Man admits starving dog and leaving it to die by roadside

The golden-coloured dog - described as a male Staffy-cross - was found near a roundabout on Blackburn Road in Bathgate. Picture: Contributed
The golden-coloured dog - described as a male Staffy-cross - was found near a roundabout on Blackburn Road in Bathgate. Picture: Contributed

A man has admitted dumping his starving pet dog by the roadside to die.

William Gillies pleaded guilty to two animal cruelty charges when he appeared from custody today/yesterday.

His emaciated Staffordshire bull terrier – with its bones clearly visible through its skin – was found at a roundabout in Bathgate, West Lothian.

Police were called when the animal was discovered in the early hours on Monday September 3, at Blackburn Road.

The dog, which could barely walk, also had cuts and untreated sores on its body and was taken to an emergency vet.

It had to be put down the following day because it was so undernourished.

• READ MORE: Man charged after malnourished dog dumped at a Bathgate roundabout

Gillies, 41, was arrested on an outstanding warrant late last week and spent the weekend in the cells.

He pleaded guilty at Livingston Sheriff Court on Monday to causing the animal unnecessary suffering by act or omission.

He admitted failing to provide the dog with sufficient food and water and not seeking veterinary care when he knew it was ill.

In addition he pled guilty to abandoning the animal in a manner likely to cause it unnecessary suffering by leaving it at the side of the road without any provision for food and water.

He also admitted a further charge of assaulting his ex partner Kerry Anne Reynolds on 14 October by spitting on her head at her home in Rendezvous Place, Bathgate on 14 October.

Iain Smith, defending, said Gillies, of Owen Stone Street, Bathgate, accepted that he had breached a community payback order imposed for another offence on four separate occasions.

However, he asked the court to release his client on bail because he was the sole carer of a 10-year-old girl and said he had kept out of trouble since September last year.

Mr Smith said he planned to reserve his full plea in mitigation until sentencing because the court would require to call for background reports.

Sheriff John MacVicar expressed surprise that it had taken police months to arrest Gillies on an apprehension warrant.

Mr Smith said the warrant had been in existence since 5 October but claimed his client had been “sitting at home” and only occasionally staying over at his mother’s for child care reasons.

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The prosecution said their information was that the accused had been staying at various addresses and “actively avoiding the police”.

The sheriff said: “I intend to take this up with the police or with the fiscal.

He called for a community justice social work report and an assessment of Gillies’ suitability for electronic tagging on a home curfew.

He told the accused: “With some hesitation I will release you on bail although I have to say with your record it would be the easiest thing in the world to justify remanding you in custody.”

He imposed special bail conditions banning Gillies from approaching his ex or going to her home and deferred sentencing on all matters until 22 November.