A man has been handed an eight-week suspended sentence after animal rescuers found his pets in poor condition earlier this year.

Paul Smith, from North Shields, has given an eight-week suspended prison sentence and been banned from keeping dogs and reptiles for two years after pleading guilty to three animal welfare offences at a hearing at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court last Thursday (April 27).

RSPCA workers found Bichon Frise dogs Molly and Bobby, as well as Chinese water dragon Charlie, in exceedingly poor conditions when attending Smith's Percy Court address on January 15.

Molly, 11, was found with a badly matted coat which caused her every movement to tug at her skin and unable to see out of her left eye, while another dog, Bobby, 7, had to have all but three of his teeth removed due to dental disease.

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The Northern Echo:

Charlie, 10, was found with a necrotic injury to the tip of his tail.

The court heard how RSPCA animal rescue officer Heather Wade had gone to the property after the charity had received reports about the animals’ welfare.

She said: “There was an extremely unpleasant smell throughout the property and no flooring on either the hallway or living area floor.

"The house appeared run down, messy and very dirty with a brown grime over most surfaces.

“In the living area there were two dogs which Mr Smith informed me were Molly and Bobby. 

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The Northern Echo: BobbyBobby (Image: RSPCA)

"Both dogs looked as though they should have been white in colour, but had patches of brown matted fur all over their face and bodies.

"I was approached by Molly and could see the claws on one of her front feet were very overgrown.

"Bobby seemed extremely uncomfortable and was constantly rubbing his face on various surfaces throughout the visit.” 

Smith told the officer the dogs were booked in to be groomed on January 20 and that Molly had Cushing’s disease.

When asked when the dogs had last been seen by a groomer, Smith said he could not remember and was suffering from functional memory loss.

The officer also noticed an abnormality on Charlie's upper jaw/nose area and saw that part of his tail was missing.

The Northern Echo:

She was told by Smith that the reptile was unable to see the glass and kept hitting it.

Charlie's enclosure contained several plastic tubs which were dirty and contained a brown sludgy substance, while only one light was on in his vivarium.

Due to his significant injuries and severe mouth rot, the decision was taken to put Charlie down.

Smith acknowledged he owned and was responsible for all the animals but could not recall when they had last visited a vet.

He agreed to let the RSPCA officer remove them so they could be taken for examination and treatment. 

She said said Molly’s eyes had been discharging for a considerable period of time and had matted to the coat leaving her unable to see out of her left eye.

A significant amount of faeces was found in her fur in areas such as her head, ears, legs and rear quarters.

Her claws were extremely long and she had multiple cysts on her body.

Nearly half a kilo of dirty matted fur was shaved off by the veterinary team.

Meanwhile, Bobby was suffering from very severe stomatitis and had marked tartar and loose teeth.

The vet noted significant discharge around his eyes and extreme matting to his face, ears, legs and feet, while fourteen rotten teeth had to be removed.

The Northern Echo:

Molly was found to have not been receiving treatment for Cushing's disease, and after becoming lethargic and suffering from renal deterioration, the decision was taken by the vet with Smith's consent to put her to sleep.

The vet said: “Grooming is an essential requirement for this type of dog and therefore this suffering was unnecessary. 

"I am not aware when she was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease or why a decision had been made not to treat the dog, but in my opinion this caused her to suffer and ultimately lead to her liver disease and death.

“Bobby’s dental disease was extremely severe. Several of his teeth had already fallen out, and what was left were generally loose and badly infected.

"The gums were very inflamed and painful. In my opinion this dental disease should have been treated at least six months prior to this time and the suffering was unnecessary.”

Following the court case, Bobby will now be rehomed by the charity after a deprivation order was imposed.

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The Northern Echo: Bobby afterwardsBobby afterwards (Image: RSPCA)

In mitigation the court was told that Smith was in poor health and had been dealing with several personal issues.

RSPCA inspector Helen Bestwick who led the investigation for the RSPCA, said: “All three animals were clearly in a terrible and unacceptable state and this would have been obvious to their owner for months, yet veterinary help had not been sought.

"It’s imperative that people reach out and ask for support at an early stage, rather than letting animals suffer unnecessary neglect in circumstances like this.”