Apr 18 2012 by Stephen Robertson, Stirling Observer Wednesday
A NUMBER of chickens left neglected in a shed in sub-zero temperatures were found to have frostbite, Stirling Sheriff Court heard last Friday.
The court was told how a call from a concerned member of the public first alerted the Scottish SPCA to the plight of the 11 birds at Stewart Hall Cottages, Fallin, back in December 2010.
When an inspector from the animal welfare charity attended, she discovered that the birds, belonging to Gregor Rennie (39), were living in filthy conditions in the shed during one of Scotland’s harshest ever winters.
Fiscal depute Neil Almond said that the inspector specifically noted chicken faeces “a few inches thick” in some places and that there was no evidence of food or water either.
Mr Almond added: “It was noted that a couple of the chickens had indications of frostbite.”
While, in the inspector’s opinion, the chickens were not emaciated, she formed the view that the chickens were being kept in inadequate conditions.
On later being spoken to, Rennie confirmed that he was the owner of the birds. Last Friday, Rennie, now of The Firs, Bannockburn, pleaded guilty to failing to provide the chickens with a suitable living environment and adequate food and water.
The offence took place between December 1 and 21, 2010.
The chickens were thereafter taken into the care of the Scottish SPCA.
Representing Rennie, solicitor Ken Dalling said: “He was going through a difficult time and wasn’t residing at that address.
“He was living in Aberfoyle area where he cares for his mother.
“He said that travel was difficult due to the severe weather.”
The court also heard that a loose arrangement with a neighbour to feed the chickens apparently hadn’t worked out.
Mr Dalling said, however, that the care of the birds ultimately lay with Rennie himself.
He added: “These were his responsibility. He failed them and he is sorry.
“At the time he thought that he was doing his best but accepts now that he failed in relation to that.”
Sentencing, Sheriff William Gilchrist fined Rennie £200. The sheriff also banned him from keeping chickens for a period of five years.