A POLICE officer and her partner have been banned from owning dogs for 10 years after the RSPCA discovered their "emaciated" Saluki, Willow.
PC Adele Laurent and her partner, police call centre worker Mark Hoare of St Sampson Road, Broadfield, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the Saluki bitch, which was 40 per cent below the average healthy weight for its breed
The couple appeared at Mid Sussex Magistrates' Court last Monday after the dangerously thin dog was discovered by the RSPCA following an anonymous tip-off in April.
David Buck, prosecuting for the RSPCA, told the court the eight-year-old dog was examined by vets Amy Hague and Trevor Turner. He said: "Both the experts said the poor body condition of the animal on April 3 was quite simply from inadequate feeding for a period of at least four to six weeks. Miss Hague would have expressed the view that it was likely the dog had been like that for longer than four to six weeks.”
Willow was rescued by RSPCA inspector Becky Carter who noticed the dog's ribs, hips, pelvis and spine showing through her skin.
When vets first examined Willow she weighed just 13.7 kilos. Mr Buck said: "A blood sample was also taken and the animal was fed and it was noted it ate ravenously. The dog had no body fat at all and significant loss of muscle fat.The animal was in an emaciated condition."
For the defence, Oliver Mills, blamed Laurent's ill health and Hoare's busy work schedule for the dog's weight.
He said: "In April 2005 Adele was diagnosed with fibrosis myalgia, which is akin to ME. From that time on their lives certainly changed. They both had a lot of difficulties and they accept from then onwards the dog began to lose out."
He added: "They accept they should have taken the dog to the vet and feel terrible there was suffering to this dog and they add it was in no way intentional."
Sentencing the couple,magistrate Oliver Husband said: "Any offence of cruelty to animals is to be deplored as they rely on their owners to ensure their welfare and protection." The pair were also ordered to pay £1,500 court costs each. A new home will now be found for Willow.
RSPCA staff described the dog as "a lovely animal, the sweetest dog ever."