Ashington, Northumberland: Joseph Bell

#TheList Joseph Bell, born c. 1962, of Tweed Street, Ashington NE63 9HP – failed to seek veterinary treatment for his dog’s severe skin condition and eye problems

English bull terrier Rocky was suffering from multiple ailments for which his owner Joseph Bell failed to seek vet treatment
English bull terrier Rocky was suffering from multiple ailments for which his owner Joseph Bell failed to seek vet treatment

Four-year-old English bull terrier, Rocky, was practically blind with green discharge leaking from both eyes. He also had severe fur loss, skin lesions and inflamed skin and extremely overgrown claws.

An RSPCA inspector had warned Rocky’s owner, Joseph Bell, to take the dog to the vet but he failed to do so.

English bull terrier Rocky was suffering from multiple ailments for which his owner Joseph Bell failed to seek vet treatment

Rocky was immediately seized by the animal charity and taken to a vets, where he needed immediate treatment.

Bell pleaded guilty to one count of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal at South East Northumberland Magistrates’ Court.

Judith Curry, prosecuting on behalf on the RSPCA, said an inspector from the charity had attended Bell’s home on December 9, 2016, as a follow-up call to check if he had got treatment for Rocky after an earlier visit.

She described how the dog had “severe fur loss and its skin was extremely red and inflamed. It was also scabby”, adding that he was “constantly scratching and there was green gunge coming from both of its eyes and its claws were extremely overgrown.”

She concluded: “The defendant admitted he had not been to the vets.”

Rocky was taken to the vets and was given antibiotics for his eye condition, which significantly improved. He will, however, need life-long treatment for his skin problems.

Ms Curry added: “This is a case where the real reason for bringing this matter to court is, as it’s obvious the defendant is not capable of caring for an animal, for a disqualification from keeping animals.”

Graham Crouth, mitigating, said Bell had mental health and cognitive issues after twice suffering a fractured skull when he was a child and a teenager.

Mr Crouth said that Bell had taken Rocky to the PDSA but hadn’t made follow-up appointments, which meant the dog’s health conditions returned or weren’t fully treated.

Sentencing: £300 costs. Lifelong ban on keeping animals.

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