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Part-time dog walker jailed for animal neglect

A part-time dog walker from Aberdeen has been jailed for five months after a dog and its six puppies were left in squalor inside his flat.

Shaun McCourt, 42, was sentenced at Aberdeen Sheriff Court after admitting five charges of animal neglect between April and September 2019.

The court heard how in September 2019, Police Scotland contacted the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) after a Mastiff and her six, five-month-old puppies were found inside an Aberdeen flat in a neglected state.

The flat, which reeked of ammonia, was being leased by McCourt, of Liverpool, from a former partner.

Inside, SSPCA inspectors discovered a single wooden pen in the living room that contained soiled bedding and puppy training pads. The adult dog was in a bedroom and there was dry dog food and faeces over the floor.

One puppy was found to have a broken jaw – which experts believe may have been caused by rough play with its siblings – and another was suffering from two healing leg fractures, where the bones had moved out of alignment and caused deformity.

The puppies’ mother’s hind legs were coated in dried faeces while her ribs, spine and hips were prominent.

The veterinary surgeon who examined the dogs said that in her 26 years of working as a vet she had never seen puppies in such “awful” bodily condition.

In total four puppies had to be euthanised, while the remaining two were rehomed.

Alison McKenzie, Procurator Fiscal for Aberdeen, said: “The pain and mental suffering these dogs endured while in Shaun McCourt’s care is unthinkable.

“These poor animals suffered the terrible consequences of McCourt’s appalling neglect.”

McCourt was also disqualified from keeping animals for five years.

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