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Woman starved dog to death


A WOMAN who starved her dog to death was last week disqualified from keeping animals for life.
Andrea Smiley, 28, admitted neglecting her GSD, Snowy, at her former home in Paisley's Ferguslie Park last year. Sentence was deferred at Paisley Sheriff Court some weeks ago after it emerged she had not met social workers as instructed. It was described by the Scottish SPCA as one of the most distressing cases they had ever had to deal with.

An earlier hearing heard how the dog had lost two-thirds of its body weight when its rotting corpse was found. Police were called to Smiley's ground floor flat on 1 October, 2007, after concerned neighbours reported a foul stench coming from the property. They found the badly emaciated dog had been shut in a room with string and wool tied around the door to keep it from escaping. The floor was covered in faeces and it was estimated that the dog had lain dead for up to 10 days. A veterinary examination later revealed that the animal had not been fed or given water. As it wasted away, in a desperate bid to get some moisture, it had been licking condensation from the window. The post-mortem examination showed it had no body fat, and no traces of food in its stomach or intestines.

Smiley had previously pleaded guilty to causing her pet unnecessary suffering by failing to provide adequate food and water.

When court reconvened last week, Sheriff George Kavanagh delivered a hard-hitting verdict, saying the dog had relied on Smiley for ‘its care and wellbeing’ but instead she had imprisoned it in what amounted to a dungeon where it suffered ‘a lingering and painful death’.

‘Your actions were callous. I have no doubt that you were capable of understanding that there existed a number of excellent agencies who care for or re-home animals,’ he said. ‘Other animals have to be protected from the fate of Snowy, your dog, so I have no hesitation in imposing the following disqualification. You are banned from life from owning or keeping an animal, dealing in any animals, transporting any animals, working with or using animals and providing any service relating to animals.’

Sheriff Kavanagh also ruled that Smiley should carry out 240 hours Community Service and said that Smiley risked a jail term if she breached the community service or any part of the ban.
Before sentence was passed, Smiley's defence agent John Gardner made an inevitable plea for mitigation. He said two psychiatric reports had been submitted showing that his client was emotionally unstable and experiencing bouts of depression which led her to self-harm. He also said she was living in fear after being threatened by animal lovers following publicity from earlier hearings.