A mum and her two sons have been disqualified from keeping animals for 10 years after they starved their dogs.
The two dogs – Staffordshire terrier-type breeds Bruno and Roxy – were so thin that their ribs were clearly visible. They were also living in conditions described by the RSPCA as “atrocious”.
Michelle Baldwin, 40, Shaun Baldwin, 21, and Shane Baldwin, 19, of Masseyfield Road, in Runcorn, appeared at North Cheshire Magistrates’ Court on Thursday last week (6 July) to be sentenced.
They each pleaded guilty to three offences – two of causing unnecessary suffering to the dogs and one of failing to provide a suitable environment – at an earlier hearing in May.
As well as the 10-year ban on all animals, Michelle was given an eight-week prison sentence suspended for six months and Shaun and Shane were both given a 12-month community order and told to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work. All three were told to pay costs of £100 each.
The court heard that the dogs were discovered by the police on 17 November last year when they were carrying out a search at their address in Masseyfield Road on an unrelated offence.
They contacted the RSPCA, which led to inspector Lisa Lupson attending the property.
Inspector Lupson said: “Both dogs were very thin, particularly Bruno. He was so weak that as soon as I got him to a vet he was put on a drip. He was very lethargic and subdued, and wasn’t responding to us at all.
“As well as being underfed, the dogs were living in horrific conditions. Upstairs of the house was atrocious, there was rubbish absolutely everywhere and dog poo all over the floor. It was in no way the best environment for dogs to live in.
“The message is clear – if you decide to take animals on then you must be able to meet their needs and provide them with the kind of life they deserve.”
Sadly, despite the best efforts of RSPCA staff, Bruno was put to sleep on health grounds. Roxy has since been rehomed.