Mum and daughter banned from keeping dogs after emaciated pet found in Great Yarmouth

Blue, a German shepherd/husky cross was seized by police after he was found Blue, a German shepherd/husky cross was seized by police after he was found "severely" underweight by the RSPCA. Picture: submitted

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
9:59 AM

A mother and daughter have been banned from keeping dogs after their pet pooch was found “severely” underweight - having been fed Coco Pops and chocolate bars.

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Sandra Johnson and her daughter Nicola admitted to causing unnecessary suffering to Blue, a German shepherd/husky cross, which was also found to have lameness in its front right foreleg when it was seized by police and the RSPCA.

An inspector from the animal charity found the emaciated dog at a B&B in Great Yarmouth last September and, on taking it to a vet, found it weighed 17.8kg.

Sandra, 47, of St Nicholas Road, Great Yarmouth, and Nicola, 22, of Hastings Way, Sutton, appeared at Great Yarmouth Magistrates’ Court this afternoon for sentencing.

Kevin Batch, prosecuting, said the shape of Blue’s hips and ribs were visible when he was found, and the vet who examined him gave him a body condition score of one out of five.

He said Blue was also found to be suffering pain through his lame front paw, which could have “avoided” with appropriate medication.

In interview Sandra said Blue was fed leftovers such as fish fingers, as well as chocolate bars, Coco Pops and dog food but she was concerned about his weight loss, and had taken him to a vet in Stalham.

But Mr Batch said the RSPCA inspector had contacted vets in the town and its surrounds and none were familiar with Blue.

The court heard Sandra had not taken him to a vet over his lameness, which she said he had since they got him, but had she known he was in pain she would have “helped him”.

Nicola moved out of her mum’s house three months before Blue was seized but had concerns over his weight loss, the court heard. She urged her mum to take him to the vets but the court was told she did not take him herself.

Calvin Saker, for Sandra, said his client “wasn’t necessarily the main owner or the main carer” for Blue and had not owned a dog before.

He added: “This was an inexperienced dog owner with quite a big deficit in their knowledge about what’s adequate and what’s appropriate for dogs.”

Christopher Bentley, for Nicola, said his client was “far less culpable” but accepted she could have done more to help with Blue’s lameness.

The pair, who have no previous convictions, had earlier pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to Blue by failing to provide adequate and necessary veterinary care.

Sandra also admitted failing to ensure the dog’s needs were met by providing a suitable diet, while Nicola also admitted causing unnecessary suffering by failing to investigate the cause of Blue’s weight loss.

Magistrates disqualified Nicola from owning dogs for four years and ordered her to pay £300 compensation and £50 costs.

Sandra was disqualified from owning dogs for six years and was ordered to do 180 hours unpaid work, pay £50 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

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