RSPCA criticise "lenient" punishment of pair who didn't feed dog properly

PUBLISHED: 17:35 14 August 2009 | UPDATED: 09:13 02 June 2010

RSPCA cruelty case
Damien Wright/Melanie Walker

RSPCA cruelty case Damien Wright/Melanie Walker

By ADAM LAZZARI AN RSPCA inspector has criticised Fenland magistrates for handing out a lenient punishment to two people convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog. Damien Wright, 21, and Melanie Walker, 23, both of Ramnoth Road, Wisbech, were

RSPCA cruelty case
Damien Wright/Melanie Walker

By ADAM LAZZARI

AN RSPCA inspector has criticised Fenland magistrates for handing out a "lenient" punishment to two people convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog.

Damien Wright, 21, and Melanie Walker, 23, both of Ramnoth Road, Wisbech, were fined £100 each, and both ordered to pay £50 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a dog by failing to provide an adequate diet.

The pair, who own two other healthy dogs, were not disqualified from keeping animals.

Insp Jon Knight said after the case, which was held at Wisbech Magistrates' Court today (Friday): "In consideration of what this dog has had to suffer I feel this punishment to be too lenient.

"We may speak to our legal advisors to at least see if we can make an appeal to at least prevent them from having this dog back."

Jason Stevens, prosecuting, told the magistrates that an RSPCA inspector visited the defendants' home on May 2.

She reported the eight-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier, named Jake, to be "extremely thin" and that its living area was "littered with faeces."

Mr Stevens said that the defendants were aggressive towards the inspector and told her to leave, so she called police and colleagues as she felt the dog needed immediate treatment.

The dog was taken to a vet's where his condition was rated at the lowest mark - one out of five.

Mr Stevens said: "He weighed 13.5kg, when its ideal weight should have been between 18kg and 19kg.

"His coat was dirty, he has alopecia on his body and he was anaemic.

"Through a normal diet, the dog's weight increased to 17.85kg in just over a fortnight.

"The vet believed his weigh loss had been over a number of months rather than days."

When interviewed by the RSPCA Wright said he had owned the dog for six years.

He told inspectors he didn't know why he was so thin.

They both said the dog was fed twice a day and they could not afford to take it to a vet.

Mitigating, John Clarke, said: "The implication is that these people don't care about animals, but that is not the case.

"They have two healthy dogs, but they were ignorant to the appropriate care that was needed for Jake. They took a "wait and see" attitude when the dog lost weight and buried their heads in the sand.

"They accept equal responsibility for his neglect and made early guilty pleas."

Chairwoman of the magistrates' bench Linda Clarke said: "You must keep an eye on your pets and take appropriate action if anything like this happens again or you may find yourselves back in court."

The case cost the RSPCA more than £1,200.


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