Couple let four dogs starve

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A COUPLE allowed their dogs to waste away as they tried to care for their ill newborn baby.

Samantha Currie and Gary Kirby failed to properly feed and water husky Zena, lurcher Flint, and the dogs’ two pups at their Horden home.

Peterlee Magistrates’ Court heard the RSCPA inspector, who traced them to the Grant Street house following concerned reports about the dogs, discovered a host of problems with the pets.

The bench was told the dogs had just days to live when the inspector intervened.

The officer also found the kitchen floor covered in diarrhoea and was told the dogs had not been taken to the vet when they questioned the couple about their condition.

John Ellwood, prosecuting on behalf of the charity, said: “The two adult dogs were simply in an awful condition and emaciated.

“The puppies had large heads, too small for their bodies.

“The male pup was developing fleas and was cold and the female pup also had fleas.”

He said they “drank and ate ferociously” when they were offered food and water, with Flint drinking from the tap to quench his thirst.

Mr Ellwood described how the husky had produced milk for her pups, despite being unwell, but stopped when her body was unable cope.

Currie told the officer she was unable to take the dogs to see a vet because she had a bad leg.

Mr Ellwood added: “If the situation had been allowed to continue, then the first dog to die would have been the male pup and that would have been within five to seven days.”

He said the puppies and the husky, which had been signed over to the RSPCA by Currie, are now doing well, but the lurcher remained in their care.

Currie, 21, and Kirby, 27, both admitted a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to each dog and a fifth of not taking steps to ensure Zena was protected from pain, injury and disease.

Viv Waugh, mitigating, said the unemployed couple believed the husky had been spayed and discovered she was pregnant when she was checked over by a vet.

Six puppies were born three or four weeks before Currie gave birth to a daughter.

Three were found new homes and one died.

Mr Waugh said the conditions deteriorated as the couple cared for their child, who was born with a heart murmur.

The case was adjourned until tomorrow to allow probation reports to be complete, with the pair released on unconditional bail.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham