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Labrador looked ‘like a seal’

TWO BROTHERS are to answers charges of animal cruelty after a court heard that they allowed their nine-year-old Labrador to become so obese that he was unable to walk more than five yards without becoming breathless.

It is believed that this is the first case of its kind in Britain and could set a precedent for further charges of cruelty to be brought against dog owners who allow their pets to become so overweight.

David and Derek Benton were issued with a notice from the RSPCA advising them to seek veterinary advice about their dog’s weight back in February, something that they failed to do by March, explained RSPCA inspector Jason Finch.

The brothers claimed that they had fed their dog, called Rusty, a standard diet of dried dog food, despite Rusty being more than twice the typical weight for a Labrador of his breed, height and age. The brothers are said to have refused to sign their dog over to the RSPCA, instead promising to take the dog to a vet themselves, something that they allegedly neglected to do.

It was stated in court that Rusty was suffering from severe arthritis, which had been exacerbated by his ballooning weight, even though his owners had been ignoring advice from their vet for the past five years to put the dog on a diet.

It was claimed that the dog's weight was due to ‘old age catching up with him’. Rusty is now living with an RSPCA carer, where he has lost three and half stone.