A DOG owner has been given a suspended prison sentence after failing to take his pet for medical attention when it was run over.
Kilo, a Staffordshire bull terrier, did not receive veterinary treatment for more than two months after fracturing its hip, magistrates heard.
Richard David Hughes, of Range Road, Wrexham, was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal after a previous trial which he did not attend.
Hughes, 27, was given a 10-week custodial sentence, suspended for 10 months.
He was also banned from keeping animals for five years.
Glen Murphy, prosecuting for the RSPCA at Wrexham Magistrates Court, said Hughes was visited in February last year by RSPCA officer Kia Thomas, after receiving complaints about the mistreatment of a dog at his address.
She found Kilo to be “nervous and cowering” and told Hughes she would return to check on the dog’s welfare. When she returned Kilo was “lively” and she felt a verbal warning was adequate at the time.
But when she visited the address again on July 16, the animal was “not bearing weight on his right hind leg”, and Hughes’ mother confirmed Kilo was hit by a car.
The dog was taken to the vets immediately and veterinary surgeon David Martin confirmed a fractured hip. He said the animal could have fully recovered in two weeks if it had received immediate attention.
But Kilo was left to endure “four months of unnecessary suffering and pain” as a result of the delay, and will suffer long-term disability.
In police interview, Hughes said he fed Kilo paracetamol to numb the pain after the collision.
Damian Sabino, defending, said Hughes was absent during trial due to being in Turkey as he tried to get over a problem with drugs misuse.
He said his client readily admitted culpability and “loved his dog”.
Summing up, chairman of the magistrates’ bench Roland Humphreys said: “The fact you were in Turkey during the trial is not an excuse. There were a significant number of visits to your home by officers from the RSPCA and police and in some circumstances you verbally abused them. You acknowledge the dog had been hit and you said you were too scared to take him to the vets.
“The vet’s expert evidence is damning. These were not the actions of a responsible or humane person and I do not for one minute believe the defence’s assertion you would have taken him for treatment had you known about the injuries.
“Your mental health is no excuse for your actions and you receive no credit in this matter.”
Mr Murphy said Kilo was “making a full recovery” and was soon to be rehomed.
Hughes was ordered to pay £500 costs and £80 victim surcharge. In addition, £780 of the court’s central fund would help pay for expert medical witnesses during the trial.