62 year old Ronald West of Bright failed to appear before magistrates and was convicted in his absence. Sentencing has been adjourned.
Border collie Taz, pictured here courtesy of the BBC, is five years old and after his owner ignored orders to improve his diet to help him lose weight he still weighed 88lb (40kg). West told animal welfare officers that the border collie was overweight due to too many treats from himself and his friends.
Following complaints from other residents last December, officers visited West’s flat and discovered dog faeces all over the floor in every room. West claimed he had been too ill with flu to be able to walk Taz or clean up.
In court, magistrates heard a transcript between the council officers and West where West stated:
“I’ll put my hands up and say I’m guilty of [the dog] being overweight, but it wasn’t deliberate. You can be cruel with kindness.”
West was told to clean up the place, seek vet’s advice to help with Taz’s diet, give the dog some exercise and to make sure the dog had his overgrown paws clipped, however, the border collie’s condition did not improve and in fact he put on further weight. In later interviews, West said that he didn’t want to exercise the dog outdoors since Taz had been attacked by a rottweiler and told officers:
“I’d rather hurt myself than hurt that dog and I’d rather go without than let that dog go without.”
Following another visit in March, the council and police placed Taz in council kennels where he lost around a quarter of his weight.
A local councillor told the BBC:
“All dogs, but particularly border collies like Taz, need a good healthy diet and lots of exercise. Keeping a large dog shut indoors in a small space and overfeeding is a form of cruelty.”
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