#TheList Justin Jervis, born c. 1976, of Gorst Street, Anfield, Liverpool L4 0SB – refused to take his ailing elderly dog for free veterinary treatment, leaving her to suffer in agony for almost a year
Justin Jervis’s Shar-pei Bubbles was put to sleep by vets at the PDSA in Kirkdale on September 3, 2018 – after she was presented in a horrifying skeletal state.
The golden Shar-pei was also infected with mature maggots which had nested in her ear canal and began migrating throughout her head, as well as having a back leg which was hugely swollen from cancerous growths.
Jervis pleaded guilty to three charges of causing suffering to an animal, after leaving his dog to suffer in pain for nearly a year.
Prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, Peter Mitchell told the court that Bubbles had first been presented to vets at the PDSA in October 2017.
At that point, she was already in such a poor condition that vets suggested euthanasia to prevent any further suffering. Bubbles weighed just 18kg and was categorised as underweight by the RSPCA body weight scoring system.
The system scores animals between one and nine – one representing total emaciation and nine being obese. At the time of her death, Bubbles scored one.
When vets saw Bubbles on October 25, 2017, Jervis asked to be given pain killers for his pet. He was given the medication on the condition that he returned one week later for a follow-up appointment.
He did not return to the PDSA for nearly a year, by which point his dog was at death’s door.
Mr Mitchell said: “Mr Jervis was interviewed under caution and had to be arrested in relation to the matter. He minimised the situation the dog was in and when asked specific questions he made no comment.
“When asked if the dog was caused to suffer or was distressed, he said no comment.
“Sean Taylor [a vet who saw Bubbles] said the dog was in an emaciated condition. The right ear canal was thick with maggots, there were masses on the legs and in the lungs. The dog was clearly in distress back in October 2017 and not then represented until September 2018.
“After that pain medication, it would have continued to suffer and got worse in that 11 months. He says the dog was suffering due to weight loss and due to the condition around the ear with maggots.
“For all these reasons, he says the dog was suffering for 11 months.”
The inspector who handled this upsetting and distressing case described it as among the worst she had seen in her 16 year career with the RSPCA – and burst into tears when the sentence was read out.
Looking at the photos of the neglect, Judge Shaw said: “They are terrible photos aren’t they? I don’t think I have ever seen a dog in that condition.”
Sentencing Jervis, Judge Shaw said: “On November 25, 2017 you were aware that your dog was so poorly that the vet wanted you to consider euthanasia on that occasion. You were asked to take the dog back after seven days.
“Over the next 10 months your dog lost weight to the point where she was obviously emaciated and it’s perfectly clear to any sensible onlooker that the dog was in appalling physical condition.
“The vets choose to use a body scoring condition of one to nine and they chose one for your dog. Her physical condition was appalling and pathetic. You were responsible for her care. Your neglect could equally be considered as cruelty.”
Defending Jervis in court, Emma Smith said: “This is not a case where he has deliberately harmed the dog and he found that very difficult to accept. For 12 years there were no medical issues in relation to the dog that he failed to seek medical assistance for.”
She added: “You might find it difficult to believe but he clearly did have very strong feelings towards the dog. He was upset with himself and upset that the dog had to be put to sleep. It wasn’t done through any type of malice or hatred of animals.”
Sentencing: 16-week custodial sentence, of which he will serve eight weeks in prison and spend 12 months on licence. Banned from keeping animals for 20 years and forbidden from appealing the conditions of this ban for at least 10 years.