August 2022

Worthing woman banned from keeping animals after she starved dogs

A woman who was found with two emaciated dogs – one of which was dead – has been banned from keeping animals indefinitely.

In a case brought by the RSPCA Amy Page, from Worthing, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the two dogs and was sentenced at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on August 5.

The court heard that after the animal charity had received an anonymous call about one dead dog and another emaciated live dog at Page’s address in Whitebeam Road. 

RSPCA animal rescue officer (ARO) Marie Stevens visited the property and asked to check on the dogs.

Page refused, but ARO Stevens then spotted the defendant dragging an “extremely” thin dead black dog from the garden towards the back door of the house.

“Despite what I had observed, Ms Page repeatedly denied there was a dead dog on her property but did take me through the house into the rear garden to show me a live, very emaciated tan and white dog, named Princess,” said Ms Stevens.

“The dog was cowering and appeared frightened. I could clearly see all of her ribs, spine and hip bones. There appeared to be no food or drink available for the dog.

“After pressing her repeatedly about the dead dog I had seen her dragging, she eventually admitted to me that her dog Prince had died and was upstairs in the bathroom.

“I found Prince – lifeless – under a sheet. He was extremely thin, with ribs, backbone, hips, and shoulders all clearly visible and it was clear he had also been suffering from a bad ear infection.”

Page agreed to sign both dogs over to the RSPCA, and ARO Stevens took the animals to a local vet.

On examination, the vet discovered that the live dog, Princess, was emaciated, with an extremely low body condition score of one (out of nine). Her ribs and bones of the pelvis and spine were very visible, and she appeared depressed, though responsive.

When Princess was offered food she ate “voraciously”.

The vet reported that the body of Prince, the dead dog, was also emaciated; his ribs, pelvic bones and spine were “easily” visible.

A blood sample showed significant changes in the liver and kidney, suggesting organ failure.

This dog was transferred to Royal Veterinary College for a post-mortem examination.

The 38-year-old received a 16-week suspended sentence, which was suspended for 24 months with a requirement to complete fifteen rehabilitation action requirement days.

She was also disqualified indefinitely from keeping animals and was ordered to pay legal costs of £400 and a victim surcharge cost of £128.

Speaking after the hearing, ARO Stevens said: “Prince and Princess were dependent on their keeper and Ms Page broke that trust by leaving them to suffer and one to die. Page could have asked for help or handed them over to an animal charity to be rehomed but instead decided to simply neglect them, leading to a period of prolonged suffering and in the case of one of the dogs, death.”

Princess has made a full recovery and has since been rehomed.