A MAN has been given a suspended prison sentence and disqualified from keeping animals for life after keeping two malnourished dogs in filthy conditions.

Chris Adam, 26, of The Avenue, Coxhoe, County Durham, appeared before South Shields Magistrates’ Court after the prosecution was brought by the RSPCA.

He pleaded guilty to four offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 relating to a nine-month-old female spaniel called Lola and an adult female crossbreed called Charlie.

Inspectors attended Adam’s former address on Heathway, Seaham in August last year where Lola was found in a dog crate in his backyard and Charlie was found in a brick outhouse.

RSPCA inspector Rowena Proctor said: “I was shocked to see how Lola and Charlie were living, particularly after being shown through what was an immaculately clean house.

“Lola was in a dog crate that was entirely empty aside from her, curled up in a ball. There was no bedding, food or water. Adam let her out then went to an outhouse from where he let out Charlie.

“It was immediately obvious that both dogs were very thirsty and that Lola in particular was hungry.

“They quickly started to drink dirty puddle water and what appeared to be rainwater that had filled a dirty kitchen bowl. Charlie toileted and Lola immediately ate it.

“Lola was obviously very, very thin and her white coat was dirty and smelly, her feet and legs were stained brown and yellow.”

Adam was sentenced to 18 weeks in jail suspended for 12 months and 15 rehabilitation activity days.

He was also ordered to pay £300 costs and £115 victim surcharge, as well as the lifetime disqualification.

In mitigation the court heard that Adam had been going through a difficult time and was of previous good character.

Lola has been rehomed and renamed Molly. Her new owner says she is a very naughty typical young spaniel, full of energy and fun, who loves walks and lots of attention.

The Northern Echo:

Charlie’s new owner, Dan Walsh, said: “We’ve fostered dogs before and usually they take a couple of days to settle in but Charlie seemed very happy. You really wouldn’t know what she’d gone through if you weren’t aware of her history.”