THE SCOTTISH SPCA said it was "disappointed" that a man who left his dog home alone for four days without food or water was only fined £400.

Michael Stobbs, 35, formerly of Hilton View in Lumphinnans, was sentenced at Dunfermline Sheriff Court last week after admitting leaving his Akita cross, Samson, unattended in an unsanitary and hazardous environment.

After responding to calls from neighbours, the SSPCA found the dog had been locked in a kitchen for four days with faeces on the floor, it had "chronic" eye and ear infections, itchy skin and was clearly underweight with "his ribs and hips easily seen from a distance".

SSPCA inspector, Nicola Liddell, said: “We are disappointed that Stobbs only received a £400 fine this occasion as we do not feel this reflects the suffering caused to Samson.

“We hope he will be more conscientious in future about ensuring any animal he owns receives the appropriate care and veterinary treatment they require."

Stobbs, now of Segal House, Segal Place, Dunfermline admitted that between January 10 and February 10, 2021, at his then home in Lumphinnans, he caused his dog unnecessary suffering by failing to provide it with food and water.

As well as the £400 fine, he had to pay a £20 surcharge.

The animal welfare charity had asked that he be banned from owning animals but this was refused by the sheriff.

The SSPCA went to Stobbs' home after calls to their helpline about a dog that had been left alone in the property for a number of days.

Inspector Liddell said: “Stobbs freely admitted to having left Samson unattended for four days, blaming the weather conditions for preventing him from tending to his dog.

“Samson was locked in the kitchen and the door was secured shut with a screwdriver jammed into the door surround which Stobbs used a hammer to remove.

“Samson was very friendly in nature and was delighted to see us.

"He was obviously underweight with his ribs and hips easily seen from a distance. His skin was very itchy and infected over his back with noticeable hair loss.

“Both eyes were leaking a yellow discharge and both inner ears appeared tender and infected.

"Samson’s claws were also very overgrown and were beginning to displace the alignment of his toes."

She continued: “The kitchen was strewn with litter and hazardous items such as cutlery, potato peelings, old food containers, cans and mouldy milk cartons.

"There were faeces on the floor and up the kitchen units.

“There were no dog bowls, just empty plastic food containers."

The dog was "so thirsty and hungry" and quickly finished the food and water given to him.

He was taken to the charity's animal rescue and rehoming centre for care and treatment.

A vet found no underlying health problems that could explain Samson's low body weight and that during an ear examination the dog "howled in pain".

Inspector Liddell added: "The chronic eye infections will also have caused him considerable discomfort and irritation for a minimum of three to four weeks but likely much longer.

“Despite numerous attempts to contact Stobbs to arrange an interview, we received no response nor has he contacted us to check how Samson is doing."

She said the dog responded well to medication for his skin, eyes and ears, and also gained weight.

Anyone who is concerned about an animal can contact the SSPCA helpline on 03000 999 999.