#TheList Zara Brown (aka Zara Prentice or Zara Rooney), born 06/01/1988, of 21 New Cottages, Patna, Ayr KA6 7JF – for appalling acts of cruelty and neglect towards homeless pets at her rehoming charity, Ayrshire Ark
Pet rescue owner Zara Brown failed to give dogs in her care adequate food and water and she abandoned them in a filthy derelict primary school with no lights.
Some of the animals were left to die in the building and she stored several of the carcasses in a chest freezer.
In all, authorities found 16 dead pets – 15 dogs and one cat – and many more with untreated conditions including a broken bone, arthritis, ear and paw infections, pressure sores and ulcers.
Several dogs believed to be in the care of the Ayrshire Ark remain unaccounted for to this day with Brown refusing to reveal their fates to their distraught former owners.
In August 2017 mother-of-four Brown appeared in the dock at Ayr Sheriff Court.
Depute fiscal Jason Bell told the court how a Scottish SPCA inspector discovered a scene of horror at the Ayrshire Ark shelter, including a stash of seven dogs and a cat in a freezer, some of whom were badly mutilated.
The charity visited the sanctuary, housed in a derelict schoolhouse in Patna, after receiving reports that a Presa Canario cross named Ozzy was lying dead on the floor.
Mr Bell revealed the Scottish SPCA inspector and police had to wait four hours to gain access because Brown wasn’t there and partner Gary Rooney, who part-owns the building, claimed not to have keys.
During the delay, the welfare team peered through a window and saw dead Ozzy slumped on the floor and other dogs in bad health. One very thin dog appeared to be standing in her own filth, without food or water, in a cloakroom.
The depute fiscal went on: “They could see two large bulldog-type dogs clambering over rubbish and debris — they appeared to be running freely in the corridor and in poor condition.
“They also noticed a large dog within one of the former classrooms that appeared lifeless. It was very underweight.
“They tried to rouse it by banging on the window and it appeared the dog was clearly dead.”
Brown finally appeared from the back of the former school at around 11pm and let the authorities inside.
The court heard the “overpowering” stench of faeces and urine made them gag as they made their way through the unlit building, where they stumbled across an animal in a cage.
Mr Bell said: “They noticed the bulldog-type dogs which had been viewed earlier in the corridor appeared to have been secured in a classroom before entry had been gained by the witnesses.
“They located a chest freezer and within were seven dead dog carcasses and a dead cat.”
The mercy crew searched for the lifeless dog they’d spotted through a window — but it had vanished.
Mr Bell said: “There were visible drag marks indicating it had been moved.”
Two more underweight dogs were in a classroom, while a third dog was found “weak and struggling to stand” in a toilet area, despite having access to food and water.
Mr Bell said: “They entered a further room and found a dead dog behind the door. Zara Brown stated she knew this dog as Bruce.
“The inspector formed the opinion the dogs were suffering. They had poor body condition, bones clearly visible. Their living conditions were woefully inadequate with regards to cleanliness.”
Nine dogs were signed over to the Scottish SPCA by Brown and taken to their vet in Glasgow.
They were found to be malnourished with a range of health issues. Bulldog Primo — who also had inflammation of the ears and feet — had to be put to sleep.
The court heard welfare chiefs attempted to interview Brown on December 29, 2017, but she failed to show.
Brown, who also has a conviction for VAT fraud, admitted nine charges of failing to properly feed dogs in her care or treat their health problems, leaving them suffering malnutrition, weight loss, lameness, infections and ulcers.
Defence lawyer Euan Cameron had pleaded for Brown to dodge jail for the sake of her four kids, but Sheriff Mhairi MacTaggart told her: “Such is the gravity of the offences, only a custodial sentence is appropriate.”
After the sentencing, Scottish SPCA inspector Leanne McPake said: “This case was particularly harrowing and will stay with us for a long time.”
Seven months in jail. Banned for life from keeping animals
FB campaign page Ayrshire Ark Missing Dogs