Elderly dog put down after owners caused 'shocking' suffering

The neglect left Ben, a 17-year-old border collie cross, with his spine and ribs showing while two cats had flea infestations.

Cats and elderly dog put down after Brechin owners caused ‘shocking’ suffering Scottish SPCA

A couple have been banned from having animals after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to their dog and cats.

John and Cynthia Stewart, from Chapelton of Menmuir, Brechin, were handed a 10-year ban from keeping, owning and taking charge of any animals after the harm they caused.

The neglect left Ben, a 17-year-old border collie cross, with almost no hair and his spine and ribs showing.

Two cats, both aged seven years old and named Ruff and Tumble, had sore and irritated skin and were suffering hair loss when they were discovered by Scottish SPCA (Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) inspectors.

Two cats, both aged seven years old and named Ruff and Tumble, were suffering from sore and irritated skin and had significant hair loss.Scottish SPCA

The Stewarts were reported to the charity when a member of the public called its helpline on February 28, 2022, to report the terrible condition of the pets.

“The caller stated the dog was missing fur, limping and potentially bleeding from their back leg. They also said one of the cats was coughing and both were matted,” said inspector Karen Cooper.

The animals were immediately removed from the property and taken to a vet.

A veterinary surgeon concluded that Ben, Ruff and Tumble had been caused “unnecessary suffering”.

“Ben was found to be severely emaciated with a heavy flea infestation,” said inspector Cooper.

“The resulting itching had caused multiple lesions throughout his skin and an open wound on his left hind leg, through which the femur could be seen. He also had extremely overgrown nails, with some having grown into his pads.

“Tumble also had a flea infestation, resulting in excessive itching and multiple lesions to the skin. He was also found to have a bladder condition which prevented him from urinating properly.

“Ruff was in a slightly better condition than Ben and Tumble but was also found to have fleas and multiple skin wounds from the subsequent itching.”

Both Ben and Tumble were euthanised to prevent further suffering.

After receiving antibiotics and steroid injections, Ruff was transferred to one of the Scottish SPCA’s rescue and rehoming centres for further care and attention.

But he was later found to have a cancerous tumour and was put down on veterinary advice.

The Stewarts were given an 18-month supervision order and sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work after admitting guilt at Forfar Sheriff Court on January 12, 2023.

“We are pleased that the Stewarts received a ban and supervision order, given the severity of neglect that Ben, Ruff and Tumble experienced,” said inspector Cooper.

“Their sheer disregard for the welfare of their animals was shocking.”

Anyone concerned about an animal can contact the Scottish SPCA’s confidential helpline on 03000 999 999.