Cannock, Staffordshire: Craig Benton and Leighann Rowe

#TheList Craig Benton, born 07/10/1985, and Leighann Rowe, born 11/10/1988, both of 1 Jesmond Close, Cannock WS12 0JR – neglected and starved two dogs and two cats

Animal abusers Leighann Rowe and Craig Benton and two of their starved pets
Animal abusers Leighann Rowe and Craig Benton and two of their starved pets, Maya and Mischa

The court heard how the RSPCA were called to investigate after receiving a report that pets at the couple’s property were being neglected.

Inspector Nicola Johnson was sent to investigate and found an Inuit-type dog named Maya, who was described as a “walking skeleton”.

A veterinary examination later revealed she was at least 70 per cent underweight.

Animal abusers Leighann Rowe and Craig Benton from Cannock, Staffordshire

A labrador dog, Charlie, was also in the property but appeared to be in good bodily condition , but the home environment all the pets were kept in was said to be unsuitable.

Cats Mischa, and Beauty were also found to be severely underweight and had an untreated flea condition.

Inspector Johnson said: “Maya appeared to be a walking skeleton with fur on and it was lucky she was found when she was as she was so thin.

“The two cats were also extremely underweight and after they were taken into out care both put about 1.5 kilos to get to their expected weight.

“What I find so annoying about this case is there was plenty of pet food in the house. It just seems they were too lazy to feed the animals and they were left to get into this state.

“The labrador appeared in good bodily condition and it is believed he ate the food that was put down for the others as they were unsupervised.

“There is never an excuse not to feed pets – especially when there is food in the home and the extent of their weight loss would be so obvious.”

All the pets have since recovered and have been re-homed by the RSPCA.

In mitigation, the court was told that the couple said they didn’t realise that Charlie was probably eating the food left out for the other animals as they were fed in the same room unsupervised.

Benton was fined £500 and a £30 victim surcharge while Rowe was fined £120 and a £30 victim surcharge. The pair were also ordered to each pay £250 costs. Banned from keeping cats and dogs for five years.