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Man banned after Dalmatian hits 11 stone

A man from Cheshire has been banned from keeping dogs for ten years after allowing his dalmatian dog to become chronically overweight.

John Green from Macclesfield was handed the ban by magistrates on November 18 and was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £780 costs. A further £864 were awarded to the vets that treated Barney, to be paid out of central funds.

The court heard how RSPCA inspectors were first alerted to the plight of Barney, Green’s eight-year-old male dalmatian dog, in June 2007 following concerned calls from members of the public. RSPCA inspectors warned Mr Green about the dangers of his dog being so overweight and he took Barney to the vets where he was put on a diet.

However, on Wednesday 10 June 2009 RSPCA inspectors removed Barney from a property and took him to a nearby vets.

On examination, Barney was found to weigh around 70kg (30-35kg more than a typical, healthy dog of his breed) and rated as five out of five on an obesity scale. He was placed on a special diet and moved to a private boarding kennels where staff ensured he received regular exercise and a carefully controlled diet, until he reached a healthy weight of just under 40kg. He was transferred to RSPCA Warrington, Halton & St Helens Branch Animal Centre in October where he is currently being cared for.

At an earlier hearing, Mr Green pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to Barney by failing to address the cause of his chronic obesity. He also admitted failing to meet Barney's needs by not providing him with a suitable diet and exercise and by not allowing him to express normal behaviour due to his condition. Magistrates heard that Mr Green would often feed Barney the same snacks as himself, including packets of crisps and chocolates.

Last week, the court was told in mitigation that Mr Green treated Barney as more of a friend than a dog, and that he did not set out to deliberately harm Barney but rather failed to realise the seriousness of his condition.

After the hearing, RSPCA inspector Rachel Andrews said: “When we removed Barney he was dangerously obese – his condition would have caused him huge discomfort, put pressure on his joints and could potentially have shortened his life.

‘Prosecution was very much a last resort in this case. We gave Mr Green strong advice to take Barney to the vets and have him put on a diet to ensure he maintained a healthy weight, but Barney’s condition ultimately deteriorated. In the end we were faced with no choice but to remove Barney, for his own health and well-being.’

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