A north-east farmer’s cows had to be put down after he failed to get them treatment – causing them months of suffering.
Marshall Hay, 79, admitted causing three cows unnecessary suffering by failing to get veterinary advice and treatment for the animals’ pain from ingrowing horns.
The offences happened on his farm at Castlehill, Methlick, and elsewhere between September 2017 and May 2018, and also between January 2018 and June 2018.
Fiscal depute Karen Dow told Aberdeen Sheriff Court SSPCA officers had become aware the cows had ingrowing horns and issued Hay with an animal welfare notice to get the treatment for them within two weeks.
She said an SSPCA employee “had concerns for three of the cattle in particular, which appeared to have horns growing into their eyes or heads”.
Ms Dow said: “On May 4 the inspector returned to follow up on the animal welfare notice. The accused informed her he’d made no effort to get the cattle in. They were roaming over several fields.”
On May 18, the SSPCA returned to the farm with a veterinary surgeon who identified a number of cows which were of “immediate concern”, including two with their right horns growing into the side of their faces.
One of the cows had “discharge running down the side of the face from the wound and the face was swollen”.
A third cow had “both its horns growing into the head, the left horn very near to the eye”.
Ms Dow said: “The accused didn’t seem to see any urgency in treating the animals.
“He kept saying it wasn’t his problem and he was selling them.”
On May 27, the vet returned and was able to sedate and treat one of the cows, which had its horn growing four inches into the sinus.
However, a decision was taken to have it “destroyed humanely by injection”.
She said: “The vet sawed the horn at the skin margin and removed the tip. The horn had been growing for many months.”
The animal was also found to have a broken tibia and was “destroyed humanely by injection”.
The vet said the cow “suffered unnecessarily with this condition for at least 10 months where the horn was growing into its head”.
Ms Dow said: “After discussions with the vet, the SSPCA officer advised the accused she had no option other than to arrange a marksman to shoot the other two animals with overgrown horns.”
However, they ended up being taken to Thainstone Mart, along with other cows, and were euthanised with the use of a “captive bolt”.
The Crown tabled a motion for Hay to be banned from owning or keeping animals, working with or using animals and providing any service relating to animals.
Sheriff Andrew Miller deferred sentence on Hay, of Methlick, for reports and continued consideration of the banning motion until next month.
A family member of Hay’s told the Evening Express they were “devastated by what’s happened” following the hearing.
Scottish SPCA senior inspector Alison Simpson said: “We are glad Hay pled guilty and we look forward to the sentencing in this case.”