Thorntree, Middlesbrough: Mark Champion and Julie Whitehead

#TheList Mark Stephen Champion, born 14/12/1971, and partner Julie Whitehead, born c. 1965, of 53 Barrington Crescent, Middlesbrough TS3 9JD – left their German shepherd dog to suffer with a variety of painful conditions for two years without treatment

Mark Champion, Julie Whitehead and Max, the dog the pair of them left to suffer in pain for two years.

Champion and Whitehead admitted two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

The pair failed to seek veterinary treatment for German Shepherd Max, who was suffering painful skin and ear infections.

Max was in constant pain with skin and ear infections.
Max was in constant pain with skin and ear infections.
Max was in constant pain with skin and ear infections.

Sadly Max’s condition was so bad, that the decision was taken to put him to sleep.

Neil Taylor, prosecuting, said tragic Max would have been in severe pain for several years and “was constantly shaking his head and scratching his ears.

“The ears were hot to the touch. Julie Whitehead said she knew she had neglected him.

“She said she couldn’t afford to take him to the vet.”

When Max was taken to Stanhope Park Veterinary Hospital, in Darlington, he was found to be underweight and had patches of fur loss around his eyes.

As well as was “constantly rubbing his ears and rubbing his face against the vet,” he also had infections in his skin.

Mr Taylor said the dog’s suffering was “the worst the vet had ever seen” and Max is believed to have been in “intense pain for at least two years”.

Mark Champion outside court where he faced animal cruelty charges.

The court heard the couple, who have two children, were in financial difficulties and could not afford veterinary care for Max.

A report prepared by the probation service said they did not ignore the problem, and attempted to treat Max’s issues without veterinary help.

The court heard Whitehead was “very very scared” about what would happen if she did approach the vets when his condition worsened.

Both were given an 18-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months and ordered to each pay £265 in costs and charges. Both were banned from owning animals for life with no right of appeal for five years.


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