Couple banned from keeping dogs

A couple who attempted to treat four puppies suffering from a severe skin condition with nappy rash cream and human antibiotics were this week banned from keeping dogs for 15 years.

A couple who attempted to treat four puppies suffering from a 'severe' skin condition with nappy rash cream and human antibiotics were this week banned from keeping dogs for 15 years.

David Mills, 29, and Sarah Kirby, 19, both of Tavern Lane, Diss, admitted four counts of neglecting the Staffordshire bull terrier pups between July 2 and 16 last year by failing to seek proper veterinary treatment for the 15-week-old animals.

Thetford Magistrates' Court heard on Monday that the couple, who have two young children, could not afford to treat the mite problem that caused the dogs to be covered with painful sores.

Mills, an unemployed welder, was ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work in the community and his partner was given a conditional discharge for two years. Both were disqualified from owning and keeping dogs for 15 years and were ordered to give up their two-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier, Steph.


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Jason Stevens, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said that inspectors visited the couple's home on July 16 following concerns about the health of their dog. On arrival, they found the three male puppies and one female covered in sores, spots and most of their hair had fallen out.

Mr Stevens said that the defendants admitted that they could not afford the vets bill, but had sought some advice from a family friend who was trainee vet. He added that the case represented a 'medium-term' level of neglect, which had gone on for a minimum of two weeks.

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Malcolm Plummer, in mitigation, said the pregnancy of his clients' Staffordshire bull terrier had been 'unplanned' and it was 'unfortunate' that they had to hand-rear nine puppies, which put an extra strain on their finances. Five of the puppies had been given to good homes before the incident, he said.

'It was getting very tight with finances. They got some special shampoo from the pet shop and tried to treat the puppies with antibiotics and nappy rash cream. They thought it might help, but it was misplaced,' said Mr Plummer.

Magistrates also ordered the couple to make a contribution of �250 each to the RSPCA's �5,500 costs.

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