Tag Archives: Scottish Borders

Scottish Borders

Longformacus, Duns, Scottish Borders: Alan Wilson

#TheList gamekeeper Alan P Wilson, born c. 1958, of Henlaw Cottage, Longformacus, Duns TD11 3NT – killing dozens of wildlife on Longformacus Estate

Gamekeeper Alan Wilson from Duns in the Scottish Borders killed dozens of wildlife including protected species
Gamekeeper Alan Wilson from Duns in the Scottish Borders kept a kill list and dumped 1000 animals into a stink pit designed to attract birds of prey and other animals, which Wilson is suspected of shooting.

Wilson admitted nine charges including killing goshawks, buzzards, badgers and an otter.

The offences were committed on the Longformacus Estate in the Borders between March 2016 and June 2017.

Gamekeeper Alan Wilson from Duns in the Scottish Borders killed dozens of wildlife including protected species
One source said that Alan Wilson was hellbent on killing anything that moved

The court ruled Wilson was responsible for the deaths of numerous wildlife, including protected species. Investigators found animal corpses including otters, badgers, foxes, birds of prey and more when they searched Henlaw Wood in 2017.

A captive eagle owl which the Scottish SPCA suspects was being used as a live lure on birds of prey who were subsequently shot and killed was also discovered at Wilson’s residence. In 2018, Wilson was fined £400 and banned from keeping birds of prey for ten years for failing to ensure the welfare of the eagle owl.

After an investigation which involved experts from the Scottish SPCA’s special investigation unit (SIU), RSPB and Police Scotland, Wilson was found to have used techniques including illegally set snares and unlawful items such as banned pesticides and gin traps to trap and kill wildlife.

A land inspection also found ‘stink pits’, where dead animal carcasses are left to attract other wildlife. These ‘stink pits’ were surrounded by illegally set snares. Animal remains, including mammal skulls, were recovered.

investigators believe Wilson slaughtered thousands more animals.

One source claimed he was hell-bent on killing “everything that moved” except game birds on the estate that were being bred to be shot by wealthy clients.

One kill list found in Wilson’s home catalogued 1,071 dead animals – including cats, foxes, hedgehogs and stoats.

Gamekeeper Alan Wilson from Duns in the Scottish Borders killed dozens of wildlife including protected species

Sheriff Peter Paterson said the offences merited a jail term but he felt he was unable to impose one due to guidelines against short-term sentences.

“The sentencing options open to me at the moment do not reflect society’s views,” he added.

The court was told Wilson had pledged to no longer work as a gamekeeper and was now employed cutting trees.

Police welcomed the sentencing at Jedburgh Sheriff Court at the end of what they called a “complex inquiry” which had been a “large-scale” investigation.

“The illegal killing of birds of prey and protected species cannot, and will not, be tolerated, nor will the inhumane use of illegal traps and pesticides,” said Det Con Andy Loughlin.

An undercover Scottish SPCA investigator described it as a “despicable case of serious and systematic crimes to indiscriminately remove wildlife from an estate”.

“The sheer volume of dead wildlife discovered is truly shocking,” the investigator added.

“We will never know the total number of animals which perished due to Mr Wilson, though had it not been for the robust intervention of Police Scotland, the Scottish SPCA and our other partner agencies, many more would have suffered and perished.”

Sara Shaw, head of the Crown Office’s wildlife and environmental crime unit, said Wilson’s actions amounted to a “campaign of deliberate criminality”.

Duncan Orr-Ewing of RSPB Scotland called it an “absolutely appalling incident involving the illegal killing of a range of protected wildlife.”

Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture wildlife forensic scientist Dr Lucy Webster said the investigation had been an “excellent example” of partnership working to “bring a prolific wildlife criminal to justice”.

Robbie Marsland, director of the League Against Cruel Sports, described it as “one of the worst wildlife crime incidents in recent years”.

A spokesman for the Scottish Gamekeepers Association said Wilson’s actions were “unacceptable” and “entirely out of step” with conduct it expected from its members.

He said Wilson’s SGA membership would be terminated immediately.

Sentencing: ordered to carry out 225 hours of unpaid work and given a restriction of liberty order.

