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Stafford mum banned from keeping pets

Staffordshire | News | Published:

A woman from Staffordshire who let the dog she had owned for nine years become so underweight it was close to death has been banned from owning animals for five years.

A woman from Staffordshire who let the dog she had owned for nine years become so underweight it was close to death has been banned from owning animals for five years.

Donna Swift, of Sash Street, Stafford, was feeding her black cross-breed Bobby so little that RSPCA inspectors said the dog had been forced to use its reserves of body fat in order to survive.

Harrowing pictures taken when Bobby was seized by the animal charity showed the dog's ribs were visible through his fur.

Cannock Magistrates Court heard she was also suffering from a bad skin condition.

Single mother-of two Swift, who is unemployed, claimed she could not afford to take Bobby to the vet and did not need to because "she has never been ill".

The court heard Swift had owned Bobby since she was a puppy nine years ago.

After an RSPCA inspector visited Swift's home and referred the dog to a vet, they rated Bobby's condition at a lowly 0.5 out of 10.

Mr Roger Price, prosecuting on behalf of the animal charity, said Swift recovered an empty dog tin from the bin when asked to produce Bobby's food.

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She told the inspector she had run out of food the previous day but was planning to restock. Mr Price said Swift claimed she had tried to bathe the dog to help ease the skin condition and tried to change her diet to help her put on weight over a period of four months.

A vet who examined Bobby said she was close to dying had she not been rescued. The dog was signed over to the charity on May 6 and by the end of June it had made a "marked" improvement, the court heard.

Swift, aged 38, had previously admitted two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal between January 14 and May 6 this year.

Ian Hodnett, defending, said Swift had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and had tried to treat the dog herself. Magistrates yesterday ordered her to pay a contribution to costs of £750, ordered her to complete 100 hours of community work and banned her from owning any animal for five years.

By Claire Fry

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