BURNFOOT WOMAN ‘KNEW NOTHING’ OF DEAD CAT AT HOME

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THESE are the squalid conditions inside a Burnfoot house which shocked animal welfare officers investigating a neglected dog case.

A dead cat which the owner had no knowledge of was found amongst a pile of rubbish and faeces on the kitchen floor.

A Scottish SPCA officer said the conditions inside Catherine McGillivray’s home were the worst she had ever seen.

They raided her house after concerns that her dog was being neglected and forced entry after looking through a window and seeing the place littered with rubbish and animal faeces.

The 43-year-old’s black labrador raced straight out of the house to a neighbour’s paddling pool desperate for a drink.

A search of the property found a dead cat lying in a pile of rubbish on the kitchen floor.

When McGillivray was later quizzed she said she had no knowledge of the cat or how it got in to her terraced home in Queens Drive.

At Jedburgh Sheriff Court, McGillivray was put on probation for 12 months and banned from owning or keeping animals for 10 years.

After the case, Scottish SPCA inspector Jenny Scott commented: “We are pleased with a ten-year ban plus probation.

“The conditions the dog were being kept in were horrific and the worst I’ve ever seen.

“There were literally piles of rotting faeces on the urine-soaked floor, which was absolutely disgusting.

“The dog was thin and hadn’t either been given the proper diet or been taken to a vet. It also had an ulcer on its scrotum caused by the urine and faeces on the floor and its paws were inflamed.

“We have since been able to find the dog a new home, where it is being looked after properly.”

McGillivray – a former care assistant in an old people’s home – admitted charges of failing to provide a clean living environment and adequate veterinary attention and nutrition for a dog at her home between June 1 and August 24.

Procurator fiscal Morag McLintock told a previous court hearing how the Scottish SPCA received an anonymous call which led officers to attend at the house.

She said: “They didn’t like what they saw through the letter box and, given safety concerns, entry was forced.”

She went on to say that when police and another SSPCA officer returned later, McGillivray was at home and agreed to let them in, warning the house was “in a bad state”.

Ms McLintock continued: “There was a large quantity of faeces, some covered in white mould, furniture was torn and badly soiled, and there was rubbish strewn about the place.

“The dog was described as ‘friendly’ but its claws were overgrown, and its hip bone and ribs were visible. It also had faeces matted in its coat.

“Fish were seen in a tank of dirty water, and there were several cat litter trays with faeces and urine spilled over.

“The dead cat was found amongst the rubbish, and there was sewage round the side of the toilet.”

McGillivray admitted owning the dog, which was removed from the house. She said she had been working 12-hour shifts as a care assistant, and was willing to hand over ownership of the dog and the fish. The dog was taken for veterinary attention, where it was treated for worms and fleas and cream applied to sores.

McGillivray said she fed the dog “a jug of biscuits in the morning and a tin of food at night.”

Ms McLintock – who moved for a ban on McGillivray keeping animals – concluded: “She admitted the conditions were really bad and had been like that for a couple of months.”

Defence lawyer Rory Bannerman said that motion was not opposed by his client, who had no intention of keeping animals, and had readily given up the dog.

He told the court: “She had a lot on her plate at the time, and effectively buried her head in the sand.

“A lot of unpleasant things were found in the house but she says the dead cat was not hers and she doesn’t know how it got in.

“She used to work as a care assistant at an old folks’ home, working 12-hour shifts, and simply let things go.”

Sheriff Kevin Drummond said the case raised serious health and welfare issues. “The scale of the situation here is frankly as bad as I have seen.

“It is quite dreadful to see the conditions in which this dog was existing.

“The fact that there was a dead cat in the house, of which you knew nothing, says everything.”