An Aberdeen man who neglected his three dogs and left them fighting over food in his squalid flat was today jailed.
Ivor Duncan’s Staffordshire Bull Terriers were left to chew on food cans and use his flat as a toilet for three months.
The 32-year-old would only visit his flat in Aberdeen every couple of days to give the dogs scraps – and they slowly starved amongst the squalor.
Even after being rescued by the SSPCA inspectors, the conditions the dogs had been living in were so bad that the animals never recovered from the “mental anguish” and had to be put down.
Duncan appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court today where he admitted two offences under the Animal Health and Welfare Act.
Fiscal depute Alan Townsend said SSPCA inspectors were called out Duncan’s top floor flat after other residents in the tenement raised concerns about the welfare of the dogs.
They found the three Staffordshire Bull Terriers in “bad condition” and “vying for attention”. Townsend said a puppy of the other two dogs “was effectively skin and bone”.
He said: “On opening the door, the dogs were so desperate to get out that they pulled the leads out of the inspector’s hands.
“The youngest dog had to be carried out.”
Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard that food tins had been chewed flat by the starving animals as they had only been fed occasional “tit-bits” by Duncan every few days.
There was urine and feces in the flat, with the floors covered in rubbish. The kitchen was described as “horrendous”.
The animals were taken to the vets where they were all found to be underweight and flat footed due to lack of exercise. The worst off – the young male Staffy called Lugs – was found to be around 4kg under its ideal weight. Townsend said: “Every bone is his body could be seen sticking out of his skin.”
Although the dogs showed signs of malnourishment none of them had underlying medical issues nor did they show signs of abuse. After being taken into care by the SSPCA they all reached a healthy weight, but such was the nature of their ordeal they never recovered mentally.
They continued to show “severe stress” and “behavioural issues” despite the best efforts of experts – meaning all three dogs had to be put down.
Defence agent Mike Monro admitted his client’s neglect would be viewed with “abhorrence”.
He said that Duncan had been suffering from drug and alcohol problems at the time of the offences, which were committed between July and September 2014.
Sheriff Christine McCrossan said the scene that SSPCA officers were greeted with on entering Duncan’s flat was “almost beyond description”
The sheriff imposed a 23 week jail sentence on Duncan and banned him from keeping animals for at least five years. He will have to apply to the courts after five years if he wants to keep animals ever again.