Berwickshire gamekeeper receives 10 year ban

The eagle owl kept in cramped conditions at the home of Alan Wilson who has been banned for 10 years for keeping birds of prey.
The eagle owl kept in cramped conditions at the home of Alan Wilson who has been banned for 10 years for keeping birds of prey.

A gamekeeper has been banned from keeping birds of prey for 10 years after admitting failing to protect an eagle owl in his care from suffering.

Alan Wilson, 59, kept the pet bird in filthy conditions in a pigsty at his home at Henlaw Cottages, near Longformacus in Berwickshire.

Jedburgh Sheriff Court was told that investigators received a tip-off and found the owl in “utterly unacceptable living conditions” on June 5.

He pleaded guilty to an offence under the 2006 Animal Health and Welfare Act.

Wilson was ordered to sign over custody of the owl to the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and was fined £400.

An undercover SSPCA spokesman said: “This case involved an eagle owl which had its welfare compromised by being kept in utterly unacceptable living conditions.

“We worked in partnership with Police Scotland to seize and rescue the bird, as well as providing expertise.

“Both wild and captive raptors can suffer if their welfare falls below that of adequate standards.

“Eagle owls are large, strong predators and, like all captive predators, require specialist care and expertise.

“The eagle owl is currently being cared for by the SSPCA and is doing well.”