POOR Toby the dog was so badly covered in a skin condition that made his skin weep and his fur fall out that his former owner has been prosecuted by the RSPCA.
WARNING: The video above contains graphic pictures that some viewers may find distressing
Donna Burke, of The Scimitars, Fareham, appeared at Fareham Magistrates’ Court yesterday and pleaded guilty to not taking steps to ensure that the dog’s needs were met, therefore failing to protect it from pain, suffering, injury and disease.
The charge centred around her not adequately treating the cause of Toby’s lifelong skin condition.
The court heard that Toby, a West Highland Terrier, had been found by the RSPCA on July 25 after he escaped from Burke’s parent-in-laws’ house, where she had left him so she could go on holiday to Spain with her husband and two children.
When Toby was found, he was taken to the RSPCA-run animal shelter, the Stubbington Ark, where an inspection by RSPCA officer Jenny Ride found him to have chronic skin irritation and ear infections so bad they had obliterated his ear canals.
It is a great result for Toby. It has taken a long time and a lot of work to get him recovered and we are now looking to find him a forever home.RSPCA officer Jenny Ride
A video was shown to the court of Toby’s condition, which Ms Ride described as ‘weeping, oozing, very hot to touch and sweaty with very sticky toughened skin which was uncomfortable to touch’.
She went on to say that Toby had suffered ‘lots of hair loss which was evidence of scratching and chewing’ and that his rib cage could be easily felt. Both ears were described as having a ‘very strong odour’ with ‘crusty, scabby skin.’
Defending Nigel Weller said that Toby’s condition was a life-long disease which Burke, 46, had been taking Toby to the vets regularly for treatment for the last eight years.
Mr Weller said that Burke, a care worker for mentally disabled teenagers, had received bad news about her father having cancer two weeks before the incident and in the rush to go on holiday did not take steps to ensure that Toby had appropriate medication while she was away.
Prosecuting Sarah Wheadon said it would not be possible to say how long Toby had been in such pain for, or how long the condition had been allowed to develop for, but that it would have been at least two weeks.
After receiving treatment at the Ark, which cost at least £50 per month plus £2,000 for operations on his ears, Toby’s condition had improved and he was free from sores and redness by August 26.
Chairwoman of the magistrates Anne-Marie Huxstep gave Burke a £500 fine, plus ordered her to pay costs of £1,260.77 to the RSPCA and a £50 victim surcharge. Burke was also banned from owning any kind of animal for three years.
Speaking after the case, RSPCA officer Jenny Ride said: ‘It is a great result for Toby. It has taken a long time and a lot of work to get him recovered and we are now looking to find him a forever home.’