Animals in PrintApril 8, 2014
From Animals In Print - A Newsletter concerned with Animal Rights

We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.

Heartless pet owner could face jail over most starved dog vet had seen in 30 years

dog starved to death
Fly the lurcher was discovered in a pitiful state by the RSPCA after a tip-off on October 20 last year from a concerned member of the public.

Her condition was so severe a vet with 30 years' experience said he had never seen a more skeletal animal, and Fly had to be put to sleep to end her suffering.

Her owner David Lowe, 33, from Farnworth, Bolton, is now facing a possible six month jail sentence or a fine of up to 20,000, as well as a possible ban on keeping pets for life.

He was summonsed to appear before the Bolton magistrates court on February 24, but failed to attend.

However, it was proved in his absence that he caused Fly unnecessary suffering by failing to seek veterinary attention for her.

The court heard that the dog was dehydrated and rated zero on a 'body condition scale' - with a rating of one being classed as emaciated.

dog starved to death
Tragically, Fly had to be put down to end her suffering.

She was also more than half the weight she should have been and was suffering from dental disease, a heart murmur and diabetes.

A sentencing hearing at Bolton magistrates court yesterday was adjourned for pre-sentence reports to be drawn up.

Tony Stock, prosecuting, said: "This dog had suffered unnecessarily due to total neglect."

Mr Stock said RSPCA inspector Vicki McDonald called at Lowe's flat after a tip-off from a member of the public on October 20 last year.

Fly - who was believed to be 15-years-old - was found lying in a bed in the kitchen.

Mr Stock said: "Inspector McDonald was immediately shocked by the level of emaciation. She cautioned the defendant. He confirmed that he owned the dog.

"He said that until a couple of weeks ago his former partner had been responsible for the dog as well as him."

Fly's owner David Lowe failed to appear at a court hearing into the neglect.

The court heard she had given him money to have the dog put down, but Lowe had not taken the animal to the vet.

Mr Stock said that after an examination, vet Angus McKenzie said Fly was the most severely emaciated dog he had seen either dead or alive in more than 30 years.

Fly was immediately signed over to RSPCA care, but Mr Stock said that because of her 'cumulative conditions', the only humane course of action was to put her to sleep.

He said: "The sad thing about the case is that individually, the conditions were all treatable and manageable had veterinary advice been sought at an earlier stage and acted upon."

The court heard Lowe has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and was previously homeless. The dog, the court heard, was returned to him in a poor state.

Outside court Inspector McDonald said: "No 15 year-old dog should look like that. Individually, each of her conditions could have been treated but because they were altogether, it was kinder to put her to sleep.

"Every time you come across a thin dog in this job you think it is the thinnest you have seen.

"But she was the most emaciated dog I have ever seen and the most emaciated I think I ever will see. It was hard to believe that she was still alive. It is not acceptable and it is heartbreaking."

Lowe will be sentenced on April 16.

dog starved to death
A vet said that fly would have survived had the help been sought earlier.


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