#TheList Gary Stevens, born 13/07/1966 of Hallmoss Farm, near Peterhead AB42 3BP – for cruelty to livestock, a Shetland pony and a donkey
Stevens pleaded guilty to three of eight criminal charges raised against him under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.
He had all his livestock seized by Aberdeenshire Council’s Animal Health and Welfare Service in August 2018, following a series of visits by inspectors, prompted by public concerns.
A vet deemed it necessary for the animals to be removed due to concerns over their poor condition, lack of veterinary treatment and the dreadful conditions in which they were kept.
A pig was euthanised to end its suffering and the remaining livestock were taken to a place where they could be restored to health. Aberdeenshire Council subsequently sought a disposal order at Peterhead Sheriff Court which was granted in February 2019 allowing the animals to be sold.
Senior council animal health and welfare inspector Pauline Anderson said: “We welcome the strong sentence that has been imposed in what was a very distressing case.
“As well as the wholesale suffering of the animals, the poor conditions at the farm meant there was a risk of disease spreading outwith the premises. The animals were kept in shocking conditions and we would like to thank Police Scotland and the Animal and Plant Health Agency for their support to allow us to remove them from the site.”
Mr Stevens was also found guilty of ‘extreme’ neglect of a Shetland pony and donkey.
The Scottish SPCA had visited Hallmoss Farm in June 2018 after concerns were raised to the charity’s animal helpline. The vet in attendance then said the state of the Shetland pony was ‘the most extreme case’ he’d come across in 34 years of practising. Her front feet were so badly deformed that they were deemed in-correctable, while her poor body condition was attributed to pain and stress, and she was subsequently put to sleep.
Inspector Fiona McKenzie said: “In my 12 years as a Scottish SPCA inspector, this is one of the worst cases I’ve ever dealt with and I’ve never seen such a disregard for animal welfare.
“We made every attempt to work constructively with Stevens and his family, including issuing statutory care notices to improve the welfare of their animals.
“They rebuffed this offer of support and were uncooperative. Ultimately, they attempted to hide the animals under the guise of them having been rehomed.
“This left us with no choice but to make a report to the procurator fiscal. From this investigation we took ownership of over 45 animals including horses, pigs, sheep, lambs, cats, dogs and terrapins.”
She added: “We worked closely with Aberdeenshire Council’s Animal Health and Welfare team who took their own case to the procurator fiscal. We are very pleased the sheriff exercised the maximum punishment available to Stevens. We hope this will act as a deterrent to others and be just one of many examples of more consistent sentencing for those who are cruel to animals.”
Sentencing: 18 months in prison, reduced to 14 because of the guilty plea. Lifetime ban on keeping all animals.