Scottish SPCA welcome animal ban for couple who starved dog in Stenhousemuir home

A charity has welcomed the lengthy ban on a couple owning animals after they were convicted of failing to look after their pet dog.

Thursday, 12th May 2022, 4:30 pm

Michael Nisbet, 32, and Rebecca Ward, 25, neglected the animal so badly over a period 10 months it lost hair and developed a number of sores on its body.

The couple appeared at Falkirk Sheriff Court on Thursday, May 5 having pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to their dog Zeg at an address in McLachlan Street, Stenhousemuir between June 11, 2020 and April 24, 2021. They were also found guilty of failing to provide a suitable environment for the dog.

The pair, now living at East Main Street, Menstrie, were ordered to carry out a community payback order totalling 300 hours of unpaid work between them following a Scottish SPCA investigation.

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Zeg, whose owners appeared at Falkirk Sheriff Court on an animal cruelty charge

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They have also been disqualified from owning animals for a combined period of 15 years.

Following the conclusion of the case, Scottish SPCA inspector, Andrew Gray, said, “On April 12, 2021, we responded to a concern for a dog that was described as extremely thin with protruding bones.

“We attempted to visit and call a few times but were unable to reach the owners. However, I could see a dog in a cage through the kitchen window. Only the dog’s head was visible and I couldn’t determine body condition or if provisions were available for the dog.

“On April 24, 2021, we visited the property again and were met by Ward. A dog matching the description we’d received appeared at the door in a very thin state with staining on his legs and underside.

“We took Zeg, a five to six-year old white and brindle Staffordshire bull terrier, to be examined by a vet.

“The vet found Zeg to be significantly underweight at just 19.8kg. A healthy weight for this size and breed of dog is 25 to 30kg. Zeg was also suffering from chronic muscle wastage over his head, legs and body.

“His ribs were clearly visible through his skin and he had pressure sores over his joints. These lesions were thickened which suggest laying on hard surfaces for long periods of time.

“The hair loss and skin damage on his tail indicated long-term caging in a small environment. There were pressure sores which were close to ulcerating over his pelvic area due to lack of muscle and fat coverage to protect the skin.

“When Zeg was fed, he ate ravenously with no difficulty swallowing. The vet concluded that there was no clinical reason to explain why Zeg was so underweight. Sadly, his condition suggests months of chronic malnutrition and inappropriate housing which caused him unnecessary suffering.

“Neither Nisbet nor Ward, have responded to repeated attempts to contact them. In the year that Zeg has been in our care they have also never enquired about how he is doing.

“We’re glad that Zeg is out of the situation that caused him so much suffering and we’re pleased that Nisbet and Ward have been given lengthy bans on owning animals. Their sentencing means that Zeg can now start looking for his forever home.

Anyone is concerned about an animal, can contact The Scottish SPCA confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.