A DOG lover – banned from keeping animals – pleaded with a court to be reunited with her pet dog.
Nichola Stone said that she felt it was like losing a child.
She was banned from keeping dogs for five years after admitting causing two Staffordshire Bull terrier pups unnecessary suffering.
But she asked Mold Crown Court today to be allowed to have her 12-year-old pet dog Sam returned to her.
Michael Whitty, prosecuting, said that 38-year-old Stone pleaded guilty to the two offences on June 9 when magistrates imposed £440 in fines and costs and disqualified her from keeping or owning dogs for five years.
RSPCA Inspector Fred Armstrong had gone to Stone’s home at South Meadow Close in Prestatyn in November last year and found Staffordshire Bull Terrier Sam to be in good condition apart from an ear infection.
But he also noticed two young adult dogs Mia and Mica who both had a skin disease, little fur and whose skin had thickened and folded and were obviously distressed and biting themselves.
Stone agreed that the two dogs be signed over to the RSPCA and a vet found they were average weight and friendly although suffering from a chronic skin condition which would have made it difficult for them to sleep.
When the RSPCA re-visited Stone on two other occasions in November they found Sam’s ear infection had still not been dealt with and he too was taken away.
Mother of three Stone said she had Mia and Mica 14 months but found they had a genetic skin condition and she did not have the money for repeat treatments.
James Coutts, for Stone, said she had been persuaded to take on the two young dogs by her partner – who had since left her – and then she discovered they had a genetic condition.
Her personal life was in turmoil and she was being treated for depression.
Although the dogs were suffering a skin condition the vet found they were well fed, of a friendly temperament and had clean bedding – in other words they were not being mistreated, said Mr Coutts.
She had got Sam from an animal rescue in 2002 and he had been a well-loved member of the family ever since.
He was currently being cared for by her mother who lived close by.
“Clearly there were problems looking after three dogs. She was open and honest with the RSPCA. It was her own sister who rang the RSCPA in order to get her help.
“She had spent up to £500 on treatments but rang the RSPCA and local dog homes begging them to take care of them, but because of their condition no one wanted to take them in view of the on-going costs,” said Mr Coutts.
“For dog owners a dog is like a member of the family and she feels (in losing Sam) that she has lost a child.
“The court can have confidence about the way she could care for Sam. She wants Sam back.”
But Judge Philip Hughes, who dismissed the appeal, said the order imposed by the lower court was an “all or nothing” ban, in that it did not allow the courts to decide an owner could keep just one dog.
He noted that Sam’s ear infection had not been dealt with on the two follow-up visits made by the RSPCA and that Sam was now living with Ms Stone’s mother nearby so that she would be able to see him.
Stone was ordered to pay £400 towards court costs.