Wor­ry­ing case sparks call for harder penal­ties

Farm­ing: Get tough on bad dog own­ers, says union

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY JAMES WYLLIE

Farm­ing chiefs are call­ing for tougher pun­ish­ments for live­stock wor­ri­ers fol­low­ing a sheep at­tack so vi­o­lent the pho­to­graphs of the af­ter­math are un­pub­lish­able.

Ear­lier this week Rothe­say res­i­dent Ni­co­las Row­ley was or­dered to carry out un­paid work af­ter al­low­ing four dogs to se­ri­ously in­jure and kill 17 farm an­i­mals near In­ver­aray in Ar­gyll.

While the in­ci­dent cost the owner around £4,100, sher­iffs are un­able to im­pose fines greater than £1,000. They are also not able to ban any­one from own­ing dogs.

Af­ter say­ing he was un­able to pay a penalty or com­pen­sa­tion, Row­ley was in­stead sen­tenced to work for 80 hours in the com­mu­nity.

Farm­ing union NFU Scot­land is now de­mand­ing that the law is changed to al­low stricter sanc­tions for peo­ple who let dogs at­tack live­stock.

Pres­i­dent An­drew McCor­nick said: “This case is a prime ex­am­ple of the im­por­tance of full and pro­por­tion­ate com­pen­sa­tion for those im­pacted by live­stock wor­ry­ing, a key ask of NFU Scot­land in any fu­ture frame­work.

“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 an­i­mals un­der con­trol.”

Last year 175 cases of wor­ry­ing were re­ported to po­lice but just 19 peo­ple were con­victed, partly due to a lack of wit­nesses as so many of the crimes take place in re­mote, ru­ral lo­ca­tions.

In May, High­land farmer Les­ley Frost-Schenk lost 12 rare prized sheep and a tame deer in what she called a “mas­sacre” on her land near the River Car­ron.

Mr McCor­nick added: “Row­ley re­mains with four of his dogs in his care. This is a real worry for lo­cal farm­ers.

“An in­abil­ity to pay a fi­nan­cial penalty should not by de­fault re­sult in a lesser sen­tence be­ing passed.

“We are dis­ap­pointed with the out­come, but we do fully ap­pre­ci­ate that, in a case like this, it is only through leg­isla­tive changes that those who are re­spon­si­ble will be held fully ac­count­able for their ac­tions.”

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