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Cardiff woman admits unnecessary suffering to Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Three-year-old Dior - who was emaciated - sadly died `

Credit: RSPCA Cymru

A Cardiff woman has been banned from keeping all animals for five years after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Rhianne Saville of Cath Cob Close, Cardiff, was sentenced at Cardiff Magistrates Court on Friday, September 2 after the hearing was told how the dog called Dior was severely underweight and had been suffering.

She pleaded guilty to two offences under the Animal Welfare Act including causing unnecessary suffering to Dior by failing to adequately investigate or address the causes of her weight loss and poor bodily condition. She also admitted causing unnecessary suffering to Dior by failing to adequately investigate and address pressure sores to her hocks.

In mitigation it was said that the cruelty was not deliberate. The judge echoed this in sentencing and said the case did not involve deliberate intention but arose because of neglect and to a degree of incompetence. The judge, however, did not accept that she was unaware of the extent of the malnutrition.

As well as the ban on keeping animals Saville was also sentenced to eight weeks custody, suspended for two years and was ordered to undertake a 10 day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement. She was also ordered to pay £400 costs.

A written statement provided to the court from RSPCA inspector Christine McNeil explained that three-year-old Dior had been in the care of Saville as part of an arrangement with the owner from two years ago in which she would be responsible for her care and financially.

Dior was said to be thin before Christmas by Saville and then the owner was told that he would need to have Dior back as Saville was struggling and would be returning to work. He then received photographs of Dior which raised concerns about her condition and he requested for Dior to be brought to him.

Dior then sadly died very shortly after being returned.

Inspector McNeil was shown Dior’s body on 5 January 2022 after a report was made to the RSPCA suggesting the pet had been neglected.

“The body was extremely thin with no muscle coverage and the spine, hips and ribs were all visible and easily felt. Her head was also sunken above the eyes,” said inspector McNeil.

“I noted sores on the hocks and the underneath of the back feet and the front right wrist joint and on the left front paw. I also noted hair loss at the base of the tail.”

In a written statement from a vet it was confirmed that Dior was examined on 6 January 2022 and then a post mortem was also arranged.

The statement said: “On examination the body was severely emaciated with almost no muscle mass with pressure sores on the points of both hocks (heels) and a wound on the front of the right carpus (wrist joint).

“The post mortem report states that the weight loss is due to reduced nutrition with no detectable underlying health issue.

“With no underlying health issue, assuming a normal weight as a start point and assuming the lowest average female Staffordshire Bull Terrier weight of 11 Kg, with no food at all it would take a dog ten to eleven weeks to drop to the post mortem weight of 6.67 Kg, longer if some food was available.

“This means that the dog will have suffered for a prolonged period of at least eleven weeks before death.”