Tayside and Central Scotland

Father and son convicted of hare coursing

Reid / Stewart Image copyright Perthshire Picture Agency
Image caption Mark Reid (L) and son John Stewart were found guilty at Perth Sheriff Court of hare coursing

A man has been banned from keeping dogs for two years after he and his father were found guilty of hare coursing.

A court heard John Stewart, 21, and Mark Reid, 45, set their lurcher dogs on the wild hares.

The rigid carcasses of the two dead hares were shown during the trial of the men and two of their associates, who were cleared of the charge.

One witness at Perth Sheriff Court said he saw two lurchers "pulling a hare apart".

Robert McElwee told the trial: "The people with them were further away. Before that we had seen them for some time with the dogs. They were lined out across the field looking for hares.

"We knew what it was - coursing hares."

He said one of the men shouted "video that" as they took footage which was later passed to the police and shown during the trial.

'Lying dead'

Mr McElwee said: "That's when the two dogs were pulling the hare to bits.

"I saw one lying dead at the side of the road."

PC George Westwood said: "I saw two persons running off with dogs across the field. They were wearing Barbour-style jackets.

"We collected two hares from the stubble field near the steading. They were fresh, they were still limp."

Stewart, of Kiltarlity, and Reid, from Dundee, were found guilty of deliberately hunting brown hares with three dogs at West Cultmalundie Farm, Tibbermore, on 2 November last year.

Two other men, from Dundee and Arbroath, were cleared during the trial due to a lack of evidence linking them directly to hare coursing.

Solicitor David Holmes, defending, told the court that Stewart and Reid were only found with one dog when they were challenged and it belonged to Reid.

Sheriff Lindsay Foulis deferred sentence on Reid for reports until 23 March.

He ordered Stewart to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and banned him from "having custody of any dog" for two years.

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