A Tyldesley couple have been banned from keeping animals for 10 years after being found guilty of allowing their dog to suffer.
The pet, a young Weimaraner-type bitch called Lola, was extremely emaciated and weighed just 14.5kg when she was rescued by the RSPCA.
The average weight for a dog of her type would be 25-30kg.
Jennifer Jayne Plater, 40, and 41-year-old Michael Edward Knight of Rutland Road, Tyldesley, appeared before Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court this week. They had been convicted in their absence at an earlier hearing of causing unnecessary suffering to Lola by failing to investigate and address the causes of her weight loss and poor body condition between November 2 and December 14.
They also failed to meet her needs by providing the dog with a suitable diet and fresh water.
RSPCA inspector Vicki McDonald said: “Lola was so emaciated you could see every bone in her body.
“Anyone could see that she was extremely underweight, in fact we were alerted to her plight after shocked members of the public saw Knight out with her, though he does deny this.
“She was like a walking skeleton.”
The RSPCA attended the couple’s home on December 14and Lola was seized by police.
The bench heard that when presented with food she “ate ravenously”.
After less than three weeks in RSPCA care Lola’s weight had already increased to 17.5kg. On her last weigh-in on January 29 she weighed 21.4kg, which was a 47.6 per cent increase in body weight.
Lola was signed over to the RSPCA and has now been happily rehomed.
As well as the disqualification on keeping animals, both Plater and Knight were given curfew orders between the hours of 9pm and 7am for 26 weeks.
Plater was ordered to pay £200 in costs and Mr Knight was ordered to pay £300 in costs.
In mitigation, the court heard that Knight had health problems resulting in a stay in hospital and it was during this time they had struggled with all of their commitments, including that of owning a dog.
Inspector McDonald said: “All owners are responsible for meeting the needs of their pets, the most basic of which is the provision of an adequate diet.
“This couple failed this dog terribly, she was literally starving to death. The vet report stated that Lola had suffered for around six weeks.
“People should always think long and hard about taking on a dog.”