Gateshead man banned from owning animals for 10 years after leaving dog in danger

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A man from Gateshead has been banned from owning animals for a decade.

A man who neglected his elderly underweight dog and failed to seek care for her life-threatening infection has been disqualified from keeping animals for a decade.

Peter Esen left Alex, his 13-year-old husky, unattended for at least 48 hours at a house in Rosebud Close, Swalwell.

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The dog had a large fluid-filled uterus- or pyometra- and needed emergency surgery.

Alex was severely underweight when she was found abandoned in the Gateshead home.Alex was severely underweight when she was found abandoned in the Gateshead home.
Alex was severely underweight when she was found abandoned in the Gateshead home. | RSCPA

Her bottom incisor teeth were also worn down to less than half their normal height, something the vet who examined her said could have been caused by Alex chewing empty cans of dog food which were found littered throughout the property.    Esen, has now been handed a ten-year ban on keeping animals after admitting three charges contrary to the Animal Welfare Act 2006, following a prosecution by the RSPCA.  At a sentencing hearing on 2 April, South Tyneside Magistrates Court heard how the RSPCA had taped the front door and the back gate of the house on 14 February last year following reports that a dog had been abandoned at the property. The seals were still intact when a further visit was made by one of the charity’s Inspectors, Rachael Hurst, the following day showing no-one had attended to the pet. 

Alex after being rescued by the RSPCA.Alex after being rescued by the RSPCA.
Alex after being rescued by the RSPCA. | RSPCA

In written evidence to the court she said: “There were empty cans of dog food strewn all over the floor, visible inside the property through the glass in the door and in the rear garden visible through the fence, some of them had been chewed up and teeth marks were visible in them. 

“The rear door to the property was wide open. I knocked at the door and there was no response and a black and white husky type dog then appeared in the hallway behind the door. I made enquiries with local residents but nobody knew where the owner of the dog was.

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“The following day I attended again. There had been no changes, the tape seals were still intact on the front door and rear gate and the same dog was visible inside so I contacted Northumbria Police for assistance.” The court heard that once Alex came outside, the inspector could easily feel her spine, hips and ribs. Her nails were also overgrown and splaying in different directions. The property was resealed before Inspector Hurst took her to a vet.

Empty dog food cans were found around the property.Empty dog food cans were found around the property.
Empty dog food cans were found around the property. | RSPCA

Alex was certified to be in a suffering state and diagnosed with the life-threatening uterine infection which required immediate surgery and hospitalisation overnight. 

The elderly dog weighed 22 kilograms (48.5 lbs) and was given a body condition score of only two out of nine, although her weight dropped to 20 kilograms once her infected fluid-filled uterus had been removed. The vet said she estimated a healthy weight of a dog Alex’s size would have been between 22 to 25 kg and it could have taken months for her to have lost that much body fat and muscle. 

Her claws were also overgrown indicating inadequate exercise had been provided.  

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“The large amount of fluid and pressure in her uterus meant it was at risk of rupture at any time,” said the vet in her written evidence. Had the RSPCA not intervened when they did, the uterus would have ruptured leaving the dog to die a slow and painful death from sepsis.

“I estimate that the symptoms were likely present for one to three days prior to diagnosis. Had this dog lived in an occupied household they would have been identified by the owner so veterinary treatment could be sought. It is unacceptable that this elderly dog was left unchecked for this time period, allowing a serious and life-threatening disease to go unnoticed.”

The court was told that tape seals on the door were still intact when Inspector Hurst visited Rosebud Close property again on 18 March as she tried to make contact with Alex’s owner. There was still no-one at home and Esen couldn’t be reached by phone. 

After speaking to someone who knew him, Inspector Hurst eventually met him at the house and an interview was carried out. He admitted that he had not cleaned up and that he’d been away and had only messaged a person to provide a tin of food, although he hadn’t checked that they’d done so. He said he didn’t think that Alex was underweight.

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In addition to the ten-year ban on keeping animals which cannot be contested for five years, Esen was also given an 18 month community order, 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days, 150 hours of unpaid work and told to pay £128.60 in costs.

Alex was cared for at an RSPCA rehoming centre. Sadly her health deteriorated further and she was found to have mammary tumours, and she was put to sleep on veterinary advice at the end of last year. 

Speaking after the case Inspector Hurst said: “Alex was an elderly dog who was being left unattended with a life-threatening condition in an unsuitable and hazardous environment. 

“Sadly, she’d been let down by her owner and not been given anything like the care and attention she should have received in her twilight years. It illustrates how important it is to ensure the needs of animals you’re responsible for are always met and why it’s crucial to seek help and advice if you’re no longer able to provide for them.”    

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