Galashiels woman fined £200 and banned from keeping reptiles as pets after admitting neglecting lizard

A woman has been banned from owning reptiles for the next two years after neglecting a lizard so badly it almost died.

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 3:03 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 3:29 pm
The lizard neglected by Charlotte Roberts.

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

Animal welfare officers said the Bosc monitor lizard was close to death when they raided the Beech Avenue flat following a tip-off and found it there, along with 13 cats, two dogs and a rabbit.

A previous hearing at Selkirk Sheriff Court was told Roberts admitted the lizard was in a very bad condition .

Beech Avenue in Galashiels.

It was motionless and in a state of collapse and had no access to water, its water dish being dry and full of wood shavings, the court heard.

Officers 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 2.5 and 3kg.

After seven days of treatment, it was “fed back to life” and has now been signed over to the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The crown had originally asked for Roberts to be banned from owning all animals, but after consulting the SSPCA and Lothian Cat Rescue, that motion was restricted to reptiles and agreed.

Depute fiscal Anna Robertson told the latest hearing of the case that Roberts had signed over her cats and one dog to the SSPCA but there are still two dogs, five cats and a fish in the Langlee flat as they belong to her partner Vickie Roberts, 23.

Defence lawyer Colin Severin said his client had taken on more than she could handle and there had been no malice involved.

Sheriff Peter Paterson fined Roberts £200 for causing unnecessary suffering to the lizard as well as banning her from keeping reptiles for two years.

After hearing that Roberts shares employment support allowance of £275 a fortnight with her partner, the sheriff said he found it difficult to comprehend how they could afford to keep the amount of cats and dogs they still have in their care, however.

Vickie Roberts’ not-guilty plea to causing unnecessary suffering to the lizard was accepted by the crown.