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Chickens dumped alive on the Pentland Road in Lewis have led the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) to issue a warning over animal cruelty today (Monday 31 August). 

The Scottish SPCA says there will be ‘consequences’ for anyone found to have abandoned an animal.

The animal welfare charity was alerted to the latest incident by a dog-walker who found a hen while walking her dog in the area on Friday (28 August).

She posted an appeal on social media and a kind member of the public responded by arriving with a bucket of feed for the abandoned animal.

SSPCA inspector Maggie Adkins said: “The hen has a squint beak but is able to eat well and does not have any other apparent injuries. Unfortunately, this is not the first time we have had reports of hens and ducks in need of rescue over the last few years. Sadly, it seems to have becoming a dumping ground.

“In this case a member of the public responded to an appeal the caller made on social media, and rehomed the bird who is now living a happy life with their other hens. Thankfully, this incident had a happy ending but this is not always the case.

“The last time we were called to Pentland Road for 10 hens that were abandoned, by the time we got there only five remained as the eagles took the others. Some of the birds we have previously rescued from here have been in a terrible condition, from injured ducks to starving hens.” 

All those birds found alive by local SSPCA inspectors have been rescued and rehomed, but releasing birds to fend for themselves is not a solution and could lead to prosecution.  

Maggie said: “Although we appreciate that the owners may think they are doing the best thing for the birds by setting them free, these are domesticated animals who cannot fend for themselves and this is not the correct procedure to follow if you wish to give up an animal for rehoming.

“Leaving the birds out here exposed to the elements and predators is not only cruel but also illegal. We’d urge the public to contact the Scottish SPCA helpline on 03000 999 999 if anyone has any information about this hen, or indeed any previous birds who’ve been left in this area.”

The picture shows the three rescued hens (Scottish SPCA).