Man sentenced and fined after causing unnecessary suffering to pets

The SSPCA say they would have preferred the ban included all animals.

East Kilbride man sentenced for causing ‘unnecessary suffering’ to pet ferrets and snake Scottish SPCA

A man has been sentenced after causing unnecessary suffering to his pet ferrets and a snake.

William Scott, 61, from East Kilbride was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to his pets by failing to provide a suitably safe and clean environment for them to live in.

He was sentenced at Hamilton Sheriff court on Tuesday, January 30 and fined over £400 and given a £20 victim surcharge on top of a five year disqualification order from owning and keeping ferrets and snakes.

A Scottish SPCA inspector said following the investigation: “On August, 31, 2022, we received a call in relation to a property in Elliot Crescent in East Kilbride from a local authority environmental health officer.

“The caller noted a strong unpleasant smell emanating from the property and a large build-up of flies around the door of the property. They also reported that the ferret hutch was in poor condition, and the ferret himself was shaking. 

“We attended the property the same day and upon entering the communal garden, we found a ferret within his hutch in extremely poor body condition. He was wobbly on his feet and was visibly shaking. The hutch itself was in very poor condition, with a large build-up of faeces, no bedding and lack of all other necessary provision. Two water bottles were present but both were empty. A food bowl with old, congealed, soggy food was present, but was clearly not fit for consumption. 

“Concerns for the ferret were such that we made the decision to remove him immediately in order to obtain emergency veterinary treatment. 

“The ferret was examined by a veterinary surgeon who confirmed he was in an emaciated body condition and was extremely dehydrated. The ferret required immediate hospitalisation, for fluids and rehydration therapy. Veterinary assessment confirmed that the ferret had been caused unnecessary suffering. The ferret remained hospitalised for approximately 48 hours before coming to one of our centres to recover.  

“On gaining entry to the property the living conditions were of immediate concern. There was a significant buildup of rubbish, household items, and dirt and grime throughout. There was an obvious strong unpleasant smell, and flies swarmed throughout the property. 

“A small metal cage within the living room housed four polecat type ferrets. The cage was dirty, and completely inadequate in size for the animals within. There was water provided and the ferrets appeared to be in good body condition. 

“In the room obstructed by hazards, a vivarium containing an adult female dwarf hog island boa constrictor type snake was found. The vivarium glass had a buildup of dirt and within the vivarium, there was a lot of shedded skin, and a significant amount of faeces and urine. There was no water present and the snake herself appeared lethargic, and lean in body condition. 

“Due to concerns for the body condition of the snake, arrangements were made for her to attend an exotic specialist vet immediately for assessment. It was noted she was thin and mildly dehydrated. She has lesions on her ventral scales, and an infection on her tail. Her movements and reflexes were weak and she was cold to the touch.

“The vet concluded that the snake had been caused unnecessary suffering for months due to a combination of unhygienic conditions, starvation, untreated conditions and lack of veterinary care. The snake was prescribed a specific course of antibiotics, and provided specialist care advice for her recovery. She was transported to one of our centres for ongoing care. 

“We are pleased that Scott received this ban but we would have preferred the ban to include all animals and not just ferrets and snakes. Some of the ferrets have since been rehomed and the others are waiting to be rehomed.”

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