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Teenager who starved puppies banned

A TEENAGER who starved three puppies to death and then dumped their bodies in a shoebox has been fined £150 and banned from keeping animals for five years.

Michael Nesbitt, 18, of Wester Hailes, Edinburgh, kept a litter of seven Border Collie-cross puppies and their mother in a cage.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told the dogs were only discovered when neighbours complained about the smell. The court heard how officers from the Scottish SPCA had visited Nesbitt after a neighbour reported him walking a thin dog. They found that the bitch, who had just given birth, was significantly underweight and told Nesbitt to make sure he fed her more.

However, less than a month later, another call was made from a concerned neighbour over a foul smell coming from Nesbitt's flat. When officers entered the Clovenstone Gardens home, they found four puppies and their mother locked in a cage surrounded by their own mess.

They also discovered that three other pups had died and their bodies were lying in a shoebox in the hallway. Officers immediately took the mother and her surviving puppies into care. As they drove away with the animals, Nesbitt threatened to kill himself.

Defence solicitor Victoria Good, for Nesbitt, said her client had been ‘deeply distressed’ about what had happened.

She said Nesbitt, who admitted neglecting the animals, had been unable to care for the dogs after suffering from severe depression when his relationship broke down.

Ms Good added: ‘He and his girlfriend bought the dogs together, when she left she took one of the dogs and he gave up. He knew they were there and he had to take care of them but he just couldn't get up out of bed. He is deeply distressed about what happened to the dogs.’

Scottish SPCA spokeswoman Doreen Graham decried the fact that Nesbitt had not been given a life sentence, saying: ‘These puppies died a horrible and slow death.

‘Every time they heard footsteps they would have thought someone was coming to feed them. In cases of neglect we would always look for a life ban to be imposed - owning a pet is a privilege, not a right.’