Crofter who neglected sheep may escape ban on keeping animals

A crofter who admitted three charges of causing unnecessary suffering to his sheep may escape a ban on keeping livestock.

Laurence Johnson, 52, of Windhouse Farm in Mid Yell, was given the glimmer of hope after agreeing to allow monthly veterinary inspections.

Johnson, who keeps 1,800 sheep, landed in hot water after he was visited by Scottish SPCA inspectors on 12th January.

They had been alerted about the state of his sheep and found nine ewes and a ram had been denied proper feeding and veterinary care.

Johnson had also failed to deal with a number of dead carcases on the croft.

Since the offence Johnson has allowed regular inspections to be carried out.

At Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday defence agent Tommy Allan said those inspections had been going well.

A marking system for Johnson had shown his animal husbandry had been classed as ranging from two to three out of five. That was on a par with other producers, said Mr Allan.

However Sheriff Graeme Napier said he was worried Johnson would simply renege on his arrangement if the case against him was brought to a close.

Mr Allan said the vet could contact the SSPCA at any time if the inspections did not come up to scratch.

Sheriff Napier told Johnson: “I will defer sentence on you for a further six months, which should take you over the worst of the winter period, and I will ask for an updated report from the vet.

“You have got to keep to this regime of having the vet come out every month. If you do that I may be inclined not to disqualify you from keeping animals.”


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