A man has been banned from owning dogs for five years after his pets were found “severely underweight” and living in “dirty and cluttered” conditions.
Andrew William McPherson admitted failing to provide a nutritionally adequate diet or veterinary treatment for Zara, a seven-year-old female German Shepherd and Bobo, a 16-year-old male crossbreed.
The 39-year-old of Harris Place, Airdrie, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering and for failing to provide vet treatment for the dogs.
In addition to a ban, he was handed a £200 fine.
Scottish SPCA inspector Emma Sergeant said McPherson had been known to the animal welfare charity since 2018.
She added: “We have tried on several occasions to provide him with guidance and advice on how to care for his animals.
“After some improvement in the condition of Zara and Bobo following our initial intervention, we were frustrated and disappointed to see the deterioration in the dogs when we attended the address in September 2019.
“The living conditions were dirty and cluttered, with piles of litter on the floor and household items stacked in other rooms, making them inaccessible.
“The dogs were severely underweight with both their hip bones and ribs visible. Their nails were also very overgrown, which would have caused the animals a lot of discomfort.
“During our visit, some dog food was accidentally spilled on the floor and the dogs were so hungry they began to fight each other for the food.
“On veterinary examination it was established that the dogs had no underlying medical conditions and they easily put on weight while in our care.
“It would have taken months for the dogs to get into the condition they did. This did not happen overnight.”
The dogs’ health improved in the care of the Scottish SPCA and they have since been rehomed.
If anyone suspects an animal has been neglected or abandoned they should call the Scottish SPCA’s confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.
Scots face a race against time to return home from France, the Netherlands and Malta after the countries were added to the quarantine list.
Travellers returning from the destinations, who arrive in the United Kingdom after 4am on Saturday, will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
A speedy return comes at a cost – British tourists in France are being charged hundreds of pounds to return home before quarantine restrictions are imposed.
Air fares are more than six times higher than normal for flights from Paris to London on Friday, with the cheapest British Airways tickets being sold for £452. The lowest priced Eurostar tickets available on Friday morning are £210.
Travellers willing to pay these inflated fares could still miss out due to many services already being fully booked. An estimated 160,000 holidaymakers are expected to try to return to the UK from France on Friday.
The decision by the Scottish Government, also made by the UK Government and devolved administrations in Northern Ireland and Wales, aims to reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus by those travelling.
The public health measures now also apply to those arriving from Aruba, Turks and Caicos, and Monaco.
Justice secretary Humza Yousaf said: “We have always been clear we are closely monitoring the situation in all countries and that we may need to take action to remove a country from the list of places exempt from quarantine requirements should the virus show a resurgence.
“These are not decisions which we take lightly but on the basis of the evidence it is important that we take action to suppress transmission of the virus and protect public health.”
Failure to comply with requirement to quarantine can result in a fine of £480.
Department for Transport officials said data from France shows that over the past week there has been a 66% increase in newly reported Covid-19 cases and a 52% increase in the weekly incidence rate per 100,000 population, indicating a sharp rise in infections.
The latest 14-day cumulative figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control show 32.1 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in France, compared with 18.5 in the UK.
The move will come as a bitter blow to the hard-pressed French tourism industry which relies heavily on visitors from the UK.
France’s secretary of state for European affairs said the UK decision would lead to “reciprocal measures” across the Channel.
The decision to add the Netherlands was made after a 52% increase in newly reported cases between August 7 and 13 after a consistent series of rises in previous weeks.
Over the past week, there has been a 273% increase in newly reported cases in Turks and Caicos, a 1106% increase in Aruba and a 105% rise in Malta.
English League One team Hull City have been cleared to hold training sessions in Scotland despite a ban in place for most Scottish clubs.
Hull are holding a pre-season camp at Oriam in Edinburgh – the training base of Hearts, who were told on Thursday that they must cease their preparations until at least August 24.
