Thousands sign petition after Scots horse is stabbed and sexually assaulted

More than 4,500 people have petitioned Justice Secretary Michael Matheson calling for a change in animal cruelty sentencing.

An online petition calling for a change to animal cruelty sentencing has got the attention of the Scottish government after it attracted more than 3,500 signatures.

The petition – intended for the Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson – was launched after an 18-year-old horse was stabbed and sexually assaulted while it was grazing in the New Pitsligo area of the North East last weekend.

Blaze was found by her owner Zoe Wright the following evening and despite vets’ best efforts, the retired show jumper was put to sleep.

Disgusted at the abhorrent crime, a Change.org petition was launched to encourage stricter sentencing where crimes of animal cruelty have been committed and by this morning it has already attracted more than 4,500 of its 5,000 signature target.

Campaign creator Maria Verrecchia appeals to ‘anyone who has access to the internet” to lobby for a change to the law to harsher-punish those who commit heinous acts like those inflicted on Blaze.

She says: “The likelihood of the perpetrators being brought to any form of justice is not only slim due to the nature of the crime and the relevance to police time and resources, but will likely bring about a sentence of a fine and maximum term of 12 months imprisonment under the Scottish Judicial System.

“If a Sheriff hears the case and not a Jury (Scotland) then the sentencing is likely to be even less.”

“Animal Rights may never be put on a par with Human Rights, but the resulting pain and loss suffered from this level of cruelty remains very HUMAN and should be measured on that fact at the very least.”

“Please help to obtain Justice for Blaze – raise awareness and apply pressure to those who can amend the Law and bring about heavier sentencing and a greater awareness within the Judicial System in addressing the causes of such offending.”

At current, a conviction of causing an animal unnecessary suffering can carry 12 months in prison, a lifetime ban on keeping animals and a £20,000 fine.

Speaking to the Press and Journal, a Holyrood Spokesperson said: “Animal cruelty and abuse are abhorrent and cannot be tolerated in a modern civilised society.

“However we recognise that it is only right that maximum penalties for any type of offence should be reviewed periodically within the context of penalties for other offences.”

Maria told the P&J: “The current sentencing level for this crime does not reflect the heinous cruelty of horse mutilation and sexual abuse.

“Blaze was a servant, a trusting creature, trapped, abused and mutilated and left to suffer. Let Scotland and its people be a voice for Blaze and all animals that suffer cruelty.”

Distraught Zoe offered a reward of £1,000 through Facebook to anyone who is able to provide information that results in an arrest.

Police are continuing their investigation into Blaze’s death.

*** Sign the petition here ***

Article taken from: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/crime/thousands-sign-petition-after-scots-6315643


Scottish SPCA appeal to re-home 27 Shetland ponies

The Scottish SPCA is appealing for horse lovers with big hearts to help re-home 27 tiny Shetland ponies.

Freddie, one of the 27 Shetland ponies which an animal welfare charity are trying to rehome. Picture: PA

The charity took the small ponies into its rescue centre in Aberdeenshire as their previous Scottish Borders-based owner could no longer look after them all.

Staff at the charity’s centre in Drumoak now want people to come along and meet the miniature mustangs in a bid to find them new owners.

Centre manager Graeme Innes said: “These ponies arrived in our care together and we now have the challenging task of finding them all new homes.

“They may be little ponies but we have some really big characters. Rufus, for example, has proven to be a very cheeky boy who will follow people around the field to get a treat and a scratch.

“Casper would be a great pony for a child to groom and cuddle as he will happily stand all day for some attention.”

He added: “Shetland ponies can make wonderful pets but they should never be re-homed on a whim.

“We would ask anyone interested to consider the costs involved in equine ownership and carefully think whether they have the time and resources to care for a pony.

“If anyone is interested in our Shetlands we would be delighted to hear from them.”

Anyone who can offer a Shetland pony a new home is asked to contact the Scottish SPCA’s Aberdeenshire centre on 03000 999 999.

Article taken from: http://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/scottish-spca-appeal-to-re-home-27-shetland-ponies-1-3839535


Lost pigeon airlifted from North Sea oil platform

A lost pigeon which landed on a North Sea oil platform has been flown back to land by helicopter. The “exhausted” bird was found on Talisman Sinopec’s Clyde platform, about 160 miles offshore.

Kevin Mitchell and Pedro the pigeon
The pigeon, nicknamed Pedro by the workers on board, was flown by helicopter to Aberdeen.

It was then taken to the SSPCA‘s National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Fishcross, where it was said to be making a good recovery.

Animal rescue officer Kirsty McQuade said: “It was actually my boyfriend Kevin Mitchell who found Pedro.

“He crash landed on deck and Kevin managed to catch him and take him inside.

“Pedro appeared to be exhausted and extremely thin so Kevin contacted me for advice. I advised him on what to feed Pedro and he was kept safe in a box on board.

“It was fantastic that Pedro was able to ride in the helicopter with the crew who were coming back to the mainland and we would like to thank everyone for their assistance.”

Article taken from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-33049476


Police and RSPB appeal for help to identify wildlife criminals

In May 2014, a video camera deployed by RSPB Scotland staff to monitor a goshawk nest at Glenochty, Strathdon, Aberdeenshire on land owned by Forestry Commission Scotland, and within the Cairngorms National Park, captured footage revealing a group of men repeatedly visiting the area in what appears to be an attempt to kill the birds and destroy the nest.


The goshawk is a specially protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is an offence for anybody to visit active nests without a licence issued by Scottish Natural Heritage, or to recklessly kill, take or destroy these birds or their eggs and dependent young. The Scottish goshawk population has only 150 breeding pairs and it is one of our scarcest breeding raptor species, now recovering its populations after years of human persecution.

Police Scotland’s Aberdeenshire and Moray Divisional Wildlife Crime Liaison Officer, Mike Whyte, said “Police, RSPB and other organisations continuously work together in response to the illegal activities of a handful of individuals who operate outwith accepted practices. In this case it is in direct conflict with one of the UK Wildlife Crime priorities, Raptor Persecution, an offence which by its rural geographic location is one that is historically difficult to detect”.

Ian Thomson, Head of Investigations at RSPB Scotland, said: “This video footage captured by our camera shows what appears to be an illegal incident involving the deliberate targeting of one of our rarest and specially protected birds of prey. We are appealing to anybody with information about this incident to contact the police on 101 or on Crimestoppers as a matter of urgency. On account of serious concerns about the impacts of illegal activity on the Scottish goshawk population, RSPB Scotland is now offering a reward of £1000 for any information that subsequently leads to a successful conviction in this case.”