Emaciated bulldog found collapsed by the RSPCA
A woman who failed the health and welfare of her two bulldogs has been banned from keeping animals for eight years following a prosecution by the RSPCA.
Ricki Haywood, of New Cross Walk in Woodhouse, Sheffield, pleaded guilty to three offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and appeared for sentencing at Sheffield Magistrates' Court on June 30.
Both American XL bullies, a male dog called Tyson and a female called Lola, were found in an emaciated state. Tyson had also been confined to a derelict shed during the winter months in a back garden, which was strewn with faeces and full of hazards, including a child's pushchair and chairs as well as other household items.
While RSPCA inspector Leanne Booth was at the property following up on reports the charity had received about underweight dogs, she saw the poorly Tyson collapse and fall down a set of concrete steps. He was rushed to a local vet where staff fought to save him for 48 hours. Sadly he was in such a poor state of health that the kindest thing to do was put him to sleep to prevent further suffering.
As well as the ban on keeping animals, magistrates placed Haywood under an 18-month community order which requires her to complete 250 hours of unpaid work and 20 rehabilitation activity days. She was also told to pay £400 costs and a victim surcharge of £114.
The magistrates stated the offences were serious enough to merit a custodial sentence, but opted to step back from that because they believe Haywood can be rehabilitated in the community.
The court was told that when Inspector Booth asked Haywood if she could see the dogs during her visit to the defendant's home on December 17 last year (2022), she was told to look over the fence. When she called out Tyson's name, a blue brindle bulldog staggered into view from the shed and then toppled down the steps.
"Even from a distance I could clearly see the dog was extremely poorly as his ribs, hips and spine were all clearly visible as were his skull bones," stated the inspector in a statement given to the court. "He attempted to walk down the steps, but collapsed and fell before he lay at the foot of the steps for several seconds. I didn't think he was going to get back up, but he managed to get on his feet and staggered out of sight."
The inspector called at the defendant's front door to inform her that her dog needed urgent medical treatment and requested to see her other dog. The court heard that Haywood's reply was "You can just take them both, I can't cope with them" before she brought out Lola, who was very underweight with her spine and rib and hip bones showing.
Tyson collapsed again as both dogs were being taken from the property and the inspector had to carry him to her van. He was suffering from hypothermia and attempts to take his body temperature at the vets failed to produce a reading because he was so cold.
A vet who examined the dogs said in a statement presented to the court that Tyson's was "the worst case of emaciation and starvation" she had dealt with. As well as being emaciated, with the lowest body condition score possible (1 out of 9), she said he had suffered from hypothermia for several days as a result of being kept outside in sub-zero temperatures without adequate shelter.
In mitigation, the court was told Haywood was suffering from depression at the time of the offences and had "not cared about anything".
Lola was signed over to the RSPCA and has since put on weight and thrived under the care of staff at the South Yorkshire Animal Centre in Bawtry, run by RSPCA Doncaster, Rotherham and District Branch's. Lola's now been rehomed by the charity.
Speaking after the sentencing, inspector Booth said: "This is one of the worst cases I have come across in my 17-year career as an inspector. What I witnessed on that day will stay with me for a very long time. The defendant showed no concern for Tyson as he lay dying at her feet."
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