Couple banned from keeping animals after leaving ‘skeletal’ dog unable to move

The RSPCA rescued the dogs from awful conditions – and have been able to rehome the Staffordshire bull terrier who was suffering from fur loss due to an untreated flea infestation

The dog could only slightly lift her head to drink water

A couple have been handed a five year ban on keeping all animals after leaving a ‘skeletal’ dog so weak she could not stand.

Neal Bowden and Hayley Lane, both of Strauss Road, South Bank, Middlesbrough, were convicted of three animal welfare offenses in their absence by Teesside Magistrates Court on March 22.

The court heard how a Staffordshire bull terrier dog called Angel was found by RSPCA Inspector Garry Palmer laid down on a filthy blanket with fleas crawling on her emaciated body at the couple’s house on 21 August last year.

She was unable to stand and could only slightly lift her head to drink water from a bowl nearby.

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The couple have been banned from keeping all animals for five years



In another room, there was a dark colored Staffordshire bull terrier called Bonnie who was suffering from fur loss due to an untreated flea infestation.

Inspector Palmer came across the upsetting scene when the couple allowed him into the house which he had visited following reports about the welfare of the dogs made by a concerned member of the public.

He said: “I was met with, in truth, a pitiful sight when I saw a white and black Staffordshire bull terrier type bitch named Angel.

“The room that Angel was in smelled absolutely disgusting – of urine and faeces – and the dog was unable to stand. She was laid on some pink colored bedding that was dirty and stained.

“Angel’s white coat was stained and filthy and looked more brown than white and had what looked like dried blood around her coat.

Bonnie has been rehomed



“She had access to a water bowl and when she went to drink it she could only lift her head and was propped up on her front two legs, but she was unable to use her rear legs and stand.

“It was obvious to see she was unbelievably underweight with a skeletal frame showing and I could see fleas crawling all over this dog’s body. It was also clear to see that the dog had overgrown nails and fur loss on her paw region of her and one paw had a growth present.

Bowden admitted to the inspector that Angel was in a “bad way” for about a month. He said he had contacted a veterinary surgeon to put her to sleep to end her suffering from her but he had been quoted £300 for this to take place and he could n’t afford it-even though he was in employment.

After getting permission from Bowden and Lane, Insp Palmer rushed both dogs for emergency treatment but sadly a vet decided Angel had to be put to sleep to end her suffering.

An independent veterinary expert found Angel weighed just 7.81 kg – half what she should have weighed and was given a body score of 1 out of 9 – with one classed as emaciated.

The vet said: “Her ribs, vertebrae, pelvic bones and all bony prominences were evident from a distance and easily palpable. She was not able to walk, she had to be carried in the practice, she could move her forelegs, but she was off her hind legs. She was collapsing if she tried to move, she was very weak and could not stand up for long.

“Her coat was very dirty, she had marked urine staining on her back legs. Her claws were overgrown, and she appeared to have a cyst in between her digits on one of her back legs. Her eyes were covered in a thick white discharge. She also had an obvious flea infestation.”

Bonnie was of good body weight but had an obvious flea infestation which had been left untreated.

The vet concluded that both dogs had been left to suffer for at least a month.

Bonnie responded well to treatment and was rehabilitated by RSPCA Macclesfield, South East Cheshire and Buxton – and has since found her forever home.

As well as the ban on keeping animals Boden and Lane were sentenced to 18 weeks in custody suspended for 24 months. Bowden must serve 20 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days whilst Lane must complete 10 days.

Both were also ordered to pay £200 prosecution costs and a surcharge each of £128.

In mitigation the court heard how the pair had no previous convictions.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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