Dog charity worker banned for neglecting pets

Four dogs were taken from Kaitlyn Macdonald by the Scottish SPCA. Picture: Joey Kelly

Four dogs were taken from Kaitlyn Macdonald by the Scottish SPCA. Picture: Joey Kelly

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A CANINE carer with the Dogs Trust faces being banned from keeping animals after Scottish SPCA officers caught her neglecting pet dogs.

Kaitlyn Macdonald failed to properly feed and give enough water to four dogs, and was snared following a tip-off to the charity’s helpline.

Animals were kept in a kennel soiled with urine and faeces, while one dog was 
malnourished. When it was opened, three of the dogs sprinted to a bucket of rainwater in desperate need of a drink.

Macdonald faces a disciplinary hearing before Dogs Trust bosses over charges of “gross misconduct”. The trust said that Macdonald was a canine carer, cleaning kennels, walking, feeding and grooming dogs, and administering 
medicine.

The 23-year-old, who is on maternity leave from the trust centre in West Calder where she has worked since 2008, appeared at Livingston Sheriff Court yesterday.

Eight dogs were found in her Burnside Terrace home in Polbeth, West Lothian, and four were removed by the SSPCA. An SSPCA inspector and police officers visited on July 13 last year after a helpline call about “dog neglect”.

Fiscal depute Stewart Houston said: “Their attention was drawn to a seven-month-old black and white Great Dane puppy called Finn in a wire cage in the kitchen. There was no food or water in the cage, and the bedding appeared inadequate.

“An examination found the dog was extremely thin. All bone prominences were visible and there was a lack of muscle mass. The accused stated that there was nothing wrong apart from the fact that he had had a growth spurt.”

The inspector found more dogs in a kennel run, including a 14-week-old Staffordshire cross puppy called Alfie suffering from mange. There was a German shepherd called Draco, a collie bitch named Misty, and an Alaskan malamute called Bandit. Each animal appeared to be “distressed”.

Mr Houston added: “Kaitlyn Macdonald said that she was just about to clean the run before their arrival. She let the three dogs out of the run and the first thing they did was seek water. There was a bucket of rainwater which the dogs made a beeline to. The dogs were observed taking a large quantity of water, suggesting they were very thirsty.”

Macdonald pled guilty to failing to meet the dogs’ needs and keeping them in a soiled environment. Sheriff Martin Eddington deferred sentence until October 3 for reports.

An SSPCA spokesman said: “This was a serious offence and the court will decide on the appropriate sentence. Under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 this may include a ban on keeping 
animals.”

A Dogs Trust spokeswoman said they were “shocked and disappointed”.

She added: “The proceedings relate to Kaitlyn Macdonald’s care of her own dogs within her home. At no time during her employment with Dogs Trust was the standard of care our dogs receive compromised in any way.

“Following Kaitlyn’s admission of guilt in court, we will be asking her to attend a disciplinary hearing for gross 
misconduct.”

Macdonald refused to 
comment on the case.