A dog owner who left his pet puppy suffering from broken legs for nine months - neglecting it so badly it had to be put down - has been spared jail.

Steven Ferguson took Keira, a one-year-old brindle and white Staffordshire bull terrier border collie cross to see a PDSA vet, who confirmed she had a broken femur.

But the feckless 30-year-old never took the dog back to the vets and never took it to receive any medical treatment for its injuries.

Keira later escaped from Ferguson's clutches and was found wandering the streets of Paisley alone some nine months later - suffering from numerous fractures to its hind legs.

The dog was then taken to a vet to be examined and was deemed to be in such a poor state of health she had to be put to sleep.

And he is not allowed to keep animals for five years as a result of his mistreatment of the dog.

A search for Keira's owner began after it was found injured and it emerged that Ferguson was the one who owned the dog.

He was arrested and charged with mistreating Keira between January 5, 2012, and September 16 that year - the day she was found wandering the streets.

And he later admitted his guilt when he appeared in the dock at Paisley Sheriff Court, pleading guilty to breaking Section 19(2) of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.

Procurator fiscal depute Joanne Gilmour, prosecuting, explained: "The dog was in good bodily condition however it was suffering from injured hind legs.

"The dog had great difficulty walking, was dragging it's right hind leg and was unstable on it's left leg.

"The dog was in obvious distress and pain.

"It was taken to a vet to be examined and x-rays were carried out.

"It was noted the dog had fractures in both hind legs.

"This would have caused severe pain and for some weeks after they had been sustained.

"In the vet's opinion the dog had suffered unnecessarily through a lack of proper veterinary attention on more than one occasion.

"Due to the extent of the injuries the dog had to be euthanised."

He admitted "failing to provide adequate treatment for multiple fractures to the rear legs of said dog" at an earlier court hearing, and sentence was deferred for him to be assessed by social workers.

Sentence was deferred further for a report from his GP to see if he would be fit for unpaid work as he was stabbed in an attack in November 2012.

And when he returned to the dock this week, he was allowed to leave the building as a free man.

Ferguson could have been jailed for up to a year for neglecting Keira so badly but Sheriff Susan Sinclair opted to spare him a spell behind bars.

She placed him on a Community Payback Order which will see him supervised by social workers for the next 12 months and ordered him to carry out 200 hours' unpaid work.

She also banned him from keeping or owning animals, meaning he can't have any pets, for a period of five years.