A couple who starved their dog so badly that she could not stand up have been jailed.
An animal welfare officer described Tiggy the Lurcher's emaciated condition as the worst case he had ever seen.
Kerry Patterson, 35, and Reece Milburn, 30, brazenly pretended they had found three-year-old Tiggy dumped by the side of a road and reported it to their local council.
But after Northumberland County Council launched an appeal in December 2019 to find Tiggy’s owners, dozens of emails flooded in revealing she belonged to Patterson and Milburn in Blyth.
Shocking photographs of Tiggy show she had barely any fur and her ribs were jutting through her emaciated body.
She was also severely dehydrated and suffering from dermatitis and a mite infestation and was so weak she was unable to stand.
The couple admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal when they appeared at North Tyneside Magistrates Court on March 3.
They also pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the welfare of their Staffordshire Bull Terrier Enzo who also had a skin condition and mite infestation.
The pair were jailed for 12 weeks, banned from owning and keeping animals for life and each ordered to pay a £120 victim surcharge.
Council spokesperson Philip Soderquest said it was “one of the most shocking and high-profile cases of animal cruelty the county has ever seen”.
He added: “Our animal welfare team work tirelessly to investigate cases of animal neglect and cruelty and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“We were absolutely determined that Tiggy’s former owners would have had their day in court and although it has taken two years, today we got the result we were after.
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“Thanks to the dedication of the team at Berwick Animal Rescue Centre, Tiggy had a happy ending.
“She is a picture of health and happiness with a new home, a new life with dog companions, and even a new name.”
The couple’s other dog Enzo is still being cared for in kennels and is looking for his forever home.
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