#TheList Daniel James Hope, born 20/11/1984 , and Laura Kate Hope, born 10/12/1986, of Redbrook Villas, Redbrook Avenue, Roseworth, Stockton on Tees TS19 9RB – left a German Shepherd and springer spaniel to starve – one dog described as “skin and bone” 24 hours from death when rescued
Springer spaniel Vinny was so hungry, he had started eating socks to survive. He underwent an operation where vets removed THREE socks after finding a fourth sock trapped in his intestine. Vets also pulled out pieces of plastic and chocolate wrappers from the starving pooch’s belly. The frail dog then underwent a second operation to remove 20 inches of his damaged intestine.
“Vinny was extremely thin, collapsed and surrounded by piles of vomit,” said RSPCA inspector, who found the dogs. “When we took him to the vets he was literally 24 hours from death. We nearly lost him a couple of times.”
After just eight weeks Vinny put on 51% of his body weight while GSD Ragnor put on 23% of his weight in 30 days.
“His hips and spine were sticking out,” said prosecutor John Ellwood of Vinny’s condition when the charity rescued him in March 2016.
“He was lethargic, unwilling to get up and surrounded by piles of vomit.”
“Obviously the RSPCA were concerned about the dog – Vinny was too poorly to stand and had to be carried by the RSPCA,”
Vets found Vinny dehydrated and flea-ridden – while his coat was “contaminated with flea dirt”.
The prosecutor told Teesside Magistrates’ Court that his owners were in court because they simply should have known something was wrong.
But in interview, the Stockton couple protested their innocence despite pictures disclosed by the RSPCA showing how weak the dogs looked.
Self-employed Daniel Hope admitted Vinny had lost weight and was vomiting – but didn’t think anything was wrong. Both he and wife Laura Hope pleaded guilty earlier to causing unnecessary suffering to the dog.
The court heard Laura Hope had recently gave birth to another child and it was speculated the “lifestyle” the arrival brought on may have had an impact.
The couple held hands as magistrates told them the case was serious enough to send them to prison but instead they received a suspended sentence.
Both dogs were described as being “fit and healthy” following the RSPCA’s care.
Mr Ellwood added: “The intervention of the RSPCA clearly saved the life of Vinny who would have died within approximately 24 hours had the RSPCA not managed to get him to the vet.”
Sentence: eight week prison sentence. suspended for 12 months; banned from keeping animals for five years (expires September 2021).