A north-east farmer who left animals emaciated, suffering illness and “roaring for food” has been banned from keeping cattle for a year.
Authorities seized William Cassie’s cows and dogs during raids in December 2018, finding animals which were dead or had to be put down because of their condition.
Yesterday he was found guilty of four charges relating to the care of animals at Mill of Kinmuck north of Ellon, Lower Wanform Farm near Banff and his home address of Portstown Farm in Keithhall between August 16 and December 17 2018.
The 64-year-old initially faced 12 charges when he went on trial earlier this year, but two were dropped and he was found not guilty of six others.
After reviewing the evidence at Aberdeen Sheriff Court, Sheriff Margaret Hodge ruled Cassie had failed to provide adequate care for a cow with ailments including severe pneumonia, which it could have been suffering from for three weeks without intervention.
She said Cassie had failed to properly care for another cow, kept in “fairly terrible” conditions, which was so ill it had to be euthanised.
A post-mortem found it weighed around 45 stone – less than half that of a typical healthy adult.
Cassie was found guilty of failing to provide adequate care for a malnourished calf which was “roaring for food” and isolated from its mother in a dark shed.
He was also found to have kept dogs and cattle in hazardous areas with faeces, rusty metal, scrap machinery and a collapsed building.
Defence agent George Mathers said Mr Cassie was passionate about farming and suggested he could continue his line of work by employing support staff.
He said: “He does feel deeply saddened as he has brought up generations of cattle.
“He wants to be able to continue farming and, at the age of 64, isn’t considering retirement.
“Mr Cassie is very set in his ways and it would be far better if he had a farm manager or other workers to assist.”
Cassie was fined £3,000 and banned from owning or keeping cattle for 12 months.
In 2018, he was given a five-year ban on keeping horses after causing some “unnecessary suffering”.
Sheriff Hodge said: “I accept you weren’t deliberately causing suffering to these animals who died.
“It does seem to me, perhaps, it would be better if you got more help in relation to your farm.”
Scottish SPCA chief inspector Alison Simpson suggested the punishment did not go far enough.
She said: “We have worked with the local authority, who submitted this case, in the past to investigate the welfare of animals under the accused’s care.
“Given Cassie’s history of failing to ensure the welfare of animals which were his responsibility, we are disappointed with the sentence given.
“We have had dealings with Cassie over a number of years, including successfully prosecuting him for equine neglect in 2018.
“Cassie is now banned from owning cattle and horses, but we question his fitness to look after any species of animal.”