SSPCA slam NHS chief’s dog neglect

Chairman of the NHS Dumfries and Galloway, Mr. Mike Keggens plants a tree to commemorate the opening of the Newton Stewart Hospital Community Gardens along with John McNaught, Alison Burns and Professor David Hannay. 'GG 3105067 12
Chairman of the NHS Dumfries and Galloway, Mr. Mike Keggens plants a tree to commemorate the opening of the Newton Stewart Hospital Community Gardens along with John McNaught, Alison Burns and Professor David Hannay. 'GG 3105067 12

THE chairman of NHS Dumfries and Galloway, and former managing director of The Galloway Gazette, who left a pet dog unattended without adequate food or water has been banned for keeping pets for five years.

And now calls have been made by health secretary Nicola Sturgeon for the position of Mike Keggans, 48, now of Forsyth Avenue, Sanquhar, as chair to be examined.Mike Keggans, 48, now of Forsyth Avenue, Sanquhar, was also fined £900 after admitting being the owner of 12-year old golden retriever, Millie, who was left unattended in his home on the Buccleuch Estate in Thornhill last March.

Millie (pic; SSPCA)

Millie (pic; SSPCA)

The SSPCA have slammed Keggans’ actions, claiming the “intelligent individual” should have known better.

Dumfries Sheriff Court was told that he had initially left food and water for her but claimed he was caught out by having to stay overnight following a trip to Dundee and Edinburgh.

But depute fiscal Paula Forbes said Scottish SPCA officials had been called to the cottage after the dog had been heard barking inside with no-one around.

Officials say Millie had clearly been alone for a considerable amount of time.

Keggans' porch area (pic: SSPCA)

Keggans' porch area (pic: SSPCA)

An inspector attended and saw through a window what appeared to be an elderly dog and puddles of urine on the floor in the kitchen.

When officials eventually gained access they found the dog with its coat heavily matted, a damp duvet acting as a bed, and puddles of urine throughout the house. Police were contacted and the dog was taken to Scottish SPCA kennels.

For three days, the SSPCA attempted to contact Keggans, who then showed little concern upon realising Millie was missing from his home.

The court heard that Keggans had previously owned other dogs, as well as cats and horses without issue, and also, surprisingly, that the dog was not underweight.

SSPCA Inspector Arianne Harkness said: “Keggans is an intelligent and educated individual who should have had enough foresight to make adequate provision for the needs of the dog in his care.

“Millie was found with her thick coat badly matted and her bedding was wet and stained with urine.

“She had been wetting indoors for a considerable period of time. For a housetrained dog as Millie was this would have been distressing for her.

“Throughout our investigation Keggans evaded contact and showed little concern for the dog that was missing from his property, therefore it is fitting that he has received a fine and a five year ban on keeping animals.”

An SSPCA spokesperson added on Thursday: “Sadly Millie had advanced osteo-arthritis and she was treated for this condition while in our care. However, after two months she had had not shown any sign of improvement and a vet assessed that her quality of life was impaired to such an extent that the kindest thing was to put her to sleep.

“Her condition was a result of her age and unrelated to the charge against Mr Keggans.”