Skin and bone Dalmation

RSPCA Inspector Rebecca Harper attended a property that had the curtains closed and there was no response when she knocked on the front door.

Hungry and scared 

Skinny Dalmation Penny hunched and cowering in a garden © RSPCA

Penny, a young small Dalmatian dog, was seen in the back garden cowering behind a metal barbecue and hunched up. She was clearly very skinny with all of her ribs, hips and spine easily visible. 

Rebecca tried to call her over but she wouldn't come and was nervous to move.

As there was no response at the door, Rebecca returned to her van and collected some dog biscuits and a bowl of water. Penny immediately seemed eager to get the treats but was still very timid and nervous, and as soon as Rebecca made any kind of movement she would scoot away. Although she appeared to be very hungry and eager to get to the food, Penny still kept her distance and could be heard whimpering.

There were no bowls of food or water in the garden and it was clear how thirsty Penny was once she was given something to drink.

Rebecca was able to phone the owner who said someone was actually inside the property and he would ask her to bring the dog out to our Inspector.

After doing so the police arrived and seized the dog. They gave Penny to Rebecca who took her to a private veterinary practice to be examined.

Suffering was down to lack of food 

Dalmation Penny after being in our care © RSPCA

The vet checks showed Penny: 

  • weighed 9.7 kilograms
  • had a body score of just 1 out of 9
  • estimated to be between 10-12 months old
  • was suffering due to emaciation.

Blood tests showed nothing remarkable to underline a cause for her underweight condition.

Penny readily ate more food which showed she wasn't thin because she had no appetite or was unable to eat. She was transferred to a boarding facility with instructions to feed small meals of puppy food several times a day.

A month later Penny weighed 12.9 kilograms and had visibly gained weight. Her attitude also changed to be a very happy, lively and friendly dog.

Unable to see the seriousness of the situation

Penny’s owner said in interview he didn't realise how underweight Penny was. He said 'when you see it daily you get a bit blind to it' and claimed he wasn’t sure if Penny was having a growth spurt. He seemed unable to fully grasp the seriousness of the situation.

At Mansfield Magistrates Court the 46-year-old aircraft technician was disqualified from keeping all animals for 10 years and ordered to pay £1,400 fine and £650 costs. Penny was rehomed from our Radcliffe Animal Centre.


Investigating Officer: RSPCA Inspector Rebecca Harper

Defendant: Male 46, aircraft technician

Offence: Animal Welfare Act 2006 S4

Plea: Guilty

Convictions: One

Sentence: Disqualified from keeping all animals for 10 years; £1,400 fine; £650 costs.

Prosecuted by: Cartwright King Solicitors

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