A WOMAN has admitted living in squalor with 27 dogs in conditions so bad that three of the animals had to be put down.

SSPCA inspectors found Stewarton woman Elaine Erskine had been living in a faeces-infested house with the 27 dogs, some of whom were “on the brink of death” after she had failed to give them food, water and bedding for six months.

Following a tip off that the dogs were being neglected officers attended Erskine’s then-address at East Lodge, Craufurdland Estate in Kilmarnock.

When inspectors arrived on March 28 this year Erskine, now of Fenwick Road in Stewarton, was not in so they went round to the back of the property and found make shift kennels housing 10 Jack Russells.

Through patio doors they saw two German Shepherds and one Jack Russell standing inside a “filthy” kitchen.

On looking in further windows inspectors saw three Jack Russells in a room covered in faeces.

There was no bed, food or water available. Inspectors left a card requesting Erskine make immediate contact.

They received no response and returned the next day armed with a warrant to enter the property, bringing along a veterinary surgeon.

When they went inside inspectors went from one squalid room to the next discovering more and more dogs, starving, emaciated and covered in faeces.

On opening the door the scent of faeces and urine immediate hit them with one inspector having to leave for fresh air after her eyes began stinging with the stench.

They then saw two Jack Russells in the hallway with no food or water. In the front room was a further two Jack Russells and again the floor was covered in faeces with no food or water available.

Inspectors struggled to enter the kitchen due to the rubbish behind the door and when they finally got in discovered two German Shepherds and four Jack Russells.

The floor was covered in rubbish and faeces. A fur ther four Jack Russells were found in another room without food, water or bedding.

Another empty room housed another five Jack Russells living in squalor.

Fiscal Jennifer Harkins told Kilmarnock Sheriff Court in the final room inspectors found dogs close to death.

She said: “The main bedroom was the last room to be entered and had two Jack Russells encased within a cage and a further two Jack Russell pups in another cage.

“A Pomeranian with three small pups was also in a cage. There was another Jack Russell wedged between the cages. This dog had extremely bad wounds to both back legs and the bones were clearly visible. The dog was in a great deal of distress and emaciated and was immediately removed from the property.”

The court was told one of the dogs was in such a horrific state it had to be put down there and then.

Miss Harkins said: “In the kitchen there were two adult German Shepherds and a small Pomeranian. The dogs were emaciated and on the brink of death. They were unable to lift their heads and had open sores. At this point the police arrived. The accused was spoken to by inspectors but she blocked access to stop them examining the two German Shepherds.

“She stated that she was so ashamed and that she “knew that the dogs would need to be put to sleep as they were in a bad way”. 

“One of the two German Shepherds was immediately euthanised and the accused became upset.”

The dogs had been living in these conditions which inspectors said were “a severe health threat” for between three and six months.

The court heard that inspectors returned to the property on April 5 and asked Erskine to relinquish ownership of her dogs.

She agreed to give up 25 dogs but refused to sign over ownership of the adult Jack Russell and the adult Pomeranian.

Since the grim discovery was made seven litters of puppies have been born to the surviving dogs.

Erskine will return for sentencing in October.