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Couple jailed after starving dog

A COUPLE wept in the dock as they were jailed for starving a young dog. The alsatian pup was just half its normal body weight and looked like a walking skeleton when RSPCA officials called at the couple’s home.

But the dog, which has been named Eric by his rescuers, has bounced back to full health and the RSPCA is now looking for a new home for it.

David and Marie Bradford, of Fitton Hill, in Oldham, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering when they appeared before magistrates in the town.

The court was told that they had also breached a two-year disqualification order from keeping animals for earlier cruelty to two rottweilers

David Bradford, 33, was jailed for 10 weeks and his 25-year-old wife was sentenced to nine weeks. They were also banned for life from keeping animals.

Earlier, prosecutor Michael Cheetham said RSPCA officers were acting on a tip-off when they found the black and tan pup with its ribs and backbone hollow and sticking out.

"There was no evidence of food and the dog was scavenging, depressed and withdrawn," he said.

"It was critically thin, emaciated, skeletal and in a terrible state. It was entirely due to malnutrition caused by the failure to be given adequate food."

Mary Burns, defending, said the couple accepted they did not feed the dog. They were told by court chairman Barry Cave: "There are aggravating features because you were disqualified from keeping any animal for a similar offence only a short time before this." An RSPCA spokesman said Eric now weighed three times what he did when found last November.

She said: "We are very pleased with the result. We feel this is a suitable sentence and sends a clear signal that animals should not be allowed to suffer unnecessarily."