Couple starved dog and left him with 'protruding' bones and sores

Michael Nisbet and Rebecca Ward were also given 300 hours of unpaid work between them.

Falkirk couple that starved and abused dog banned from owning pets after Scottish SPCA investigation Scottish SPCA

A couple has been banned from keeping animals for 15 years after failing to provide enough nourishment and a suitable environment for their dog.

The Scottish SPCA responded to a report of concern for a dog described as “extremely thin with protruding bones” on April 12, 2021.

After several attempts to check on the dog’s welfare with no response, on April 24, they were greeted by Rebecca Ward and an extremely underweight Staffordshire bull terrier, Zeg.

A healthy weight for dogs of his breed and age is between 25 and 20 kilograms, according to the animal charity.

At just 19.8kg, Zeg was suffering from chronic muscle wastage over his head, legs and body.

The Scottish SPCA said his ribs were “clearly visible though his skin”, and he also thickened pressure sores all over his body, suggesting that he had laid on hard surfaces for a very long time.

He suffered from hair loss and skin damage on his tail, which the charity says indicated “long-term caging” in a small space.

Vets were initially concerned that he may have a loss of appetite, but Zeg ate ravenously with no difficulty swallowing – with no clinical reason to his low weight, all signs pointed to months of starvation and inappropriate housing.

Michael Nisbet and Rebecca Ward were found guilty at Falkirk Sherriff Court on May 5, 2022.

Scottish SPCA inspector Andrew Gray said: “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.

“If anyone is concerned about an animal, they can contact our confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.” 

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