Pet dog shot dead in Glenfinart

Three and a half year old Harley

A pet dog was shot dead in a field containing sheep near Coul Cottage, Glenfinart on Tuesday morning.

Dog owner Fraser Harding said that the three and a half year old boxer ‘Harley’ had possibly got into the field through a hole in a fence. ‘I let Harley out into the garden as usual at around 7.15am. Later I noticed the farmer was in the field. I called the dog but he didn’t appear. The farmer then drove away and returned around half an hour later. I heard a bang and I just knew it was Harley. The sheep, which I could see from our cottage, had been quite quiet before the bang but were now very agitated with the noise’. Mr. Harding said that the dog had been shot twice.

Mr Harding agrees that the dog should not have strayed into the field and he accepts full responsibility for this. However, he told us that he is upset that the farmer, whom he says he has known for several years, did not immediately alert him to the fact that his dog was loose in his field. contacted the farmer to invite his comments and received the following response:

‘It was with great regret that I was obliged to shoot a dog which had crossed the River Finart and was worrying my sheep which had new born lambs with them. This dog had repeatedly over a prolonged period, strayed onto my land in Glenfinart and on many occasions had chased my sheep into corners in the field immediately adjoining its home but on this particular occasion, in the middle of my lambing season it had crossed the river and was hundreds of metres from Coul Cottage, chasing sheep and newly born lambs. I have been losing lambs in that location over the past ten days and suspected a fox, however in retrospect it may well have been the dog which had probably chased lambs into the river or ditches. Over the past 2 years I had repeatedly asked the owners to restrain their dog and at the very least to repair the fence in their garden in the hope the dog would remain within their property.

I cannot stress enough to dog owners the need to keep their pets under control at all times. It is a dog’s nature to chase and a sheep’s nature to run away and there is no telling how much damage may be done particularly at this time of year when lambs are being born.’

A Dunoon Police source confirmed that the incident had been reported by both the dog owner and the farmer.

Each year thousands of sheep are killed or injured by dogs. The law is clear on domestic animals and livestock. Under The Animals Act 1971, a farmer can shoot any dog considered a threat to his/her animals. Especially during the lambing season, dog owners have to be particularly vigilant when walking their dogs anywhere in the vicinity of fields containing sheep. Dog owners should also remember that farmers regularly rotate fields containing sheep, therefore, the owner may not necessarily be sure what’s on the other side of the hedge. A normally placid family dog can become a killer in a field of sheep and, even if the sheep remain untouched, it could cause lambs to be aborted or death of the sheep later.

We understand that the NFU can supply signs to farmers to help protect their animals, we will be investigating this. With the beginning of the tourist season upon us, will be working to promote responsible dog ownership to our residents and visitors alike.

Related links: 
Plain English explanation of dog related laws.
We would be happy to add any other relevant dog/countryside law related links.

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Sandy Taylor
11 years ago

I don’t wish to get into the argument over the dog but I would love to see a photo of Coul cottage. I beleive that it could be the place that my ancesters Peter McKellar and his wife Margaret Campbell were living in 1841 and where Margaret McKellar/ Campbell died in 1855. Her death registration gives Coul Farm,
Glenfinart as place of death.
Admin if you could obtain a photo of the cottage, could you send it to me please.
Sandy Taylor email

