March 2022

Emaciated dog found unable to walk and riddled with fleas in urine-soaked home

A couple has been banned from keeping animals for five years after two dogs were found in horrific conditions.

Neal Bowden and partner Hayley Lane, appeared at Teesside Magistrates’ Court for acts of cruelty which led to one of their dogs being put to sleep.

The South Bank pair pleaded guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and failing to meet the needs of the dogs.

Cross-breeds Angel and Bonnie were found in ‘dirty, disgusting and unkempt’ conditions at the couple’s home on Strauss Road in August last year.

An RSPCA inspector attended the property on August 24 after community concerns.

Bowden originally denied owning a dog but was caught out when one appeared in the doorway.

The court heard he then complied with the inspector admitting ‘one of the dogs is in a bad way and needs to put to sleep’ but claimed he couldn’t afford the fees.

Alex Bousfield, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said Angel was unable to stand and was in a room which smelled like urine and faeces.

He said the pup had overgrown nails, was severely underweight and covered in fleas.

Angel weighed just 7.81kg but the court heard a healthy dog of her size and breed should have weighed 12kg at the lowest up to 17kg.

Pictures branded by magistrates as ‘distressing’ saw her emaciated on scales at a vets practice.

The other animal, Bonnie, was found with extensive fur loss, fleas and thickened skin which Mr Bousfield said was a sign of prolonged irritation.

The court heard Bonnie was constantly scratching and trying to bite herself to relieve the discomfort and pain

During inspection at Stanhope Park Veterinary Hospital, in Darlington, the vet concluded unnecessary suffering had been caused.

The pair were each given an 18-week prison sentence suspended for two years. They were also banned from keeping any animals for five years.

Lane, 36 and Bowden, 37, must also pay £200 costs, a £128 victim surcharge and complete rehabilitation days. Lane was handed a community order and Bowden was given an unpaid work requirement.

Bonnie and Angel were signed over to the RSPCA but Angel was put to sleep on veterinary advice.