Scottish SPCA
BBC News
Daily Record

Newcastleton, Scottish Borders: Dawn and Louise Marie Hillbeck

#TheList backyard breeders Dawn Veronica Hillbeck, born 06/08/1993, and partner Louise Marie Hillbeck, born 21/08/1995, formerly of Whisgills, Newcastleton TD9 and more recently 8 Cambridge Road, Bromborough, Wirral, Merseyside CH62 7JA – arranged for illegal ear cropping on an American Bully puppy

Breeders Louise Hillbeck and partner Dawn Hillbeck and Russia, the puppy they had mutilated and left to suffer in pain.
American Bully puppy Russia was found to be in pain after evil greeders Dawn and Louise Hillbeck, now of Bromborough, Merseyside, arranged for his ears to be mutilated

Dawn and Louise Hillbeck, who traded under the name Becks Bullies, admitted being involved in the ear cropping of a puppy named Russia. The pair pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges as a sheriff described the operation on Russia as a “butcher’s job”.

A vet who inspected the wounds of the pup said it had been carried out for “cosmetic” purposes and added it was “needless mutilation”.

Dawn Hillbeck pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to prevent the ear flaps being removed on a puppy under her care.

Louise Hillbeck admitted permitting Russia to be taken out of Scotland for the prohibited procedure.

The offence happened when the women were breeding American bullies – which sell for £5,000 each – at their then home in Newcastleton in the Scottish Borders.

Jedburgh Sheriff Court was told that ear-cropping was banned in most of Europe but was still allowed in the United States.

Procurator fiscal Graham Fraser explained that the American Bully was a new breed established in the 1990s from an American Pit Bull Terrier and an American Staffordshire terrier.

He said: “They are very strong looking dogs and some owners have their ears cropped for cosmetic reasons which makes them look mean and aggressive.”

Mr Fraser said the Scottish SPCA received information that the Hillbecks were involved in ear-cropping and went to their home in Newcastleton in April 2018 when they found Russia had recently had both earflaps removed.

He explained a nylon-type material had been used to stitch the wounds but they had been put in too tightly, the wounds were red and the dog looked in pain.

Mr Fraser said: “They failed to seek veterinary treatment for the wounds. One vet referred to it as cosmetic needless mutilation.”

The fiscal added he would be seeking an order disqualifying the women from owning animals due to their behaviour.

Russia was signed over to the Scottish SPCA during the investigation.

Louise Hillbeck (left) and partner Dawn Hillbeck ran a dog breeding business where profit was placed well above animal welfare
Louise Hillbeck (left) and partner Dawn Hillbeck ran a dog breeding business where profit was placed well above any concern for dog welfare

The women claimed the idea to ear crop the dog came from the co-owner, John Paton of breeding operation New Generation Bullies, who said they would need to do it for Russia if the dog was to do well in American Bully display shows.

Dawn Hillbeck’s lawyer said his client had been told the ear-cropping could be done in Poland where it was legal, but it was not stated in court where the operation had actually happened.

He said: “The pair have been naive in this to a certain extent. They were also told it would be good for the hygiene of the dog as well.

“They have learned their lesson. Disqualifying them from owing animals would be disproportionate.”

The court was told that Dawn Hillbeck owned four dogs and a horse which she would have to give up if she was banned.

On studying pictures of the dog’s wounds Sheriff Donald Ferguson described them as a “butcher’s job” and said the women knew full well it was illegal and the dog had suffered.

He added: “This was totally wrong and this animal suffered. On top of that you were doing it for profit.

“At the end of the day you were looking after this animal and it was your responsibility to look after it within the law and on a proper basis.”

Afterwards a Scottish SPCA spokeswoman said there was a growing trend in ear-cropped American bullies.

She explained: “We are pleased with the outcome of this case.

“Two years ago we didn’t have a single American bully in our care. However we are now seeing a worrying increase in the number of these dogs seized as a result of our investigations.

“The recent increase is entirely down to the current trend to own these dogs as a status pet.

“In the UK any surgical procedure carried out for purely aesthetic purposes is illegal. Ear cropping is one of these procedures.”

Sentencing: one-year Community Payback Order of 80 hours of unpaid work; five year disqualification order from breeding or dealing with animals. Dawn Hillbeck is allowed to keep her four dogs and a horse subject to Scottish SPCA or RSPCA inspection.

