Farmer banned for animal cruelty set for return to court

A FARMER who was banned from keeping cattle for life after being convicted of cruelty and neglect will return to court to stand trial for a new offence.

The case against John Findlay, 58, was sent to the High Court after a sheriff decided to abandon the original charge due to a change in the law.

The Scottish SPCA demanded a review because the controversial ruling could have resulted in hundreds of people banned from keeping animals having their punishment quashed.

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But the High Court has ordered that Findlay should be brought back before the sheriff court to answer the charge.

A new trial date was set for 26 August at Livingston Sheriff Court.

Findlay, of Redhouse Farm House, Blackburn, West Lothian, pleaded not guilty to breaching the disqualification order imposed on 22 October, 1998, by keeping cattle at his farm between 5 and 8 November, 2007. The ban was imposed ten years previously after about 170 beef and dairy cattle suffering severe neglect were taken from Redhouse Farm in 1997. Carcases of calves were also removed. In April 1998, Findlay admitted a string of offences involving neglect, cruelty, failing to bury dead cows and failing to tag his herd. SSPCA officers said the cattle they saw were so hungry they had resorted to eating bedding straw.