Couple face prison over state of pet bull terrier

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A couple allowed their pet dog to starve almost to death at their family home in Leeds before summoning help, a court heard.

An RSPCA inspector found bull terrier Rebel in a collapsed state and around half its expected weight when called to the home of Louise Stokes and Shaun Stobbs in July this year.

Magistrates heard there was an “overpowering smell” coming from the utility room where Rebel had been locked in at the house on Heights Close, Bramley.

Andrew Davidson, prosecuting, said Stobbs contacted the RSPCA claiming to be concerned because the animal had stopped eating.

Stobbs then took out a screwdriver which he used to open a wooden door to a utility room in the kitchen where the dog was kept.

Mr Davidson said Inspector Sarah Mason thought the animal was dead because of its skeletal condition and collapsed state. Inspector Mason said the smell of ammonia coming from the cupboard was so strong that it made her nose burn

The dog should have weighed around 30kg but only weighed 15kg.

Rebel was taken into the care of the RSPCA and managed to gain weight and was able to walk again. But the animal eventually had to be put down after it was found to be a dangerous breed of dog. Stokes, 26, said they did not take Rebel to a vet because they couldn’t afford it.

Mr Davidson said: “By the time they summoned the help of the RSPCA Rebel was in a pitiful condition.”

Stokes and Stobbs both pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal. John Bachelor, mitigating, asked for sentencing to be adjourned for reports.

The case was adjourned until December 30. Magistrates granted the pair bail but warned them that it was a serious case of its kind and a custodial sentence was a possibility.

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