Couple who starved Lurcher banned from keeping animals

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A man and woman from Hartlepool have each received a 10-year ban on keeping animals bans after pleading guilty to starving a lurcher, Elsie, for six weeks. Levi Swift and Bethany Greener appeared for sentencing at Teesside Magistrates’ Court on 26 March, where magistrates imposed the disqualifications and fined them both £80.

The court heard the pair failed to provide adequate nutrition for Elsie over a period of around six weeks.

RSPCA Inspector Claire Wilson said in a statement to the court that she went to Hutton Avenue on December 2023 after a tip-off from a member of the public, alleging that there were two dogs outside the property with no shelter or bedding. The caller further described one of the two dogs as very thin and “close to death”.

Wilson said, “It was immediately obvious that Elsie was in extremely poor body condition and emaciated. I could see all her bones protruding through her rough coat and could see her full spine, ribs, pelvic bones and shoulder bones without putting my hands on her. When I did stroke her bones were spiky to touch and she hardly had any muscle visible. She also had hair loss along her spine.”

Greener told the inspector the dog belonged to her partner and they had rescued her two months earlier, adding that the dog had been in a much worse state then. The inspector added, “She (Greener) then said that she couldn’t afford to take the dogs to a vet as she only had £5 left from benefits at the end of the month once her bills came out.”

The couple consented for the inspector to take Elsie to a vets where she received treatment and she was later transferred to private boarding kennels used by the RSPCA.

“A vet’s expert report stated that Elsie would have been suffering for at least six weeks because she was in an emaciated state,” the RSPCA has stated. “In two weeks in RSPCA care, the brindle-coloured lurcher put on more than 3kg in weight and has since made a good recovery.”

Following a court ordered a deprivation order against Swift and Greener, Elsie can now be rehomed by the charity.

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