12 years ago

Hi, I have only just found this site. We are Dairy Farmers and Cheese Makers. Two of my Neapolitan Mastiff Cattle dog’s were shot dead by a spiteful neighbour. During a bad snow storm both got lost in the snow. We searched everywhere for them. Then we did what we thought was the right thing to do. We got in our Land Rover and went round to the other side of the hill to ask our so called neighbours to keep a look out and re assure them that the dog’s were stock proof, being off a Dairy Farm we could not have stock worriers. One of these neighbours rang his father up and told him that ‘the cheese woman’ is looking for her dog’s. Him and another neighbour went out hunting them. They called them over with a sheep whistle (both were trained to this) and the dog’s ran over thinking it was me as this person who shot them had a Land Rover (they was running to the whistle and the sound of the motor thinking it was me) He then shot them at point blank range. Him and this other neighbour hid their bodies, did not report the killings in the 48 hours the law requires. Ten day’s later after searching everywhere informing everyone a decent neighbour tipped us off to what had happened. The neighbour had his motor stuck in the snow and was digging it out. He heared the shots go off. He saw this person who shot them who was by the way laughing. He shouted what the hell have you done, after a shouted conversation the person who had shot them said that the dog’s had been worrying his sheep, the witness replied there are no sheep, who’s dog’s are they? to which this person replied ‘that f**king cheese woman’s over the hill, that will teach her, there will be tears tonight. At first this neighbour did not want to get involved, but he did which I am thankful for. We went round to the persons farm who shot our dog’s. He denied it, then admitted to it then threatened to ‘do to us as he had done to my dog’s ie shoot us. We went to the Police Station, they made us wait for nearly two hours, then two day’s later they sent someone round to ‘speak to him’ coming back with ‘it is a civil matter not a criminal matter’ I have made an almighty fuss and the the Independent Police Complaints Commission has upheld my Appeal. VIZ. The dog’s were NOT worrying, there were no dead or injured sheep, there were no vet’s reports, no logging the killings of the dog’s or the sheep worrying with the Police. He hid their bodies with no intention of telling me. He was out for the sheer joy of killing. I know how the guy feels over his loss of his boxer. The person told the Police that ‘he was really going to give me the dog’s bodies back, really he was, but was waiting for the weather to clear up before he dropped the bodies off at my farm’ Did not wait until the weather cleared up before he went out killing. These so called Farmers just like to play big men with a gun. Take their gun’s away and they suddenly go all quiet. To top it off the person who shot my dog’s is 78 years old, going deaf, bad eyesight and is disabled.

12 years ago

Sorry to read this and to hear about poor Harley. Whilst we all understand and respect the law, it does not always make its outcome easy. This dispute over the facts and whether what actually occurred was lawful must be so upsetting for Fraser and his family. When it comes to crimes against animals there seems to be less urgency to give owners proper satisfaction. But we must remember that our pets are part of the family and their untimely passing can not simply be swept under the carpet. At a tribute can be left for Harley and a lasting record of events so that his passing and memory will never be forgotten. I hear so many stories of animals being killed by people, by other pets or run over, where the owner is simply left to pick up the pieces as if their pet had no worth. We are planning to try to do something about this. Not sure what yet, but I think I think collectively we stand a better chance of being heard. Sorry for your loss.

12 years ago

Oh please people get over it the farmer has a right to protect his live stock domestic dogs regardless of breed and nature do chase sheep its the mans lively hood we are talking about here. I do believe the farmer does feel regret but at the end of the day the deed is done move on.

Des Armstrong
12 years ago

Such an unfortunate situation. I’ve read similar reports on the web in recent months. It does make me question the laws related to dogs and livestock. It appears that farmers do have a huge amount of power in law when making the decision as to whether a dog lives or dies. In most other legal situations evidence is required either before or after the judgement is made. Clearly this is not a requirement in dog/livestock issues!

12 years ago

i think this is so sad , from what i heard HARLEY was shot twice , like the farmer said it is nature this is what dogs do , WHY did the farmer have to kill him , why not just maim him like the first shot , to me that is just madness , the farmer wanted this dog dead , he went about it all the wrong way . how can anyone with a heart shoot and maim a dog then get closer to kill hin through the heart , a heartless person thats my opinion some one who just hates animals should not be a farmer .

Amy Davis
12 years ago

Mr. Marshall states that it was with deep regret that he was obliged to shoot a dog. Was he also obliged to take the dog that he just shot and dump him on the doorstep of Mr. Harding’s home in front of his children? Isn’t that perhaps overkill?

fraser harding
12 years ago

after speaking to the animal welfare group scotland, its seem you post on animals act 1971, is the english law. not scottish, which is slightly differant

John Deller
12 years ago

I regret that the farmer has been losing sheep as he stated over the last ten days or so “I have been losing lambs in that location over the past ten days and suspected a fox, however in retrospect it may well have been the dog” but regret also that this will continue as the aforemention dog which he suspects has been killing them was in Norfolk over this period with his owner Mr Harding who was visiting relatives and friends. I know as I was one of the people Mr Harding visited!!!!!!

fraser harding
12 years ago

hi there all. i,m so disapointed that even now, the farmer feel the need to lie. i could see the sheep. and he was so worried about his sheep. he had time to drive past my home to his home and get his gun. diplomicy does work. as far as his coment about losing sheep and lambs over the last 10 to 11 days. and the fact he feels it was prob harley. i will give him one chance to retract these coments. then i will provide proof that in fact it was not harley. and he is wrong to say this. also, has he reported to anyone or the harding family about the loss of these so called missing sheep ?

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