Dog owner could be jailed

A DOG had to be put down after being becoming emaciated and suffering an ear infection which could have been untreated for years, a court heard.Now its owner Robert Souter has been warned he faces prison after admitting causing the animal unnecessary suffering.

By Annie Davidson

A DOG had to be put down after being becoming emaciated and suffering an ear infection which could have been untreated for years, a court heard.

Now its owner Robert Souter has been warned he faces prison after admitting causing the animal unnecessary suffering.

The RSPCA was alerted to Souter's cross-breed Labrador, Max, being in a bad condition, magistrates in Colchester were told yesterday.


You may also want to watch:


The court heard that an inspector called at Souter's home in Sydney Street, Brightlingsea, several times and left cards asking him to get in touch.

Messages were also left with his employer asking Mr Souter to contact the RSPCA. However, the 52-year-old did not call back.

Most Read

Eventually on March 26 last year, a neighbour told the inspector the name of a pub where Souter could be found.

He took the inspector back to his home where the dog was “in a very poor bodily condition”, said Christine Hayes, prosecuting for the RSPCA.

“You could clearly see his ribs and spine and the inspector could smell an infection, and the inspector noticed his right ear was weeping and infected,” said Mrs Hayes.

Souter agreed to sign the dog over to the care of the RSPCA. A vet found Max had a fever, was emaciated and dehydrated and had an infected ear with a 10cm laceration in it which was crusted with pus.

He also had a patch of dermatitis on his skin underneath caked-on faeces.

Despite being treated at the vet, a decision was taken that it was kinder to put Max down after he began vomiting blood.

Mrs Haynes said the vet had stated the “chronic and extensive” ear infection could have been present for years.

Souter said in an interview with an RSPCA inspector that he had noticed Max was losing weight from Christmas 2004 but thought the dog had cancer and would die peacefully.

During a post-mortem examination it was found Max suffered from a gastric condition and ulcers which could have led to his sudden weight loss.

Souter, who was not represented, told the court: “I didn't think he was suffering, I thought he was old and wasting away.

“He was still eating and wasn't coughing up blood or having diarrhoea or anything. I thought the dog would die peacefully.”

He added he had been due to take Max to the vet for treatment to his ear.

Souter was released on unconditional bail for pre-sentence reports to be prepared in time for his sentencing on April 28.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter