Eleven cats, two dogs and underfed snake found in 'filthy conditions'

Patricia Steven was handed a ten-year pet ban and a 108-day restriction of liberty order following an investigation.

Woman banned from keeping animals for ten years after infected dogs, 11 cats and snake found at Fife home Scottish SPCA via Supplied

A woman has been issued with a ten-year pet ban after animal welfare officers discovered two dogs with infections and an underfed snake at her Fife home, as well as 11 cats in the attic.

Patricia Steven neglected her two dogs, Shadow and Cordy, at her Cardenden home by failing to provide necessary veterinary treatment for a chronic skin condition and flea infestation.

Shadow, an elderly black Labrador, eventually had to be put to sleep on welfare grounds.

The 53-year-old was also found to have failed to provide a “safe environment” for 11 cats and kittens, alongside an underweight adult corn snake during a search at her property on November 5, 2020.

She was found guilty and sentenced to a ten-year pet ban along with a restriction of liberty order for 108 days at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court on October 18.

Shadow, a black Labrador, had to be put to sleep.

‘Filthy conditions’

Scottish SPCA inspector Stephanie Ross said the animal charity required a warrant after Steven claimed the animals were “no longer at the property” despite multiple witnesses claiming otherwise.

Upon gaining entry, the dogs were found foraging amongst rubbish bags, while the corn snake was discovered in a makeshift enclosure in the living room.

After inspecting further, the cats and kittens were found in a partially-floored attic where they were covered in exposed insulation.

Mrs Ross said: “On November 5, 2020, we attended Patricia Steven’s property in response to concerns for two dogs and a number of cats and kittens.

“Steven was continually uncooperative and she claimed the animals were no longer at the property, despite multiple credible witnesses reporting their concerns.

“A warrant was executed to search the property on November 23, 2020. Due to Steven’s hostile nature, Police Scotland assisted Scottish SPCA inspectors.

“We went up the stairs and immediately saw an open hatch on the ceiling leading to the attic where a group of cats and kittens were being kept. We were concerned that the felines could have fallen from this height and become injured.

“The loft was partially floored and very unsafe. There was lots of exposed insulation and the cats were covered in this material.

“The cats were scratching themselves incessantly. They appeared distressed and were behaving erratically.

“We found two dogs living in filthy conditions in the kitchen. Shadow, an elderly black Labrador, was lying in amongst rubbish bags. He was emaciated with very prominent hair loss down his back and legs.

“Cordy, a white Staffordshire bull terrier-type dog, was frantically foraging in the bin bags looking for food. She was also emaciated and had an obvious skin complaint, with hair loss, and thickened areas on her back.

“A corn snake was also found living in a makeshift enclosure in a living room cabinet.”

The dogs were found foraging in bin bags.

‘New homes’

Following the inspection, the Scottish SPCA confirmed that the animals were removed from the property, and Cordy and the 11 cats were found new homes.

Mrs Ross added: “All animals were removed from the property. A vet confirmed both dogs were severely malnourished and underweight. They also confirmed both dogs were suffering from a severe flea infestation and ear infections. Shadow also had inflammation and infection in both eyes.

“The cats were taken to one of our animal rescue and rehoming centres where they were treated immediately for their severe flea infestation. Most of the cats had varying degrees of flea allergy dermatitis. Some cats had hair loss and some areas of scabs.

“One of the cats, Fred, required dental treatment and was found to have a grade four heart murmur.

“We are pleased that Steven has been banned from owning or keeping animals for ten years and received a restriction of liberty order.

“The issues her pets were suffering from could have been easily prevented and we hope she’ll carefully consider her ability to care for any animal in future.

“Sadly, Shadow had to be euthanised on welfare grounds, but Cordy and the 11 cats have since gone on to find new homes.

“Our thanks go to Police Scotland for their assistance.

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

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