Earlston’s wandering bull back home, claims owner

THE owner of a bull which roamed woodland near Earlston for six months claims the animal has now been recaptured and did not pose a safety hazard, writes Mark Entwistle.

Rosemary Douglas, from Craigsford at Earlston, told TheSouthern this week that the animal, believed to be a young black Highland bull, which had been on the loose in woods on the southern outskirts of Earlston since October, was now safely back home.

“We got it back a while ago, so it’s back where it belongs,” Ms Douglas said this week. “It wasn’t on a road or anything, it was just in some woods.”

TheSouthern had contacted Ms Douglas after an Earlston resident, who had spotted the bull, raised concerns that it may pose a risk to public safety.

“I saw it as recently as the Sunday before last,” explained the woman – who wished to remain anonymous.

The woman, who frequently rides horses with her daughter through the woodlands, said: “I reported the bull to both the police – that same Sunday – and the Scottish SPCA, but they said unless it was on the public highway or was suffering, it was not their responsibility.

“I would have thought there were also animal welfare issues here. The animal would be quite lonely for a start. Surely it can’t be ok just to let it roam these woods all on its own?”

A police spokesman confirmed officers had been alerted to the bull’s presence in the woodlands, but had been unable to trace the animal.

“We were told the animal was a calf about the size of a Shetland pony and would probably flee if anyone got too close. As far as we are aware, the owner has made repeated efforts to recapture the animal, almost on a daily basis.

“If the animal was deemed to be posing an obvious threat, then we would intervene, but there’s been no sign of threatening behaviour as far as we are aware.”

Scottish SPCA chief inspector Paul Anderson said: “We were contacted by a member of the public two weeks ago to report a bull roaming in woodland. The bull is not injured or in ill health, therefore there are no welfare issues for the Scottish SPCA to address.

“We understand that local police have been making enquiries into this matter in relation to the public safety aspect of having a bull roaming in an area that is accessible to people and other animals.”