cus. The cost of the dam­age is so high as 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. ‘It is now ev­i­dent that the farm­ing com­mu­nity in Scot­land doesn’t have any pro­tec­tion from in­stances of live­stock wor­ry­ing as the sanc­tions dog own­ers face are far too le­nient to de­ter them from doing this again.’ Mr Walker paid credit to the po­lice and dog war­den for their ef­forts and sup­port and said he would be fully back­ing NFU Scot­land and Emma Harper’s ef­fort to bring the law into the 21st cen­tury. ‘For those suf­fer­ing prob­lems with dogs near or dis­turb­ing their live­stock and pos­ing a po­ten­tial threat to their live­stock con­tact your lo­cal dog war­den to seek a Dog Con­trol No­tice (DCN) to be put in place where ap­pro­pri­ate. This is the only means avail­able of be­ing able to con­trol dogs caus­ing per­sis­tent prob­lems with live­stock at the present time. ‘I believe this has stopped an­other at­tack by these dogs. 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,’ he added, An­drew McCor­nick, NFU Scot­land pres­i­dent said: ‘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 DCN, the in­di­vid­ual re­mains with four of his dogs in his care – this is a real worry for lo­cal farm­ers.’

NFUS asks for harsher penal­ties for peo­ple who let their dogs at­tack live­stock.

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