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Crime in Moray: Dufftown gamekeeper banned from owning working dogs after 14 neglected animals were found in SSPCA raid

By Abbie Duncan

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A MORAY man has been banned from keeping working dogs for three years, after 14 working dogs were seized from his property.

Elgin Sheriff Court and Justice of the Peace Court on the High Street, Elgin. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Elgin Sheriff Court and Justice of the Peace Court on the High Street, Elgin. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

Elgin Sheriff Court heard that the SSPCA had been notified of concerns about the dogs in August 2022 and investigated the property of David Scott (34) in Bridgehaugh, near Dufftown where they found the animals in distressing conditions.

Fiscal Depute Karen Poke said the dogs could be seen in kennels made of concrete which was very wet with no dry areas to lie down, the SSPCA officers also noted that there was an "abundant" amount of urine and faeces in the property.

Officers also noted that the water sources provided to the dogs were dirty and that there was no evidence of dog food throughout the property, but a large barrel containing rotten meat and fish was found nearby, which suggested that this was what the dogs were eating.

Four of the dogs were also discovered to have an untreated ear mite infection, which the SSPCA believed they had been suffering from for approximately six weeks.

She added that although it is accepted that working dogs are not afforded the same conditions as pets, the welfare needs of the 14 animals were not met to prevent suffering and disease and that the way the dogs were kept was "totally and completely unacceptable."

Scott admitted to a charge of failing to provide a comfortable and clean environment or a suitable diet for 14 dogs between July 27 and September 7 of last year.

In addition, he also plead guilty to a second charge relating to the same dates, which stated that he failed to get veterinary treatment for four of the dogs who were suffering from an ear mite infection.

Defence Solicitor Paul Anderson explained that prior to the SSPCA raid Scott had experienced several family bereavements which had led to the neglect of the dogs and that vet reports showed the animals had previously received medical treatment. He said: "This has been the result of pretty traumatic circumstances. He recognises the treatment of the dogs was simply unacceptable. He has owned dogs all his life."

Although the SSPCA had recommended Scott was disqualified from owning or keeping animals for three years, Sheriff Robert McDonald fined Scott £1275 and he was banned from keeping more than two dogs at the same time, allowing him to keep his two family dogs.

Mr McDonald added: "I appreciate that a variety of personal circumstances led to this, but the animals don't care and still need a level of care. No matter how bad your own life is, your animals still need care and you are responsible for making arrangements for them."

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