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  1. ITV Report

Suspended sentence for owner who kept 'thinnest dog' inspector had ever seen

Cleo was 'skin and bones' by the time an RSPCA inspector saw her. Photo: RSPCA/PA Wire

A dog owner has been convicted of animal welfare offences after he let his pet get so thin she was just "skin and bones".

Alex McWilliams, 38, was given a prison sentence of 18 weeks, suspended for a year and will have to wear an electronic tag and observe a four-month curfew from 8pm to 7am.

He has also been disqualified from keeping animals for three years.

The RSPCA were called to his home in north London in March after concerns were raised about a "very thin dog".

The RSPCA released this image of Cleo in a state of severe emaciation. Credit: RSPCA/PA Wire

Cleo the pitbull was suffering emaciation, chronic heart problems, overgrown nails and a chronic skin problem.

She eventually had to be put down by vets who could do nothing to ease her suffering.

RSPCA inspector Nicola Broster said Cleo was among the thinnest dogs she had come across.

She was one of the thinnest living dogs I have ever seen. I was horrified to see how thin and weak she was - I did not think it was possible that any living animal could be so underweight - she was merely skin and bone.

A court spokeswoman said McWilliams had been told to give Cleo treatment for her heart problem and an abdominal complaint but had failed to return to the vet, leaving the dog without treatment for two months