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Couple banned from keeping dogs after pet’s illness left untreated

PUBLISHED: 06:45 12 September 2017

Ruby has now recovered – and is looking for a new home.

Ruby has now recovered – and is looking for a new home.


A Somerset couple have been banned from keeping dogs for five years after they left their pet to suffer with a chronic skin condition.

Karen and Christopher Witheridge, aged 49 and 57 respectively, faced magistrates at North Somerset Courthouse in St Georges on Thursday over their treatment of German shepherd Ruby.

The Witheridges, who live in Orchard Close in East Brent, pleaded guilty to a single charge of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal after failing to provide veterinary care for their pet.

RSPCA officers intervened after receiving a tip-off from a concerned member of the public who reported worries about the dog’s condition.

Investigators later discovered Ruby had been suffering from both a chronic skin condition and and ear disease, yet had never visited a vet for treatment.

RSPCA inspector Jo Daniel said this week: “When I first saw Ruby my heart sank. She was in a terrible state, very underweight with an awful ear infection and sore and infected skin because of a flea allergy.

“Sadly she had never, ever, seen a vet despite the fact the condition was not getting any better.

“The couple had bought over the counter treatments – on all the packets of which owners are told that if the symptoms persist they need to consult a vet.

“Pet owners need to realise that they have a responsibility to care for their animals. That includes ensuring any health issues are dealt with promptly to avoid distress to animals in their care.”

The bench ordered the Witheridges to surrender ownership of Ruby, and also banned them from keeping other dogs until 2022.

In addition, they were ordered to pay a £202 fine plus court costs of £500.

Ruby, though, has gone on to make a full recovery from her illnesses.

She has been nurtured back to health by the expert team at the RSPCA’s Somerset base in Brent Knoll, and is now looking for a new home.

The charity says the ideal place for none-year-old Ruby would be with owners who have experience with dogs in a home where she will be the only dog without young children.

Anyone who thinks they can offer Ruby a new home should contact the team on 01278 782671.

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