A father from Northamptonshire has been banned from keeping or even transporting animals for five years after leaving two Staffies as home while he went away for a fortnight’s holiday.
Daniel Hulme, 28, from Highfield Road, Rushden, admitted leaving his dogs, eight-year-old Shay and five-year-old Sy days before Christmas last year with a 10kg bag of food and some water.
RSPCA inspectors were alerted by neighbours on December 23, the day he went away, and could find nobody at home. They checked back on the next two days and the house remained undisturbed.
It was only on Boxing Day that an inspector on a fourth visit spotted the dogs through a glass panel in the kitchen door.
Police were called and they found the door unlocked and saw the animals had been living in squalor.
Kevin McCole, prosecuting, said a duvet was soaked in urine and there was so much faeces it was “almost impossible for the dogs not to step in it”.
One of the dogs was appparently so thirsty he started lapping up rainwater from a plastic container as soon as he was taken outside.
The bowl of the toilet in the bathroom adjoining the kitchen was also empty, pointing to the fact, the RSPCA said, the dogs had drunk it dry in desperation.
Samantha Allwork, a veterinary surgeon at Vets4Pets in Northampton, said both dogs had severely urine-stained coats but Shay was in the worse condition overall.
His body condition was rated as two on a scale of one to five, with one being ‘emaciated’. Mrs Allwork said his ribs and pelvic bones were showing too.
The court heard Hulme was a lone parent of two young daughters and had desperately wanted to give them a Christmas holiday.
Northampton Magistrates’ Court also heard he was deeply ashamed of the neglect and wished to apologise to the court.
But magistrates said Hulme’s behaviour was unacceptable and banned him from keeping, being in charge of, transporting or arranging transport of any animal for a minimum of five years.
He was also ordered to pay £200 court costs and a £60 victim surcharge.
The dogs are both now in good health.