A WOMAN has been sentenced to jail after leaving her 27 dogs to rot in squalor so bad it left three of them dead.

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

Kilmarnock Sheriff Court was told after inspectors raided Erskine’s home on March 28 this year, three of the animals had to be put down.

The 58-year-old appeared in court this week and was sentenced to 14 weeks in prison for the shocking neglect.

The court heard that following a tip off, officers attended the Stewarton woman’s then-address at East Lodge, Craufurdland Estate in Kilmarnock and saw dozens of dogs, including Jack Russells and two German Shepherds, Rosie and Arti, in makeshift kennels in the back garden and more through the patio doors.

They returned the following day with a search warrant and as they moved from room to room, discovered more and more dogs, starving, emaciated and covered in faeces.

SSPCA officers reported having to leave the house to go outside for fresh air, with the smell of faeces so pungent it was stinging their eyes.
The hallway and front room floors were smeared in faeces and there was four Jack Russells with no food or water.

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 further four Jack Russells were found in another room without food, water or bedding. Another empty room housed another five Jack Russells living in squalor.

At a previous hearing Fiscal Jennifer Harkins said: “The main bedroom was the last room to be entered. There was a 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 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, but they were removed from her care.

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

Erskine returned to court this week and her solicitor Douglas Macphee said his client was remorseful.

He said: “She accepts full responsibility for these matters.

"It is her fault. She is very ashamed. She found herself in a position where she struggled to cope and then she couldn’t cope. She continued to live in the property notwithstanding the conditions.”

But despite being a first-offender Sheriff Michael Hanlon said jailed Erskine saying: “This was as bad an example as I’ve ever come across.”
She was also banned from owning dogs for life.

Scottish SPCA Inspector Jade Cumming said: “We welcome the 14 week custodial sentence handed to Erskine as this sends out a strong message that abusing an animal is a criminal offence and the courts will take action.”