A woman who starved and neglected her dog has been disqualified from keeping animals for life.
Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard today, Wednesday, October 11, 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, told a previous hearing the RSPCA had visited Hobson last year over concerns about Coco and she was given advice about skin problems and apparent weight loss but after a period of time co-operation with the RSPCA ceased.
Mr Cash added that the RSPCA had to execute a warrant to gain access to Hobson’s home to recover the dog which has since made a good recovery and is available for adoption.
Coco should have weighed 20Kg but weighed only 14Kg when she was taken into the care of the RSPCA, according to Mr Cash.
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.
RSPCA inspector Heather Morris said: “Coco was such a sorry sight and she was in a poor condition. When we took her away, she was so quiet. She was clearly a very poorly dog and she looked really down.
“Coco really is a totally different dog today.
“It is hard to believe that she is the same dog who I took into our care earlier this year. Back then she was so quiet and clearly suffering, but now she is so playful and happy. It goes to show what difference love and care makes towards a dog.
“When I saw her the following week she was a completely different dog and the change in her was obvious.
“It was so nice to see the change in her demeanour. The problem was that Hobson quite simply was not feeding Coco and as a result Coco was getting thinner and weaker.”
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.
Defence solicitor Lisa Tinsley told a previous hearing 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.
The defendant was banned from keeping dogs for life and was also given a 12-month community order with 120 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £500 costs, a £180 fine and an £85 victim surcharge.
Inspector Morris said: “Hobson did initially follow advice a year ago, but sadly she stopped following this advice earlier this year which led to us becoming involved again.
“Poor Coco’s skin condition seemed to be caused by an allergy to so many things - grass, dust, mites, pollen and fleas.
“If your pet is in clear discomfort then you are legally responsible to ensure they do not suffer - something which Hobson failed to do.”