The Scottish SPCA has said it is “extremely disappointed” over the sentencing of a West Lothian farmer who left a starving cow in an “appalling state”.
David Dalling, of Whiteside Farm in Bathgate, was fined £900 at Livingston Sheriff Court on Thursday for failing to seek veterinary treatment for the animal’s debilitated condition.
A probe was launched after members of the public spotted the cow and became concerned.
Scottish SPCA investigators found the animal in a “huge amount of discomfort”.
Inspector June Chalcroft said: “The cow was in an appalling state.
“She was extremely emaciated, and her feet were so overgrown she was only able to stand for a few minutes at a time.
“There was a huge swelling on the right side of her face which was burst and oozing pus and several more lumps down the cow’s throat.
“She was making a gurgling noise and was obviously in a huge amount of discomfort.
“It’s likely the swelling on her face and throat was preventing her from being able to eat properly.
“It would have taken some time for the animal to get into this condition and her feet alone showed it’s unlikely she’d seen a vet for at least six months.
“The amount of pain and suffering caused to cow would have been considerable.”
On veterinary advice, a decision was taken to euthanise the animal.
However, in the time it took inspector Chalcroft and the vet to return from their vehicles with the life-ending medication, a man had entered the field and shot the cow.
Inspector Chalcroft said had the cow been seen by a vet earlier, all of the animal’s conditions “could have been treated and her welfare could have been considerably better”.
Inspector Chalcroft added: “We are extremely disappointed that Mr Dalling has only received a fine on this occasion as we do not feel this reflects the suffering caused to the cow over a period of months.
“We hope he will be more conscientious in future about ensuring any animal he owns receives the appropriate husbandry and veterinary care required.”
Those with animal welfare concerns can call the Scottish SPCA’s confidential helpline on 03000 999 999.
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