Couple starved pets to death

One of the starving pets, which survived
One of the starving pets, which survived

A COUPLE have been banned from keeping animals for life after admitting charges of “shocking” animal cruelty.

Inspectors from the RSPCA have spoken of their distress after finding a rabbit dead in its hutch outside a home and starving dogs dumped on a borough playing field nearby.

Cassie Alexandra George plus her 31-year-old husband Paul Hilton were also given 18-week prison sentences which were suspended for two years by Wigan magistrates after pleading guilty to causing the pets to suffer.

George, 23, had pleaded guilty to nine allegations and Hilton admitted four allegations under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 at an earlier hearing.

In addition to the life ban, the defendants were each ordered to pay £500 towards the costs of prosecution.

George was also given a four month curfew order under which she has to wear an electronic tag and stay at home between 7pm and 7am.

Hilton was given a six-month drug rehabilitation order.

The court heard that on February 22 a collapsed and skeletal male dark brindle Staffordshire bull terrier-type dog was found by a distressed member of the public on The Marshes playing fields in Leigh.

He was “collapsed, emaciated and barely alive” and by the time assistance arrived the dog had died.

On 24 February a second dog was found on the same playing fields.

This time a female white and black Staffordshire bull terrier-type was collapsed and starving but after being rushed to a vet and put on a drip she survived.

The rabbit, which was white and brown, was malnourished and suffering from a chronic ear infection.

Its body was found lying in its own filth. The male dog, called Chubbs, died as a result of malnutrition.

While the female dog, called Bitches but now renamed Brooke, weighed just 7.05kg when she came into the RSPCA’s specialist care.

But after being nursed back to health and receiving a suitable diet her weight is now back to 14.56kg, an increase of more than 100 per cent since she arrived at the Society’s kennels.

RSPCA inspector Vicki McDonald said today that the sentences show that the court clearly viewed this case “as seriously as we did.”

She said: “The two animals that died suffered slow, painful deaths and it is only luck that Brooke survived.

“She was in a shocking state when she was discovered and the fact that she’s survived is testament to all of the people who have cared for her since then.

“I’ve never seen an increase in body weight like that, she’s more than doubled her weight, that’s how terrible a condition she was in.”

After being signed over to the RSPCA Brooke has now been happily rehomed.

A third person, neighbour Paul Kevin Jones - all three defendants live on Keble Grove, Leigh - pleaded not guilty to four allegations under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

His case was adjourned until September 20 at Wigan Magistrates’ Court.