A man who allowed his dogs to live in awful conditions outside has been banned from keeping animals for life.
Chris Adam, 26, has also been given a suspended jail term after pleading guilty to four offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 relating to a nine-month-old female spaniel called Lola and an adult female crossbreed called Charlie.
The 26-year-old appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates' Court to face a prosecution by the RSPCA.
The court heard the RSPCA attended Adam’s then address on Heathway, Parkside, Seaham in August last year where Lola was found in a dog crate in his backyard and Charlie was found in a brick outhouse.
RSPCA inspector Rowena Proctor said: “I was shocked to see how Lola and Charlie were living, particularly after being shown through what was an immaculately clean house.
“Lola was in a dog crate that was entirely empty aside from her, curled up in a ball. There was no bedding, food or water. Adam let her out then went to an outhouse from where he let out Charlie.
“It was immediately obvious that both dogs were very thirsty and that Lola in particular was hungry. They quickly started to drink dirty puddle water and what appeared to be rainwater that had filled a dirty kitchen bowl. Charlie toileted and Lola immediately ate it.
“Lola was obviously very, very thin and her white coat was dirty and smelly, her feet and legs were stained brown and yellow.
“Adam allowed me to look inside the outhouse which had very little natural light and was piled high with tools and other belongings leaving Charlie - who is a large dog - with very little space to move.
“There was no comfortable place for Charlie to rest. There was a piece of old carpet on the floor but, as she couldn’t escape from the tiny space she was in to toilet, it was heavily soiled with her own urine and faeces.
“The smell was overpowering. It must have been an absolutely awful place to be confined.
“There was a water bowl inside the outhouse but it was empty and dry.”
Both dogs were removed with the owner’s permission and taken to a vets for examination before being taken into possession by police on vet advice.
Lola weighed 6.4kg and was emaciated with her ribs, pelvis and spine all able to be seen through her coat.
She had Giardia, a gut parasite associated with unclean environments which required treatment.
Lola put on 39% of her body weight in just a few weeks in RSPCA care - weighing in at 8.9kg on 25 September - but veterinary evidence was that her size has been stunted and she will always be of small stature as a result of being starved at a young age.
The vet also considered that it was likely she would always have psychological issues around food, small spaces and being left alone.
Charlie weighed 25.2kg and was very underweight.
The vet stated that a dog of Charlie’s size should weigh in excess of 30kg.
Charlie put on 13% of her body weight, weighing in at 28.4kg less than two months after coming into RSPCA care.
Adam, now of The Avenue, Coxhoe, was sentenced to 18 weeks in jail suspended for 12 months and 15 rehabilitation activity days.
He was also ordered to pay £300 costs and £115 victim surcharge, as well as the lifetime disqualification.
In mitigation the court heard that Adam had been going through a difficult time and was of previous good character.
Lola was signed over a couple of days after coming into RSPCA care and rehomed to a loving forever home where she has been renamed Molly.
Her new owner says she is a very naughty typical young spaniel, full of energy and fun, who loves walks and lots of attention.
Charlie was signed over recently and was rehomed to new owners Dan Walsh and Steph Allison at the beginning of this month.
Dan said: “We’ve fostered dogs before and usually they take a couple of days to settle in but Charlie seemed very happy from the moment she came home with us.
“She really seems to love life. You really wouldn’t know what she’d gone through if you weren’t aware of her history.
“We live at the coast so are really looking forward to taking her on her first trip to the beach soon.”