A couple from Blackpool, United Kingdom, has been banned from keeping animals for ten years after neglected dogs were found at home.
Ryan Seel, aged 28, and Debbie Slater, aged 34, from Peter Street, admitted failing to care for the six malnourished Jack Russell Terriers.
After being prosecuted by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), the couple confessed to causing unnecessary suffering to three dogs and failing to provide for the needs of the six pets.
But this was not the first time the local council had problems with the couple.
Officers from the local council visited the couple's flat on December 15, 2022, after noise compliance and concerns regarding the dogs.
The RSPCA stated that there had been reports that the dogs had been left out in the garden for very long periods of time.
The dogs, two male and four female Jack Russell Terriers named Jack, Sasha, Angel, Coraline, Junior, and Jazz, were rescued from the house and taken for urgent veterinary care.
The vet who examined the dogs said these poor pups were only hours away from death.
Fortunately, all Jack Russel Terriers are fully recovered and have been rehomed with the help of RSPCA’s Blackpool & North Lancs branch.
A council officer stated in evidence to the court, “He showed us into the house and, as we walked through the hallway into the dining room, I noticed the Jack Russells running round.”
“I immediately noticed that they were looking underweight. I turned and looked into the living room, and there was a lady sitting on the couch, and she was holding another two Jack Russells that also looked underweight.
“I asked them what was going on, and their response was there was nothing wrong with the dogs,” the council officer said.
“The man then let us pick up one of the Jack Russells, and you could see her ribs and hip bones. He explained that they had changed their food as they had lost a bit of weight, and he said the one that he was holding had been to the vet.
“I asked him when this was; he replied two years ago. I explained that, as soon as they noticed the dogs dropping weight, they should have taken them to the vets straight away.”
The vet, when asked to testify in court, also stated that three of the dogs were given body score conditions of just one out of nine, and these neglected dogs only weighed between 3.08 and 3.5 lbs (1.4kg and 1.6kg) which should have been closer to 9.9 to 11.02 pounds.
“We attempted to take an ear prick of blood to check [one dog's] blood sugar level, but his circulation was so collapsed from the hypothermia that we failed,” the vet said.
Three of the dogs in the worst condition were so starved that they could not even regulate their own body temperature.
“I would say from experience, [they] were within 24 hours of dying,” the vet said.
The court also heard evidence from RSPCA inspector Amy McIntosh, who took the three most poorly dogs to be temporarily cared for at a private boarding establishment on behalf of the charity.
Amy McIntosh, an inspector for the RSPCA, added in court, “They seemed very subdued and lacking in energy. They were struggling to maintain their body temperature when not under a direct heat source. All three were so small that they fitted in a cat basket together to be transported.”
The dogs were kept under a heat lamp to make it easier to maintain their body temperature and fed five small meals a day.
Eventually, the terriers returned to full health when the inspector returned to collect them on January 2, 2023. All three dogs gained evident amounts of weight.
The couple, Seel and Slater, were given a ten-year ban on keeping all animals, and they were also given a £114 surcharge and were told to pay £300 in charges.
RSPCA chief inspector for Lancashire, Simon Small, said after the case: “It’s clear from the condition the dogs were found in that their needs had not been met for some considerable time, so much so that three of them may not have lived much longer had they not been rescued.
“We’d like to thank the local authority for their assistance in bringing this case to court, in what is a good example of what we can achieve together for animal welfare.
“We would urge people to seek timely advice and support if their pets appear to be losing weight or if their personal circumstances change.”