Emaciated dog found unable to walk and riddled with fleas in urine-soaked home
A couple have been banned from keeping animals for five years after two dogs were found in horrific conditions.
Neal Bowden and his partner Hayley Lane appeared at Teesside Magistrates’ Court for acts of cruelty which led to one of their dogs being put to sleep. The South Bank couple pleaded guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and failing to attend to the dogs’ needs.
Angel and Bonnie crosses were found in ‘dirty and neglected’ conditions at the couple’s home on Strauss Road in August last year. An RSPCA inspector visited the site on August 24 after community concerns. Bowden initially denied owning a dog, but was surprised when a dog appeared in the doorway.
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The court heard he later complied with the inspector admitting that ‘one of the dogs was in bad shape and had to go to sleep’ but claimed he could not afford the costs.
RSPCA prosecutor Alex Bousfield said Angel was unable to stand and was in a room that smelled of urine and faeces. He said the pup had overgrown nails, was underweight and covered in fleas.
Angel weighed just 7.81kg, but the court heard that a healthy dog of his size and breed should have weighed 12kg at the lowest to 17kg. Images described as “discouraging” by the magistrates saw her emaciated on a scale in a veterinary practice.
The other animal, Bonnie, was found with significant fur loss, fleas and thickened skin, which Mr Bousfield said was a sign of prolonged irritation. The court heard that Bonnie constantly scratched and tried to bite herself to ease the discomfort.
Bonnie and Angel were signed with the RSPCA but Angel was put to sleep on veterinary advice. During an inspection at Stanhope Park Veterinary Hospital, Darlington, the vet concluded that unnecessary suffering had been caused.
Mitigating Simon Walker said the couple were struggling financially at the time of the breaches.
He said: “Part of this issue is financial difficulties and although this has improved, the couple are still paying for past issues. This is a sad and serious case and the situation on August 24 suggests that adults of the house had more or less given up. There is clear evidence that they could not cope with the situation and life in general.
Mr Walker said there were no previous problems until financial difficulties coincided with mental health issues. He told the court the couple were remorseful and the neglect came at a time when Bowden stopped taking medication for his mental health issues. He also said Lane lacked the skills to deal with the situation.
Mr Walker told the court the couple pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and had no previous convictions. He said they had lost their reputation and gained convictions for a crime which “incites public revulsion”.
The two men were each given an 18-week prison sentence, suspended for two years. They were also banned from keeping animals for five years.
Lane, 36, and Bowden, 37, must also pay £200 in costs, a victim surcharge of £128 and full rehabilitation days. Lane received a community order and Bowden received an unpaid work requirement.
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