A DRUMCHAPEL man has been handed a two-year ban on owning animals after leaving eight guinea pigs alone for ten days.

Robert Stewart Dyer Sheppard, formerly of Linkwood Crescent, pleaded guilty to the charge of causing unnecessary suffering by failing to provide adequate food and water for eight guinea pigs at Glasgow Sheriff Court on February 1.

The Scottish SPCA received a call on April 18, last year, with concerns that a number of guinea pigs had been left alone at the address for several days, however, it was later discovered that he had moved out 10 days earlier.

When the guinea pigs were found, seven of them had passed away and the surviving female, named Ollie, was emaciated.

Jennifer Connolly, chief inspector for Scottish SPCA, said, “On April 18, 2022, we received a call to our animal helpline regarding concerns that a number of guinea pigs had been left alone at the address for several days.

“We contacted the local council to gain access and discovered Sheppard had moved out on April 8, 2022. Meanwhile, our animal helpline received another call, this time from a council employee who had attended the property to change the locks, and discovered a number of dead guinea pigs on the veranda area.

“We attended and discovered the bodies of six guinea pigs on the veranda. There was a large amount of guinea pig faeces everywhere. There were two empty bowls and an empty cake tin on the floor. No food or water was present.

“There was a plastic cage sitting on top of a hutch containing a further two guinea pigs which were closed, meaning they had no way to leave the cage. One of the animals inside was dead.

“We immediately removed the surviving Guinea pig, named Ollie, to a clean pet carrier." 

Ollie was taken for vet treatment, where she was found to be underweight, but bright and alert.

The chief inspector added: “In our care, she quickly regained weight and has since found a loving new home where she can get the love and attention she deserves.

“We sought a veterinary opinion on how the other seven guinea pigs died and it is estimated they succumbed to dehydration.

"It’s estimated it would take somewhere between three and five days for a guinea pig to die of dehydration or over a week to die of starvation, assuming water was available.

“Given the timescales of when Sheppard vacated the property, we assume there must have been a supply of food and water left initially. However, these resources would not have been evenly shared between the animals and the weaker animals would have passed away more quickly.

“We are pleased that Sheppard received a ban but, given the level of neglect these animals were subjected to, we would have liked for it to have been for a longer period of time.

“Any reasonable owner would not leave their animals unsupervised like this for such an extended period of time and would ensure that someone trustworthy and reliable was responsible for tending to them."

Sheppard was also sentenced to a 75-day restriction of liberty order on March 29, following the Scottish SPCA investigation.

If anyone is concerned about an animal, they can contact the Scottish SPCA confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.