EXCLUSIVE: Dog hunting thugs butcher deer near a Milngavie school

Deer killed by Poachers in Milngavie'Photo by Paul Mc Sherry 29th Aug 2013
Deer killed by Poachers in Milngavie'Photo by Paul Mc Sherry 29th Aug 2013

Sick thugs savaged a defenceless deer with dogs - before butchering it and leaving the gruesome remains near a Milngavie primary school.

The terrified animal was hunted down by a gang with high-powered spotlights, who watched while hounds ripped it to pieces.

They then chopped off the head and hooves and disembowelled it before making off with what was left of the carcass.

The rest was dumped close to Craigdhu Primary.

A brutal gang is hunting roe deer in Milngavie - all in the name of a sick, illegal ‘sport’. This attack - which happened last Tuesday night at South Mains Farm - was just the latest in a string of gruesome incidents over the summer.

Farmer Donald Gill (44) found stinking, decomposing carcasses wrapped up in industrial bags in July - and a dog walker was confronted by the macabre sight of a deer hung from a tree near Chestnut Lane.

On another occasion Mr Gill received a call from the police to say an injured animal was limping around his fields.

Thinking it had been hit by a car, Mr Gill, a licensed gun owner, went to put it out of its misery - only to find it covered in bite and slash marks.

In the latest incident, he was made aware of people in one of his fields using spotlights late at night - and bravely set off in the dark to confront them.

The three gang members, who had two lurchers and a pit bull with them, showered him with abuse and threats.

Mr Gill, whose family have owned the farm for almost 100 years, said: “I drove down in my jeep and I shone a searchlight at them. They didn’t seem in the least perturbed. They shouted abuse at me, telling me what they would do to me, before casually walking off in the direction of the school.

“They were dressed in black, one was wearing a tracksuit and they had rucksacks. Next morning I found the head and legs. That’s how they operate - they watch the dogs kill the animals, chop them up and carry what’s left away.”

The deer killed was a five or six-year-old buck - and the rest of its family group, including two fawns, was still in the area the next day.

Mr Gill said: “It’s just sick - they can’t be getting much from it other than the enjoyment of watching it happen - there’s not a lot of meat on a roe deer. Unlike red deer, they’re small animals, and there won’t be much after the dogs have finished.

“I recognise some animals have to be controlled, though roe deer don’t cause any problems. But it has to be done properly - a properly licensed marksman will take out an animal humanely, with one shot. They will also respect seasons and whether it is a mother with young.

“This is different - it’s indiscriminate and is just a cruel sport. It’s illegal for a reason.”

The attacks are happening in fields near houses in Milngavie - and Mr Gill wants the public to play their part to snare the sick gang.

He said: “This isn’t happening away in the countryside - it’s near houses. If people see odd behaviour, particularly at night, especially lights shining in the fields, they should go straight to the police.”

Sergeant Andrew Mavin, Police Scotland Wildlide Crime Co-ordinator, said: “Deer poaching and coursing is a wildlife crime priority. It is no longer the old fashioned image of a harmless local and his dog shooting a rabbit or pheasant for his meal.

“Poachers now tend to roam in numbers often driving 4 x 4 motor vehicles, with a number of dogs and weapons. Deer are chased down by dogs (often lurchers) and the dispatch will be far from humane.

“The poachers have scant regard for the countryside and no regard for wildlife and the farmers land that they destroy. It is rare that animals are poached merely for food and it is more often the case that animals such as deer are killed for the takers’ pleasure and the people involved are more likely to be pursuing other criminal activities as well.

“If any meat is sold on for food it clearly won’t have been prepared to the necessary hygiene standards.

“Police Scotland takes all reports of poaching seriously and we would encourage anyone with information to call us on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 500 111.”