Back to Latest News

Moray woman receives five-year ban

a German shepherd lying on a white sheet on the left, with a close up of the dog's bloody paws on the right

A woman from Moray has been handed a five-year ban on holding or owning animals and 90 hours of unpaid work to be completed within six months following a Scottish SPCA investigation.

20-year-old Natalia Piszczyk of Cairnie Place, Buckie pled guilty to the charge of failure to provide adequate nutrition and veterinary attention for her nine-month-old German shepherd dog, Berlin at Elgin Sheriff Court on 20 June 2023 and handed an interim disqualification order on owning or caring for any animals.  She was sentenced at the same court on 20 July 2023.

Scottish SPCA senior inspector, Lesley Crockett, said: “On 16 November 2021 I received a call via our animal helpline regarding a dead dog found in an emaciated condition that had been brought into a veterinary surgery in Buckie. I attended the surgery that same day and was shown the dog, a German Shepherd dog called Berlin.

“The dog was in an emaciated condition and I could feel all his ribs and pelvic bones - he was one of the thinnest dogs I have seen. His eyes were sunken into his head and there was reddish staining on his paws. 

“On 17 November 2021 I visited Berlin’s owner’s address but there was no reply so I left a card asking the owner, Natalia Piszczyk, to get in touch. I contacted her by email on 29 November 2021 to arrange an interview under caution about Berlin due to concerns over his poor condition. Arrangements were made by email to meet on 14 December 2021 at the premises.

“I received the final post-mortem report on 29 November 2021 showing that the cause of death was inhalational pneumonia.  It concluded that the respiratory disease that the dog was suffering from would have been obvious to the person caring for him and that veterinary advice should have been sought. The pneumonia is likely to have been present for at least 48 hours and possibly several days. It is severe enough that the dog would have shown clinical signs of respiratory compromise.

On 14 December 2021 we met Natalia Piszczyk at her property. The property smelt strongly of dog urine and faeces and the carpet in the living room was visibly badly stained.

“The accused stated that sometimes Berlin didn’t eat his food so she soaked it with water but she did not see anything wrong with him.

“Berlin was subjected to unnecessary suffering and his subsequent respiratory failure caused him pain and distress that ultimately led to his death.

“We are pleased that Piszczyk received a ban however, given the suffering Berlin endured we would have liked it to be for a longer period of time. We hope she seriously considers her ability to look after any animal in the future.

“If anyone is concerned about an animal, they can contact our confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.”




If anyone is concerned about an animal, please do not hesitate to contact our confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

We need your support. From as little as £1, you can save lives.

Please support the Scottish SPCA today.