West Lothian man admits starving three pet dogs

William Dobbie appeared at Livingston Sheriff Court. Picture: JP
William Dobbie appeared at Livingston Sheriff Court. Picture: JP

A dad-of-two cruelly maltreated three pet dogs by starving them of food, a court heard.

Inspectors from the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals were shocked by the state of the animals in William Dobbie’s West Lothian home.

Livingston Sheriff Court heard his Staffordshire bull terrier and two Jack Russells were so thin their skeletons could be clearly seen under their skin.

Dobbie, 30, of Dundas Street, Bathgate, pled guilty to failing to provide the animals with appropriate and adequate nutrition and failing to obtain adequate veterinary treatment to treat their infestation with fleas.

He was disqualified ad interim from keeping or owning animals and sentence was deferred until 15 June for social work background reports.

Kirsty Lyons, prosecuting, said the SSPCA had received a complaint on 10 October about the way Dobbie’s animals were being treated.

After meeting police outside the house, inspectors from the animal charity gained access to the property.

Miss Lyons said: “They found a tan coloured female Staffordshire bull terrier in a cage.

“The dog appeared extremely thin and the skeletal bones were clearly visible.

“She was found to be very subdued and lay in a corner of the cage.”

She went on: “Three Jack Russell terriers were freely roaming around the house.

“Both of these dogs were also extremely under weight and their skeletal bones were clearly visible..

“Both had staining to their legs and lower abdomen

“The animals were removed and transported to a veterimary clinic to be examined.

“They appeared to be in very poor body condition and were given a body condition score of 2 out of 9, where 1 is emaciated and 9 is obese.

“All were suffering from heavy flea burdens with live fleas and dirt present on all animals.

“The vet believed the animals had been caused suffering as a result of the owner’s failure to provide adequate nutrition.”

Miss Lyons said the animals had since been sent to a rehoming centre.

She said the Crown was seeking a two-year disqualification order banning Dobbie from keeping any animal.

Linda Fabian, defending, said Dobbie’s partner had been unwell at the time and he had been “struggling” to meet his family’s needs.

“Unfortunately in that situation he prioritised trying to take care of others and not the animals he had care of.

“He also had concerns about himself as he suffers from epilepsy and has mental health problems.

“In addition the family is on a limited income and in receipt of benefit so money was tight and he was unable to afford to provide food for the animals.”

Sheriff Peter Hammond told Dobbie he clearly had a complicated family background and had been failing to cope at the time of the offence.

He made an interim disqualification order banning Dobbie from owning or having care of any animals.

He also called for a criminal justice social work report and a restriction of liberty order assessment before sentence.