A raging dog owner threatened to kill a farmer who shot his pet after it had bit sheep in one of his fields.
Irate farmer Robert Gatherer took the dramatic action to protect his flock from further attack after seeing that the out-of-control Husky/Rottweiller cross dog had ripped into his prized flock.
One of the sheep had been so badly savaged that its internal organs were exposed and spilling out.
Paisley Sheriff Court heard how dog’s owner Marc Wilson flew into a rage and threatened to kill the farmer during the incident at a field near Inchinnan on April 1 last year.
Wilson, of High Street, Johnstone, had previously denied being in charge of the dog that worried sheep there, and behaving in a threatening and abusive manner likely to cause fear and alarm by shouting and swearing at Mr Gatherer, placing him and his partner, Christine Nola, in a state of fear and alarm.
When he appeared in court for trial and changed his plea to guilty, it was stated that the 27-year-old had been on the farm land with his dog on the day in question, fishing from the riverbank.
The dog had been allowed off the lead to roam free.
Depute fiscal Henna Chaudry said that it was another farmer named John Brown who raised the alarm around 5.30pm when he saw a dog attacking sheep in Mr Gatherer’s field.
“The dog was worrying sheep and chasing them about the field,” she said.
When Mr Gatherer went to investigate, taking his rifle with him, he found a scene of utter devastation.
Five of his sheep had been badly injured in the attack and one of them had been chased into the river and was suffering from dreadful wounds inflicted.
When he could see no sign of anyone, he hauled the dog from the river then shot it in the head and killed it.
Wilson emerged after he heard the gunshot and, when he realised what had happened, he reacted angrily and was distraught.
“He became abusive and threatening,” said Ms Chaudry, “and challenged Mr Gatherer, stating ‘you killed my dog and I’m going to kill you, ya b*****d’. ”
The farmer panicked and drove off in his vehicle and as he did so heard a loud bang as something hit the bodywork, so he called police and seemed hysterical as, referring to Wilson, he told them: “He’s a mad man.”
When officers arrived and accompanied the farmer back to the field, Wilson came running towards him and refused to stop.
He was arrested and when cautioned and charged, remained aggressive and told police he was intent on taking matters into his own hands.
When the dog was examined, it was found to have traces of fleece in its mouth.
Ms Chaudry said that the farmer had been forced to shoot the sheep that was most seriously injured.
It was believed the four others had to be destroyed and the loss to the farmer was estimated at £75 per head.
Defence agent Charlie McCusker said his client had been in the habit of fishing at the river there and had taken the dog, which was his constant companion, with him on many previous occasions without incident.
“He was clearly distressed,” said the lawyer. “This was a highly-charged event, and I can fully understand why the farmer acted as he did. It’s a pounds, shillings and pence situation.
“But my client did not see his dog attacking any sheep and wondered if there might have been another animal involved as his dog had never behaved like this before.”
Sheriff David Pender fined Wilson a total of £500 and awarded compensation totalling £375 to the farmer to cover his losses, saying his dog had “caused terrible devastation to his livestock.”