#TheList Sharon Elizabeth Wood, born 1971, of Polmeere Road, Penzance TR18 3PJ, and son Ashley Mark Wood (also uses the surname Corfe), born 1996, formerly of the same address but now of Penventon Terrace, Redruth TR15 3AD
Mother-of-five Sharon Wood and son Ashley Mark Wood admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a dog named Dexter who was found covered in sores with barely any fur. He was chronically underweight and his ribs and back bones were exposed with no fat on his body.
Appearing for sentencing the pair were told they had committed “a despicable act of cruelty to the animal” and they were lucky not to be sent straight to prison.
The court heard that Dexter belonged to Ashley Wood but his mother was also responsible for the pet, who at the time lived at her home.
Lindi Meyer, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said a family friend was horrified to find 10-month-old Dexter covered in bleeding sores and scabs, having lost most of his fur and nearly half his body weight.
She took him straight to the vets and the RSPCA and police were then called and Dexter was taken into care.
Ms Meyer said he weighed just 12.85kg when brought in to the RSPCA. After four days on an emergency diet, Dexter’s weight had risen to 15kg and he now weighed a healthy 19.8kg.
She said: “Staff in the centre were unable to put a collar on him as this made him bleed around the neck. There was basically no fur on his body apart from along his back and he was extremely thin.”
She said his eyes were swollen and discharging fluid.
Ms Meyer said Ashley told the RSPCA that Dexter had been really ill for two weeks previously. She said he did not go to the vets but instead asked his friends for help, who suggested taking Dexter for a swim in the sea. Ashley admitted using skin cream to try to treat Dexter’s condition, she added.
She said the vet who inspected Dexter said: “In my opinion the dog was suffering and had been for a minimum of four months.”
Ms Meyer showed the court pictures of Dexter as he is now, having made a complete recovery. She said: “With an intervention and proper treatment, he looks fantastic now. He has been re-homed.”
She told the court the pair also have five cats and another dog, which has since been re-homed, and asked the court to ban them from keeping animals.
Beverley Wilmott, from the Probation Service, who interviewed the Woods for the court, said Sharon Wood was ashamed of what had happened.
She said: “She didn’t seek to excuse her behaviour. She was aware the dog was quite poorly but she didn’t seek treatment at the time. She didn’t want to get into trouble about the state he was in and she had concerns about paying the vets.
“She is extremely ashamed to be here in court. She said, as the mother, she should have taken the responsibility of looking after the dog.”
As a result of previous media coverage, she added that Sharon no longer felt safe in the council house where she has lived for the last 17 years. She said she suffered some health and mobility problems for which she had not sought help and was of previous good character.
Turning to Ashley, Ms Wilmott said: “He tells me he did very much stick his head in the sand. He does suffer from anxiety which is linked to alcoholism. Finance was also a problem. Other bills got in the way and Dexter became a low priority.”
She said he was now getting help for his drinking from the relevant agencies.
Solicitor Charles Hulley, representing the Woods, said they cooperated with the investigation and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
Referring to press coverage of their first court appearance, he said: “Through social media, they’ve experienced some difficulties as a result of their guilty pleas and want to move to a different area.”
Addressing the pair, the presiding magistrate, Mr Aldred, said: “These offences were so serious that neither a fine or community sentence would be justified. You should have been aware of the animal’s suffering and should have acted to relieve that suffering, and neither of you did that.”
Both were sentenced to 12 weeks in prison suspended for two years. Total of £415 each in costs and charges. Banned from keeping any animals for life with no right of appeal for at least 10 years. The court also ordered all animals still in their care in 21 days to be seized.