Dog fight teen admits cruelty to animal

Steven Campbell. Picture: Vic Rodrick
Steven Campbell. Picture: Vic Rodrick
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A TEENAGER who agreed to look after a dog which was used in an illegal fight found himself in court charged with causing the animal unnecessary suffering.

Steven Campbell, from West Calder, claimed he took custody of the wounded American pit bull terrier even though he couldn’t afford to look after it properly.

Livingston Sheriff Court heard the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals intervened after someone called to report the dog’s suffering.

The charity organised a vet and the dog was given a course of antibiotics to heal its cellulitis infection and bite wounds to its jaw.

Campbell, who lives in Harburn Drive in the West Lothian town, was ordered yesterday to pay the charity £300 compensation as punishment for his failure to look after the dog.

The 19-year-old had been due to stand trial accused of causing an animal unnecessary suffering in the back garden of his home on November 10, 2014.

He changed his plea to guilty to an amended charge on the morning of his trial yesterday.

He admitted permitting another person to cause an American pit bull terrier unnecessary suffering by act or omission by permitting that person to use the dog in an animal fight and failing to supervise that person while they had possession of the animal.

Alistair Macleod, prosecuting, said the dog was suffering from an infection and had been left with two cuts to its face, which clearly required veterinary treatment.

He said Campbell had tried in vain to treat the injuries to the animal’s mouth himself using TCP antiseptic.

He said Campbell had explained to Scottish SPCA inspectors that the dog wasn’t his and he was looking after it for someone else.

Passing sentence, Sheriff Susan Craig told Campbell: “It seems a very short-sighted or unthinking thing on your part to take a dog that was clearly unwell then not to treat it properly.

“It was the Scottish SPCA that stepped in and the charity would have had a vet’s bill, so I’m minded to make a compensation order to the Scottish SPCA rather than a fine.”

The hearing comes just days after Alana Poterala, 26, from Boghall, was ordered to pay £500 compensation after an American bulldog she was responsible for savaged a beagle in a horror attack.

Owner Valerie Millen was left with a £7000 vet bill to help save her pet’s life.

The dog shook five-year-old Bonnie from side to side in its mouth, leaving her with a gaping wound from the stomach to the back.

He also bit Mrs Millen and her friend, Heather Dudgeon, as they tried desperately to separate the animals.

One tried unsuccessfully to stop the attack by grabbing the bulldog’s shoulders but its grip on the other animal was too strong.

They were only separated when a local man used a mash hammer to hit the bulldog on the nose while another started kicking it.

newsen@edinburghnews.com