Yorkshire couple banned from keeping animals after starving dogs [Warning: Upsetting Images]

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A North Yorkshire couple has been banned from keeping animals for seven years after neglecting three dogs, resulting in the death of one from starvation.

The prosecution by the RSPCA led to the sentencing of Jake Craven and Megan Findlay, who pleaded guilty to offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Craven and Findlay, both residing in North Yorkshire, faced charges related to animal neglect. Craven received an 18-month community order and will be subject to rehabilitation activities and electronic tagging for three months. Findlay, previously sentenced, also received an 18-month community order with rehabilitation activity requirements.

The neglect came to light when RSPCA and housing association officers visited the couple’s flat in Scarborough, discovering several dogs, including Staffies Coco and Tinker, and a terrier named Rex. Despite offers of rehoming assistance, the dogs remained in the flat against the tenancy agreement.

Inspector Tom Hutton later found the couple living in a tent on wasteland near the Grand Hotel in Scarborough. Findlay admitted that Rex had died, and his body was found wrapped in a blanket inside the tent. Coco and Tinker were extremely thin, with visible signs of malnutrition and anaemia, requiring urgent veterinary treatment.

Examinations revealed Coco and Tinker’s severe emaciation, indicating prolonged suffering due to lack of nutrition and water. Post-mortem reports for Rex highlighted muscle wastage, suggesting prolonged neglect and discomfort. The court deemed the neglect as inadequate care rather than intentional cruelty.

In mitigation, the court heard that Findlay suffered from psychological problems, including ADHD and anxiety and depression. Craven was found to have a “secondary responsibility” in caring for the dogs, as he was new to the relationship.

Speaking after the hearing, Inspector Hutton said, “The defendants had ample time to address the weight loss of their dogs. They didn’t engage with the RSPCA’s foodbank scheme or seek the support one of our branches could have offered them if they were struggling. They rang us to tell us one of the dogs was dead and we rushed over, but it was too late by then.”

The surviving dogs, Coco and Tinker, have been nursed back to health by the RSPCA and will be rehomed.

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