A COUNTY clairvoyant who left her cat and dog flea-ridden and with severe skin complaints has been banned from keeping animals.

Spiritualist Nicola Barnes, who uses the name Serapheena Moon, caused unnecessary suffering to an 18-year-old cat and an eight-year-old dog by failing to get treatment for their conditions.

The elderly cat, named Ash, was in such a distressed state it had to be put down while the Scottish SPCA also decided to re-home Staffordshire bull terrier Arael after seizing it from Barnes.

Neighbours spotted the animals’ condition at the self-employed spiritual healer’s former home in Whitecraig and called in Scottish SPCA officers.

SSPCA inspector Stephanie McCrossan said: “I arrived at the property and noted Ash looked extremely malnourished and was trying to eat from an empty crisp packet.

“I offered her some cat meat which she devoured.

“I could see she had four large green infected-looking sores along her side.

“When I assessed Arael, the Staffie, it was clear she had an obvious skin condition and smelled very strongly of yeast. There were open sores on her body and extensive hair loss.

“Both animals were in need of immediate veterinary attention.

“Upon veterinary examination, Ash was given a body score of 2/9 and weighed 3.2kg – a cat of her type should weigh between 4-4.5kg. She had bacterial conjunctivitis of both eyes, as well as a large alopecic area on her chest and flank with scabbing and ulceration. After further examination, she was found to have a heart murmur and was severely anaemic.

“Arael was given a body score of 3/9 and weighed only 13.6kg. There was alopecia and healing scabs on her ears and was evidence of self-trauma and ulceration to the point of bleeding and infected areas with pus were also found.

“Both animals had a severe flea infestation which could clearly be seen in their coat.

“Sadly, Ash’s red blood cell count deteriorated drastically and the veterinary staff made the tough decision to put her to sleep on welfare grounds.

“The suffering Ash and Arael faced was unnecessary and could have been easily avoided with proper diet and vet attention.

“This level of neglect didn’t happen overnight.”

Barnes, now of Dalrymple Loan, Musselburgh, pleaded guilty to causing two animals unnecessary suffering in May and June 2017 when she appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last Wednesday.

Her partner and co-accused Allen Smogar, 33, had his not guilty pleas accepted by the Crown.

Barnes’ lawyer Liam Kildare said his client had both pets as a pup and a kitten and the “seasonal” skin conditions would flare up and go away again.

Mr Kildare said that the mum-of-three had attended a local vets “a number of years ago” but had decided to treat the skin complaints herself using Aloe Vera cream and coconut oil.

The brief added: “She accepts not seeking secondary advice. And she attributes some of the cat’s skin conditions to old age and she used various skin products [on the cat].

“This is not a case where Miss Barnes did nothing. She did love these animals very much.

“She is a self-employed spiritual healer and clairvoyant; however, she is not working at the moment.”

Sheriff Norman McFadyen told Barnes: “I accept this was a case of neglect by omission.”

First offender Barnes was fined £360 and banned from owning any animal for the next two years.

Sheriff McFadyen added: “Given the circumstances you can ill-afford to keep animals in the short term and it is appropriate I disqualify you for keeping animals for a period of two years.”

Barnes admitted causing her pets unnecessary suffering between May 28 and June 28, 2017.