Suspended prison sentence for Oxton man who neglected dog

A young pocket bully is enjoying life in a caring new home after she was neglected by her former owner, who has now been handed a ten-week suspended prison sentence for failing to help her.

Peggy, who was only a puppy at the time, had an untreated skin condition, a bilateral ear infection and a ten-day prolapse when she was found at a flat in Shrewsbury Road in Oxton on 23 April last year.

Her owner, Peter Shelley, had denied causing unnecessary suffering and failing to meet her needs but was found guilty at a trial at Wirral Magistrates Court on Wednesday, 20 March.

The court heard how police officers had gone to the flat to carry out a welfare check on Peggy after Shelley had been taken into custody. The RSPCA was contacted after officers expressed concern about the dog’s condition and noticed bloodied bedding in her crate.

In his evidence to the court, RSPCA Inspector Anthony Joynes who responded to the incident, said, “The dog had been seized by officers and I advised that she should be taken urgently to a vet for assessment. I attended the flat at Shrewsbury Road. There was no response and no access through the side gate so I left a calling card requesting that the owner/person responsible for the dog respond.

“I made arrangements for a colleague to collect the dog the following day and transport her to the RSPCA’s Greater Manchester Animal Hospital for further assessment and treatment.”

The first vet who examined Peggy on 23 April said she had a low body condition score, inflamed, crusting dermatitis affecting her ears, chin, eyelids and chest, a bilateral infection of both ear canals, and a vaginal prolapse.

In written evidence to the court she said, “In my professional opinion I believe that the conditions had been present for a duration of longer than three weeks. I do not believe any treatment was being administered to this patient and no professional help had been sought for the vaginal prolapse.”

A second vet who examined Peggy at the RSPCA’s Greater Manchester Animal Hospital on 24 April diagnosed an ulcerated vaginal prolapse, a bilateral ear infection and a skin allergy which had caused severe itching and alopecia. “Given the severity of Peggy’s condition on presentation, in my opinion she will have suffered for two weeks, as a minimum, likely longer,” she said.

The court heard that during the course of the investigation a local charity confirmed to the RSPCA that Peggy had been in their care on 10 April 2023 after she’d been admitted as a stray. Shelley reclaimed her three days later but had ignored advice given to him by kennel staff that she needed urgent veterinary treatment.

Shelley was interviewed and said Peggy was being well looked after. He said he didn’t think her ears were that bad, and although he could see the prolapse she seemed okay.

In addition to the ten-week prison sentence, which was suspended for 12 months, the court disqualified Shelley – now living in Liverpool – from keeping animals for 18 months. He was also given an additional eight-week suspended sentence for other non-related matters.

Peggy was initially looked after at a private boarding establishment on behalf of the RSPCA before being transferred to the charity’s Macclesfield, SE Cheshire and Buxton Branch, where she went into foster care. She made a good recovery and earlier this month was adopted and is settling well into her new home.

Speaking after the trial, Inspector Joynes said, “Peggy is such a sweet little dog and has been a favourite with all the people who have assisted in her rescue, treatment and rehoming. She was let down severely by her owner who should have sought veterinary care much sooner for a number of issues.

“I’d like to thank the police officers who seized Peggy on the day for going above and beyond to make sure she was safe. Here’s hoping she now can have a long happy life with her new family.”

Images: RSPCA

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Peggy being examined
Peggy in foster care