Sheep killed after dog attack on Midlothian farm

Edinburgh Sheriff Court
Edinburgh Sheriff Court

A lurcher/pit bull terrier cross killed 10 sheep and injured 10 others in a bloody rampage on a Midlothian farm.

Forty-four year old Iain Stenhouse, Broomlea Crescent, West Linton, pleaded guilty earlier this month at Edinburgh Sheriff Court to a charge of being the owner of a dog which worried, attacked, injured and killed the livestock.

The attack happened between May 14 and 15 last year on Auchencorth Farm after the dog had gone missing during a walk in the country.

Fiscal Depute Alison Innes told the court that earlier in the day on May 14, people had seen Stenhouse walking three dogs on a leash. When they saw him later on, he only had two dogs and asked them if they had seen the other animal. The Fiscal said that during the evening Stenhouse had asked several people about the missing dog and was searching for it.

At around 5.30am on May 15, he resumed his search of the area where he had been walking and when he called for the dog it came to him.

Ms Innes said that when he looked into the field he saw a dead sheep and dead lamb. He informed the farmer and 10 dead and 10 injured animals - ewes and lambs - were found with bites to their throats, heads and other parts of their bodies.

The Fiscal said the estimated loss to the farmer for loss of sales and vet bill was £2100.

Defence solicitor David McKie said his client had had the dog for two years. It was the father of the two other dogs. Stenhouse, he said, had taken the dogs for a walk in the area twice a day, let them off the leash and there had been no problems.

When the dog had gone missing, he had searched for it until dark and resumed the search at first light.

Mr McKie said: “He accepted full responsibility and apologised to the farmer. He no longer has any dogs. He had the oldest dog put down and found homes for the other two.”

The Fiscal said that when a post mortem was carried out on the killer dog, lamb meat was found in its stomach.

Sentence was deferred until today (April 29) when Sheriff Gordon Liddle was told the farmer had been paid the £2100 by his insurance company, but that he was still £500 out of pocket for the animals being put down and disposed off.

Mr McKie told the Sheriff: “I have talked to Mr Stenhouse and he is perfectly prepared to make up the £500 loss. He is in a position to pay that at £50 a week”.

Sheriff Liddle agreed that the £500 compensation be paid and added: “I am not going to fine him on top of that because of his early plea of guilty”.