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Banned pet owner ‘could not afford treatment’

A DOG owner who could not afford the vet bills for her Shar Pei bitch’s skin condition has been banned from keeping animals for five years.

Sonia Anne Clifford from Hastings had not taken her dog back to the vet since her prescription ran out at the end of 2007 because she could not afford further treatment.

The mum of three appeared before magistrates two weeks ago where she was sentenced for causing unnecessary suffering to Pebbles.

RSPCA Inspector Steven Craddock and his colleague found Pebbles limping and covered in scabs when they visited Ms Clifford in May last year.

David Buck, prosecuting, said: ‘It was obvious to the witnesses the animal was suffering from a skin disease affecting approximately 70% of her body.’

In her own defence, Ms Clifford said that she had not realised the dog was in as bad condition as it was and could not afford to return to the vets.

She added that she did not want to contact the RSPCA for fear of prosecution. When it was pointed out that she could have sought help from charity organisation PDSA, she admitted that she was unaware that this was a free service.

Ms Clifford has been banned from keeping animals for five years but can apply for the ban to be lifted after three years. She was also ordered to pay £200 compensation.
Pebbles has since been rehomed.

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