A starving dog just days from death was pictured peering out of the window of a house where it was locked in a filthy room with no water – the owner is now banned from owning animals for five years.
Tyson, a mixed breed mongrel, was trapped in an upstairs room where he was starved to the point where ‘every bone’ in his body was visible.
The room was discovered littered in faeces and urine, with a sofa which had no cushions after the RSPCA inspectors were called to a property in Lemington, Newcastle.
Mark Gallagher, 32, admitted his adult crossbreed Tyson had gone from being bulky to ‘looking like a whippet’ after the poor pooch was discovered.
The depressed dog was found trapped in a room where he had no water and was surrounded by his own faeces and urine
Tyson, a mixed breed mongrel, was starved to the point where ‘every bone’ in his body was visible
Police officers had forced entry to the address and took Tyson to a vets where he was found to weigh 20.6kg (45.4lb) and given the lowest body condition score of 1/9.
Vets found no medical reason for his drastic loss of weight – which left every one of his bones visible – other than lack of food.
On Friday he was banned from keeping animals for five years and sentenced to eight months in jail, suspended for 12 months by Judge Robert Adams at Newcastle Crown Court.
Gallagher was charged with causing unnecessary suffering and failing to meet Tyson’s needs, contrary to the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
The starving dog just days from death was pictured peering out of the window of a house where he was unable to leave the upstairs room
Police officers forced entry to the address and took Tyson to a vets where he was given the lowest body condition score
The irresponsible owner was also ordered to undertake 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days, pay £500 costs and a victim surcharge of £156 at Newcastle Crown Court.
Judge Robert Adams said: ‘In a couple of days the dog would have died.
‘The dog was effectively starving to death. It is thought it would not have survived much longer.’
Prosecutor Alex Bousfield told the court Tyson was so underweight that ‘practically every single rib’ could be seen.
The court heard RSPCA inspectors were called to an address where Tyson had been spotted looking out of an upstairs window.
Vets found no medical reason for his drastic loss of weight other than lack of food
As no one seemed to be in, an inspector placed some sticky tape on the door and returned the following day.
Inspector Terri-Ann Fannon visited the address again and found the tapes were still intact – suggesting nobody had entered the door since.
Tyson could again be seen in the upstairs window and appeared to be in an ‘extremely poor condition’ and was unable to make his way downstairs to the front door.
Terri-Ann requested police assistance who forced entry and found Tyson with a small amount of food and no water in a room covered in faeces and urine.
After being seized and taken to the vets Tyson drank 1.2 litres of water in about three minutes and ate food given to him in seconds.
Tyson’s claws were also overgrown from lack of wear from exercise.
Judge Robert Adams said: ‘In a couple of days the dog would have died’
In her witness statement, Terri-Ann said: ‘Tyson was extremely underweight with every bone visible, his head was cone shaped and sunken in, his hips and spine were all protruding – he had no muscle tone or fat at all.
‘Once at the vets he drank insatiably and constantly wanted more’.
When interviewed Gallagher admitted he had not sought veterinary treatment and said he could not afford a vet.
He admitted that he had never let Tyson out and he last cleaned the squalid room where the dog was kept around six weeks previously.
Brian Mark, defending, told the court Gallagher has a history of mental health problems and added: ‘All this offending is entirely as a result of his mental health and the treatment of that mental health.’
The court heard Tyson, as well as a fish and parrot that were at the house, were signed over to the RSPCA and the dog has been rehomed.
The case is one of the first RSPCA prosecutions to be upgraded to crown court for sentencing following a change in law last year.
Tyson was thankfully signed over to the RSPCA and the dog has been rehomed
Previously, the maximum sentence a magistrate could impose for animal welfare offences was six months in prison. But under new guidelines this was increased to five years for certain offences and magistrates decided their powers were not sufficient in Gallagher’s case.
Hayley Firman, of the RSPCA’s prosecutions department, said: ‘While this man was ultimately given an eight week suspended prison sentence,
‘It is good to see that the courts are applying the new legislation in a way it was intended and giving Crown Courts an opportunity to consider punishments for those offences deemed most serious.’