A mother-of-two whose dogs were found skeletal with protruding rib cages has been banned from keeping animals for three years.
Kimberley Louise Hodgkinson was said to have caused unnecessary suffering to her two pets which were found malnourished and emaciated by RSPCA inspectors, Burnley Magistrates’ Court heard.
One dog, Mitzy, a female white and tan cross breed, was discovered wandering free along St Matthew Street and was in such a dire state she had to be carried to the vets by a concerned member of the public.
RSPCA inspectors were called in and found another Staffordshire bull terrier called Tiger in poor health when they visited the defendant’s home in Queensberry Road.
Single mum Hodgkinson pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and failing to ensure the welfare of an animal, at Burnley Magistrates’ Court.
Speaking after the case, RSPCA inspector Natalie Taylor said: “A member of the public found the dog in a weak and collapsed state.
“The only way to describe her condition was pitiful. She is one of the thinnest dogs I have ever come across in my career. It was touch and go whether she would survive because she was so underweight – she was running on empty and that’s when the organs start to fail.
“Luckily due to the microchip I was able to trace the owners and found another skinny dog at the address.
“It is very upsetting to see dogs in that state.”
The court was told residents in St Matthew Street found Mitzy limping along the road on March 19th.
Chris Wyatt (prosecuting) said: “Three or four people were crowded around the dog. It was distressed and in poor health.
“The dog would not move and a man had to pick it up and take her home where the dog ate some food and went to sleep.”
The dog was taken to the vet where a microchip was found which led RSPCA inspectors to the defendant’s address where they found the second animal which was so thin officers could see its rib cage.
Hodgkinson said the dog was thin as she believed it had worms and said she had given the pet some tablets, although officials found no evidence of this, the court heard.
The defendant had taken Mitzy to the vets last November, when it was described by vets as “lean and muscular”, and had a follow-up appointment for neutering in January but this was put back as the dog was in season.
Both animals were handed over to the RSPCA and were found to be a 1.5 on the scale of emaciation – with one the most serious.
Tests were carried out and found there was no medical reason for the condition of the dogs and the court was told it was caused by inadequate nutrition.
Magistrates were told the defendant said during an interview she had been left with the dogs when her ex-partner left.
Mark Williams (defending) said: “She has kept the dogs but she did not want them and she had tried to see if anybody wanted them.
“It was a gradual process of them becoming underweight which you may not notice over time. She did her best to look after them.
“It it clear the dogs have not been looked after in terms of feeding. It has not been a deliberate act.”
Sentencing, magistrates imposed a 12-month conditional discharge, imposed £115 in fines and banned her from owning or having any involvement with caring for animals for three years.