January 2023

Cruel pet owner allowed dog to get so emaciated every bone in its body was visible

A cruel pet owner who starved his dog to the point where ‘every bone’ in its body was visible has been banned from keeping animals and narrowly avoided jail.

Mark Gallagher, 32, admitted his adult crossbreed Tyson had gone from being bulky to ‘looking like a whippet’ after the poor pooch was found locked in a squalid room.

Tyson was discovered severely emaciated in an upstairs bedroom alone after RSPCA inspectors were called to a property in Lemington, Newcastle.

Police officers forced entry to the address and took Tyson to a vets where he was found to weigh 20.6kg (45.4lb) and given the lowest body condition score of 1/9.

Vets found no medical reason for his drastic loss of weight – which left every one of his bones visible – other than lack of food. Gallagher was charged with causing unnecessary suffering and failing to meet Tyson’s needs, contrary to the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

On Friday (January 20) he was banned from keeping animals for five years and sentenced to eight months in jail, suspended for 12 months by Judge Robert Adams. Gallagher was also ordered to undertake 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days, pay £500 costs and a victim surcharge of £156 at Newcastle Crown Court.

The court heard RSPCA inspectors were called to an address on Gladstone Street where Tyson had been spotted looking out of an upstairs window. As no one seemed to be in, an inspector placed some sticky tape on the door and returned the following day.

Inspector Terri-Ann Fannon visited the address again and found the tapes were still intact – suggesting nobody had entered the door since.

Tyson could again be seen in the upstairs window and appeared to be in an ‘extremely poor condition’ and unable to make his way downstairs to the front door.

Terri-Ann requested police assistance who forced entry and found Tyson with a small amount of food and no water in a room covered in faeces and urine.

After being seized and taken to the vets Tyson drank 1.2 litres of water in about three minutes and ate food given to him in seconds.

Tyson’s claws were also overgrown from lack of wear from exercise.

In her witness statement, Terri-Ann said: “Tyson was extremely underweight with every bone visible, his head was cone shaped and sunken in, his hips and spine were all protruding – he had no muscle tone or fat at all.

Once at the vets he drank insatiably and constantly wanted more.”

When interviewed Gallagher admitted he had not sought veterinary treatment and said he couldn’t afford a vet.

He admitted that he had never let Tyson out and he last cleaned the squalid room where the dog was kept around six weeks previously.