A dog who had been starved by his owner was so weak when he was rescued by the RSPCA that he could not make his way up the stairs of a vet practice.

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Shaun Musson (DOB 25/3/92), of Chaucer Road, Chesterfield, appeared at Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Thurs 6 July), where he pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the Staffordshire bull terrier named Maxie.

The court heard that Maxie was given a low body score of one out of nine and that he was so emaciated that he had no muscles in his legs.

RSPCA inspector Rachel Leafe, who rescued Maxie, said: “When I took Maxie to the vet after he was rescued, he was so weak that he stumbled up the stairs at the entrance. He had no muscle in his legs, he was so weak. He had to keep stopping while walking because he just could not walk properly.”

The court heard that Maxie weight 11kg, instead of the 18kg he should have weighed.

Inspector Leafe said: “Musson said that he believed the dog had lost weight because he was stressed, as Musson had gone from being at home all the time to working 40 hours a week. Put simply, Maxie lost a lot of weight as a result of not being fed properly. He was such a skinny dog and you could see every single bone in his body. He looked like a skeleton with fur.

“As well as being underweight, he had an overgrown claw which was curling over into his pad. It would have been incredibly painful for him.”

The court heard that a member of the public contacted the RSPCA after seeing Maxie.

Magistrates disqualified Musson from keeping all animals for 10 years, and handed him a 12-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to pay £300 in costs.

Maxie is now up for rehoming in the RSPCA’s care, where he has gained weight and now weighs 18kg.

“He is the sweetest dog and he is good as gold,” said Inspector Leafe.