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West Calder man sentenced to 10-year ban following investigation

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A West Calder man has been sentenced to a 10-year ban from owning, taking charge or possession of animals, excluding four cats he was allowed to keep, and a 12-month community supervision order following an investigation.

68-year-old Ian Samuel McCord of Young Street, West Calder, pled guilty to failing to provide a suitable environment for his 65 cats at Livingston Sheriff Court on 7 December 2023.

Scottish SPCA inspector, Fiona Thorburn, said, “We have previously been aware of Ian McCord and have spent considerable time and effort attempting to help him with the large number of cats he had at the premises. Unfortunately, our requests for access to the property have always been refused.

“In August 2020 a local rescue organisation very kindly said they would trap cats for neutering, provide flea and worm treatment, vaccinations and remove cats as needed to be examined by a vet. Unfortunately, after they had uplifted a large number of cats McCord failed to engage any further with them.

“We continued to try to offer assistance to McCord throughout the remainder of 2020 and into 2021, removing some cats he was able to trap for veterinary treatment and neutering animals wherever possible.

“However, by October 2021 we had strong concerns for the welfare of the cats as rates of trapping and neutering had slowed and pregnant females were still being seen on the premises. We advised we would need to access the property to check the condition of the remaining animals and that if access was refused a warrant would be sought.

“There was a very strong smell of ammonia from cat urine and the ground was littered with rubbish, cat faeces and chicken bones. The courtyard area was overgrown with weeds and littered with old, broken and rusting vehicles and equipment. 

“When looking up towards the windows of the property from the courtyard, around 20 cats could be seen. Many of these cats appeared to have eye infections, missing eyes and could be heard to be sneezing with heavy nasal discharge. 

“The stairs up to McCord’s living accommodation were covered in cat faeces and the smell was overpowering. There were around 30 to 40 cats in the living and kitchen area, many showing signs of serious ill health. There were chicken bones and cat faeces across much of the floor and cardboard boxes with female cats nursing litters of kittens.

“We immediately advised McCord we would be removing the cats to be examined by a vet. It took four trips for us to catch and remove all 65 cats from the premises.

“All of the cats were suffering from feline herpes virus, leading them to present with signs of ‘cat flu’, which includes discharge from the eyes and nose as well as sneezing and respiratory issues. 18 cats in total had ulceration of the cornea of one or both eyes. A further two had corneal ulcers that had recently led to rupturing of the contents of the anterior chamber of the eye through the cornea. A further seven had shrunken eyes, evidence of previous rupturing.

“One elderly cat, named Vicky, had damage to both eyes and appeared to be completely blind. When asked, McCord said her right eye had been damaged for some time but she’d fallen from the roof the previous day and injured her left eye. He confirmed she had not been seen by a vet.

“The cats in this case were being kept in an unsuitable environment, allowed to breed uncontrollably and were suffering from an infectious disease that was causing them visible pain and distress. 

“All of this would have been avoidable if McCord had sought veterinary attention and taken appropriate measures to reduce the population of animals at the property.

“We are pleased that McCord received a ban given the suffering these cats endured. We hope he seriously considers his 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.

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