Three dogs & two buzzards die after being ‘deliberately poisoned’ in Perthshire

BBC News article (8 May 2018):


Police in Highland Perthshire are appealing for information after three working dogs and two buzzards were deliberately poisoned.

The incidents took place between October 2017 and April this year in and around the Edradynate and Pitnacree Estates area.

The poisons used to kill the dogs and birds are banned in the UK.

[Photo of a poisoned buzzard found in the area in 2015, by RPUK]

A Police Scotland spokesman said the animals’ owners were “understandably upset” at the loss of their dogs.

He said: “Once again, we also find ourselves investigating the illegal killing of raptors and this is extremely disappointing.

We have searched the areas and our investigations to date would suggest that there is not a wider threat to public safety.

However, all members of the public in the area are asked to remain vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour, especially during the hours of darkness.”


Hmm. Edradynate Estate has been at the centre of investigations for alleged wildlife crime for a very, very long time. It’s well worth reading an earlier summary we wrote (here) which includes some fascinating commentary about the estate by former RSPB Investigator Dave Dick, who claimed as far back as 2004 that the estate was “among the worst in Scotland for wildlife crime“, and commentary by former Police Wildlife Crime Officer Alan Stewart, who said in 2005, “Edraynate Estate has probably the worst record in Scotland for poisoning incidents, going back more than a decade“. The details involve a disturbingly high number of poisoned birds and poisoned baits that were found over the years, as well as a number of dropped prosecution cases (nobody has ever been convicted for any of the alleged offences). The summary also includes information about links between the estate and the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association.

[Edradynate Estate, photo by RPUK]

More recently, in March 2015 two dead buzzards were found near to the estate. Toxicology tests revealed they’d been poisoned with a banned substance (although the name wasn’t revealed). A police raid of the estate uncovered a third dead buzzard. A thorough police investigation followed but in May 2017 the Crown Office rejected a plea from Police Scotland to bring proceedings against an estate gamekeeper (see here). The Crown Office has so far not provided a clear explanation for this decision.

However, in September 2017 SNH imposed a three-year General Licence restriction on Edradynate Estate, presumably in response to the alleged buzzard poisonings in 2015 (see here). Some felt sympathy for the new gamekeeper who would now be subjected to these restrictions even though he’d only just begun his employment following the ‘retirement’ of the previous Head gamekeeper in February 2017.

And talking of that previous Head gamekeeper, you may remember last year he was charged with a number of offences including the alleged malicious damage of crops on Edradynate in April 2017 (it is claimed he poisoned them by spraying with an unknown substance, causing them to rot and perish) and the alleged theft of a thermal imaging spotting scope (see here). This resulted in some court proceedings that were mysteriously shrouded in secrecy (here).

Presumably he has pleaded not guilty as we now know a trial will take place at Perth Sheriff Court on 11 June 2018 for alleged ‘malicious mischief’.

14 thoughts on “Three dogs & two buzzards die after being ‘deliberately poisoned’ in Perthshire”

    1. Sorry to quibble but it doesn’t have the Alan Stewart quote or mention Dave Dick by name.

      [Ed: The quotes are within several links embedded in the post]

  1. To paraphrase the great Bob Dylan :-
    “Yes, And how many years can some raptors exist
    Before they’re allowed to fly free
    Yes, How many years can a MSP turn his head
    And pretend that he just doesn’t see
    Yes How many deaths will it take ’til he knows
    Yes, And how many Raptors have died

    Published 1963 and still relevant.
    Stuart Craig

  2. Police said “However, all members of the public in the area are asked to remain vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour, especially during the hours of darkness.”

    Are these bloody people for real ? Remain vigilant – report suspicious behaviour – especially if it happened 7 months ago !
    Mr. policeman, has it not occurred to you that people may well help if they were told about the crimes timeously and not weeks and months after the event. We don’t trust you anymore you are part of the problem.

    1. They can get an appeal for criminal damage to a police car out within hours of it being discovered, but with wildlife crime they have to wait for so long because….? xxxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx

  3. Well VisitScotland advertise Edradynate House as holiday rental in absolutely glowing terms. recently refurbished, in glorious setting, sleeps 16 in 9 bedrooms, from £3650 weekly. ‘NO PETS’

  4. This is now beyond a joke. Whilst I’m all for the shooting industry, this constant persecution has got to be brought to head.
    I too, am perplexed as to why it takes so long for this to come out in the public domain. Is it because it is such an emotive subject and releasing the details in a timely manner you would expect the police to do, would hamper/jeapordise any pending investigation?

  5. I wonder what the difference is between the police rights to stop and search,swab test etc suspected drug dealers, and police rights to randomly test and search suspected poisoners ? As these types of poisons are highly dangerous and indiscriminately applied to baits and laid such that the public are endangered, surely the same level of detection is warranted. It is very rare to see a drug dealer escape prosecution when caught red handed !

  6. The BBC story also has the below at the end of the story.

    “A spokesman for the Edradynate Estate said: “These are appalling incidents that have affected local estates and farms.

    “We reported a number of these incidents to Police Scotland and have been working closely with them to provide help to the investigation.

    “But, in spite of this, we have most recently seen the terrible death by poisoning of a sheepdog when it was most needed during the lambing period.”

    Does the court case relate to damage to crops on the estate itself or elsewhere, and do we now have an incident where a dog on the estate itself has been poisoned? All very odd. I wonder if the estate reported the poisoning of the buzzard as well as the dog or dogs and I hope they are providing the same help with the investigation for both.

  7. I find the delay in notifying the public and asking for their vigilance, the secrecy around what has actually been happening, the lack of apparent action by Police and the number of dropped prosecutions to do with this notorious Estate more than suspicious and that there should be some degree of explanation being given rather than leaving us all to draw our own conclusions, certainly the Estate’s reputation is suffering as well as the knock on effect upon the general situation and matters such as Raven license.

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