Scottish football’s Joint Response Group yesterday enforced a ban on training activity north of the border for all clubs outside of the 12 Premiership sides and Glasgow City, who are preparing for a UEFA Women’s Champions League tie later this month.
This morning, the JRG said because Hull City and Oriam have a private arrangement to use the facilities and the Humberside club do not fall under the jurisdiction of the governing bodies in Scotland, they were clear to continue training in Edinburgh as long as they continue to follow the relevant Coronavirus protocols.
The Scottish Government has been contacted for comment.
Hearts last night issued a statement claiming they would examine their options after being told to stop their pre-season camp for the next ten days.
In a club statement, they said: “We have done nothing wrong and yet, once again, we are being disproportionately disadvantaged by a decision which has been described as ‘the fairest’.
“We should not forget that this situation has come about, not because of Covid-19, but because of behavioural issues, not by our employees but by those of other clubs.
“This delay reflects a lack of confidence that certain clubs will be able to comply and meet the required protocols.
“How can it possibly be ‘fair’ that we should be penalised?”
Three other Scottish Championship clubs were preparing to return to training on Monday, but will now have to postpone their plans by at least a week.
Community leaders in the Highlands are calling for prosecutions to clamp down on “dirty tourism” at beauty spots.
In the village of Durness, the number of wild campers has regularly outstripped the local population.
Fires, litter and bad parking have also been causing problems in the area.
Fines of £200 can be imposed, but STV News has learned none has been dished out during a post-lockdown tourism surge.
Tackling the problems of littering and dumping of general and human waste is primarily the responsibility of local authorities.
However, police and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency have also been part of a co-ordinated effort to deal with well-documented recent problems affecting countless communities across Scotland.
A spokeswoman for Highland Council said: “No tourist-related fixed penalty notices (FPNs) have been issued during lockdown by (our) environmental health service.”
She added that its officers were investigating claims of camper van illegally disposing of chemical waste and a wild camper leaving litter behind.
“If sufficient evidence is established, then a FPN will be issued in both cases,” she said.
Community council leaders said they wanted to see tougher enforcement action.
Kinlochbervie Community Council secretary Margaret Meek said: “I’m shocked that Highland Council have issued no fixed penalty notices and are only pursuing two cases.
“Although I’d imagine gathering sufficient evidence to pursue an individual case would be difficult, it seems clear the current measures to address the ‘dirty tourist’ problem are inadequate.”
Durness Community Council chairman Donald Campbell said: “I’m not surprised by Highland Council’s response.
“They haven’t put any staff in place to cover this area in order to enforce any litter or pollution infringements by tourists. If the same happened in Inverness it would be dealt with.
“If we, as locals, break the same law they seem to have the resources to deal with it. We can’t ask people to put themselves in danger by asking people to obey the law.”
Highland Council is keen to promote the fact that it welcomes lifeline tourism as “a crucial component of our local economy”.
It pointed out that there is no statutory requirement for it to provide public toilets, but that it supports communities taking responsibility for them through asset transfers or with bids to develop new facilities.
In an effort to prevent littering, council officials said there were bigger bins and more collections in key sites including Sutherland.
The council, together with the Highlands and Islands Local Resilience Partnership, has established a working group to tackle so-called “wild camping” issues.
The organisations are developing a leaflet for local communities to use to promote “responsible tourist/camping behaviour”.
Highland has applied for a £358,000 Scottish Government grant for infrastructure to provide enhanced waste services.
The council is also planning to develop a “visitor management plan” with the aim of addressing key tourism related concerns.
Police Scotland said local officers carry out regular patrols in the north-west Highlands to respond to concerns raised about irresponsible camping and parking.
Inspector James Rice said: “We’ll continue to work with our partners to address any antisocial or illegal behaviour and take the appropriate action.”
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “We’re aware of incidents of littering, antisocial behaviour and damage to our natural environment since lockdown restrictions began to ease, and are clear that this behaviour is completely unacceptable and disrespectful to local communities.
