A COUPLE have been sentenced for their handling of a dog which had ‘the worst case of fleas an inspector had ever seen’.
Caroline and Laurie Keates’s treatment of white staffordshire bull terrier PJ led to kidney damage, depression and fleas ‘crawling over him’.
The dog was found by RSCPA inspector Penny Baker during a visit to the couple’s home in St Paul’s Square, Southsea on October 22 with the pet spotted playing on the grass.
It transpired that the dog had not been taken to the vets since last March.
The couple were charged with causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
Both pleaded guilty to the charges during a hearing at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court.
He was totally emaciated, had live fleas on him and was suffering from a very serious skin condition. She said that it was one of the worst cases of fleas that she had ever seenSarah Wheadon, prosecuting
Sarah Wheadon, prosecuting for the RSPCA, told the court: ‘The inspector was surprised that PJ could stand when she first saw him.
‘He was totally emaciated, had live fleas on him and was suffering from a very serious skin condition. She said that it was one of the worst cases of fleas that she had ever seen.
‘PJ had suffered significant muscle loss, was very depressed, pale and his coat was thick with flea dirt.’
The dog was taken in by Stubbington Ark animal shelter where vets immediately began to treat him.
He weighed 14.4kg when he was taken in October and after treatment, nourishment and greater care, his weight increased to 20.1kg by December 16.
Ms Loach told the court that Mrs Keates had been ‘scared’ of ringing the RSPCA due to the state of PJ’s condition and believed that the family could treat the dog themselves.
Edward Jackson, defending the couple, explained that Mrs Keates had taken on PJ from a neighbour but that his health had rapidly deteriorated.
He said: ‘They are both genuinely remorseful and upset about what happened. They were experiencing a deeply traumatic time and they co-operated fully with the investigation.
The solicitor added that the timing of the family taking in PJ had coincided with one of the couple’s sons being sentenced for assault which had led to family difficulties.’
Magistrates gave both Mr and Mrs Keates, 49, a suspended sentence of 12 weeks for three counts of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
They were both disqualified for owning an animal for 3 years and received a combined total fine of £315 to cover court costs and victim surcharges.