Man jailed for neglecting puppies

A man who left puppies in the worst bodily conditions a vet had ever seen - with four having to be euthanised - has been jailed.


Shaun McCourt, 42, admitted breaching Animal Health and Welfare guidelines in Aberdeen, Scotland.

The Mastiff-cross puppy offences happened in 2019.

McCourt, from Liverpool, was jailed for five months at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

McCourt admitted five offences, which happened between July and September 2019 in the city's Ash-Hill Drive.

Three charges were causing unnecessary suffering, and two were failing to provide a suitable environment for a dog and her six puppies by exposing them to urine and faeces.

Fiscal depute Brooklyn Shaw said the Scottish SPCA had raised the alarm, with a dog and six puppies being found in a "neglected state", with obvious swelling on their bodies.

The room they were in had been "destroyed" by the dogs, she told the court, which was far too small with little space to move around in.

They were removed and taken to a vet for examination.

One puppy had to be euthanised straight away on welfare grounds due to swelling, infection and a fracture.

The other dogs had a variety of infections and injuries.

The fiscal depute told the court the vet said that in her 26 years of work she had never seen dogs in "such awful bodily conditions".

In total, four of the six puppies were euthanised, and two were rehomed.

Defence solicitor Debbie Ginniver said McCourt had let his care of the dogs slip but he had not realised how badly.

He insisted what happened was not intentional.

Ms Ginniver said the option of unpaid work was available for sentencing.

Sheriff Rory Bannerman said he had absolutely no doubt there would have been six happy dogs but because of McCourt's actions there were only two.

"It is horrendous what you put these dogs through," he said.

Sheriff Bannerman said there was only one disposal open to him.

He added that despite the offences being five years old he had no doubt McCourt should also be disqualified from keeping animals for five years.

'Terrible consequences'

Alison McKenzie, the procurator fiscal for Aberdeen, said after the case: “This was a shocking case of animal cruelty.


"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."

She added: "The law protects animals from harm, and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service will continue to work robustly to ensure anyone who breaks the law faces prosecutorial action."

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