A 12-year-old lurcher called Angel and Roxy, an Akita, who is around eight years old, were found in a poor condition living in dog crates in the kitchen at Pauline Wilson’s home.
They were so underweight their ribs, skull and pelvic bones were visible.
A third dog, a Jack Russell terrier called Dave, was also not being looked after properly and, while not in as bad a condition, his ribs were visible.
Veterinary surgeon Nigel Smallwood stated in his report: “The suffering was avoidable if their basic nutritional needs had been met.
"Although, the period of suffering in cases of emaciation and poor body condition is difficult to predict with certain accuracy, the minimum period of suffering I would attribute to this case would be three months.”
All three have now been successfully rehomed after returning to healthy weights within a month of being taken into the care of the RSPCA.
Wilson, aged 45, of Woodcross Avenue, Doncaster, was handed a 12-week prison sentence suspended for two years when she appeared at Doncaster Magistrates’ Court for sentencing on March 31 this year.
She pleaded guilty to a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to three dogs* contrary to the Animal Welfare Act 2006 on or before September 3, 2021.
Sentencing her, the magistrates told Wilson: “It appears to us to be a most extreme level of emaciation.”
Angel weighed just 14.3kg and had a weeping cut to her cheek and her claws were overgrown.
Roxy weighed 17.3kg and was also suffering from overgrown claws and a chronic eye condition.
The court heard that after a complaint from a member of the public, RSPCA Animal Rescue Officer (ARO) Liz Braidley visited Wilson’s home on September 2 last year, but she was not allowed to see the animals.
In a statement the ARO said: “Mrs Wilson was quite frustrated I was there advising she was ‘sick of being reported’.
“I asked if I could see the animals, she said no.
"I asked why, and she admitted that Angel was very underweight and she thought she needed putting to sleep and that she would arrange to take her.
"She told me she believed this was because she was pining after another dog she had that had died around a year ago.”
The animal rescue officer stated she discovered the condition of the dogs when she returned to the property the next day (September 3) and that she took them away for a veterinary examination.
In her statement she said she’d asked the defendant if she could take the Jack Russell, but “she refused stating ‘you won’t bring him back’ and that he was only that weight because he is always humping the Akita and she would arrange to take him to her own vet.”
RSPCA Inspector Kim Greaves attended at the Sheffield-based veterinary practice and she said of Angel in her statement: “This dog had every bone visible, she was able to walk around unaided but appeared quite weak.”
Of Roxy, the inspector stated: “She had a thick coat of hair covering her, unlike Angel. However, you could quite easily see she was also thin and her ribs were showing.”
Inspector Greaves said she removed the Jack Russell from Wilson’s home on the vet’s advice.
The vet’s report stated all three dogs were “markedly underweight” and that the conditions of Angel and Roxy met the criteria of emaciation. #
It stated that all three pets significantly increased their bodyweight and body condition scores after a month under RSPCA care.
“Such findings show that the suffering all three dogs experienced through malnutrition was avoidable and unnecessary if their keeper had provided their basic need of a nutritious diet to maintain healthy body weights,” stated the vet, in his report.
Prosecuting for the RSPCA, Phil Brown, highlighted the discrepancies between the defendant’s account of how she thought Angel should be put to sleep because she could not keep weight to how Angel and the other dogs had gained weight substantially when they were taken out of her care.
Hannah Edison,who was mitigating for Wilson, said that the defendant had endured a difficult period in her life.
Her home was hit by flooding and a close relative was also having health concerns
The court also made a seizure order on three cats that were found living at Wilson’s property and they are to be rehomed.
Magistrates told the defendant to undertake 20 rehabilitation activity (RAR) days and pay costs of £350 and a victim surcharge of £156.
Speaking after the hearing, RSPCA Inspector Greaves said: “This was a horrific case as the dogs were in a really bad condition. The owner had a total disregard for them.
“She could have asked for our help and advice, but she was blase as to why the dogs were so thin. Within a short period of time with the RSPCA they returned to their normal weights.
“Now all the dogs have been rehomed successfully and are doing really well. Angel and Roxy have stayed together and Dave has a new home of his own.
“This prosecution followed a member of the public reporting a concern and it is always worth letting the RSPCA know if you do see an underweight dog.”