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Kennel worker admits dog neglect

A kennel worker from Edinburgh is facing a ban from keeping animals after admitting neglecting her own puppy by leaving it in "disgraceful" conditions.

Lisa Caldwell, who worked for Edinburgh Cat and Dog Home, left her dog in a small cage while she went to work.

Following reports from neighbours of a dog howling, they found "astonishing quantities" of dog faeces in the flat. Caldwell, 21, admitted an offence under the Animal Health and Welfare Act.
Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how she was employed to look after dogs at the sanctuary at Seafield Road East but left her German Shepherd in a cage for hours at a time. Caldwell pleaded guilty to leaving the dog unattended for long periods of time in a cage which was too small and failing to clean up after it. She found the conditions were what she expected to be found where somebody had been lying dead for a number of weeks .

Police were called to the ground-floor flat at Pennywell Gardens on 10 January after neighbours complained that a dog was howling for several days.

"Police officers looked through the letter box and were overcome with a pungent smell," fiscal depute Neil Allan said. After calling in an animal handler, they broke down the door and found two German Shepherds inside.

One of the dogs, a 10-month-old puppy named Max, was inside a cage and the other dog, five-year-old Ty, was loose. ‘The bottom of the cage was soaked and piled with faeces’, Mr Allan said. ‘The dog was very distressed, very aggressive and pacing round in that cage,’ the prosecutor said. ‘In the remainder of the house there were quite extraordinary scenes in terms of not just general unpleasantness but astonishing quantities of dog faeces,’ he added.

Caldwell told the police she had been living there but that cannot be true from its general state,’ Mr Allan said. ‘The police officer who took the lead who has 15 years experience said she found the conditions were what she expected to be found where somebody had been lying dead for a number of weeks.’

He said the young dog appeared "sociopathic" and did not understand how to eat out of a bowl when it was taken into care by the SSPCA, where it remains along with the other dog.
Caldwell, who had worked at the animal sanctuary for six months before the incident, said she had got Max two months earlier as company for Ty but did not realise he had behavioural problems.

Sheriff Celia Sanderson described the incident as ‘an extremely serious matter’ and warned Caldwell a ban on keeping animals would be "uppermost in her mind" when she sentences her next month. ‘The fact that you were employed by the Edinburgh Cat and Dog Home almost renders me speechless,’ the sheriff added.

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