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    Plymouth couple admit dog cruelty after two animals nearly starved to death

    NewsAnimal CrueltyTuesday 27 March 2012
    UK Dogs & Puppies

    A couple nearly allowed two dogs to starve to death and failed to treat terrible sores on one – a former champion greyhound once worth £50,000.

    Andrew and Maria Louden also allowed the retired racing animals to become infested with fleas, a court heard. An RSPCA inspector said after the case that the treatment of Tottie and Pebbles was 'horrific' and the worst dog cruelty case she had handled in 12 years.

    Andrew Louden, aged 48, and 49-year-old Maria Louden, both of Ladywell Place in Greenbank, both admitted two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to the dogs.

    The couple pleaded guilty to failing to adequately feed the pets and get veterinary attention for Tottie's sores between September 20 and October 4 last year.

    They also admitted to failing to protect both dogs from pain and suffering in not treating their flea infestations.

    Plymouth magistrates adjourned sentence on the couple for a probation officer to prepare a report on their backgrounds.

    But presiding magistrate Diana Baumer said all options including custody should be considered when they are punished on April 23.

    Andrew Wyatt, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said the couple took Tottie to the PDSA animal hospital on October 4.

    He added the dog was emaciated, flea-ridden and had sores on its hindquarters.

    Mr Wyatt said Pebbles, the second dog, was also examined by a vet and found to be emaciated and covered in fleas.

    He added the dogs were 'about to die' from starvation.

    Mr Wyatt said Tottie, known as 'Bubbly Tottie', won the greyhound St Ledger and once changed hands for £50,000. Julian Jefferson, for the Loudens, said both were disabled and on benefits. He added that they found it hard to feed the dogs adequately because their payments had suddenly seized.

    Mr Jefferson said they had tried to treat the flea problem.

    Insp Sarah Morris, speaking after the case, said it was the worst example of dog cruelty she had seen in 12 years.

    She said: "This was horrifying. It has scarred me, I think. It is just so unnecessary. Dog food does not cost very much."

    Both greyhounds have made full recoveries and have been rehomed.

    Source: This is Plymouth

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