Tayside and Central Scotland

Pet bans for animal neglect welcomed

Mucky ducks Image copyright Scottish SPCA
Image caption Ducks, hamsters, a gerbil and a guinea pig were found in cramped and dirty cages

A mother and daughter who admitted mistreating animals have been banned from keeping pets for five years.

Natalie McArthur locked her father's Yorkshire terrier in a car boot on a hot day, causing it to die of a cardiac seizure brought on by heatstroke.

Her daughter Caitlin kept a menagerie including three ducks and six hamsters in small cages in her bedroom.

A sheriff banned both women from keeping animal for five years. The Scottish SPCA welcomed the sentences.

Natalie McArthur, 45, admitted causing Crystal the Yorkshire terrier unnecessary suffering by leaving her in the boot of a car without water for an hour on a hot day in the summer of 2013.

She also left three other dogs in the car while taking Crystal to the vet, where the terrier died.

In March of that year, her daughter Caitlin had been caught keeping animals including three ducks, six hamsters and a rabbit in tiny cages and dirty conditions at the pair's council house in Fallin, near Stirling.

The 20-year-old pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to all of the animals.

Image copyright Scottish SPCA
Image caption The Scottish SPCA said the animals were kept in "appalling conditions"

Stirling Sheriff Court heard that the pair had lost their council house following the incident, and ended up living in a car with two dogs and a cat for several days. They now live in council homeless accommodation in the city.

Sheriff William Gilchrist placed both under supervision for a year, under community payback orders, and banned them from keeping animals for five years.

Scottish SPCA inspector Louise Seddon said Crystal had suffered a horrific death due to Natalie McArthur's actions.

She said: "What makes this case all the more worrying is that Natalie McArthur left another three dogs inside the car at the vet surgery before being instructed to bring them inside. It is very important to understand that the heat inside a vehicle can build up to a dangerous level when it is warm outside.

"We hope this case will serve as a warning that leaving a dog inside a hot vehicle can have dreadful consequences and is completely unacceptable. In the vet's opinion, Crystal could potentially have been saved had she been taken to the vets straight away after being found, making it even more tragic."

Image copyright Scottish SPCA
Image caption The McArthurs lost their council house following the discovery and briefly lived in a car

Insp Seddon said Caitlin McArthur's pets had been "forced to live in appalling conditions".

She said; "They were being kept in extremely dirty containers that were far too small for their size and none of them had any food available.

"In her bedroom she had three ducks together in a small cage with no water. They were caked in mud and were constantly trying to clean themselves.

"A rabbit was also kept in a tiny, filthy cage on the floor and in another room small cages were stacked on top of each other housing six hamsters, three guinea pigs and a gerbil.

"We are pleased both Natalie McArthur and Caitlin McArthur have been dealt with by the court and hope they will seriously consider their ability to care for any other animals in the future."

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