No pet ban for couple whose neglected dog had to be put down

 

A Dunfermline couple, who neglected their dog so badly that it had to be put down, have been allowed to continue to keep animals.

Their dog Rocco had a long list of ailments, including a hole on the side of his face because of an untreated infection.

Amanda Hunter (51) and Anthony Paton (52), both of Macbeth Road, appeared at Dunfermline Sheriff Court for sentencing.

They previously admitted that between 15th July and 2nd September last year at their home, they caused the animal unnecessary suffering.

They failed to provide appropriate care and treatment for chronic conditions, including skin conditions, lesions, ulcers, multiple fistulae, flea infestation, hair loss and overgrown claws and as a consequence the dog was euthanised on welfare grounds.

Depute fiscal Azrah Yousaf said the Crown was seeking the imposition of orders banning both from keeping animals for two years. However, this was opposed.

The depute told the court that the SSPCA had received a report about the condition of Rocco last September.

The report was that the dog was being neglected and had an ear infection which was not being treated and this had led to the skin opening up so that the jaw was visible.

The couple were not at home when the SSPCA attended but Paton phoned them back to say the dog had been taken to a vet on 31st August.

They had been told by the vet that the dog should be put down but this was not done.

The SSPCA officers returned to the couple’s home and saw the dog. “It had a gaping and weeping hole on the side of its face,” said the depute.

The dog was removed from the house and the pair were told they were going to be charged.

Rocco’s weight was 24.8 kg when it should have been 30 to 35 kg, said the depute. The dog also had a flea infestation and was suffering from hair loss.

The dog was euthanised because of its condition. The SSPCA had noted that there were other animals in the house including a dog, rabbits and frogs.

Solicitor Elaine Buist, for Hunter, said her client was “distraught about the way Rocco’s life ended”.

She added, “She simply didn’t appreciate the way things would deteriorate.”

Ms Buist said her client was very concerned about being banned from keeping animals and that Casper, the brother of Rocco, was healthy and well looked after.

Solicitor Sarah Meehan, for Paton, said, “It is accepted that this is a particularly sad case. They did take the dog to the vet’s but failed to carry out the vet’s advice.”

Sheriff Craig McSherry said, “This is not the usual case of animal neglect where animals are left to forage for food around houses.”

He also accepted pet owners “can be swayed by their emotions not to take advice”.

He deferred sentence until 31st January to give the couple time to donate £400 each to the SSPCA. He also said he would not be imposing orders banning them from keeping animals.

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