A COUPLE have been banned from keeping animals for life after RSPCA officers found an emaciated dog kept in filthy conditions.

John Bainbridge, 34, and Donna Kennedy, 33, from Wheatley Hill, County Durham, were sentenced at Teesside Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

The couple were found guilty after trial of causing unnecessary suffering to a male lurcher by failing to provide him with an adequate supply of food and water resulting in his death and failing to seek veterinary care and attention for his pressure sores.

RSPCA chief inspector Mark Gent said: “RSPCA inspector Aislynn Balderstone found this poor dog, emaciated in a filthy garden shed with no food or water.

“There was a concrete slab blocking the shed door preventing it from opening.

"Kennedy claimed not to have known the slab was there even though the front of the shed was only a few feet away from the kitchen window where she washed up daily.”

A vet examined the dog who weighed just 12.1kg - his ideal weight would have been 18kg.

Chief inspector Gent added: “The physical and mental suffering this dog endured must have been enormous as he died alone in the dark.

“We hope by bringing this matter to court we have achieved some sort of justice for him”.

In addition to the lifetime disqualification, both defendants were sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered to undertake 100 hours unpaid work.

They were also given a six-month curfew order between the hours of 7pm and 7am and ordered to pay £425 costs each.