Trial after dog became "morbidly obese"

PUBLISHED: 13:14 29 November 2006 | UPDATED: 13:36 04 May 2010

TWO brothers allowed a dog to get so fat it could not walk properly and had to drag itself along the floor by its front legs, a court has heard. The chocolate Labrador called Rusty, was taken into care by the RSPCA after a complaint from a member of the p

TWO brothers allowed a dog to get so fat it could not walk properly and had to drag itself along the floor by its front legs, a court has heard.

The chocolate Labrador called Rusty, was taken into care by the RSPCA after a complaint from a member of the public earlier this year prompted a home visit to the dog, which was twice its recommended size.

At more than 11-and-a-half stone in weight, nine-year-old Rusty could walk only a few paces before stopping to rest.

His owners, brothers Derek and David Benton of Newport Avenue, Fordham, were in Ely Magistrates' Court yesterday accused of allowing the dog to become "morbidly obese".

Stephen Climie, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said the Benton brothers had caused unnecessary pain and suffering by failing to provide the dog with an appropriate diet.

He said an RSPCA inspector found the dog to be "hugely and grossly" overweight when he saw it in February.

Inspector Jason Finch, of the RSPCA, said he removed the dog after the owners did not follow advice to take him to a vet.

He added: "When I removed the dog from the house he was extremely uncomfortable and seemed unable to move."

Rusty was taken from the brothers' home in March this year and after a veterinary examination was put into foster care.

Alexandra Wylie, veterinarian at Eastgate Vets in Bury St Edmunds, said Rusty suffered from Hip Dysplasia and was "morbidly obese" when she first saw him.

"Weight is not a cause of Hip Dysplasia - weight causes a deterioration in the dogs arthritis and hips, it will make it more painful," she said.

"A dog of Rusty's breed we wouldn't want over 40 kilos - he was enormous. He could only walk eight to 10 steps before sitting down - it was horrible to see a dog that couldn't walk.

"He dragged himself around by his front legs."

She also said Rusty had severe ear infections with pus and inflamed ear canals, which would have been very painful for him.

The Bentons had given him eardrops bought from a pet shop but Ms Wylie said they were for ear infestations not ear infections.

She added Rusty also had a condition where when he was over excited or had over-exerted himself his tongue would turn blue because it was not getting enough oxygen.

Helen Wilding, who has fostered Rusty since May this year said he had difficulty walking but has made dramatic improvements both in mobility and weight loss since being on a prescribed diet.

"It's absolutely amazing, he's a completely different dog - he's active and will walk up and down the street now."

The Benton brothers deny causing unnecessary pain and suffering to Rusty.

The trial continues.

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