A local couple have avoided jail after their dog was left suffering with horrific facial wounds.
David Herbst and Jodie Mulcrow, of Wigan Lane in Leigh, have been given suspended sentences after magistrates heard how their Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Emily, suffered shocking injuries from “blunt force trauma” whilst in their care.
The pair, who have three children, were both convicted of three animal abuse charges – which include failing to seek veterinary care, failing to get treatment for a skin condition and failing to protect a dog from pain and suffering.
They were found guilty following a trial which they did not attend back in April.
During their sentencing hearing at Wigan Magistrates’ Court this week, RSPCA prosecutor Anna McDonald showed the bench images of the dog’s injuries.
Herbst and Mulcrow, 27 and 25 respectively, both denied causing the wounds, but magistrates heard how a truncheon spiked with nails was found on their property.
Ms McDonald told the bench how, in September last year, the couple’s neighbour had been in her back garden when she heard the dog yelp next door.
“She asked if he (Herbst) had hit the dog,” she said. “He denied it.
“On November 23 he went over to his neighbour’s in a panic. Emily had a cut on her head over her eye. She advised him to take the dog to the vets.”
Concerned about Emily’s welfare, the neighbour said she would take the dog to the vets herself if the couple didn’t.
“She could see that there was a puncture wound on the dog’s left cheek,” added Ms McDonald. “She contacted the RSPCA about the dog’s injuries.”
The dog was treated for the wounds to her eye and upper lip and put on painkillers.
She was later taken to Greater Manchester Animal Hospital, where vets determined that her injuries had been sustained a few days previously as a result of “blunt force trauma”.
When interviewed by RSCPA officers, the couple said that they had had Emily – a “family” dog – for between two-and-a-half and three years.
Regarding her skin condition, they said that they had tried , but it hadn’t worked.
Herbst said that he had let Emily in the field at the back of the couple’s house and that she had “come back” with the injuries to her head.
They said they didn’t have money to take her to the vet.
Ms McDonald told magistrates that Mulcrow said Emily had never been to see a vet and that she didn’t believe the dog had suffered because of her injuries.
Defending, Nick Woosey said: “He (Herbst) believed it was a deliberate injury but it wasn’t down to him. They regularly let the dog out in the field, he didn’t think anything of it.”
The bench said they were “horrified” by the images of the dog’s wounds.
Herbst and Mulcrow were sentenced to eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and banned from owning an animal for 20 years.
They have also been ordered to pay £615 each in costs.