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Woman 'too poor' to feed dog

A POVERTY-stricken single mum who starved her dog claimed in court that she was so poor she could barely afford to feed herself.

Donna Reed, aged 32, walked free from Doncaster Magistrates' Court last month with a conditional discharge after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

Reed's emaciated and hungry German shepherd bitch Kisha was found at her home in Norbreck Road, Askern, following a tip-off from a member of the public. After being starved for what the RSPCA believe was several weeks, the dog was half her normal bodyweight of just under four and a half stones.

When interviewed by RSPCA officers, Reed initially denied starving Kisha.

RSPCA Inspector Kat Thorburn said: "At first she told us she couldn't understand why the dog was so thin. Then she admitted that with having a new baby she didn't have much money and sometimes even went without food herself.

"However, there was no need for the dog to get into that state. There are plenty of places she could have taken her, such as the RSPCA home in Bawtry, but she didn't seek any help - she just let the dog starve."

Inspector Thorburn told the court how Kisha was found in the upstairs bedroom of Reed's home earlier this year.

She said: "The dog was extremely thin and she was frantic with hunger. There was no food or water in the room. It's difficult to know how long she had been mistreated - she could have been totally starved for about three weeks, or it may be that she was only fed very intermittently for a lot longer.

"In these circumstances it is possible Kisha could have died if she had not been fed for much longer."

Inspector Thorburn said that following her ordeal Kisha was now making a full recovery. The dog, which has been rehomed, has put back 68 per cent of her lost bodyweight.

The court banned Reed from keeping animals for five years and ordered to pay £250 costs, but granted her a conditional discharge, owing to her circumstances.