Man jailed after puppies put down in 'worst case' of dog neglect vet had ever seen

A man who left multiple puppies in the worst conditions a vet had ever seen - with four having to be put down - has been jailed for five months.

Part-time dog walker Shaun McCourt, 42, admitted breaching animal health and welfare guidelines in regards to a mastiff dog and her six five-month-old cross-breed pups.

One puppy was found to have a broken jaw, while 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 found to be coated in dried faeces while her ribs, spine and hips were prominent.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said the veterinary surgeon who examined the dogs reported that in her 26 years of working as a vet, she had "never seen puppies in such awful bodily condition".

The neglect occurred in Aberdeen between April and September 2019.

COPFS said Police Scotland alerted the Scottish SPCA in September of that year over the state of the dogs within a faeces-ridden flat in the city.

The property, which was said to have reeked of ammonia, was being leased by McCourt from a former partner.

Scottish SPCA inspectors discovered a single wooden pen in the living room, which contained soiled bedding and puppy training pads.

Dry dog food and faeces were found on the floor of a bedroom, with food also discarded on the kitchen floor.

The bathroom floor was also flooded with a wet substance.

One of the puppies was found to be suffering from a broken jaw, with experts believing it may have been caused by rough play with its siblings.

The dog had to be euthanised immediately on welfare grounds.

Another puppy had swelling to its jaw, head and legs, alongside a fractured upper incisor tooth and an inflamed and infected dental area with bits of fragmented teeth embedded in the gum.

The puppy was treated at the time but eventually had to be put down due to chronic pain relating to its injuries.

Altogether, four of the puppies were euthanised while the remaining two were rehomed.

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McCourt, of Liverpool, admitted five offences under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 at Aberdeen Sheriff Court in April.

He returned for sentencing on Tuesday and was jailed for five months.

Alison McKenzie, procurator fiscal for Aberdeen, said: "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.

"The law protects animals from harm and COPFS will continue to work robustly to ensure anyone who breaks the law faces prosecutorial action."