A selfish couple starved their dog and failed to provide veterinary treatment despite repeated warnings from the authorities.
Luke and Melissa Hankins, from North Country, Redruth – who also have four children – left staffy Benson “suffering for months”.
The defendants – both aged 30 – appeared at Truro Magistrates’ Court for sentence having pleaded guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog by failing to investigate poor body condition and weight loss.
The offences took place between December 2021 and March 2022.
During the sentencing hearing the court heard how Cornwall Council had had many dealings with the Hankinses, with advice given frequently due to fears over the weight and skin condition of their three dogs who would often run away.
On March 21, Staffordshire Bull Terrier Benson was found straying and picked up by a member of the public.
He was found to be emaciated and wearing a tightly fitted muzzle. The matter was reported to the RSPCA and the dog taken to the vets.
Vets reported how Benson was emaciated with every rib, spine and pelvic bone visible. His ears were waxy, he had an eye condition and he had been biting and rubbing himself due to the skin condition.
Skin loss was attributed to the tightly fitting muzzle which prevented him from eating, drinking and barking. Hair loss was put down to having to sleep on a hard surface for a prolonged period of time.
It was said by prosecutor Lindi Meyer that “food deprivation over a prolonged period of time resulted in a skeletal appearance” and that “Benson would have suffered for months”.
When he was seized Benson weighed just 12kg but within four months in care he was at 21kg.
The straying was said to be a result of long-term repeated neglect.
The court heard that all of the Hankins’ animals have now been rehomed.
Sentencing magistrates said that the treatment of Benson was “a prolonged period of neglect and failure to take on veterinary advice and enforcement notices”.
The poor treatment of the Hankins’ dogs was said to have lasted a decade.
Both defendants were given a 12-week sentence suspended for 18 months.
They must also complete a rehabilitation activity requirement and pay £400 each towards RSPCA costs as well as a victim surcharge.
They were banned from keeping animals for 15 years.
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