Neglected dog had to be put to sleep
A DOG owner who let his pet starve and suffer unnecessary discomfort has been jailed for six weeks.
Christopher Hobbs appeared at North Staffordshire Magistrates' Court yesterday after pleading guilty to two counts of animal cruelty, committed in September and October last year.
The court heard the RSPCA was called in to investigate Hobbs after he took his four-year-old brindle Staffordshire Bull Terrier Sasha to a vet.
The animal was found to have pressure sores all over her body. One of the lesions had penetrated through all the layers of skin and was exposing the bone on her hind leg.
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She was 45 per cent underweight, weighing just 7.2kg, and the vet believed she must have been suffering for at least four weeks. The dog was put to sleep to prevent further suffering.
Andrew Meachin, prosecuting said: "This defendant took his dog to a vet and the surgeon decided there was clear evidence of neglect and notified the RSPCA.
"A dog like that should weigh 15kg. Hobbs said he thought Sasha was in pain and was bleeding. She was in a semi conscious state.
"He said the dog had been behaving and eating normally up until that morning."
A post mortem revealed the cause of death was a failure by Hobbs, aged 39, of Bold Street, Hanley, to feed the dog a sufficient diet.
The fat behind her eyelids had disappeared and vets believe that is the last reserve the body will use before breaking down muscle.
In interview, Hobbs said the dog had eaten a hedgehog three or four months before and had been losing weight since then.
Nick Ryles, defending, said: "There had been previous contact with the RSPCA when neighbours had reported matters. In 2007 they had given Hobbs advice about the sleeping accommodation for his dog and in May 2009 he was advised about a tether for the dog.
"No major concerns were raised by the RSPCA. He used to take the dog to the City Dog's Home for boarding when he went to visit his daughter in Spain.
"He said he did not notice the lesions. He was out at work a lot, but said the dog was fed regularly and seen at least three times a day. He did not walk the dog regularly and did not have it in the house as most pet owners do."
Chairman of the bench, David Alcock, said: "It is clear that this level of starvation is one of the worst cases the vet had ever seen. It was so extreme Sasha had to be put down."
The magistrates chose the highest sentence available, 12 weeks' custody, and then reduced it to six weeks for Hobbs's guilty plea and previous good character.
Hobbs has also been disqualified from keeping animals for 15 years.
The court was notified Hobbs will appeal the sentence, but an application for bail pending that appeal was refused.