Andrew Debidin SSPCA Statement
This is the standard SSPCA response re Debidin
Something is not quite right here - food for thought.
It seems everyone is getting the same answer.
On Sunday 2 March 2008, the News of the World carried a story "Barking Mad" which made serious allegations against a man named Andrew Debidin.
As a result of the story, the Scottish SPCA has received a number of emails, calls and letters regarding the allegations.
We think the newspaper would have checked their information carefully before publishing so as not to face litigation.
The story states that Andrew Debidin has been banned from keeping dogs and jailed in England. Debidin has never appeared in Court on animal cruelty offences and the ban on keeping dogs, which is only active in one English county, is not connected with an animal welfare offence.
Since Andrew Debidin arrived in Scotland, the Scottish SPCA, the Police, and Local Authority Animal Health Officers have all monitored the welfare of his dogs, initially at Ardersier and more recently, Rothiemay.
Why have they been monitoring Debidin for so long if they have no concerns about the welfare of his animals? Wouldn't that be a waste of their precious resources if there was no cause for concern?
The News of the World article makes allegations that he is skinning the dogs to sell the pelts abroad and one quote states "We saw skins being dried and stretched over pallets in his field."
Scottish SPCA Inspectors have seen the drying stretched skins and it is in fact tripe which he uses to feed the dogs. Mr Debidin also has an arrangement with a local farmer to take fallen stock to also feed his dogs. When the Society Inspectors visited, this accounted for the bones and other animal remains on the site.
There are very strict rules governing fallen stock and tripe.
The only complaints that have been substantiated are those of barking dogs and smell. The dogs in Mr Debidin's care have all been of good body weight and shown no signs of fear. The Scottish SPCA, like the Police, cannot remove animals unless there is just cause for concern and barking dogs and noxious smells are the remit of another agency.
Scottish SPCA Inspectors will continue to monitor the situation.
Why - if they have no concerns?
It may be useful to highlight the legal parameters that Scottish SPCA Inspectors and the Police work to. Authorised Scottish SPCA Inspectors are able to remove animals if a veterinary surgeon certifies that the animal is suffering or is likely to suffer if its circumstances do not change. Inspectors are only able to remove the animal without veterinary certification if it is reasonable in the circumstances not to seek the assistance of, or wait, for a veterinary surgeon.
Remember what the SSPCA and their independent vet said about poor CD - they didn't help him. SSPCA and CD.
The Scottish SPCA fully respects the seriousness of the powers bestowed upon them to seize people's property and respects the need for an expert veterinary opinion regarding the need to seize animals. In cases where it is not practical to wait for a veterinary surgeon to attend in situ, animals will be seized and taken directly to a veterinary surgeon and an opinion sought there. In situations where it may be the environment in which the animal is being kept which is causing the problem, then the Scottish SPCA will endeavour to have the veterinary surgeon attend in situ. Veterinary surgeons are considered expert witnesses by the Courts and it is their opinion which will always be sought in any case matters.
Scottish SPCA Inspectors are accountable to the law, and like the police, must always act within the powers bestowed upon them. Any abuse of their powers will be taken very seriously and in any action that they take to protect the welfare of animals, they are required to also ensure that they are acting legally and fairly towards the accused.
It is our opinion that the SSPCA interpret the laws according to their own policies and procedures which limits the usefulness of legislation designed to help unfortunate animals.
Press and PR Manager
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Direct Line: 0131-338 5605
Mobile: 07733 007 272
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