A MAN who admitted leaving his dog to suffer without desperately needed veterinary care has been banned from keeping dogs for 10 years.

Rodney Blake, aged 64, of Bedford Place, Horrabridge, was also given a 12 week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, when he appeared before Plymouth Magistrates.

Blake was investigated and prosecuted by the RSPCA after the animal welfare charity was  contacted about his dog, Blackie, who was found with rotting open wounds after escaping from her home in March.

A neighbour discovered the elderly sheep dog and he had immediate concerns for her welfare.

In his statement he said: ‘The dog was still lying down and there was a very strong smell of rotten flesh coming from the dog.

‘On closer inspection the dog’s fur was matted and knotted and tangled together.

‘When we got right up close we then noticed that the dogs under belly and side were ripped open and all her flesh was showing.

‘Then we saw she was in a poor condition. Her claws were about two to three inches long.  We were in a dilemma what to do next and decided the best thing to do was to put the dog in a wheelbarrow as she could not walk and it was unkind to carry her because of the wound.

‘We could not just leave her there.  I gently picked her up and put her in the wheelbarrow. We wheeled her back to the stable which is about 50 yards away.’

Blackie was then taken to a vet by Blake who agreed to the vet putting her to sleep to end her suffering.

The vet raised their concerns that she had been left to suffer for a prolonged period of time with an untreated necrotic and ulcerated widespread tumour of the abdomen.

RSPCA Inspector Claire Ryder, who investigated for the animal welfare charity, said after the sentencing: ‘Our plea to all animal owners is to make sure they always receive care and treatment from veterinary experts when they need it.

‘Pets are completely reliant on their owners to ensure their needs are met and they are kept safe and healthy. Owning an animal is a privilege – and ensuring appropriate veterinary care is a key part of the responsibility we have towards our pets. It’s so sad that, in this instance, that responsibility was not met and Blackie suffered as a result.’

Blake, who was also ordered to pay £250 costs and a £128 victim surcharge when he appeared in court for sentencing, has since appealed against the disqualification order preventing him from owning dogs.