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Perthshire farmer banned from keeping animals for life following neglect

A PERTHSHIRE farmer has been banned from keeping animals for life after neglecting over a thousand sheep and cattle.

The SSPCA found serious cases of neglect at John Ferguson's farm, Welton of Creuchies, Alyth. Pics: Scottish SPCA
The SSPCA found serious cases of neglect at John Ferguson's farm, Welton of Creuchies, Alyth. Pics: Scottish SPCA

John Ferguson of Welton of Creuchies, Alyth pleaded guilty to failing to provide 1,120 sheep and lambs and 95 cows and calves with a proper diet and necessary veterinary attention.

The farmer was given a life ban from owning, keeping or dealing in animals at Perth Sheriff Court today (16 January). He was also ordered to complete 300 hours community pay back for crimes the Sheriff Foulis described as "extremely serious".

Some of the animals had been left with untreated infections including liver fluke.

The Scottish SPCA was told about the situation and conducted an investigation, which the officer in charge found to be the worst he had come across in 32 years.

Chief Inspector Brian Cowing, who led the investigation, said, "Animal cruelty cases of such severity are thankfully rare and, in my 32 years with the Scottish SPCA, this is by far the worst animal welfare case I have dealt with on such a large scale with massive loss of livestock.

"Many of the cattle and sheep were found to be in an extremely poor and emaciated condition. Some were suffering from parasitic infections including liver fluke, a type of worm which can cause diarrhoea, weight loss and, if left untreated, death.

"One of the most distressing discoveries was a cow that had died whilst calving. That animal need not have suffered had proper stockmanship been deployed and veterinary care been provided in a timely fashion.

"A competent stockman would have readily identified the problems with the livestock on the farm and dealt with them through veterinary advice and treatment, adequate levels of feeding and supervision.

"Welton of Creuchies was a farm that could not function properly.

Machinery was in disrepair, cattle courts were not mucked out, dead stock remained dumped in the farm yard or left in the fields where they had died. Animal foodstuffs were exposed to contamination from birds, rodents and animal faeces.

"We believe John Ferguson has demonstrated beyond any doubt that he is unfit to provide animals with the proper care and attention they require therefore we are extremely pleased that he has received a life ban on keeping animals."

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