Couple convicted of cruelty to pet dog

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A Northampton couple appeared in court charged with causing unnecessary suffering to their pet dog.

Barry Lowen, aged 29, and Laura Purcell, aged 26, of Far Cotton, appeared in Northampton Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

The pair were charged with causing unnecessary suffering to their seven-month-old red and white Staffordshire bull terrier Coco, while living at a property in Euston Road, Far Cotton, between June 17 and July 17 this year.

Lowen and Purcell, who have three children, both pleaded guilty to the offence.

Kevin McCole, prosecuting, said at the time the pair owned two Staffordshire bull terriers but while one was in a good condition, Coco was suffering from a bacterial skin infection.

He said a vet believed the skin condition had been present for about two months, and added: “The infection covered a large part of her body. She had red skin on her body and face and her feet were bleeding. She was in severe pain and was suffering.”

Mr McCole said the skin disease, known as mange, was severe and chronic and that Lowen and Purcell should have sought treatment earlier.

Vicky Barke, mitigating, said the pair could not afford to seek medical treatment but that Lowen tried to seek help from the PDSA.

She said he was registered with the PDSA with two other dogs, who had died, and tried to register with Coco.

Miss Barke said he was told he would have to wait a while to do this so he looked for other alternatives, including going to Pets at Home, but he could not afford to pay for treatment.

She said Lowen tried to treat Coco with salt baths and a special medicated dog shampoo.

She added: “He accepts that he didn’t do enough and he should have gone to the RSPCA. He is horrified that his actions could have a detrimental effect on any animal. He is an animal lover.”

Coco is now under the care of the RSPCA but the other dog remains in the family’s home.

Presiding magistrate, Jennifer Harris, sentenced Lowen and Purcell to a one-year conditional discharge and ordered them to pay £250 court costs each.