Mar 2 2012 by Stephen Robertson, Stirling Observer Friday
A MAN who let his dog become so neglected it had to be put down has been banned from keeping animals for ten years.
David Gardiner (52) was also fined £500 at Stirling Sheriff Court on Wednesday where the full extent of crossbreed Cher’s suffering was heard.
The pet, which the family had had for around 16 years, was said to have been suffering from a number of age related disorders. These included a pancreatic tumour and Cushing’s disease, a condition affecting older dogs that can cause hair loss and a loss of bladder control. Cher’s fur was also badly matted and covered in urine stains.
The extent of Cher’s suffering only came to light after it was eventually taken to a vet by a friend of Gardiner.
The pet’s condition was so severe, however, that the vet had to put her to sleep to end her suffering straight away. Such was the vet’s concern, the Scottish SPCA were contacted, who then began an investigation.
An inspector from the animal welfare charity called at the vet’s to get this under way. On arrival, it was immediately noted that there was “an overpowering smell of urine” coming from the body of the dog.
Fiscal depute Jennifer Smith said: “The dog’s fur was so densely matted that they could not tell the breed of dog without removing sections of fur.
“It was noted that there was a large section where there was no fur on the belly and side of the dog.”
A post mortem later revealed the age-related conditions which Cher had been suffering from.
It was also concluded that the dog had by the end been unable to position itself properly for urination or was confined where it could not escape from the urine.
The fiscal depute said: “It was also confirmed that [the dog] had not eaten for several days, either because of the conditions that she was suffering from or it could have been withheld.”
Gardiner, of Duke Street, Denny, pleaded guilty to causing the dog unnecessary suffering by failing to get veterinary attention. The offence took place at Carbrook Drive, Plean, between an unknown date and August 22, 2010.
Gardiner’s solicitor Frazer McCready said that the dog had normally kept good health. He added that when it began having problems, however, Gardiner merely put this down to the dog getting old but that he would have taken it to a vet if he had known that it was suffering.
The court heard that when Cher began to have problems urinating, the accused contacted a vet but later said that he could not afford to take it along as he was on benefits.
After he eventually got the funds together, the court was told that it was actually a friend who finally took Cher along to the vet’s and the decision was taken to put the dog to sleep.
Sheriff Wyllie Robertson imposed a £500 fine and disqualified Gardiner from owning or keeping animals for 10 years.
After sentence was passed, Scottish SPCA inspector Louise Seddon said: “We are pleased Gardiner has received a 10-year ban on keeping animals following our investigation.
“This was a horrific case of neglect and the fact that he allowed Cher’s condition to deteriorate to such an extent demonstrates that he is completely unfit to care for any animal.
“Cher should have received veterinary attention long before she was taken to a vet to be put to sleep and there is no doubt she suffered as a result.
“Pets rely on their owners entirely for their well-being and it is unacceptable for someone to ignore their animal while it suffers in silence.”