Dog owner let pets starve, court hears

A DOG owner let his animals starve because he did not have enough money to feed them, a court heard.David Alderdice pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to two of his animals after he was reported to the RSPCA earlier this year.

A DOG owner let his animals starve because he did not have enough money to feed them, a court heard.

David Alderdice pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to two of his animals after he was reported to the RSPCA earlier this year.

Bury St Edmunds magistrates were told Alderdice also left another animal to live in its own excrement in his Suffolk home.

The unemployed 27-year-old, of Pondgrove Close in Bury, claimed he had struggled to look after his three dogs after his former girlfriend left them in his care.

He said he had been out of work and therefore could not afford to feed them properly.

Don Sheahan, prosecuting, said Alderdice was reported to the RSPCA after one of his dogs went missing from his home and was found by a neighbour.

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A vet's report concluded that the pets were emaciated and smelt strongly of urine.

“The RSPCA inspector visited the home of Mr Alderdice and found the front door damaged and the glass pane was broken,” said Mr Sheahan.

“There was faeces and urine on the carpet inside the house where Mr Alderdice's other dog, Buster, had been.

“Although there did not seem to be the same problems with that dog, the RSPCA inspector was concerned for it because of the state of the house.”

Defence solicitor Paul Booty told the court that Alderdice was working as a van driver up until last year, after which he started to claim benefits and was forced to live on less than £55 per week.

“He has had Buster for four years and was looking after him well up until recently,” said Mr Booty.

“His former girlfriend brought a second dog, Chloe, home with her as company for Buster, but the two dogs mated and Chloe gave birth to puppies.”

The couple decided to keep one of the puppies, which they named Molly, after finding they were unable to re-home her.

But when the relationship ended, Alderdice's girlfriend left him to look after all three of the animals.

“To live on £55 per week supporting three dogs and paying a mortgage is a very difficult thing to do,” said Mr Booty.

“Rather than abandon the dogs Mr Alderdice decided to do the best that he could for them, but when the RSPCA came along he was happy to give the dogs to them.”

Mr Booty explained that Alderdice has been offered financial help from the benefits agency to set up his own car valeting business.

“It is a time of great struggle financially for Mr Alderdice but he is trying to make a go of things,” said Mr Booty.

Alderdice was given a three-year conditional discharge, and was disqualified from having custody of any animals for three years.

After the court hearing, RSPCA inspector Jason Finch said he was very pleased with the sentence.

“All cases of neglect are serious and these animals were clearly emaciated,” he said.

“Mr Alderdice took on more than he could cope with and this resulted in the suffering of the dogs, which is unacceptable.

“There is always help available and there is never an excuse good enough to let this type of thing happen.”

Buster is currently in the care of Alderdice's current girlfriend, and both Chloe and Molly have been re-homed.

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