A pack of loose dogs fatally injured a deer while their owners watched on, it has been claimed.
The brutal wildlife attack, at around 6.30pm on Monday, is being investigated by the Scottish SPCA after it was reported by a traumatized member of the public.
It is understood that the deer had incurred unsurvivable injuries following the attack in a quarry between Forfar and Kingsmuir in Angus.
Locals say the animal was hounded by dogs that were not on leads – and were not stopped by their owners until it was too late.
An eyewitness told the Record: “My mum noticed a dog chasing a deer, then when we went to look properly there was roughly five dogs.
“We shouted at the men to get their dogs and they shouted something back but I couldn’t hear.
“It may have been an accident but they didn’t shout on their dogs or try to stop them.
“Even after we shouted at them and the deer had been caught by the dogs they still just casually walked over to the dogs still attacking the poor deer and got some of the dogs to leave it and had to pick another one up to get it to stop.”
The witness said the deer was still alive by the time she reached it, though it had suffered mortal wounds.
She added: “There was a gentleman at the side that seemed to talk to the three guys when they got out of the field and made it to the track.
“He was walking his own dog at the time but I have no idea what he said to them.
“We went down the quarry to see the deer that sadly was badly attacked but still alive so we phoned the SSPCA who said they would come out.
“But when they had the deer had passed, they said they would be passing it to their inspector for an investigation.”
The animal sadly died before officers could reach it to provide help, according to Scottish SPCA inspector Alastair Adams.
He said: “We can confirm that we attended a report of an injured deer in Kingsmuir, Forfar.
“Unfortunately, the deer’s injuries were too severe and the animal passed away before we could attend.
“If anyone has welfare concerns about any animal, please report it to our confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.
“If you believe a wildlife crime has been committed, please contact Police Scotland on 101.”
Coursing – the act of using dogs to hunt wild animals – is illegal in Scotland under the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002.
Some exceptions apply for landowners clearing foxes and other pests to protect livestock and crops – but deer are not considered pests under the legislation.
Those found guilty of hunting with dogs can be sentenced to up to five years in jail and could face an unlimited fine.
The attack comes just weeks after a deer popular with locals in a Scots town was brutally killed and decapitated.
Stanley, as it had been nicknamed by residents of Bonawe in Argyll and Bute, is thought to have been shot earlier this month.
Those in the area reported hearing gunshots close to Loch Etive in the hours before the animal’s body was discovered.
The deer was killed outside of hunting season – which can be illegal if the hunter does not possess the appropriate license.
However, police say that “no criminality” took place.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Police have carried out extensive inquiries after concerns were raised over a stag carcass being found near Kenmore Cottages in Bonawe on Friday, 8 April, 2022.
“We can confirm no criminality has been established and suitable advice has been provided.”
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