Stewarton, East Ayrshire: Elaine Erskine

#TheList breeder Elaine Erskine, born 13/02/1960, formerly of East Lodge, Craufurdland, Kilmarnock KA3, but now apparently living in a caravan in Fenwick Road, Stewarton, East Ayrshire – lived in a faeces-infested house with 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.

Three pets were destroyed after breeder Elaine Erskine was found living with 27 neglected dogs
Three pets were destroyed after breeder Elaine Erskine was found living with 27 neglected dogs

Erskine lived in squalor with 27 dogs in conditions so bad that three of the animals had to be put down.

Images taken at the scene of horror showed two German Shepherds lying in their own filth in a bungalow where Elaine Erskine kept 27 dogs in shocking squalor. The German Shepherds, named Arti and Rosie, were covered in open sores and too weak to lift their heads off the floor.

One was put to sleep on the spot and the other was euthanised later along with a Jack Russell found at the house wounded and in distress.

Other photos show cages where dogs were locked up and rooms buried under rubbish and faeces.

Three pets were destroyed after breeder Elaine Erskine was found living with 27 neglected dogs

Kilmarnock Sheriff Court heard how Scottish SPCA sinspectors found animals emaciated and “on the brink of death” when they went to Erskine’s house, after a tip-off about animal neglect.

They got no answer when they arrived. But when they went round the back they found makeshift kennels that housed ten Jack Russells and a squalid, empty outhouse.

The inspectors peered inside the property through patio doors and spotted two German Shepherd dogs and one Jack Russell standing inside a “filthy” kitchen.

When they looked in other windows they spotted three more Jack Russells in an empty room with dog dirt covering the floor.

Jack Russell terrier

The inspectors feared the animals were at great risk of suffering and left a card asking the owner to contact them immediately.

When they got no response they returned the next day with a vet and armed with a warrant to get into the property.

As they opened the front door they were immediately hit by a foul stench of urine and faeces.

It was so strong that one inspector had to go out for fresh air and to clear her stinging eyes.

Once inside the house, the team moved from one squalid room to the next — finding more and more neglected dogs badly malnourished, emaciated and covered in their own muck.

dog in filthy house

They could hardly get into the kitchen because of a mountain of rubbish behind the door.

When they finally got in they discovered the two German Shepherds and four Jack Russells.

The court heard the dogs were in a pitiful state, with one so poorly that they had to be put down on the spot.

And prosecutors said when Erskine arrived at the scene she tried to stop inspectors looking for more dogs.

Fiscal Jennifer Harkins told the court: “In the kitchen there were two adult German Shepherds and a small Pomeranian.

“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.”

Ms Harkins said of the further searches on March 28, 2018: “The main bedroom was the last room to be entered and had two Jack Russells within a cage and a further two pups in another cage.

“A Pomeranian with three small pups was also in a cage.”

The prosecutor went on to talk about another dog that was found to be suffering from a leg fracture and skin ulcers.

She added: “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.

“It was in a great deal of distress and emaciated and was immediately removed from the property.”

Erskine’s defence lawyer Douglas Macphee told the court his client had been living in the same conditions as the animals.

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

Erskine admitted failing to give the dogs food, water and bedding between December 2017 and March 2018.

Sentencing Erskine to 14 weeks in prison [overturned on 05/12/18], Sheriff Michael Hanlon told her: “This was as bad an example as I’ve ever come across.”

But Erskine’s lawyer appealed against the decision, arguing there were alternatives to custody as a punishment.

Erskine was freed pending the result of that appeal which was ultimately successful.

Sentencing:
Jailed for 14 weeks (later overturned on appeal). 200 hours of community service. Banned for life from keeping animals.

The Sun
Irvine Times

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