A Scots couple have been fined after ignoring their suffering dog’s chronic skin condition, which caused gaping wounds and the animal’s fur to fall out.
Marlie, an eight-month-old Akita puppy, belonged to Robert McLeish, 27, and Chanel McGaharon, 22, from Paisley, Renfrewshire. The dog was removed from their care after a Scottish SPCA ( SSPCA ) officer found her lying in pain outside the pair’s house.
A report had been made to the animal welfare charity from a concerned local after they witnessed her condition. On arrival, Marlie was discovered covered in bleeding scabs, with a gaping wound and had swollen paws.
She had been scratching so furiously that she had been left with wounds on the back of her legs. As a result, a large quantity of her fur had fallen out and she appeared to be extremely lethargic.
The pooch was also showing signs of distress as she would constantly stand up, turn around in a tight circle then lie down. SSPCA officers asked for access to McLeish and McGaharon’s property to inspect Marlie’s living conditions but, on request, they were denied.
Officers decided to remove Marlie from the property and urgently took her to a vet to receive medical care. It emerged that the puppy had been suffering from the condition for over four to eight weeks.
The SSPCA investigation landed the pair Paisley Sheriff Court on November 1, where they pleaded guilty to failing to seek veterinary treatment and pain relief for suffering Marlie. They were each slapped with a £135 fine.
Marlie has since been re-homed to a loving and caring owner who treats her to lots of cuddles and beach walks.
Following the cruelty, the SSPCA has hit out at the couple’s ‘deplorable’ care of the dog and has expressed that the charity is disappointed they did not receive a ban on owning pets.
Scottish SPCA inspector Isla Bell said: “On Tuesday, August 25, 2020 I attended the property of Robert McLeish and Chanel McGaharon in response to a complaint of dog neglect made to the SSPCA animal helpline. The report stated that there was a dog lying outside the home with swollen paws and missing fur and which appeared to be very lethargic.
“On arrival, I asked to see inside the property to assess whether the dog’s health could be related to their living conditions however McLeish refused to grant access. I then observed a female Akita dog lying on a blanket outside.
“The Akita, named Marlie, appeared to be an older dog, slightly underweight and had a generally lethargic demeanour. Marlie would constantly stand up, turn around in a tight circle then lie down, as if irritated. She was also scratching constantly.
“I noticed blood on the back of the Marlie’s legs and belly and on her paws from scratching herself. These areas also had a particularly sparse coat. The skin that could be seen in areas where fur was missing or sparse was red, inflamed and covered in scabs.
“I was shocked to discover that Marlie was only eight months old. She showed no signs whatsoever of being a playful puppy which would have been expected at this age.
“It was clear that Marlie’s welfare had suffered. Her chronic skin condition meant she had scratched herself to the point that she left a gaping wound on her head and wore away hair on her body, ears and legs.
“She also had areas of thickened skin from the constant scratching. It is deplorable that somebody could watch their pet in this constant state of irritation and do little to ease their suffering.
“I was so concerned for Marlie’s welfare due to her condition that I removed her immediately to be examined by a vet. Veterinary examination confirmed that she had been caused unnecessary suffering over a period of four to eight weeks by her owner’s failure to seek veterinary attention for her skin.
“We are disappointed that neither McLeish nor McGaharon received a ban. We hope they will seriously reconsider their ability to care for animals in the future.
“After being taken into our care, the condition of the Marlie’s skin improved drastically and her demeanour was a lot happier. She has now been rehomed to a loving family where she is treated to lots of cuddles and beach walks.
“If anyone is concerned about an animal, they can contact our confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.”
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