A gamekeeper has been banned from keeping birds of prey for ten 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.
Wilson pleaded guilty to the offence under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2006. He was ordered to sign over custody of the owl to the Scottish SPCA and in addition to the ten-year disqualification, he was fined £400.
An undercover Scottish SPCA spokesman said:”This case involved an eagle owl who had its welfare compromised by being kept in utterly unacceptable living conditions.
“The Scottish SPCA 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 Scottish SPCA and is doing well.”