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‘DIY surgery’ lands owner on cruelty charge

A MAN who allowed a friend to stitch a cut on his injured dog's side rather than call in a vet pleaded guilty to cruelty charges in a South Yorkshire court last week.

Craig Chapman, aged 21, of Travis Avenue, and his partner Hayley Malee, 19, of Windsor Square, Stainforth, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire both pleaded guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering by failing to provide veterinary treatment for the dog, at the time of the initial accident and when the wound subsequently became infected.

Doncaster magistrates heard how RSPCA inspector Kat Thorburn visited Malee's home after an anonymous tip-off and discovered Sam, a black and tan Lurcher/Collie cross, to be in a terrible state with injuries from a road accident.

The dog had exhaust burns on his forehead and shoulder and an 8cm gash down his right side which appeared to have been crudely stitched together. The wound had become infected.

Chapman said he could not afford veterinary treatment. Instead a friend, whom he claimed was a former vet, had agreed to sew the wound together. Chapman refused to name the friend, who could also have been prosecuted by the RSPCA.

Magistrates found Chapman guilty and sentenced him to a 100-hour community service order, and ordered him to pay £600 costs. Malee received a 60-hour community service order, with £200 costs. Both were banned from keeping any animal for three years.

After the hearing Inspector Thorburn commented: "Sam was in considerable pain as a result of his accident, and this was just made worse by a botched veterinary procedure. He should have been treated by a professional who had his best interests at heart - and who was operating legally and knowledgeably."

Sam has now recovered from his injuries and has been rehomed.