Suspended jail terms for pair who left dog home alone

Bentley the dog as found by RSPCA inspectors
The emaciated dog was found at the foot of a flight of stairs [RSPCA]

A couple who left their elderly dog alone while they went on holiday have been given suspended jail sentences.

Keith Byrne, 38, and 42-year-old Sophie Singer left their boxer Bentley in their home in Eastbourne, East Sussex, while they went on a family holiday at a Centre Parc.

The dog was rescued by RSPCA inspectors called by neighbours, but a vet was unable to save the animal.

At Lewes Crown Court on Monday, Byrne was sentenced to nine months and Singer six months, both suspended for two years.

RSPCA inspector Tony Woodley said he had found the emaciated dog at the foot of the stairs, with food that had been put down for him by neighbours.

The vet that treated Bentley said the dog also had overgrown nails which would have made it difficult for him to walk, an ear infection and a skin condition.

The vet believed Bentley had been neglected for more than four weeks.

A post mortem examination found he had been reduced to eating rubbish, including food wrappers and a felt tip pen.

A photograph of Bentley's badly overgrown claws
A vet found Bentley's nails were so overgrown he would have had trouble walking [RSPCA]

Byrne and Singer were convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and banned from owning animals for five years.

They were also ordered to carry out 300 and 200 hours of unpaid work respectively, and each ordered to pay £350 costs.

The stomach contents from Bentley the dog
A post mortem examination found Bentley's stomach had been full of rubbish that he had been reduced to eating [RSPCA]

Inspector Woodley said: “This poor dog was suffering in pain while his owners, who had left him, went on a family holiday.

"The RSPCA thanks nearby residents for alerting us of this dog’s sad plight and through our actions with the support of Sussex Police we were able to get Bentley to a vet, although sadly we could not save him.

“This case should be seen as a clear warning that just because an animal is old this does not mean that an owner has an excuse not to provide it with basic care and veterinary treatment.”

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