OVER 4,600 incidents were responded to by the Scottish SPCA as a result of calls to their animal helpline in Ayrshire.

In 2017 alone, the charity saw 70 of their cases reach a successful conclusion with 52 animal bans, including a case from February, where a Maybole farmer was fined £5,000 and given a five-year ban from owning bovine animals after he neglected his cattle.

64-year-old Detlef Meier admitted to failing to provide them with a suitable environment to live, and during the incident, a calf was found submerged a “deep muddy hazardous environment” and later died.

Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn, said: “In February [last year], Detlef Meier was sentenced at Ayr Sheriff Court after failing to provide his animals with suitable nutrition and drinking water, adequate shelter from adverse weather, a dry and clean resting area and protection from the deep muddy hazardous environment.

“Our inspector found 20 young cattle who were severely underweight whilst another young calf had to be physically removed from a muddy bog area where it had become trapped and died.

“Meier was handed a £5,000 fine and banned from owning bovine animals for five years. It is our belief that these sentences should act as a deterrent to potential criminals.

“While Scotland is a nation of animal lovers, unfortunately there are some who still abuse and neglect animals. We support an increase to the minimum jail term for animal cruelty and welcome an increase from 12 months to 5 years.”

In August last year, Zara Brown who owned Ayrshire Ark in Patna, was sentenced to seven months in jail and was given a lifetime ban from looking after animals, after she allowed dogs to rot and decay.

It was found that all of the dogs in her care were subjected to significant weight loss and seven dog’s bodies and a cat were found in a chest freezer.

She also admitted to failing to take steps to ensure the needs of the animals were met and exposing them to debris, building materials, faeces, urine, soiled bedding and inadequate lighting and failing to provide clean resting areas, a suitable diet and appropriate and adequate nutrition and hydration.

Ayrshire Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre Manager Marion Hainey, added: “Last year we found wonderful new homes for over 200 animals from our centre.

“Many of the animals were rescued from lives of abuse or neglect and some were even discarded like rubbish when their owners decided they no longer wanted to look after them.

“It’s heartbreaking to think about. This year we hope to find homes for even more animals and we would certainly encourage anyone thinking of taking on a pet to check out our website or visit our centre.”