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Animal refuge owner jailed for neglect

A woman who owned an animal sanctuary has been jailed following neglect of animals within her care and also keeping dead pets within a freezer.

Zara Brown, from Ayrshire Ark Refuge, left pets without water or food and abandoned them in a dark old school for days.

Brown charged owners to take their animals in if they were unwell or the owners could no longer look after them.

Commenting on the court case, Scottish SPCA Inspector Leanne McPake said, “I was horrified with what we saw in the school that night.

“As an inspector who deals with animal cruelty we expect to see horrible things, however this case was particularly harrowing and will stay with us for a long time.

“The conditions in which the dogs were forced to live were woefully inadequate.

“There was an overpowering stench as all the floors were covered in dog faeces and urine, and there was debris strewn in some of the rooms creating more hazardous and unacceptable conditions.

“On arrival we found nine dogs in various rooms tethered or caged, one dog was found dead and six others were discovered in a freezer.

“The dogs that were still alive were clearly malnourished and had no access to food or water.

“The Animal Health and Welfare Scotland Act 2006 includes the need for a suitable environment to be provided for animals, and as can clearly be seen from the photos this wasn’t the case.”

Brown pleaded guilty to nine charges including causing unnecessary suffering, exposing dogs to unsatisfactory conditions and failure to provide the necessary nutrition and veterinary treatment.

She was given a seven month custodial sentence for causing unnecessary suffering, a four month custodial sentence for failing to ensure the welfare of animals, both sentences are to be served concurrently, and a lifelong ban on owning or keeping animals at Ayr Sheriff Court on Tuesday(29 August).

Inspector Leanne McPake concluded, “We are delighted that she has been handed a lifetime ban and custodial sentence. We hope that this sentence will act as a deterrent to others.”

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