A Birmingham man was banned from keeping or owning any animals for 10 years, after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a dog and failing to ensure its needs were met, under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court today (4 July).
Barry Curtis, aged 31, of no fixed abode, who pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing, was sentenced to a 12-month community order with supervision and 150 hours’ unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £200 court costs and a £60 victim’s surcharge.
Birmingham City Council brought the case after receiving a complaint that a dog spotted in the back garden of a property on Fernbank Road in Alum Rock, was severely emaciated, with his ribs, hips and spine clearly visible.
On 1 October 2013, two council dog wardens visited the property, where they found a five-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier cross called Junior, who was extremely emaciated. He was removed on welfare grounds and taken to a vet, who confirmed Junior was significantly underweight, weighing just 14.95kg with a body score of 1 out of 9 – the optimal score is 5 out of 9.
Curtis, when interviewed on 18 November 2013, denied he had failed to provide a suitable diet for the dog, instead claiming that Junior refused to eat the food he provided. He agreed to sign Junior over to a foster home, where he put on 7kg in a fortnight and was rehomed weighing 25.25kg.
The number of animal welfare cases reported to the city council has increased by 25 per cent during the past three years, from 372 cases in 2011/12 to 467 reported in 2013/14.
Councillor Barbara Dring, Chair of the city council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “This case highlights how important it is for people to look after their pets and that they owe them a duty of care.
“While most pet-owners love their animals and take good care of them, ensuring they are well-fed and maintained, some owners do not fully understand their responsibility, and unfortunately our dog wardens are seeing more of these kinds of cases.
“Junior has now been rehomed and is flourishing, but not every pet is as lucky if they are neglected, which is why it’s so important to highlight what can happen to the owner, as well as their pet in such cases.”