Couple starved dog and neglected another with ear 'full of tumours'

Patricia O’Donnell received a £250 fine and Brian Smith was given a supervision order and unpaid work.

Airdrie couple starved dog and neglected another with ear full of tumours, say Scottish SPCA
Neglect: Starving Luna gained two kilograms within seven days after she was removed from the house.

A couple from North Lanarkshire have been handed a fine and supervision after failing to provide adequate nutrition to one of their dogs and necessary veterinary treatment to the other.

The Scottish SPCA received multiple reports of concern for a dog at an Airdrie house in April 2021.

The reports described a Labrador-cross dog as “skin and bone”, who was extremely underweight and would often cower away.

When visited by the Scottish SPCA, Patricia O’Donnell, 34, of Cairnhill, explained that her Labrador cross, Luna, was a Romanian rescue and she had sought veterinary advice to get her up to a healthy weight.

The charity said that Luna was “severely emaciated”, with her hips, spine and ribs protruding prominently.

Luna was found to be 'severely emaciated'.Scottish SPCA
Luna was found to be ‘severely emaciated’.

“O’Donnell claimed that Luna had been seen by a vet and they had been given dietary advice. However, she could not recall any information regarding this. She also changed her story around this multiple times”, said Scottish SPCA chief inspector, John Chisholm.

He continued: “Concern grew for Luna’s welfare and O’Donnell was cautioned. She admitted to owning one other dog, Millie.”

“Millie was scruffy in appearance and had areas of matted and tangled fur to her underside and around her ears.

“O’Donnell became increasingly agitated and angry that her animals were being taken for veterinary care.”

Upon veterinary examination, the animal welfare charity found that Luna was being caused an unnecessary amount of suffering due to her malnourished condition, while Millie’s condition was also found to be “less than ideal”.

She was suspected to be suffering from dental issues, as well as a bilateral ear disease – which was confirmed once she was given a general anaesthetic and fully examined.

Mr Chisholm said: “Once a large volume of thick black wax was removed, the procedure revealed Millie’s ears were full of tumours.

“Veterinary professionals advised her prognosis for recovery was poor, but she could be made comfortable with medication for the time being. She had not been treated for this previously, and was undoubtedly caused suffering.

Once Luna was removed from O’Donnell’s care and placed at a Scottish SPCA animal rescue and rehoming centre, she gained two kilograms within a week.

After an in-depth investigation was completed, Luna’s owner, Brian Smith of Chapelhall, Airdrie, pled guilty to failing to provide a nutritionally adequate diet for his dog.

Patricia O’Donnell also pled guilty to failing to provide veterinary treatment to her elderly dog, Millie.

O’Donnell received a £250 fine, while Smith received a 12-month supervision order and 75 hours of unpaid work.

Mr Chisholm said: “It is extremely disappointing that considering the amount of suffering that was caused to Millie and Luna, a harsher sentencing was not given.

“O’Donnell and Smith have clearly shown that they were not able to provide their animals with the care they needed, and we would have hoped this to be reflected in a ban on owning or keeping animals.

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