A couple have been banned from owning pets after leaving their dog to suffer with a chronic skin condition for over six months.
Lucy Jackson, 27, and John Russell, 42, were told they couldn’t keep pets for three years after Coco the Lakeland Terrier’s hair fell out and was left with scabbed skin, leading a vet to say it was the worst he had ever seen.
Jackson and Russell, both of Rotherham, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal when they appeared at Rotherham Magistrates Court on Monday.
Tayna Forret, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said the couple had taken Coco from Russell’s ex-partner.
But after Coco was found wondering around the street where Russell lived, she was taken to Thornberry Animal Sanctuary, Rotherham, where staff initially considered putting the 11-year-old down.
Coco was given various medications and the sanctuary posted a picture of her on Facebook in a bid to trace the owners, leading for Jackson to come forward to claim Coco.
An RSPCA investigator who was asked to investigate was shocked by the severity of the skin condition.
When questioned Russell said Coco was unrecognisable when he collected her from his ex-partner and she had caught a skin condition from another pet.
Russell claimed he had bathed Coco three times a week and Jackson had taken herto the PDSA in Sheffield in October but tests didn’t reveal any problems.
The couple said they had been told to bring her back to the vets six months later.
When they went to next appointment they were then told to come back in two weeks.
They missed the next appointment in April due to a car crash, before Coco escaped from Russell’s home.
Nigel Smallwood, who examined Coco after she escaped, said it was the worst skin condition he had ever seen and would have taken years to become chronically irritated.
Later tests showed ringworm was the cause of the skin condition, which had not been detected by the PDSA.
Peter Clarke, mitigating, said the couple didn’t want to give up their family pet.
He added that missing a visit to the vets was unfortunate and the couple admitted they should have gone back to the vets.
Sentencing Jackson and Russell, chairman of the bench, David Simmonite, said: “Although you have pleaded guilty to the offence we feel there’s a degree of naivety.
“We believe you had a genuine care for the dog but were clearly not aware of the right and proper treatment.”
They were both fined £200, a victim surcharge of £20 and ordered to pay £541 in costs in addition to being banned from keeping animals for three years.
Coco was handed over to the RSPCA to be rehomed.