Devon woman given prison sentence and animal ban after leaving her dog to suffer

Sophie was found alone in a flat in a "distressing" condition. Credit: RSPCA

A woman from Devon has been sentenced to custody and disqualified from keeping animals after neglecting her dog and leaving it to suffer without care.

Marina Bradley, 33, was sentenced after her elderly grey and white female Shih-tzu, called Sophie, was found alone in Marina's flat in a "distressing condition".

The pet was found with matted fur, bald spots, severe dry eyes that were glued together, overgrown nails with some cutting into her feet, a flea infestation, sore skin, and other health issues.

RSPCA Inspector Sarah Morris began an investigation for the animal welfare charity after Devon and Cornwall Police seized Sophie from Bradley's home in Torquay.

Sophie once she was treated by the RSPCA after her rescue. Credit: RSPCA

Bradley appeared before Newton Abbot Magistrates Court to be sentenced. In mitigation, she said she was experiencing problems in her life and that she had attempted to treat the fleas herself.

However, Inspector Morris said there is "no excuse" for animals to be kept that way.

She added:  “This was prolonged neglect that caused a high level of suffering. Sophie didn’t get in the state she was in overnight. It would have been obvious to anyone that she was in desperate need of veterinary care."

Animals are completely reliant on their owners, there is never an excuse to ignore their needs and leave an animal to suffer in the way Sophie did

RSPCA Inspector Sarah Morris

Inspector Morris said the state the pet was found in was "distressing."

Sophie once she was found. Credit: RSPCA

She said: “Sophie had live fleas crawling over her whole body and there was flea dirt in her coat. She had extensive fur loss on her head, from half way down her back, down her back legs and tai. 

“Her eyes were glued together with thick green pus and she was unsteady on her back end. The veterinary team who looked at her also said she was whimpering in distress and was tirelessly itching herself when she first arrived at the surgery after being rushed in by the police.

“The suffering caused to Sophie could have been avoided if Bradley had taken responsibility for her welfare and given her the care she desperately needed but her plight was simply ignored."

Bradley was given a ten year disqualification from keeping animals, which can not be appealed for five years.

She was also sentenced to 24 weeks custody, 16 weeks for the animal welfare offence, and 8 weeks for breach of a suspended sentence, to run consecutively, when she appeared before the court on February 1.


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