A couple who neglected their dogs to the point of near-death face a jail sentence.
Victoria Sams, 35 and her husband David, 38, from Meadowfield, Co Durham, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal at Darlington Magistrates Court.
Their two dogs were found in such poor health they had to be put down by the RSPCA.
The dogs, Ebby, a collie cross and Kizzy, a Rottweiler, had been living in an outdoor kennel and pen with no bedding and surrounded by faeces.
RSPCA officers found Ebby to be so emaciated and riddled with arthritis that she was unable to stand.
Kizzy had a piece of bone wedged in her mouth which prevented her from eating, causing a tetanus infection.
A veterinary examination rated both dogs’ body condition at level one; on a scale of one to nine with one being the worst.
Kevin Campbell, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said that when inspectors arrived at the couple’s home they found Kizzy in a ‘collapsed and almost rigid state’.
He said: ‘The dog was struggling to breathe; it would die without immediate vet’s attention.’
Mr Campbell said that officers returned to collect 16-year-old Ebby, who was later found to be suffering from an organ ailment known as Cushing’s disease.
Mr Campbell said: ‘She (Ebby) would have been in severe pain and had muscle wastage and arthritis.
‘She should have been on pain relief long before the vet saw her.’
The dog would have died within a few days.’
Mrs Sams, who appeared tearful, said she had not noticed the piece of bone wedged in Kizzy’s mouth and thought that Ebby was just old.
Mr Sams, said that both dogs had been eating well and that when they tried to put bedding in the kennel it would just get shredded.
He told the court that he always cleaned out the dogs’ living area, but had been in London for several days before the inspectors visited so had not been able to do it that week.
Chair magistrate Patricia Bacon warned the pair that they could face a jail sentence due to the seriousness of the case.
She advised them to seek legal representation before returning to court to be sentenced in May.