#TheList Mary Agnes Campbell, born 15/06/1975, and Ryan Paul James Gerry, born 21/12/1997, both of 175 Hallow Drive, Throckley, Newcastle upon Tyne NE15 9PW – starved their two-year-old Border collie to death
Mother and son Mary Agnes Campbell and Ryan Paul James Gerry pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to Gerry’s dog Skye.
They accepted they had failed to properly look after the dog but the pair, who both have learning disabilities, maintained they had tried to feed her and seek veterinary care.
Campbell and Gerry had called RSPCA inspectors to their home in Throckley in January 2019, after the death of their pet because they “didn’t know what to do”.
RSPCA Inspector Smith arrived at the house, where he found Skye’s “emaciated” corpse.
Stuart Haywood, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said: “Skye was wrapped in a blanket which had a picture of a pug on it. When he unwrapped the blanket he saw Skye in an extremely emaciated state.”
He said the dog’s eyes were “sunken”, her bones were visible, and she had a pressure sore on her right hip.
He added: “He found carrying Skye to the vehicle extremely upsetting given how light her corpse was.”
When inspectors returned to examine the property, they found faecal stains on the floor of the kitchen where the pair said Skye had been kept.
They said they believed they had been trying to seek blood tests for Skye, and claimed they had been feeding her, but the PDSA veterinary practice where they said they had been seeking treatment said they had not seen the dog since 2017, although a number of appointments had been since made and then missed or cancelled.
A post-mortem examination carried out on the instructions of the RSPCA found her death was due to “insufficient nutrition”.
And a second examination commissioned by the defence found there could be an underlying cause which couldn’t be determined due to the state of the body, but agreed that a lack of nutrition was probably what had killed her.
Defending both Campbell and Gerry, Ruth Foster said both suffered from learning difficulties as well as anxiety and depression which had affected their ability to offer proper care, which would lessen their culpability for her suffering.
She said: “This is not a very pleasant case for anyone involved. The whole case has brought them an awful lot of upset but more importantly what has upset them is the loss of their dog in the first place…They had tried to seek veterinary care for her but they perhaps didn’t follow through on it in the way that you or I would have.”
She said they both thought they had been giving Skye food, but that it was possible that each had thought the other was feeding her on some occasions.
She added: “Both defendants are more than happy to accept disqualification, that will not be contested. Both accept that in hindsight there were failings in their care for her.”
Sentencing (September 2019): both were given 12-week custodial sentences, suspended for a year, and ordered to pay a total of £315 in costs and charges. They are both banned from keeping animals for 10 years.