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RSPCA prosecutes Cheshire owner who left French bulldog to starve

RSPCA prosecutes Cheshire owner who left French bulldog to starve

An owner whose French bulldog was found in an emaciated condition has been banned from keeping animals for five years.

Claire Kirton, from Crewe, pleaded guilty to two offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and appeared for sentencing at South Cheshire Magistrates' Court on March 5.

As well as the disqualification, magistrates imposed a 12-month community order on Kirton, which requires her to complete 100 hours of unpaid work. She was also told to pay court costs of £400 and a victim surcharge of £114.

RSPCA Inspector Jenny Bethel visited Kirton's property at Coleridge Way on August 18 last year (2023), where she came across an "extremely underweight", brindle-coloured French bulldog, called Peanut.

The inspector said in a statement presented to the court that the dog's hips, ribs and spine were clearly visible.

Kirton claimed she had only owned the dog for five weeks and that the canine was "skinnier" when she took her on. She told the inspector that she had not taken the canine to a vets during her period of ownership, despite her body condition.

Inspector Bethel took the dog to the Greater Manchester Animal Hospital, where it was clear that her ill health was causing her mobility issues.

"She was very unstable on her back end and I observed her stumble and collapse several times while at the vets," said Inspector Bethel.

On admission, Peanut weighed only 6.7kg and registered one out of nine on a body condition score, which corresponds to being in an emaciated state. She was suffering with muscle loss, a flea infestation, ear lesions and overgrown nails. The dog was anaemic and she was so hungry that when she was offered food at the hospital she ate ravenously.

Peanut was treated for fleas and worms and she was put on a feeding plan. She put on 3.6kg in weight in less than two months and has since  made a good recovery.

The vet concluded: "A reasonable owner would have sought veterinary care or feeding advice in the case of sudden or chronic weight loss of an animal like this. The duration of Peanut's suffering was at least two to three months."

In mitigation, the court heard that the defendant suffered from mental health problems.

Since her ordeal, Peanut was placed in foster care by the RSPCA and she has now found a caring new owner.

Speaking after the sentencing, Inspector Bethel said: "The defendant didn't do anything to help this poor dog. Despite claiming to have fed her every day, it appears she didn't have the time or inclination to do so properly. As a result, Peanut lost a vast amount of weight and she was incredibly skinny when we found her.

"She is a different dog now and the RSPCA foster carer who took her in has now provided her with a new home where she will be loved and cared for."