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A couple whose “emaciated” dog and two cats were rescued by the RSPCA have been banned from having animals for 10 years.
The RSPCA were called to the address of Melissa Marshall, 43 and Terence Sutton, 51, on Thames Road, Hebburn, after reports from a concerned member of the public about the welfare of eight cats and a greyhound dog at the property.
A court head that RSPCA Inspector Trevor Walker was sent to the flat on a number of occasions during May 2019 but nobody appeared to be at home.
On May 19 2019, Marshall allowed Trevor to enter the property to examine the pets.
In a statement given to the court Trevor said: “As I went up the stairs I saw an emaciated tan greyhound bitch called Sheba.
“After stroking her I realised I had blood on my hand and initially could not identify its source, eventually we found the injury to Sheba’s tail. It appeared to be an old injury which had reopened and started bleeding.
“Melissa Marshall advised she would authorise me to take Sheba and any other underweight cats to the vets for examination.
“Access to examinations was restricted but eventually permission was given to remove Sheba, and Flash and Jaspar who were all emaciated.”
During his time at the property, Sutton remained seated but reportedly continued to complain about the presence of the RSPCA.
Marshall then refused for any other animals to be taken for examination.
Trevor rushed the three pets to a nearby vet who confirmed they were all being maltreated.
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All three animals were given food and the cats reportedly attacked the bowls and people carrying them in their desperate hunger.
Sheba, Jaspar and Flash were then taken to the RSPCA’s Felledge Animal Centre to be rehabilitated.
An independent vet that examined Sheba, aged seven, said she was in poor bodily condition with her bones protruding and no body fat.
She added that the dog had a chronic skin condition with scabbing on her skin caused by fleas and an old injury to her tail which was bleeding.
She explained: “This is a relatively common injury seen in dogs with long tails and is particularly common when dogs are confined to small spaces, such as kennels.
“These injuries are difficult to treat and can often only be dealt with by amputating part of the tail. This appeared to be an old wound which I estimate had been present for at least two weeks, possibly one to two months. This open wound would have caused Sheba suffering due to discomfort and irritation.”
Both the cats, aged eight, were also found to be in poor bodily conditions, with protruding bones, no body fat and a loss of muscle.
After the pets were rescued, the RSPCA continued to work with Marshall and Sutton to maintain the welfare of the other six cats.
However, following the court hearing the district judge issued a deprivation order and said that these pets should also be placed in the care of the charity.
Marshall and Sutton were found guilty of five animal welfare offences on July 15 2021.
They failed to appear in court for their sentencing but were brought before the court the following day after warrants were issued for their arrest.
As well as the ban Marshall and Sutton were both given 12-month community orders and must both complete 150 hours of unpaid work each.
They were also both ordered to pay £200 costs and a £95 victim surcharge.
Both Flash and Jaspar remain at Felledge and it is hoped they will find homes soon, along with Sheba who had to have her tail amputated.
The other six cats will also be found homes once the appeal period is over.
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