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Crofter fined for cruelty, but can still keep sheep

A SHETLAND crofter was fined £5,400 for causing unnecessary suffering to his flock, but avoided being banned from keeping sheep when he appeared for sentencing at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

Laurence Johnson, of Windhouse Farm, Mid Yell, admitted not looking after his animals after an SSPCA officer found nine ewes and one ram close to death in a park near his house on 12 January last year, along with several unburied carcasses.

The 52 year old had told the court that he had been suffering from a vomiting bug at the time and been unable to get out to his animals.

Last year the court ordered him to institute a monitoring and inspection regime for his 1,800 sheep that earn him a pre-tax profit of around £40,000 a year.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said that the vet had reported he was doing all that could be reasonably expected of him, but  would not accept any reduction in this standard of welfare.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said that the crofter’s income had been hit by the bills for the vet’s monthly inspections.

Sheriff Graeme Napier said that Johnson had kept his side of the bargain and he would not disqualify him from keeping livestock. He has been allowed to pay his £5,400 fine at £250 a month.


Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021