Western Morning News

New hope for Bella after rescue by animal charity

- LEWIS CLARKE lewis.clarke@reachplc.com

ADOG which was found covered in painful scabs and sores after being left to suffer without the veterinary care she desperatel­y needed has been nursed back to full health.

13-year-old Bella was rescued by an RSPCA inspector after concerns were raised about her health and wellbeing by members of the public.

Her previous owners have now been disqualifi­ed from owning dogs for ten years after pleading guilty to animal welfare offences, following a prosecutio­n by the charity.

Mark Haycock, 50 and Alison Haycock, 48, of Romans Way, Tiverton, Devon, were sentenced when they appeared before Exeter Magistrate­s’ Court on Friday, January 15.

RSPCA Inspector Charlotte Coggins began an investigat­ion for the animal welfare charity after rescuing Bella, a Sheltie cross Shih Tzu, from the couple’s home in March 2020.

She said: “I entered the lounge, and the smell of the room was foul.

“This is where I initially saw a dog who I now know as Bella with hardly any fur curled up on the sofa. Bella was scratching a lot, and her skin appeared and smelled infected. Her nails were also very overgrown.”

Bella was taken to a vet who found that she was suffering from a chronic and severe skin disease with associated infection and hair loss. She also had open wounds over the shoulder where she scratched herself and issues with her eyes and ears.

Mrs Haycock had previously taken Bella to see a vet for her skin condition and had been given oral medication­s and topical treatments, but despite being told the condition was a long term one that would need monitoring, she was last seen by a vet in September 2019 and failed to seek help for Bella as her condition deteriorat­ed.

Inspector Coggins added: “A reasonable owner would present the dog, or at least contact the surgery if the dog had failed to improve as a result of any prescribed treatment. It is the failure to follow-up on the initial treatment which has resulted in her sadly suffering unacceptab­ly.

“Our plea to all animal owners is to make sure they always receive care and treatment from veterinary experts when they need it.

“If people are struggling to cover the costs, there are a number of charities which provide help for veterinary care for pet owners in genuine financial difficulti­es. People can also work with their vet to spread the cost of treatment.

“Pets are completely reliant on their owners to ensure their needs are met, and they are kept safe and healthy. Owning an animal is a privilege and ensuring appropriat­e veterinary care is a key part of the responsibi­lity we have towards our pets. It’s so sad that, in this instance, that responsibi­lity was not met.”

The court heard in mitigation it was well-intentione­d but incompeten­t care and that there was extreme remorse. Alison Haycock was also sentenced to a three-year conditiona­l discharge and ordered to pay £175 costs and a £21 victim surcharge. Mark Haycock was given a two-year conditiona­l discharge and ordered to pay £175 costs and a £21 victim surcharge. Since being rescued, Bella has been receiving treatment and has been transforme­d by animal care assistants at the charity. She will now be found a loving new home.

 ??  ?? Bella, a 13-year-old Sheltie cross Shih Tzu, was found with a chronic skin disease and has now been nursed back to health by the RSPCA
Bella, a 13-year-old Sheltie cross Shih Tzu, was found with a chronic skin disease and has now been nursed back to health by the RSPCA

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