Fife woman’s 10-year animal ban after SSPCA probe into poor treatment

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A Fife woman has been banned from owning or keeping animals for ten years after a Scottish SPCA investigation into the poor treatment of her cats, dogs and even a snake.

Patricia Steven of Carden Avenue, Cardenden appeared at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court earlier this month.

The 53-year old was sentenced on October 18 for failing to provide adequate nutrition and the necessary veterinary treatment for a chronic skin condition and flea infestation for her two dogs, Shadow - who was later put down - and Cordy

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She was also sentenced to failing to provide a safe environment by housing 11 cats and kittens in her attic and failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the needs of an animal were met in relation to an adult corn snake who was underweight.

One of her two dogs had to be put down (Pic: Scottish SPCA)One of her two dogs had to be put down (Pic: Scottish SPCA)
One of her two dogs had to be put down (Pic: Scottish SPCA)

She was handed a 10-year ban on owning or keeping animals along with a restriction of liberty order for 108 days.

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Officers from the SPCA were alerted in November 2020.

Stephanie Ross, Scottish SPCA inspector,, said they obtained a warrant to carry out a search after receiving reports of concern for two dogs and a number of cats and kittens.

The poor treatment is evident on this dog (Pic: Scottish SPCA)The poor treatment is evident on this dog (Pic: Scottish SPCA)
The poor treatment is evident on this dog (Pic: Scottish SPCA)

She said: “Steven was continually uncooperative and she claimed the animals were no longer at the property, despite multiple credible witnesses reporting their concerns.

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“A warrant was executed to search the property.. Due to Steven’s hostile nature, Police Scotland assisted our inspectors.”She said they went upstairs and saw an open hatch leading to the attic where a group of cats and kittens were being kept.

“We were concerned that the felines could have fallen from this height and become injured,” she said. “The loft was partially floored and very unsafe. There was lots of exposed insulation and the cats were covered in this material.

“The cats were scratching themselves incessantly. They appeared distressed and were behaving erratically.”Oficers also found two dogs living “in filthy conditions” in the kitchen.

Shadow, an elderly black Labrador, was lying in amongst rubbish bags. He was emaciated with very prominent hair loss down his back and legs.

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Cordy, a white Staffordshire bull terrier type dog, was “frantically foraging” in bin bags looking for food.

Added Stephanie: “She was also emaciated and had an obvious skin complaint, with hair loss, and thickened areas on her back.”

A corn snake was also found living in a makeshift enclosure in a living room cabinet.

All the animals were removed from the property. A vet confirmed both dogs were severely malnourished and underweight. They also confirmed both dogs were suffering from a severe flea infestation and ear infections. Shadow also had inflammation and infection in both eyes.

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The cats were taken to one of the SSPCA’s animal rescue and rehoming centres where they were treated immediately for their severe flea infestation. Most had varying degrees of flea allergy dermatitis. Some had hair loss and some areas of scabs.

One needed dental treatment and was found to have a grade four heart murmur.

Added Stephanie: “The issues her pets were suffering from could have been easily prevented and we hope she’ll carefully consider her ability to care for any animal in future.

Cordy and the 11 cats have since gone on to find new homes.