“We’ve taken exceptional measures in every area of government as we deal with the challenges of Covid-19 and that’s particularly clear in our support for local services.”
She said the Scottish Government had committed almost £330m of extra funding to local government, of which Highland Council would receive “a fair share”.
Six others were also injured on board the 6.38am Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street service.
The family of Mr Stuchbury, 62, from Aberdeen, described him as “much adored” and said he was “loved by many”.
A statement read: “Chris was a much adored husband, son, dad, stepdad, grandad, brother and uncle and was a treasured and loved friend to many, including the Targe Towing Team where he was an integral and valued member of staff.
“He also volunteered at Roxburghe House in Aberdeen during his spare time which he thoroughly enjoyed doing.
“We are devastated by his death and we request privacy at this difficult time as we come to terms with our loss.”
Mr McCullough, 45, who was a former gas engineer before deciding to switch careers after servicing the boiler of a railway worker, leaves behind wife Stephanie and three children, two girls and a boy.
His family said: “Words cannot describe the utterly devastating effect of Brett’s death on his family and friends.
“We have lost a wonderful husband, father, and son in the most awful of circumstances.
“Brett was the most decent and loving human being we have ever known and his passing leaves a huge void in all our lives.”
Relatives of 58-year-old train conductor Donald Dinnie also paid tribute following their loss.
They said: “As a family we are devastated by the sudden and tragic loss of Donald, a loving and proud dad, son, partner, brother, uncle and friend.
“No words could ever describe how much he will be missed by us all and there will always be a missing piece in our hearts.
“It is so heart warming to see how many people have fond memories of Donald and I am sure they have plenty of happy and funny stories to tell. He was a kind, caring and genuine person who was never found without a smile on his face. We know he will be deeply missed by all.
“Together we thank each and everyone of you for your kind words and condolences but we kindly ask at this time that we have the chance to grieve privately as a family.”
Juries will hear trials remotely from cinemas as part of plans to tackle a growing backlog of cases.
The move follows the success of the “remote jury” model used by the High Court in Edinburgh, where juries have observed trials by video link from another courtroom to allow for physical distancing.
High Court trials restarted last month in Edinburgh and Glasgow, having been paused during the pandemic.
The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) said tests have been run from a jury centre based in a cinema complex, during one of which a mock trial was conducted with a full jury of 15 people watching the proceedings.
It is now seeking to establish remote jury centres based in cinemas in the east and west of Scotland for at least 16 juries, with £5.5m in financial support from Scottish Government.
Lady Dorrian, chairwoman of the restarting solemn trials working group, said: “The beauty of this solution is that it preserves the 15-person jury trial and will allow us, in time, to raise business in the High Court to a level that will start to address the growing backlog of cases.
“The working group took a long, hard look at the lessons learned from the two-court and three-court model currently in use to run a small number of trials.
“It was clear that the remote jury model does work and, if suitable external venues could be identified, it would be possible to run a much higher number of trials, making full use of the courtrooms we have available for the trials.”
The target is to open the jury centres, which will be managed and staffed by SCTS, in the autumn.
Eric McQueen, chief executive of the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, said: “The great advantage of these remote jury centres is that they provide, in a single building, a number of spacious and soundproofed auditoria that can comfortably accommodate 15 physically-distanced jurors, combined with state-of-the-art secure technology.
“It also means we have a model that can be replicated at various sites around the country.”
Justice secretary Humza Yousaf said work is ongoing to consider what further actions may be needed to address the backlog of cases and for remote jury centres to be further rolled out for sheriff and jury cases.
He said: “As we continue to move out of lockdown we need new thinking and collaboration to deliver jury trials in line with public health requirements.
“Lord Justice Clerk Lady Dorrian’s working group and the courts service should be commended for finding and delivering a ground-breaking solution that significantly increases High Court capacity to make up to 16 jury-rooms available while importantly adhering to physical distancing rules.”