Scotland’s highest earning charity boss charged his employers at the Scottish SPCA for looking after distressed horses at his private stables.
Animal-lovers were recently stunned to learn that Stuart Earley raked in £216,000 a year – more than Prime Minister David Cameron.
The Record can reveal that Earley and wife Emma charged the charity more than £12,000 to care for seven neglected animals at a livery yard they set up after he was appointed to the lucrative role in 2007.
Horses channelled from the SSPCA to the Paddock View Livery in Dollar, Clackmannanshire, were charged at more than £300 a month. Earley claims it was a 44 per cent discount on their normal rates.
An insider said: “This man earns a fortune from the organisation. When Earley’s wages were revealed, people were disgusted.
“To think he has a separate business enterprise that took money directly from the SSPCA seems in really bad taste.
“It came to the attention of staff that his own livery yard was taking in horses. People thought at the time that, on his salary, he might have helped out and charged costs only.
Last week, Earley said his salary is justified by his high performance.
His spokesman said he saved the horses from destruction by taking them in. The first horse was taken to the boss’s stables in April 2009.
The spokesman added: “An SSPCA chief inspector advised Stuart that two horses were in desperate condition and needed accommodation. Rather than risk the animals being put down, Paddock View Livery, run by Mrs Earley, was approached to house the horses.
“The Scottish SPCA board were consulted and agreed. A rate equal to 44 per cent discount from normal rates, was agreed.
Between April 2009 and August 2011 – the last time Paddock View was required to house horses – a total of seven horses were placed with the livery, which received payments of £5100 in 2009, £4502 in 2010 and £3000 in 2011.
“All payments were agreed with the board’s explicit knowledge and consent.”
Horses were kept at the discounted rate of £12.14 per day. The spokesman stressed the care they needed meant there was no profit in the deal.
He said: “The rate offered by Paddock View was effectively at cost or lower.”
Emma Earley said: “I have rehomed horses from the Scottish SPCA. I have rehomed five dogs from them. I own them now. It’s a good thing.”