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Grandmother, 32, given weekend curfew after starving dog

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Grandmother Emma Spooner – aged only 32 – left a rottweiler to fester and starve in a filthy yard for five years and exposed her own children to the danger of dog bites.

For five years she threw food and water to Kane, the dog, who was between 10 and 12 years old, in the back yard of her home in Peel Way, Tividale, Dudley Magistrates Court heard.

District Judge Graham Wilkinson told Spooner, who became a granny at the age of just 31: "You left this dog to fester in the back yard.

"This poor animal, for five years, lived in a small space, unloved and mostly neglected.

"He goes feral, because he is not getting love and attention. He is left to lie in his own filth.

"He's occasionally thrown food and he wastes away.

"Had it not been that someone locally alerted the RSPCA, eventually you would have realised you had not seen him for a few days, because he would have wasted away to nothing.

"He was left to starve slowly and would probably have died a sad, lonely death. All this time, you allowed your children to be at risk."

The home where she lives with five children and Kane

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He sentenced Spooner, who admitted failing to make sure that Kane was provided with a suitable diet and environment, to a curfew from 7pm to 6am on Friday and Saturday nights for the next three months and banned her from keeping any animals for five years.

He also ordered her to pay £1,000 costs –and said she should give up smoking to raise the money to cover the bill.

At one stage, the judge also halted the proceedings at the court, ordering Spooner to leave the court because she was chewing gum, although he called the case back on about 30 minutes later.

Mrs Gaynor Sutton, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said Inspector Steve Morrall called at Spooner's home on January 29 and could see the dog was 'very lean' and the paving slabs in the yard were covered in faeces.

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The inspector threw some food to the dog, who ate it ravenously.

Mrs Vanita Joshi, defending, said Spooner had been with her former partner for 11 years, who mainly cared for the dog and, after he left her for a man, he would on occasions take Kane away for a few days or feed the animal at her home. "She was petrified of the dog," said Mrs Joshi.

After yesterday's hearing Spooner told the Express & Star she wanted the RSPCA to put down the animal last year but she could not afford the £200 the organisation had wanted to do the job, although she was willing to pay half.

Spooner, whose 14-year-old daughter had a baby son 17 months ago, making her a granny when she was just 31, said: "The dog belonged to my ex partner.

"I was under the impression he would look after it and he should have taken it when he left but he didn't.

"I was made out in court to be bad but the dog wasn't kept outside for five years, like they said.

"He used to come in at night."

She added: "The dog didn't like women or children and, apart from biting two of the kids, he went for my throat."

Spooner claimed that she contacted the RSPCA last year asking if they would put Kane down but they had told her it would cost £200, which she could not find. She also maintained that the reason the back yard, where Kane was kept, was in such a filthy state when the RSPCA called was that it had snowed over the previous days and she had not been able to clear off the paving slabs.

Spooner, speaking of becoming a gran at such a young age, said: "I hate being called gran when I'm so young – so I ask my grandson to call me Emma."

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