1. ITV Report

Abandoned dogs lived on brown water and stale cat biscuits

Credit: NCJ Media Syndication

These are the squalid conditions where two small dogs were abandoned in a house in Northumberland.

The shih tzus were discovered by animal welfare officers in a filthy Blyth house, which was covered in faeces, urine, rubbish and clutter and had not been inhabited by people for weeks, a court heard.

Both dogs – called Mishka and Lexi Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Inside the house, which belonged to the dogs’ owner, Lindsay Tweddle, their only source of a drink was a bucket containing “foul, brown water”, while their only food was “stale” cat biscuits, prosecutors said.

Both dogs – called Mishka and Lexi – were seized and, having been examined by a vet, were found to have severely matted fur, to be underweight and dehydrated and to be infested with fleas.

The dogs had severely matted fur, were underweight and dehydrated as well as being infested with fleas. Credit: NCJ Media Syndication

Now, Tweddle, 38, of Holystone Avenue, in Blyth, has narrowly avoided being put behind bars after she pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to ensure an animal’s needs were met during a hearing at South East Northumberland Magistrates’ Court.

Lisa Bishop, prosecuting on behalf of Northumberland County Council, said an animal welfare officer first had cause to attend Tweddle’s then-address on Delaval Crescent, Blyth, after concerns were raised for the dogs by members of the public.

A warrant was obtained to secure entry. Upon entering, there was an overpowering smell of urine and faeces. The place was littered with clothing, kids’ toys and food waste.

In the hallway, there were two small dogs and one ran past and started eating stale cat biscuits, which had been left in a dish on the floor. The other dog backed away to the bathroom and was cowering behind the toilet.

The place was soaked in urine and faeces. The food and water bowls were empty. There were two buckets filled with dirty water, which the officers believed had been used to clear up some urine and faeces and, as a result, was brown and smelling.

This was the only water source the dogs had.”

– Lisa Bishop, prosecuting on behalf of Northumberland County Council
The house was littered with clothing, kids’ toys and food waste. Credit: NCJ Media Syndication

The court heard that both dogs appeared skinny with their ribs, hips and spines protruding, and both were covered in urine and flea faeces.

Their fur was also severely matted, they were both very dehydrated and had low body temperatures, Ms Bishop added.

After being seized, both pets were given clean drinking water and taken to the vets to be examined and treated.

It was the vet’s view that the defendant had left the dogs in the house for a significant period of time.

To get in that condition, the vet thinks it would have taken six weeks.”

– Lisa Bishop, prosecuting on behalf of Northumberland County Council

Tweddle was eventually traced and interviewed and admitted neglecting the two dogs.

Graham Crouth, mitigating, said Tweddle had suffered with mental health difficulties, including severe depression, and had moved out of the house where the dogs were in order to stay with her partner.

"She did make sure someone went around to check on the dogs and walk them. However, they clearly were not doing it enough.”

The dogs’ owner, Lindsay Tweddle Credit: NCJ Media Syndication

Magistrates gave Tweddle an eight-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and a two-month curfew from 7pm until 7am.

She was also told to pay £552.72 vets and investigation costs and was banned from keeping dogs for five years.

The court heard that both dogs, who were 13 and one, have now been re-homed.