Moreton, Merseyside: Zoe Finlay

#TheList Zoe Finlay, born c. 1982, of 20 Pasture Crescent, Moreton, Wirral CH46 8SZ – neglected and starved her large breed dogs

Mother-of-four Finlay pleaded guilty to three offences under the Animal Welfare Act – two of causing unnecessary suffering and one of failing to meet the needs of four-year-old Mastiff Vinnie and one-year-old Dogue de Bordeaux Hugo at her home.

The dogs, which are regarded as ‘giant’ breeds, should have weighed upwards of 50kg each, but Hugo weighed just 26.2kg and Vinnie tipped the scales at 21.9kg.

They were rescued by RSPCA inspector Anthony Joynes who discovered them when he visited the house on January 3, 2018.

Inspector Joynes said: “The dogs were reported to us as being abandoned in the house so I went round to see if I could see any sign of them.

“I could see through the windows that there were piles of faeces and urine puddles everywhere, and I couldn’t see any food or water out for the dogs.

“I was really concerned for the dogs’ welfare because they were extremely skinny so I contacted the police to request access to the property and I jumped in my van to head to a nearby veterinary surgery to ask a vet to come and see to the dogs.

“When I arrived back at the house there was a light on inside. I banged on the door and Ms Finlay answered.

“I could see Hugo, a young Dogue de Bordeaux, in the kitchen and he was extremely underweight. She admitted that she was struggling to cope and everything had got on top of her.

“She agreed to sign Hugo over into RSPCA care but denied any knowledge of a second dog.”

Inspector Joynes pressed her and she finally admitted that her second dog, four-year-old mastiff Vinnie, was in an upstairs bedroom.

He said: “I’d caught a glimpse of Vinnie earlier through the window when I’d been trying to spot the dogs inside so I knew he was in there somewhere.”

The dogs were rushed to a nearby vet which confirmed Vinnie’s organs had started to shut down. Had he been left for another day he could have died.

Dogue de Bordeaux Hugo has recovered from his ordeal.

In five days of round-the-clock care, Hugo gained 3kg, with Vinnie adding double this and they have made an incredible recovery.

Mastiff Vinnie following his recovery.

Both dogs have since been rehomed.

Abused dogs Hugo and Vinnie following their recovery.
Hugo and Vinnie are now thriving but could easily have died as a result of Zoe Finlay’s cruelty and neglect.

Inspector Joynes added: “Ms Finlay let her dogs down badly. She could have asked for help but she chose to do nothing.

“If it hadn’t have been for the public’s concern for these dogs, we may well have been dealing with two bodies.”

Sentencing: 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months; £615 in costs. Disqualified from keeping animals for life.

Evening Times
Liverpool Echo

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