Is this the worst case of animal cruelty the North East has ever seen?

Jess, an American bulldog, had multiple health problems, including an infected facial abscess, and ear and skin infections.

Jess, an American bulldog, had multiple health problems, including an infected facial abscess, and ear and skin infections.

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A couple have been given suspended prison sentences and banned from keeping animals for life after neglecting their pet dog.

Jess, a female American bulldog, had multiple problems, including entropion, a painful condition where the eyelids fold inwards, an infected facial abscess, ear and skin infections and thickening of all the pads on her feet, resulting in thick horny growths which meant she could barely walk.

Jess also had thick horny growths on her feet which meant she could barely walk.

Jess also had thick horny growths on her feet which meant she could barely walk.

Vincent Lloyd, 50, and his wife Sharon, 43, of Chaytor Road, Blackhill, Consett, County Durham, appeared at Darlington Magistrates Court on November 27.

They admitted causing unnecessary suffering to Jess by failing to provide proper and necessary veterinary care between August 12, 2014, and August 12 this year.

RSPCA inspector Heidi Cleaver said: “This poor dog was in a very sorry state and was undoubtedly suffering.

“I’ve never seen anything like the growths from the pads on her feet, which would have been obvious to anyone. She could barely walk as a result.

“Her face was oozing puss from the infected abscess and her eyes were secreting discharge from the painful entropion.”

Insp Cleaver attended the Lloyds' home on August 12 this year after a call from a concerned member of the public.

Jess was taken straight to a local veterinary practice and then taken into possession by police on veterinary advice.

Sadly, once under sedation, it became clear to the vet that the most humane thing to do was to put her to sleep, and that was done with the owner’s consent.

Mr and Mrs Lloyd were given 12-week prison sentences, suspended for 12 months, and disqualified from keeping animals for life. They were also ordered to pay £162.12 and an £80 victim surcharge each.

Insp Cleaver said: “Owning an animal is a luxury, it isn’t a right, and meeting the needs of the animals in your care is a responsibility, which includes providing veterinary care as and when it is needed.

“This couple failed Jess miserably, and left her miserable and suffering as a result.”