Great Yarmouth: Mum and daughter banned from keeping dogs after admitting their underweight dog was fed leftover fish fingers, Coco Pops and chocolate

Blue, a German shepherd/husky cross was seized by police after he was found Blue, a German shepherd/husky cross was seized by police after he was found "severely" underweight by the RSPCA. Picture: submitted

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
1:29 PM

A mother and daughter who admitted their “severely” underweight dog Blue had been fed Coco Pops and chocolate bars have been banned from keeping dogs.

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An inspector from the RSPCA found the German shepherd/husky cross at a B&B in Great Yarmouth last September.

Officers from the animal charity and police seized the dog and, on taking it to a vet, discovered it weighed 17.8kg and also had lameness in its front right leg.

Sandra Johnson, 47, of St Nicholas Road, Great Yarmouth, and Nicola Johnson, 22, of Hastings Way, Sutton, appeared at Great Yarmouth Magistrates’ Court yesterday for sentencing.

Kevin Batch, prosecuting, said the shape of Blue’s hips and ribs was visible when he was found, and the vet gave him a body condition score of one out of five.

He said Blue was found to be suffering pain through his lame front paw, which could have been “avoided” with appropriate medication.

In interview Sandra Johnson said Blue had been fed leftovers such as fish fingers, as well as chocolate bars, Coco Pops and dog food but she was concerned about his weight loss and had taken him to a vet in Stalham.

But Mr Batch said the RSPCA inspector had contacted vets in the town and its surrounds and none were familiar with Blue.

The court heard Sandra Johnson had not taken him to a vet over his lameness but had she known he was in pain she would have “helped him”.

Nicola Johnson moved out of her mum’s house three months before Blue was seized but had concerns over his weight loss, the court heard.

She urged her mother to take him to the vets but the court was told she did not take him herself.

Calvin Saker, for Sandra Johnson, said his client “wasn’t necessarily the main owner or the main carer” for Blue and had not owned a dog before.

He added: “This was an inexperienced dog owner with quite a big deficit in their knowledge about what’s adequate and what’s appropriate for dogs.”

Christopher Bentley, for Nicola Johnson, said his client was “far less culpable” but she accepted she could have done more to help.

The pair, who have no previous convictions, had earlier pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to Blue by failing to provide adequate and necessary veterinary care.

Sandra Johnson also admitted failing to ensure the dog’s needs were met by providing a suitable diet, while Nicola Johnson also admitted causing unnecessary suffering by failing to investigate the cause of Blue’s weight loss.

Magistrates disqualified Nicola Johnson from owning dogs for four years and ordered her to pay £300 compensation and £50 costs.

Sandra Johnson was disqualified from owning dogs for six years and was ordered to do 180 hours unpaid work, pay £50 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

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