A Peterhead woman has been banned from owning dogs for four years after failing to look after her terrier properly.
Ashley Graham has been convicted of failing to provide a suitable and nutritional diet or seek veterinary advice for her Patterdale terrier Lola, who had to be put down.
She was sentenced on Monday at Peterhead Sheriff Court, and was also given a 100 hours’ community payback order.
A Scottish SPCA inspector described it as one of the worst cases she has seen in more than a decade in the job and said she believed Graham, of Crossfolds Crescent, Peterhead, should have been given a lifetime ban on owning animals.
The Scottish SPCA, who investigate instances of animal cruelty, was called out to investigate Graham after a complaint was made to their helpline about Lola’s condition.
‘I was shocked’
Inspector Fiona McKenzie described it as the most horrific she had seen in her 13 years of experience.
She said: “When I first laid eyes on Lola, I was shocked. I could not believe what I was seeing. She was like a walking skeleton.
“She had no body fat or muscle, her skin just hung off her bones. There was no fat on Lola’s head and everything was sunken. Her eyes were cloudy with signs of infection and they had sunk back in to her eye sockets.
“Lola was suffering excessive hair loss from what looked like a chronic skin condition and her skin was hot to touch.
“Her ears had infected wounds that had eaten away at the edge of her ears. She was very weak and had a depressed demeanour.
“It was clear Lola was suffering from lack of nutrition and was in need of veterinary attention.
“The vet concluded that Lola’s condition had developed over the course of several months causing a prolonged period of suffering.”
Graham is solely to blame for Lola’s death
Unfortunately, Lola’s health worsened despite the best efforts of the vet, who put her on antibiotics and extracted her decayed teeth.
She did not respond to treatment for her septicaemia and it was decided that the kindest thing for her was to put her to sleep to end her suffering.
Insp McKenzie believes that Graham is solely to blame for the death of Lola and that she should have been given a lifetime ban on owning animals.
She added: “This is a devastating end to Lola’s life which could have easily been avoided if Graham had provided an adequate diet or had asked a vet for advice sooner.
“Ultimately Graham is responsible for the death of Lola.
“Any sentence is a success but we believe that Lola’s condition should have resulted in a lifetime ban on owning animals. We believe this would have been an appropriate sentence for Graham.
“But we do hope this has made her think seriously about her ability to care for any animal in the future.”
Anyone who is concerned about an animal can contact the Scottish SPCA’s confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.