April 2022

Dying dog heard screaming after sick Scots owner subjected it to ‘worst neglect ever seen’


A dying lurcher was subjected to the worst case of neglect ever seen by local vets and was so weak that she was unable to stand up on her own.

Game warden Christopher Robertson, aged 50, from Kirkcaldy, Fife has been banned from keeping pets for 20 years after his lurcher dog was found “extremely emaciated” and close to death.

The alarm was raised by a resident near the A822 layby and her gardener, on July 13, 2018 after they heard Robertson “roaring” and the sound of a small dog yelping, and a larger dog “screaming”.

This noise continued for about an hour, and both witnesses became increasingly alarmed for the welfare of the dogs.

The gardener phoned the police and two officers arrived at about 4.40pm.

They saw Robertson walking an extremely emaciated lurcher-type dog. She was almost completely bald and covered in sores. Her ribs and hips were protruding through her skin.

As officers approached, Robertson tried to place the dog in the back of his pick-up truck. She was too weak to jump into the tailgate so Robertson lifted her in.

He became aggressive when officers approached and asked about his dog.

He said to them: “F***s it to do with you” and “there’s nothing wrong with her, f*** off. I’m not telling you my name, I’ve done f*** all.”

During the ensuing angry standoff, officers saw that Wilkinson had a knife with a 3″ blade attached to his belt. The knife was pulled out by one of the officers and thrown to safety.

Police called for back-up after Robertson slid underneath his vehicle where he stayed for around 20 minutes.

When he finally emerged, he was asked about his knife. He replied: “I’m a gamekeeper, it’s for gralloching deer.”

As well as the lurcher, police found a small Border Terrier in Robertson’s truck. She appeared to be in better condition than the lurcher, who was so weak she couldn’t stand without assistance.

She was seen to be even more emaciated up close and was covered in open sores. All four of her paws were bleeding between each toe.

Both dogs were taken to a local vet for treatment.

Surgeon Rhuairidh Mackenzie, who examined them, said: “The body condition of the lurcher was the worst I’d ever seen.

“Her condition was at the extreme end of the scale for neglect and/or cruel treatment.”

He added: “No reasonable person could have looked at her and not known she needed urgent attention.”

The court heard that “the state of malnutrition was such that food had to be introduced very carefully – normal food portions would have been dangerous to her kidneys and liver, and she would have been unable to cope.”

The dog’s paws were covered in bubble wrap to try and increase her temperature. She also required antibiotics and was put on an IV drip.

Another surgeon Kate Jamieson added: “It’s my opinion that this case involved months of neglect.

“If the whippet had not received treatment when she did, I think she would have died over the weekend.”

She said: “It has been the worst case of neglect that I have ever seen. Definitely the skinniest.”

Robertson admitted causing the dog unnecessary suffering in addition to behaving in a threatening or abusive manner and possession of a knife in a public place.

The vets reported that the dog recovered enough to be discharged.

Robertson was given a 20-year ban and was placed on a curfew for nine months.