A crofter being sued for £20,000 after his bull made a neighbour’s prized Highland
cow pregnant has accepted his animal was responsible for the unwanted liaison.
The calf produced had the distinctive black and white marking of its Belted Galloway
father compared to the reddish colouring of Highland cattle.
But it turned into a “stroppy” young bullock and was later slaughtered.
Kathleen Allen and her husband Bernard of Great Bernera are seeking compensation
from David and Janine Hargreaves, saying their bull broke fences in the summer of
2009 and 2010 to get to their heifers while the unwanted impregnation compromised
the premium heath status of their herd, causing chaos to their breeding plans.
Giving evidence during the civil case at Stornoway Sheriff Court, David Hargreaves
said problems started after the Scottish Land Court ruled the Allens were responsible
for upkeeping an adjoining fence in the village of Kirkibost.
From then the electric fence retaining his bull - called Ozzie - was repeatedly vandalised,
letting the bull roam onto the adjacent holding.
He told his advocate Stewart Buchanan it was cut 18 times: “It was a recurring problem.
It became obvious the fence was being cut. It was a neat break like it was cut.”
The Allens would repeatedly complain to the police about his bull, he said.
Mr Hargreaves - who worked on his family dairy farm in Yorkshire when younger - said
“good relations“ between both couples deteriorated due to rows over fences.
Two bulls from the neighbouring crofts once attacked each other he said.
Mr Hargreaves described hearing a “lot of noise on the croft, unusual noises.
His daughters investigated and discovered Ozzie and the Allen’s hired Highlander
stud, called Calum Ruadh of Brue, “having a scrap.”
Calum Ruadh was identified by his ear tag as 007.
Mr Hargreaves’ daughters were “frightened and couldn’t get them apart.
“I was a bit worried myself.
Armed with a piece of wood he successfully separated them.
But Ozzie was “gouged and bleeding and pretty much defenceless as he has no horns
and is two thirds the size of the Highlander.”
Mr Hargreaves stated: “There should never be two bulls so close together.”
He said the Allens “refused to do any repairs, to maintain” adjoining fencing.
“On several occasions I asked if they would repair the damaged, rotten part of the
He said the Allens’ animals would stray to their side.
He said: “I’ve seen their cattle on my croft. Between five and ten times I’ve seen
cattle on the croft.
Communication broke down between the neighbours as the acrimonious dispute continued.
Yet the cattle issue could have been resolved if only “Mrs Allen informed us of their
This permits contact between different herds of equal health status, and would have
avoided the installation of high fences and buffer zones in this case, he indicated.
“We could have introduced our cattle into a high-health scheme.”
And they would have shifted their bull elsewhere when required.
Then the “whole thing could have been cured.
“There was no need to be best of pals to do this - just communication.”
Instead, Mrs Allen went “full force to try and force us to put up a fence which is
not my liability,” he said.
Sheriff David Sutherland will deliver his judgement at a later date.