A CLYDEBANK man who failed to look after his two cats is facing a jail term of up to five years.
Michael Fitzsimmons’ pets, Smudge and Tubbs, both suffered mobility impairment and dental disease at his Dumbarton Road home for almost a year.
Fitzsimmons, 56, appeared in court on Thursday for a review of a community payback order (CPO) and on three deferred sentence matters, including the animal neglect charges.
He had previously pleaded guilty to causing the two animals unnecessary suffering through act or omission by failing to provide adequate care for them between July 1, 2015 and June 15, 2016.
Smudge was also suffering from emaciation at the time the neglect was discovered.
In addition to failing to look after his cats, Fitzsimmons also shouted, swore and uttered threats towards his partner at a property in Vanguard Street on June 22 last year.
He pleaded guilty to a third charge in which he was accused of breaching a condition of bail on September 7 by being in the same woman’s company at the Vanguard Street house.
Fitzsimmons’ solicitor, Brian McGuire, told Dumbarton Sheriff Court that his client had been complying with his CPO until mid-January.
Fitzsimmons failed to appear in court on January 18, and answered a warrant for his arrest seven days later – only to fail to appear again on February 13.
A second warrant for his arrest was answered on March 7, when he was remanded in custody.
Mr McGuire said that a progress report prepared for his client’s court appearance in February told “an entirely different story” to a report prepared four weeks previously.
“Why did this happen?” Mr McGuire said. “He says there’s no great, obvious explanation.
“He has been drinking heavily for 20 years or more and that has had a considerable effect on his health.
“He has considerable memory issues. He says he’s not able to deal with matters unless he is strictly monitored.”
Sheriff Maxwell Hendry pointed out that February’s progress report said a place was available for Fitzsimmons at a residential unit.
“All he had to do was get to an appointment,” the sheriff said. “He did not. I would have thought he would have dropped everything and run towards it.
“Can he comply with any order of the court? If he can’t organise his life, is there any point in a CPO remaining in place?”
Turning to address Fitzsimmons directly, the sheriff said: “In the last month you have singularly failed to take the opportunity offered to you.
“I have to think seriously about whether to continue with this approach, because there is only one alternative to it, and that is prison.
“The maximum sentence available to me on these complaints is five years.
“I’m giving you one last chance to engage fully and consistently.”
Sentence was deferred until early April for a further progress report. Fitzsimmons was released on bail.