Videos show incredible recovery of starving puppy rescued by RSPCA in Chatham

  • Watch Cayan's recovery after being rescued as a starving puppy by the RSPCA

A puppy who was rescued after only being fed a diet of fruit and salad leaves for months has made an amazing recovery.

Cayan, a Cane Corso Italiano, was rushed to the vet for treatment after the RSPCA received calls from members of the public after his owner shared videos of the dog eating inadequate food.

In one video the puppy, thought to be about seven months old, was seen eating a bowl of watermelon for breakfast and his ribs were visible and he looked severely underweight.

RSPCA inspector Deborah Rutherford went to the owner, Gary Gooden's home, in Chatham in Kent on 11 January.

She discovered he’d been feeding the puppy a diet of bananas, watermelons, salad leaves and hemp for at least four months.

Cayan was taken to RSPCA Leybourne Animal Centre for treatment, where on arrival, he weighed just 4kg and his diet had caused skeletal abnormalities which meant he was struggling to walk.

He was then place with a foster carer, who has since housed him permanently.

Cayan now weighs 36kg, has much more energy and is able to climb a flight of stairs with ease.

Inspector Rutherford said: “When I attended his address, the defendant showed me his food store for Cayan. It consisted of watermelons, bananas, carrots, sea kelp, and tins of mushy peas. He explained that he is a qualified Personal Trainer and has strong beliefs in the power of food to heal, treat and prevent illness. I attempted to explain that the vast majority of the research on that particular diet is for humans and it was clear to me that it was not working for Cayan and he should have noticed that and dealt with it accordingly. There was no acceptance of this, he’d never even taken the puppy to a vet.”

The vet that examined Cayan said: “His diet was not sufficient and has led to developmental skeletal abnormalities. This has in turn caused him pain and discomfort over a prolonged period of time.

“He has been extremely hungry and has severely struggled to walk which will have caused intense pain through his joints.

“His size compared to the estimated size and weight for this breed is concerning as it demonstrates a several stunted growth pattern. An approximately seven month old Cane Corso Italiano would normally weigh around 30kg, whereas Cayan weighed only 4kg on admission. This indicates that his diet has been restricted to an extreme level over a prolonged period of months for this level of stunted growth to occur.

“Extreme hunger would have been both painful and incredibly mentally distressing.”

Gooden was banned from keeping animals for 10 years and was handed a 12 week suspended sentence at Medway Magistrates’ Court on Friday 2 June.

He entered an early guilty plea on all three offences, however maintained that he was feeding the dog an alternative diet that he believes in.

During sentencing the judiciary referred to this as a horrific case, saying that the animal was clearly suffering.

Magistrates also ordered that Gooden carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, 10 rehabilitation days and pay £400 costs.