Last week, a woman was out walking in the East Ayrshire countryside near her house, when she came across an almighty odour.

When she followed it she discovered the cause, 13 foxes, all shot, had been dumped in a layby.

Caroline Johnstone, a pet shop worker from Sinclairston, was appalled by the sight of the creatures, in various states of decomposition, the oldest, she reckoned to not have been there two months.

It's common for agricultural workers to kill foxes at this time of year, in order to keep them away from livestock, with lambing season being upon us. Something that she says she understands, but what she can’t reason with is that after being shot, whoever has done it, has decided to dump them elsewhere, just a few hundred metres from her home.

She said: “Why do they not just leave them up at the farm? I know they have to keep vermin down but there’s a limit. And I don’t understand why they don’t leave them there.

“It’s disgusting, it really turns your stomach, the hair is still there, it’s got all its face.

“It’s like a mini graveyard, and they’re such lovely animals.”

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She likened it to fly-tipping, saying: “It’s like people taking their rubbish away into laybys and dumping it there, and we don’t accept that, why is this different.”

Whilst landowners have a legal right to shoot foxes, there is however, a requirement on them to dispose of deceased animals correctly.

The Scottish Society for the Protection of Animals is investigating the deaths of the 13 foxes to ascertain whether there has been any wrongdoing, but they say that ultimately, if it is an issue of incorrect disposal, it would be something for environmental health to follow up.

Investigations are ongoing.

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