Dog left untreated due to ‘poverty’

Mental health nurse Emma Disney blamed a lack of money for not seeking vet treatment for the dog.

Mental health nurse Emma Disney blamed a lack of money for not seeking vet treatment for the dog. - Credit: Archant

A mental health nurse from Weston, who admitted causing unnecessary suffering to her pet dog, has blamed a lack of money for failing to treat the animal properly.

Emma Disney, aged 36, was visited by the RSPCA in April in response to complaints about the condition of a dog in her care.

Inspectors found no dog food in the house and saw the pet was in bad health, so decided to press charges.

Disney faced magistrates at North Somerset Courthouse on August 25 and pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal by failing to seek appropriate vet treatment for the creature.

The court heard the dog had been suffering from chronic skin problems and was found by inspectors to be in a poor physical condition.

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Disney had left her previous job due to stress and was claiming a weekly benefit amount of £85.

She said she did not have any pet food in because she was due to go shopping that night, having run out of it the same morning.

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David Bird, defending, said: “The dog was being fed better than the rest of the family at that time.

“She was spending £25 of her benefits every week on over-the-counter shampoos, also bathing its paws.

“Its condition had deteriorated over a six to eight-week period and the products she had been buying had not been having an affect.

“There had never been any concerns raised about other animals Ms Disney owned and she was trying to help the dog, spending as much as she could spare to get it better.”

The dog was later taken into the care of the RSPCA and has since been re-homed.

Mr Bird added: “She was brutally honest in her interview with the RSPCA and acknowledged that the dog had needed treatment, but (she) could not afford it.

“Had she acted sooner, it may not have had to come to this point.”

Disney will return to North Somerset Courthouse to be sentenced on October 8.

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