Dog owner banned for keeping pets

A DOG-owner who left his chronically sick pet to suffer without seeing a vet has been banned from keeping animals for three years.Magistrates heard that a dog belonging to Robert Souter, 52, of Red Barn Road, Brightlingsea, was so ill it had to be put down after the RSPCA took it to see a vet.

By Juliette Maxam

A DOG-owner who left his chronically sick pet to suffer without seeing a vet has been banned from keeping animals for three years.

Magistrates heard that a dog belonging to Robert Souter, 52, of Red Barn Road, Brightlingsea, was so ill it had to be put down after the RSPCA took it to see a vet.

A vet's report read out to Colchester Magistrates' Court described how the dog, a 12-year-old Labrador cross called Max, was dehydrated and emaciated, with a severe ear injection and skin disease.


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The vet said the dog had probably been ill with gastritis for three months and may have had an ear infection for years.

Souter, who admitted causing the animal unnecessary suffering, was sentenced to 60 hours community service and banned from keeping dogs for three years. He was also ordered to pay £200 costs.

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The court heard Souter, who had owned Max since he was a puppy, had ignored repeated pleas from the RSPCA to get in touch and take his pet to the vets' in March last year.

When RSPCA chief inspector Beth Clements finally got access to the dog on March 26, she described him as in a “very poor bodily condition”.

“You could see his ribs, spine and pin bones and could smell infection. The right ear was weeping and infected,” she said.

Ms Clements took Max to the vets' and he was examined and treated, but the following day he started coughing up blood. The vet decided it would be best for the dog to be put down.

When asked why he had not taken the dog to the vets', Souter told Ms Clements: “I didn't think he was suffering. You could touch him all over and he didn't wince. I thought he was just old and wasting away. If I'd thought he was in pain I would have taken him to the vet.”

Louise Reader, mitigating for Souter, said Max was her client's only companion while his marriage was breaking up and he was worried the RSPCA would take him away.

“Mr Souter painfully and bitterly regrets his omission to take his dog to the vets' and accepts full responsibility for his actions.”

After the case, Ms Clements said: “It was a serious case. This dog was caused suffering for about three months. We are obviously pleased he (Souter) has been disqualified for three years. He's obviously shown remorse.”

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