Ex-soldier banned from keeping animals for life

Dean Ross. Picture: comp
Dean Ross. Picture: comp
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A DOG owner who buried one of his pets in his back garden after his neglect led the animal to die from malnutrition has been banned from keeping animals for life.

Dean Ross failed to regularly feed five-year-old Weimaraner Dexter or take him to the vet for urgent lifesaving treatment which eventually resulted in the animal’s death.

After starving the animal Ross, 30, then gave the pedigree dog a large amount of food which resulted in the animal’s sudden death from a condition called re-feeding syndrome.

When Dexter died, Ross then buried the “emaciated” animal wrapped in a red blanket in the back garden of his home in Tranent in East Lothian.

Scottish SPCA officials, who were forced to dig up Dexter’s remains, found the dog was less than half the weight he should have been.

Ross – who served in the 40th Regiment Royal Artillery for six years appeared at Haddington Sheriff Court yesterday where he admitted to causing an animal unnecessary suffering between November 2012 and February 2013 by failing to provide food or nutrition and omitting to obtain necessary veterinarian attention, whereby the dog was emaciated with a body score of one over nine and suffering from severe malnutrition and died of re-feeding syndrome.

Sheriff Peter Braid described his treatment of Dexter as “sickening in the extreme” before sentencing him to the life ban and ordering him to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work in the community.

The court heard it would have taken “several months” for Dexter to become so ill, and an animal pathologist report stated the dog’s weight loss and eventual death was due to “long-term lack of food”.

The pathologist’s report added any failure to provide enough nourishment to an animal over several months would have “lead to widespread organ failure”.

Depute fiscal Graham Fraser previously told the court the Scottish SPCA received a report concerning Dexter in February 2013 and, after an excavation order was obtained, the animal’s remains were then dug up from Ross’s back garden.

Mr Fraser said Dexter was found in a “poor condition” and that Ross, now a plumbing engineer, had told the authorities he was no longer able to “afford the necessary veterinary treatment”.

Mr Fraser added: ““There was a combination of the lack of veterinary care and inadequate diet, and the vet’s attention should have been sought.”

He said Dexter had died from re-feeding syndrome, which can result in the sudden death of starved animals who are suddenly provided with food.

He added: “His [the pathologist] opinion is that the dog’s very poor condition indicated that the welfare had been ‘significantly compromised’.”

Dexter, and another Weimaraner dog called Roxy, had been rehomed by Ross from a kennel in Bonnyrigg.

Inspector Emma Phillips, of the Scottish SPCA, welcomed the life ban for Ross.

Inspector Phillips said: “We were alerted when Ross’s female Weimaraner named Roxy was handed into another animal charity and they took her to a vets due to her poor body condition. Roxy was emaciated and weighed just 18kgs, which is half the weight she should have been.

“She had no muscle mass and all her bones were clearly visible.

“A blood test revealed no underlying health issues, confirming her weight loss had been caused by a lack of food. We were advised a second dog named Dexter had recently died at Ross’ property and was buried in the back garden.

“We arranged for Dexter’s body to be exhumed so a post mortem could be carried out. Dexter was severely emaciated and had protein-energy malnutrition, likely caused by a lack of food. While tragically it was too late for Dexter, Roxy made a full recovery in our care and has since found a loving new home where she is doing well.”