A woman from Motherwell has been handed a two-year ban on keeping all animals following a Scottish SPCA investigation. 

Elisha Walker pled guilty to failing to provide a suitable living environment or to make adequate provisions for her two cats, Minty a black and white female, and Hamish, a tabby and white male, at Hamilton Sheriff Court on November 6.

The 27-year-old also pled guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the cats.

Scottish SPCA inspector, Jack Marshall, said: “We first became aware of Elisha Walker on 3 September 2019, when concerns were raised that she had abandoned the property on Merry Street and left her cats behind.

“We were given access to the property by a housing officer and found that the three cats inside were in good condition. They had access to food but had run out of water.

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“The property was in substandard condition and somewhat cluttered. The litter trays needed to be cleaned and there was a bin in the bathroom shut away from the cats which smelled foul due to festering meat in in the bottom of it.

“Provisions were made for the cats, the property was secured and a Scottish SPCA calling card taped to the door urging the owner to make contact urgently.

“The owner, identifying herself as Elisha Walker replied to the card a few hours later and we attended again the following day. The property had been partially cleaned and tidied but was not yet satisfactory. We issued Walker with an animal welfare notice for the rest of the property to be cleaned and tidied to an acceptable manner, and for the cats to be tended to at least twice daily to ensure their welfare needs were being met.

“We returned on 9 September 2019 to find that the conditions of the notice had been complied with and the property was now fully clean and tidy. We advised Walker that she must keep on top of the cleanliness of the property going forward.

“We were next contacted on 16 May 2021 due to concerns that cats in the property had once again been left unattended, this time for around four days.

“An inspector visited the property and found it to be unoccupied with a foul smell emanating from it. We taped the doors to see if anyone was attending the cats and continued to visit over the next few days, supplying them with wet food through the letterbox. During this time the tape remained unbroken.

“On 19 May we were able to gain entry to the property and found two cats, Minty and Hamish, inside. The premises were in very poor condition with household rubbish, clutter and cat faeces strewn throughout. There was no food or water present for the cats and the litter trays were full of faeces.

“Some of the rubbish showed evidence that the cats had been chewing and clawing at it looking for food.

“We immediately removed both cats from the property took them to be seen by a vet.

“On veterinary examination, both cats were found to be dehydrated and in lean body condition. They had undoubtedly been caused unnecessary suffering due to being left alone without suitable food and water.

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“We returned to the property on 20 May, as we had left a humane cat trap in case any of Walker’s other cats were present at the property. While we were there Elisha Walker arrived in a taxi.

“When questioned about the incident she stated she had been unwell and staying at her partner’s address and a friend had agreed to care for the cats. However, she was unable to provide any contact details for the person she named.

“Although we are glad she received a ban, we would have liked it to have been for a longer period of time. Walker has never offered any reasonable explanation as to why Minty and Hamish were left in such conditions, which resulted directly from her failure to attend regularly and maintain a suitable living environment for the cats.

“The situation overall was completely unacceptable and caused the cats considerable suffering. This was further compounded by the terrible living conditions within the property and the fact that Walker was previously given an animal welfare notice for similar issues, yet allowed them to not only reoccur but deteriorate.

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