Doncaster man banned from keeping animals indefinitely after starving two dogs

A Doncaster man has been banned from keeping all animals indefinitely after his two emaciated dogs were rescued by the RSPCA.
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Andrew Durkin, aged 32, of Farndale Road, Doncaster, was sentenced on Tuesday 9 April at Doncaster Magistrates’ Court for causing unnecessary suffering to his two dogs, Bruno and Cody.

A vet described the dogs as having been "starved" - but fortunately they have since both been successfully rehomed by the RSPCA.

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The RSPCA investigated after being alerted in October 2020 that there were two skinny dogs living at a property in New Street, Doncaster, where the owner was living at the time.

A vet described the dogs as having been "starved".A vet described the dogs as having been "starved".
A vet described the dogs as having been "starved".

After trying to get hold of the owners on several occasions, the RSPCA enlisted the help of the police to enter the property and execute a warrant. Both dogs were being kept in the kitchen - with the floor covered in empty packages and pizza takeaway boxes while mouldy food and drink and general household waste was covering the counters.

Inspector Kim Greaves said: “A police officer opened the door to the kitchen and it was then that I first saw Bruno, a black crossbreed, male dog around six years old.

“Bruno was loose in the kitchen, and there was no bedding or water for him. There was a large swing bin type container, and when I looked inside there was a small amount of dry complete dog food which Durkin confirmed this was the food he normally fed the dogs. Bruno was very friendly, eager and wagging his tail to greet us, but he was wobbly on his legs, and I could clearly see every rib. His spine and hip bones were all sticking up clearly from his fur which was oily with dry skin flakes all over his coat.

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“At the very back of the kitchen, there was a dog crate but the crate had no base to it, just bare wires. Inside the crate was another dog, Cody, a tan and white Akita cross, also around six years old. There was no water or food inside the crate for Cody. Mr Durkin explained that the only reason Cody was in the crate was because ‘he was destructive’. When he was released from the crate, he too was clearly underweight.”

The emaciated dogs were rescued by the RSPCA.The emaciated dogs were rescued by the RSPCA.
The emaciated dogs were rescued by the RSPCA.

The dogs were seized by police and placed into the RSPCA’s care where they were immediately taken to a vet.

The court heard how the vet report stated: ‘It is my belief that these dogs were starved…Any reasonable owner looking at these dogs must have noticed the advanced weight loss and either sought veterinary attention or increased their nutrition. The owner's failure to act has undoubtedly caused a great deal of suffering in this case. Dogs experiencing food deprivation are likely to experience this in a similar way to people who suffer with extreme hunger, shakes, anxiety, distress and weakness and lethargy.

“It is my opinion that due to the shocking neglect or inaction of their owner both dogs suffered starvation for an extended period of weeks to months. It should have been apparent to anyone interacting with these dogs that they were starving - they felt and looked very obviously bony and underweight.”

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In sentencing remarks, the case was described as horrifying to put animals ‘into such a cruel and nasty state’.

The dogs are now doing well in happy homes.The dogs are now doing well in happy homes.
The dogs are now doing well in happy homes.

Durkin was unrepresented and did not offer any mitigation, however, in the sentencing remarks it was said had no previous convictions, was of good character, and should be given credit for his guilty plea. He had also signed over both Bruno and Cody to the RSPCA.

Durkin was sentenced to an indefinite ban on keeping all animals - which cannot be appealed for a minimum of 10 years. He was also given a community order which means he will be required to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay a £95 victim surcharge and £400 in costs.

Both dogs were rehabilitated by the RSPCA and are now in loving forever homes.