In November 2015 the Scottish SPCA‘s case against Kayleigh McAllister of Livingston, West Lothian, for starving to death her one-year-old St Bernard named Luna was dropped because of a legal technicality.
The Sheriff accepted the defence’s submission that the Crown had failed to prove that McAllister was the sole tenant or occupier of the house where the dog was found and therefore the only person legally responsible for her welfare.
The then 28-year-old McAllister, who works as a sales executive, claimed that she had entrusted Luna’s care to a ‘friend’ and it was this ‘friend’ that had left her pet to slowly starve to death in her own filth. McAllister said she was living elsewhere at the time.
Police who searched McAllister’s home in Letham Crescent, Pumpherston, found Luna’s body lying in the kitchen. The kitchen floor was covered in clumps of dog hair and dog faeces, which appeared to be weeks old.
They called in the Scottish SPCA to remove the body from the house.
Senior Scottish SPCA inspector Stuart Murray said he put the dog’s body in a bag to take it for a post-mortem examination.
He said: “I could pick it up quite easily with one hand. Given the breed, I shouldn’t have been able to do that.
“That would definitely have been a two-man lift if it was in good condition. I could basically pick it up with two fingers.”
Mr Murray said he interviewed McAllister who admitted that she was Luna’s owner and was responsible for caring for her.
She told him she had been called by her friend on August 25, 2013 and told her dog was “not that good”.
She told him she went home and sat with the dog “trying to get her to eat and drink”.
She added: “In the early hours she stopped breathing and I had to phone the vets.”
But despite evidence about the dog’s starving condition, McAllister was cleared of causing her pet unnecessary suffering by failing to provide her with adequate nutrition and veterinary care.
In tears outside court, she commented cryptically: “Somebody tried to ruin my life but they never got away with it.”
Original media: Edinburgh Evening News 27/11/15