Galashiels woman facing pet ban over neglect of lizard

A lizard found in poor health at a house in Beech Avenue in Galashiels.
A lizard found in poor health at a house in Beech Avenue in Galashiels.
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A woman faces the threat of being banned from keeping pets after admitting neglecting a lizard in her care.

Charlotte Roberts, 28, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the pet at her home in Beech Avenue in Galashiels between June 26 and September 26 last year.

She admitted failing to provide her lizard with the appropriate care and treatment and not seeking veterinary advice, leading to health conditions including emaciation and dehydration.

A not-guilty plea from her partner, Vickie Roberts, 23, also of Beech Avenue, to a similar charge was accepted by the srown.

Depute fiscal Fiona Hamilton explained that the case was prompted by a complaint to the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, adding: “Officers arrived on October 22 and found a 12-week-old puppy and a large number of cats, 13 in all.

“Charlotte said she had a Bosc monitor lizard which, in her words, was in a very bad condition.

“It was motionless and in a state of collapse.

“It had no water. The water dish was dry and was full of wood shavings.

“She explained that the vets in Galashiels would not see her animals as she had outstanding bills to pay.”

Ms Hamilton said Charlotte’s partner returned to the property and they were told that all the dogs and cats in their property needed to be treated for fleas.

She added that the SSPCA immediately removed the lizard for veterinary attention, and it was found to be very weak and emaciated. Its weight was 1.68kg but should have been between 2.5kg and 3kg.

“The lizard had seven days of treatment, which proved to be successful, as it was fed back to life.

It has now been signed over to the SSPCA to be looked after.

Defence lawyer Mark Harrower admitted his client had been out of her depth when it came to looking after the lizard.

He said: “Her partner got it for her on Facebook and she had it for a few months.”

“I would put this down to inexperience and not knowing how to look after it rather than deliberate neglect.”

He pointed out it was only the lizard that had been taken away from the couple.

The crown also applied for an order disqualifying Roberts from being in charge of animals, so it was decided that she should appear in person to be sentenced at Selkirk Sheriff Court on February 10.

Sheriff Raymond McMenamin said: “It is a disturbing situation.”

SSPCA inspector Fiona Thorburn added afterwards: “We are pleased Charlotte Roberts has pled guilty in this case.

“There were two Bosc monitor lizards in the care of Roberts.

“Sadly, one had already died.

“The other was still alive but very close to death. I’ve never seen a lizard in such poor condition.

“It would have taken months for the lizard to get into the condition it did. This did not happen overnight.

“It has cost the Scottish SPCA a significant amount of money to nurse him back to health, but you can’t put a price on the wellbeing of an animal.

“We’re glad to say that he has gone from strength to strength with the correct care, and we are pleased to say he is doing well.”