A PAIR of Evesham dog owners have been given suspended prison sentences and disqualified from keeping animals after their dog was left blinded by neglect.
Willow was left without the veterinary care she needed for several months because of the actions of Russell Gill of Hawthorn Close, Honeybourne and Fallon Gill of Green Close between February 2019 and August 2019.
The pair were sentenced when they appeared before Redditch Magistrates’ Court on March 4 after they were changed with causing unnecessary suffering to the Lhasa Apso type bitch, by failing to provide veterinary care in respect of one or a combination of health issues affecting the dog namely, keratoconjunctivitis, pododermatitis and extensive chronic skin disease.
Magistrates heard how Willow had been seen by a vet in November 2018, when she had been diagnosed with severe inflammation and infection of the feet, deep-seated infection of the skin on the legs, and keratoconjunctivitis sicca, which caused dry eye.
At that time, Willow’s owners were told eight weeks of treatment would be required to eliminate the infection and that some of the damage would be permanent, especially to the feet.
Around a week’s worth of medication was prescribed but Willow was not brought back to the vet until nine months later, by which point she had a severe skin infection affecting most of her body, with bleeding, foul-smelling sores particularly affecting her hindquarters.
RSPCA Inspector Emily Cheeseman, who investigated for the animal welfare charity, said: “She showed extensive signs of chronic untreated skin disease, specifically severe skin thickening and inflammation of most of the body, hyperpigmentation, hyperkeratosis and large areas of alopecia.
“There were raw patches of skin on her face with a purulent discharge and the remaining fur was severely matted. On Willow’s feet, the pododermatitis had caused overgrowth of the skin of the digits which were preventing normal contact of the dog’s pads with the ground. Also on the feet, the claws were severely overgrown. In addition, her eyes showed significant corneal scarring and chronic infection. Willow had also lost vision in both eyes.”
Veterinary examination showed Willow’s eyes had suffered long-term changes which occur when corneal ulcers attempt to heal themselves in the absence of a tear film, which will have caused significant pain and suffering to
Willow for a number of months. There were also lesions on Willow’s face consistent with her attempting to repeatedly rub the eye due to chronic pain and irritation.
The vet also found that her infected feet prevented normal movement and caused pain in walking and that changes in Willow’s skin reflected various stages of chronic inflammation and infection.
Some areas of the skin had become thickened and hyperpigmented, and other areas were showing active infection with purulent discharge and bleeding open sores.
The vet felt that the pain and suffering caused by this untreated skin disease would have lasted for more than six months, and is consistent with Willow having had no further treatment since the initial medication in November 2018.
Both were given a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for a period of 18 months, and ordered to carry out 130 hours unpaid work and 10 days Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.
They must also each pay £250 costs and a £122 victim surcharge. The disqualification order is in respect of all protected animals for one year.