Border Telegraph

Eyemouth, Berwickshire: James McLelland

#TheList James McLelland, born ca 1949, of 21 Deanhead Drive, Eyemouth TD14 5RZ – failed to provide veterinary treatment for his dog’s painful skin condition and flea infestation

Trixie, the dog neglected by James McLelland of Eyemouth, Berwickshire

McLelland was charged for failing to provide adequate and necessary veterinary attention for his 4-year-old terrier named Trixie, contrary to the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.

Trixie, had very little hair along her back legs and her skin was thickened and dark grey. Her skin was raised in small hard boils with open wounds where she had been scratching due to a severe flea infestation.

Trixie was immediately taken to a vet where she was assessed and administered pain relief, steroids, antibiotics and flea treatment.

McLelland failed to provide even the most basic level of care for Trixie, to the extent where she was in a lot of pain due to the longstanding and untreated skin and flea condition.

With the proper treatment Trixie recovered and was rehomed.

Sentence: fined £300. Banned from owning animals for 5 years (expires December 2021).

BBC News

Hawick, Scottish Borders: Sean Dodds and Kyle Lawrie

#TheList Sean Dodds, born 01/08/1990, most recently of 24 Queens Drive
Hawick TD9 8EP and Kyle Lawrie, born ca. 1989, most recently of 5 Church Lane, Hawick TD9 8DL – for badger baiting

Badger baiters Sean Dodds and Kyle Lawrie from Hawick, Scottish Borders
Recent photos of Sean Dodds, who evidently continues to hunt with dogs, and his partner in animal cruelty, Kyle Lawrie.

Dodds and Lawrie were told that any civilised human being could only wonder at the “barbaric mindset” of people who saw the “warped activity”of badger baiting as entertainment or sport.

Both pleaded guilty to digging at a badger’s sett, which carries a jail sentence of up to three years.

Dodds admitted on another occasion wilfully killing a badger with a dog – the first conviction of its kind in Scotland – while at the same time Lawrie was digging at the sett.

They watched along with others as Dodds’ pet dog fought with a badger pulled from a sett for up to 20 minutes before the animal died.

The court was told police suspected Dodds was involved in badger-baiting after he posted an image of a dog killing the protected animal on his Bebo  profile and later confessed his crimes to officers.

Several homes in the town were searched and a number of dogs, some which had injuries, were seized and handed over to the Scottish SPCA.

It led to six people from Hawick being charged with badger-baiting offences, but only Dodds and Lawrie were convicted.

Sheriff Kevin Drummond commented: “It is plain that there are persons, including these two accused, who have been engaging in badger digging in the Hawick area.

“Any civilised human being listening to the account of dogs being put down the badger setts wearing locator collars to drag badgers by their teeth to the waiting spectators where the badgers were kicked, abused, set upon by dogs and killed over a period, described on one account as lasting up to 15-20 minutes, can only wonder at the barbaric mindset of such people which sees this warped activity as entertainment or sport.

“That Dodds should then consider the activity appropriate to post a photograph on an internet site of a dog grappling with a badger tells us something of Mr Dodds’ state of mind.

“Had it not been for the assistance which Dodds provided to the police and his remorse which I have accepted in this case, I would have dealt with this by imprisonment.”

Lawyers for both youths claimed they had been influenced by others involved in the activity.

After the verdict, Superintendent Mike Flynn of the SSPCA said: “They were given a sentence which is a direct alternative to jail, so that is encouraging.

“It is also pleasing they have been banned from keeping dogs for five years.”

Ian Hutchison, species protection officer with Scottish Badgers, commented: “The sheriff has sent a clear message that this kind of cruelty will not be tolerated.

“A lot of work has gone into getting these convictions and hopefully those who were engaging in this practice will now be dissuaded.”

Inspector John Scott of Lothian and Borders Police, based in Hawick, said: “One of the attractive things about living in the Borders is the countryside, so it is important it is protected from activities like this.

“Quite often these are hidden crimes, so it is a positive result.

“It was not only the cruelty to the badgers, but the dangers they were putting their own pet dogs in as well.”

Sentencing:
Dodds was ordered to carry out 200 hours community service as a direct alternative to custody, with Lawrie sentenced to 160 hours. disqualified from having custody of a dog for a period of five years (expired January 2013).

BBC News
The Scotsman