A COUPLE whose two Greyhounds nearly starved to death have been banned from keeping animals for life.
Andrew and Maria Louden, who also failed to treat terrible sores on one of the dogs, were given suspended prison sentences by city magistrates.
Presiding magistrate Dennis Gavin told the couple that they would have been jailed immediately but for their poor health.
The Loudens, of Ladywell Place in Greenbank, Devon, also allowed the retired racers – including one which once changed hands for £50,000 – to become infested with fleas.
Mr Louden, 48, and his 49-year-old wife both admitted two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to Tottie and Pebbles. They also pleaded guilty to failing to feed the dogs adequately and get veterinary attention for Tottie’s sores between September 20 and October 4 last year.
They also admitted failing to protect both dogs from pain and suffering in not treating their flea infestations.
Magistrates sentenced them both to eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months. They must stick to a curfew at home between 7pm and 7am every night for four months, and each must pay £200 in costs to the RSPCA.
John Wyatt, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said the couple took Tottie to the PDSA animal hospital on October 4. He said the dog was emaciated, flea-ridden and had sores on its hindquarters. Pebbles was also examined by a vet and found to be emaciated and covered in fleas, he said.
The dogs were ‘about to die’ from starvation, Mr Wyatt said.
Mr Wyatt said Tottie, whose full name was Bubbly Tottie, won the Greyhound St Leger and once changed hands for £50,000.
Julian Jefferson, mitigating for the couple, said they had not meant to harm the dogs but had been ‘unable to cope’. He said they were sorry for what happened and had signed over ownership of the dogs to the RSPCA. The dogs have since recovered and been rehomed.
Mr Jefferson said they had found it hard to feed the dogs properly because they had no money and their benefits had ceased during the weeks of the offence.
He said: "They suffer from a panoply of problems, both physical and mental.”
Both had mobility problems and were on antidepressants, he said.