East Lothian woman who abused her pet dogs in Prestonpans walks free from court

Animal charity slams decision after East Lothian woman escapes punishment
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A Scottish animal charity has slammed a decision to allow a woman who abused her pet dogs to walk free from court without punishment.

Raki Islam, 44, neglected the animals by failing to take them to a vets despite the pets suffering from a series of serious health conditions including ear and eye infections and mange. Islam kept a total of 13 dogs in conditions described as “covered in faeces and [with] no adequate shelter” in the back garden of her home in Prestonpans, East Lothian.

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Islam pled guilty to one charge of animal neglect when she appeared at a trial diet at Edinburgh Sheriff Court earlier this month and was subsequently admonished by a sheriff. Her husband Kevin Martin, 51, had not guilty pleas to three animal abuse charges and one of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner accepted by the Crown at the same hearing.

The Scottish SPCA has this week released shocking details of the case in Prestonpans.The Scottish SPCA has this week released shocking details of the case in Prestonpans.
The Scottish SPCA has this week released shocking details of the case in Prestonpans.

The Scottish SPCA has this week released shocking details of the case stating the charity is “extremely disappointed” in the court’s decision not to ban Islam from keeping animals. A spokesperson said the organisation has also been left “saddened” by the sentence which they claim “will likely result in more dogs suffering unnecessarily in the future”.

Fiona Thorburn, a Scottish SPCA inspector, said: “We have received multiple reports to our animal helpline dating back many years, with concerns about living conditions and animal cruelty and neglect at both the locus in Prestonpans and other properties in East and West Lothian.

“We received ongoing calls to our Animal Helpline regarding dogs being kept in unsuitable conditions at the rear garden of the property on High Street. Access to view and assess the dogs was however always refused.

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“In June 2021 a report was made to our helpline and videos sent to us of 13 dogs being kept in the rear garden of the property on High Street which was covered in faeces and had no adequate shelter. The videos were extremely concerning with seven of the dogs appearing to be underweight and virtually bald with very thickened skin.

“With sufficient evidence a warrant was granted by the procurator fiscal, the property was attended along with Police Scotland and the local authority. Entry to the property was forced and the 13 dogs were found in the garden which was heavily soiled with diarrhoea, faeces and urine. There was not enough shelter provided for the number of dogs and the smell was overwhelming.

“Several of the dogs were bald and suffering from very severe skin conditions. Their eyes and ears were also painful and infected with copious discharge, and some were underweight. All 13 of the dogs were removed and taken for immediate veterinary examination and treatment.

“Seven puppies were found to have a heavy mange burden, which is usually only evident in animals with compromised immune systems. They had chronic secondary infections because of this which affected their skin, ears, eyes, feet and genitals, causing pain and irritation. The puppies also had giardia, meaning they were both infected by, and actively shedding, the parasite causing severe diarrhoea. If left untreated this disease can be deadly.”

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Speaking about the lack of punishment for Islam, the SSPCA inspector added: “We are extremely disappointed that Raki Islam has not been issued with a disqualification order from owning animals despite a guilty plea to the charge of causing her dogs to suffer unnecessarily. The condition that the dogs were found in should have led any reasonable owner to seek urgent veterinary treatment.

“We feel saddened that despite the time and effort we have taken putting together a case where Islam has been charged, she has only been admonished. We believe this decision will likely result in more dogs suffering unnecessarily in the future.

“The dogs removed from Islam’s property took several months to fully recover in the care of the Scottish SPCA and thankfully have now found loving homes where their welfare needs will be met.

“If anyone has concerns about an animal they should call our confidential helpline on 03000 999 999.”