A COUPLE have been banned from keeping animals for a decade after leaving their dog to develop a horrific skin condition.
Keano the terrier suffered from a mite allergy which caused chronic dermatitis and led the pet to injuring himself as he tried to relieve irritation.
Peterlee Magistrates’ Court heard it could have affected him for months, possibly years, and means he will need veterinary care for the rest of his life.
John Ellwood, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said one of the charity’s officers doubted the claim the dog had strayed when they first visited the home of his owners Darren and Frances French after concerns were raised.
Mr Ellwood said this would have given the couple a “window of opportunity” to seek treatment, but when the officer returned two days later and found the dog, they took him into care because of the severity of his condition.
The inspector was told they had taken the dog to the vet nine months previously for an ear infection, but no treatment was sought for the skin problems and it was allowed to continue.
Mr Ellwood said: “It was clear something was required for the condition. Neither of them had taken the dog to the vet and the situation developed and became a lot worse.
“The dog is now in the care of the RSCPA and is getting better. His fur has grown back, but he requires constant veterinary care.”
Darren French, 45, and his 42-year-old wife, represented themselves as they admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the dog by failing to seek veterinary care for the skin condition.
They said they had asked what caused the condition when they had him treated for an ear infection and mentioned the skin condition, but the vet offered no treatment.
They also said their 19-year-old son had taken him to be checked out.
Darren French told the bench: “We just thought it was fleas and we treated him for that every other month.”
Frances French added: “We would just love to have him back.
“We’ve had animals all our lives and this is the first problem we’ve had.
“The vet said it was dry skin and I believed him.”
The bench looked at photographs taken of Keano before and after treatment and said it was clear the condition was “horrific”.
The couple, of Snowdon Place, Peterlee, were banned from keeping animals for 10 years, with an application to challenge the disqualification allowed in five years, which will mean they will no longer be able to keep their two cats.
They were both given 12-month community orders, with Darren French to be given supervision and Frances French with 120 hours’ unpaid work.
Both must pay £431 in costs.