A MAN has admitted neglecting two dogs found abandoned in a filthy flat.
The Staffordshire bull terrier and border terrier dogs were described as “skin and bone” when they were discovered by the authorities after their owner had gone to live somewhere else.
Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard the owner Andrew Crannagh had asked Mark Lines, 31, to feed them.
But the court heard how the animals were found underweight, covered in fleas and the flat was covered in faeces.
It is believed they had survived only by drinking water from the toilet.
The animals were found when a maintenance officer for Hartlepool Property Management went to change the flat’s locks in Oxford Road, Hartlepool, on April 12.
John Ellwood, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said: “He found a dreadful sight. They were emaciated.
“The property was covered in dog faeces and there was no food or water.
“The dogs were described as skin and bone. It was not possible to walk without standing in faeces.”
The housing officer called the RSPCA.
The adult Staffordshire bull terrier called Socks weighed 7.6kg compared to an average of 10kg.
The top of her nose was worn away, and she was infested with fleas.
The terrier, called Buster, had poor muscle mass in his hind legs.
He was suffering from the skin condition dermatitis from lying on the dirty floor and weighed just 8.7kg instead of 11kg.
Both have gone on to make a healthy recovery.
The owner was initially questioned, but has since disappeared.
Lines, of Dalry Grove, Hartlepool, admitted failing to meet the needs of the dogs by failing to provide a suitable diet, environment or protect them from pain, injury suffering and disease.
Barry Gray, mitigating, said Lines had significant learning difficulties and could be easily put upon.
He said Lines agreed to feed the dogs occasionally around Christmas time.
Mr Gray said: “There was no contractual arrangement. He didn’t receive any payment, nor did he indicate that he was to have sole responsibility for his dogs.
“This is not likely to ever happen again. Without my client’s intervention such as it was, they would probably have died.”
He added Lines told the owner in the spring about the conditions, who promised to do something about it.
Magistrates ordered a pre-sentence report, and Lines will be sentenced next month.
They also made an order allowing the dogs to be rehomed.
Meanwhile, a man has been banned from keeping animals for five years after failing to seek veterinary help for his dog.
Carl Dunn, of The Front, Seaton Carew, appeared at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court where he admitted causing unnecessary suffering to his 14-month-old dog, Ben.
The charge arises from a visit from an RSPCA inspector to Dunn’s former home, in Allerton Close in the Dyke House area in June.
Alongside the five-year ban, the 41-year-old was fined £65 and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge.