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Animal Concern Advice Line News

Letter to Police Scotland Firearms Licensing

Editor's Note: For background to the Switlyk case please read October News 2018 article 3 and November news article 2

To all Police Scotland Firearms Licensing Admin Centres.
Copied to Government Ministers Sturgeon, Cunningham and Gougeon and Mike Russell MSP.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I write concerning two firearms cases which have been in the news this month.

The first case concerns pigeon fancier Mr. Duncan Cowan from Cowie who was fined £450 at Stirling Sheriff Court on 18th February after admitting using an air rifle to shoot and fatally injure a sparrowhawk on 18th April 2019. You can read more about that case on the first link at the foot of this email.

From the reports I have read there is no indication as to whether or not Mr. Cowan had a license for his airgun or if he faced any firearms charges. I write to ask Police Scotland Central Scotland Firearms Admin Centre to investigate this matter with a view to ensuring Mr. Cowan is no longer in possession of an airgun or any other firearm and that he is refused any future application for any type of firearm licence.

The second case concerns American huntress Ms Larysa Switlyk who caused some controversy in 2018 after posting on her website photographs of animals she had shot in Scotland. At that time I believed Ms Switlyk had acted within the law and indeed I initially suggested to the Government that they ask Ms Switlyk to teach the SNH Islay goose cullers how to kill their prey cleanly instead of leaving large numbers wounded to die a slow and painful death.

However photographs later emerged on social media (see third link below) showing Ms Switlyk with a sex toy she had used to abuse the body of a sheep she had shot. At that time I wrote to Police Scotland saying this new information brought into doubt the suitability of Ms Switlyk to be permitted to shoot in Scotland in future.

Last week it emerged that the Crown Office has decided not to prosecute Ms Switlyk.

A few local authorities already ban the release of balloons and Chinese lanterns from Council owned land but what is really needed is a total ban throughout the country.

However I still believe that her abuse of the dead sheep, although not illegal, does render Ms Switlyk an unsuitable person to be granted a visitor's firearm license or shotgun certificate. She could now return to any part of Scotland on another shooting holiday and I urge you all to keep this information on file should she, or someone acting on her behalf, apply for permission to use any sort of firearm in Scotland.

If a firearms application is received on behalf of Ms Switlyk I object to it being granted as I believe her behaviour has shown her not to be a fit person to hold such a licence.

Yours faithfully,

John F. Robins,
Animal Concern Advice Line

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