Dog was so ill that ‘we thought it was deaf’

Appalling condition: RSPCA pictures of Bud when he was discovered by inspectors. Gail Whitham, 54, has been banned from keeping animals for 10 years

Appalling condition: RSPCA pictures of Bud when he was discovered by inspectors. Gail Whitham, 54, has been banned from keeping animals for 10 years

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A woman who neglected her dog because she “could not cope” has been banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

The pet was in such a poor condition that RSPCA officers thought it was blind and deaf because it did not respond to noise or actions, a court heard.

And the charity has welcomed the ban imposed on Gail Whitham, 54, by Blackpool magistrates.

The court heard police investigating a break-in at an empty flat on Devonshire Road found the dog, named Bud, asleep on a pile of washing when they went inside.

Officers then called in the RSPCA and Bud was taken to be examined by vets who discovered he had eye and ear infections, as well as being heavily flea-infested.

They estimated Bud’s problems dated back around six months.

The court heard a cat was also found in the property.

Whitham, now of Wilton Parade, North Shore, was found guilty of causing the dog unnecessary suffering and a separate charge of failing to look after his welfare by taking it to the vets.

The court heard she did not initially want to be interviewed but when she later agreed she insisted she had taken the dog to animal charity PDSA to be looked at.

However, the organisation had no record of her ever attending their service.

Peter Manning ,defending, said: “This was an act of omission rather than neglect she was not being deliberately cruel. She was on her own stressed ,depressed and lonely at the time.”

“She did not bear the dog any malice but could not cope.”

Whitham was banned from keeping animals for 10 years, placed under court supervision for 18 months and sentenced to 200 hours of community service. She was also ordered to pay the RSPCA £200 in costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

Magistrates heard the dog had since died and the cat had been re-homed.

An RSPCA spokesman said: “We welcome the court issuing a ban to hopefully prevent such an instance from happening again.”