Page last updated at 18:02 GMT, Thursday, 1 May 2008 19:02 UK

Woman starved Alsatian to death

Andrea Smiley
Smiley's sentence was deferred at Paisley Sheriff Court

A woman who starved her dog to death has been told she could be disqualified from keeping animals.

Andrea Smiley, 28, admitted neglecting her Alsatian, Snowy, at her former home in Paisley's Ferguslie Park last year.

Sentence was deferred at Paisley Sheriff Court on Thursday after it emerged she had not met social workers as instructed.

It was described by the Scottish SPCA as one of the most distressing cases they had ever had to deal with.

An earlier hearing heard how the dog had lost two-thirds of its body weight when its rotting corpse was found.

Police were called to Smiley's ground floor flat on 1 October, 2007, after concerned neighbours reported a foul stench coming from the property.

Snowy was lying in the flat waiting for her owner to save her. She suffered a terrible death
SSPCA spokeswoman

They found the badly-emaciated dog had been shut in a room with string and wool tied around the door to keep it from escaping.

The floor was covered in faeces and it had lain dead for up to 10 days.

A veterinary examination later revealed that the animal had not been fed or given water.

As it wasted away, in a desperate bid to get some moisture, it had been licking condensation from the window.

The post-mortem examination showed it had no body fat, and no traces of food in its stomach or intestines.

Smiley had previously pleaded guilty to causing her pet unnecessary suffering by failing to provide adequate food and water.

An SPCA officer describes how the dog died

When she returned to court on Thursday it emerged that she had not turned up to meet social workers for reports to be compiled.

A letter was produced from her doctor outlining various health problems, including depression.

A Scottish SPCA spokeswoman said: "This is one of the most distressing cases Scottish SPCA Inspectors have dealt with as the dog suffered for a considerable time before she died.

"Snowy had tried so hard to live. There were lick marks on the window where she had attempted to obtain some moisture from the condensation on the glass.

"Andrea Smiley was living a short walk away and knew her dog was slowly starving to death. Snowy was lying in the flat waiting for her owner to save her. She suffered a terrible death."

Sheriff Kavanagh said that in the circumstances, he would require a psychological and psychiatric assessment in addition to the reports previously ordered.

He said he would have to look at the possibility of disqualifying Smiley from keeping animals when she returned for sentence.

Under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006, Scottish Courts can impose a prison sentence of up to one year; a fine of up to 20,000 and a life ban on keeping animals.

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