Banned for dog neglect

A DRUNK who didn’t seek help for his flea-infested pet has been banned from keeping dogs for a decade.

Alcoholic Gordon Hill left Jess to suffer to the point where she scratched off almost half of her hair, causing cuts to her skin due to the constant itching.

Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court was told the terrier-type dog was in “constant distress” for two months due to the flea bite dermatitis.

Hill pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal between October 23 and December 23 last year.

The 46-year-old was banned from keeping animals for 10 years, was given a 12-month community order with supervision and was ordered to pay £250 costs.

The abuse came to light when a complaint was made to the RSPCA about the animal’s condition and a trainee inspector visited Hill’s flat in York Road, Hartlepool.

John Ellwood, prosecuting, said the inspector found that “the defendant was drunk and the flat smelled of ammonia”.

Hill allowed the inspector to take Jess away to get treatment, but he could not be contacted afterwards despite inspectors visiting his home and leaving calling cards.

They eventually got in touch with the help of police, but by that time they had to treat the dog as abandoned, racking up veterinary and boarding bills totalling £2,000.

In interview on March 14, Hill said he could not remember getting Jess, but that it would have been around two-and-a-half years ago.

Mr Ellwood said: “He denied that he had done anything wrong and said he was treating her with supermarket flea powder, which he believed he bought from Wilkinson’s.

“When asked why he had not taken the dog to a vet, he said he did not know and suggested that all dogs scratched anyway.

“It may well be that the defendant has problems of his own connected to alcohol abuse and is not capable of looking after animals. The defendant has alcohol-related convictions.”

As Mr Ellwood told the court about the drink-fuelled crimes, Hill shouted out: “I’m an alcoholic, that’s why.”

Hill added: “I don’t know where the fleas came from, maybe down the beach.

“I’m sorry for what’s happened, I didn’t know what was the matter and what to do.”