Thinnest dog RSPCA inspector 'had ever seen alive' makes full recovery

The bulldog has underwent a complete transformation since she was rescued last year. Credit: RSPCA

A dog who was so weak from being starved that she couldn’t stand for longer than half a minute without falling over has made a full recovery.

Nala, an 11-month-old, American bulldog was found emaciated in a property in Gateshead by police last August.

The vet who examined her said she had been suffering from hunger for "weeks to months" and was described by RSPCA inspector Kirsty Keogh-Laws as the thinnest dog she had seen alive during her 14-year career.

But she is now enjoying a fresh lease of life after being nursed back to health by a Gateshead vet.

She has been adopted by 27-year-old Beth Atkinson who has renamed her Penny and described the joy she has brought to her life.

Penny's adopted owner Beth Atkinson has described the bulldog as her world. Credit: RSPCA

“She’s my world," Ms Atkinson said. "When I first adopted her she’d eat her food in about one mouthful, probably wondering where the next meal was coming from. She’s definitely slowed down now, knowing she’ll be fed again, and she enjoys treats in the meantime.

“She absolutely loves going to the dog park, the beach and out for long walks. She has two cat friends too, who she loves! She’s the sweetest girl in the world, she adores everyone she meets, including other dogs. I couldn’t have asked for a better companion, she is always happy and wagging her tail.

“She has brought so much joy and laughter to my life. About 8pm she settles on the sofa and waits to go up to bed to sleep, and there’s nothing better than seeing her wagging tail in the morning when I wake up.”

Penny's previous owner, Toni Rowland of Dundas Way, Gateshead, has now been banned from keeping animals for five years after admitting two animal welfare offences, following a prosecution by the RSPCA.

RSPCA footage shows the conditions Penny was being kept in

In addition to the ban, the 45-year-old was given a 12-month community order with 20 RAR days and told to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

Magistrates were told she was suffering from mental health problems at the time and was unable to look after herself and Penny suffered as a result.

Inspector Keogh-Laws praised the police and the vets for their support in the case. She said: “Without a doubt, she was the thinnest dog I have ever seen alive. She couldn’t stand unaided at the vets for more than 30 seconds and was quite literally wasting away in a filthy cage.

"If it hadn’t been for the quick actions of the police officers who found her, she wouldn’t have survived much longer, and I’d like to say a huge thank you to them for their compassion and their assistance throughout the investigation.

“She was a very poorly dog when she first arrived at Vets Now in Gateshead and the team there were instrumental in her recovery. I think we were all hoping for the best but possibly fearing the worst, but they did a wonderful job.

"To see Penny now in her new home, transformed and living her best life with Beth, is just incredible.”

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