A BUSINESSMAN who allowed his large dog to roam the grounds of historic Whittingehame Estate and attack two of his neighbours’ pets has been banned from owning dogs.

Kevin Martin owned the large Turkish Kangal dog when it savaged a retriever and a terrier in the grounds of the 19th-century mansion, east of Haddington.

The Kangal – originally bred to protect livestock from wolves, bears and jackals – attacked both dogs by pinning them to the ground and biting them to the neck while out on walks with their owners.

Martin, 48, had been served with a dog control notice following a series of complaints from several worried residents of the exclusive £1.5million apartments in 2018.

But he continued to allow the guard dog, named Mia, out on its own to patrol the grounds before the out-of-control animal then went on to carry out the attacks on his neighbours’ pets.

Martin, who runs a social enterprise for disadvantaged children, denied being the owner of the dog and breaching the control notice, and stood trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on several dates last year.

The court was told that Martin had been served with the dog notice on September 5, 2018 after numerous complaints from Whittingehame residents about the Kangal being allowed out on its own.

Witness Michael Gilmartin, a data company CEO, said that Martin’s Kangal lunged at his dog as his wife took the family pet for a walk at the estate in September 2018.

Mr Gilmartin, 54, told the court the dog “appeared out of the darkness and attacked our dog” before it ran off towards Martin’s home.

Professor Edward Clutton, an Edinburgh University researcher, said his retriever, named Alan, was also attacked by Martin’s dog.

Mr Clutton, 63, added that he would avoid Martin’s residence due to previous incidents but on one occasion the Kangal “appeared from nowhere” and attacked his pet.

Mr Clutton said the Kangal “pinned Alan to the ground and went for his throat” and his pet was left with puncture wounds to the neck.

Martin, who represented himself during the trial, claimed he had bought the 30kg guard dog as “a livestock guardian” as foxes had attacked his geese and hens, but denied being the actual owner of the animal.

Martin was also facing a separate allegation of assaulting sheriff officer Alex Horne, who had attended at his property in July 2018.

Mr Horne told the court that he was climbing a gate when Martin nudged it with his vehicle during a visit to the estate to serve him a notice. He also said Martin had attempted to punch him during the confrontation.

Following the evidence, Martin was found guilty on all charges by Sheriff Michael O’Grady QC and he returned to the dock for sentencing last Friday.

Sheriff O’Grady said that the dog had “caused considerable fear and annoyance” to the residents of Whittingehame and he “believed it was appropriate” Martin should be banned from owning dogs for the next three years.

The sheriff also fined Martin £200 and ordered him to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work in the community.

Martin was found guilty of failing to adhere to a dog control notice and allowed his animal to attack other dogs, causing injury, at Whittingehame Estate on four occasions on September 14 and 29, October 3 and 28, 2018.

Martin was also found guilty of assaulting sheriff officer Alexander Horne by driving a vehicle at and colliding with a fence Mr Horne was surmounting and attempting to punch him on July 16, 2018.

Whittingehame House was home to Arthur Balfour, who was born there in 1848 and served as Prime Minister from 1902 to 1905.

Balfour hosted guests including King Edward VII, Winston Churchill, HG Wells and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle at the neo-classical country house.

It is believed he signed the Balfour Declaration papers in the library at Whittingehame in 1917 and the house became a safe haven for Jewish children fleeing anti-Semitism in Europe.