Woman faces ban from keeping animals after she left dog to starve

Chesterfield magistrates' court.

A woman who left an emaciated dog to starve is facing a ban from keeping animals which could see her remaining pet taken away from her.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on September 27 how Clare Hobson, 40, of Dollywood Close, Buxworth, failed to address her pet cross-breed Labrador Coco’s loss of weight and its poor body and skin condition.

Prosecuting solicitor Andy Cash, who represented the RSPCA, said: “The Society had cause to visit this lady last year in connection with the welfare of Coco. She was visited and given advice about skin problems and apparent weight loss and there were subsequent visits and at one point there was an improvement and then the reverse happened and after a period of time co-operation with the RSPCA ceased.”

Mr Cash added that the RSPCA was denied further access and Hobson refused to produce Coco for a further inspection so inspectors executed a warrant to gain access to Hobson’s home and to recover the dog.

Coco was boarded by the RSPCA, given appropriate treatment and fed and the dog has made a proper recovery.

Mr Cash revealed that Coco should have weighed 20Kg but weighed only 14Kg when she was taken into the care of the RSPCA.

A vet reported that Coco’s spine and ribs were visible from a distance and the dog had suffered from lesions and hair loss and also had a urinary tract infection.

Hobson admitted there had been a lack of care but explained this had been down to a lack of funds.

The defendant pleaded guilty to failing to ensure Coco was protected from pain and suffering by not adequately investigating skin and weight problems between March and June.

She also admitted two further counts from between May and June of causing unnecessary suffering by failing to address Coco’s poor body condition and to a further count of causing unnecessary suffering by failing to investigate a skin problem.

Mr Cash requested that the court considers imposing a disqualification from keeping animals not least because of concerns for Hobson’s other pet Staffordshire Bull Terrier dog.

He said: “We are concerned for dogs in the future because of these failures. This is a lady who has shown a complete disregard to the care of an animal.”

Defence solicitor Lisa Tinsley said Coco had been Hobson’s partner’s dog but unfortunately her partner had left and had left the dog with the defendant.

Hobson suffers with depression, according to Ms Tinsley, and she has had child care issues and financial concerns.

Ms Tinsley said: “She would see her care as well-intentioned but it fell well below the standard it should have done.”

Magistrates adjourned the case until October 11 to consider a probation report before sentencing.

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