‘Dog was left in a lot of pain’

Suffering: Scottie the Westie had an eye ulcer and dental disease, and was underweight. Photos issued by the RSPCA
Suffering: Scottie the Westie had an eye ulcer and dental disease, and was underweight. Photos issued by the RSPCA

A care worker failed to take her dog to the vets after it suffered an eye ulcer and an abscess, a court heard.

The malnourished Westie was found cowering under a bush in 67-year-old Barbara Cottam’s back garden in Broadfield Drive, Leyland, by the RSPCA.

The pet also had a dental disease and fleas, and was unable to eat or drink by himself.

Scottie, who is estimated to be between 12 and 15 years old, was seized by police from the house in November and was taken to Vets4Pets on Church Road, because Miss Cottam couldn’t be found at the time.

He was put to sleep two days later.

Cottam was found guilty in her absence of failing to provide the proper veterinary care at South Ribble Magistrates Court on Friday.

In a statement read out in court by RSPCA spokesman Jonathan Bale, Cottam said: “He was my mum’s dog and I look after him now she’s gone.

“I do miss him because he’s good company when I’m on my own. I feed him at dinner and at tea, and we go for walkies at night.”

Mr Bale said Cottam said she hadn’t noticed anything wrong with the dog.

The RSPCA worker said the defendant was shown a photo of Scottie’s left eye, which had a deep ulcer and conjunctivitis.

Catherine Lawley, surgeon at Vets4Pets, said in a statement: “The dog was very weak and severely underweight.

“We classed him as having a bodily condition of 1.5 out of five.

“His coat was matted and it looked like he had been chewing his feet because they were itching. He had a high flea infestation.”

The dog weighed 5.5kg - almost half the weight of a healthy dog of the same breed.

The vet added: “It is my opinion that it has taken a number of years for his teeth to deteriorate to that condition.

“I would expect an owner to notice his bad breath and that he was finding it difficult to eat.

“I think the eye ulcer has been there for approximately two weeks, and it would have caused him a lot of pain.

“I would also expect a reasonable owner to groom and check for fleas.”

Cottam was found guilty of failing to provide the proper vet care to Scottie for his abscess, eye ulcer, being underweight, dental disease, and fleas.

She is set to appear at South Ribble Magistrates Court on Friday, March 30 for sentencing, where she could face a ban.