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Starved dog faces happy future as owner sentenced in court

Coco looked ‘really down’ when she was rescued by RSPCA.

A woman who starved and neglected her dog has been disqualified from keeping animals for life.

Clare Hobson (DOB 26/06/77), of Dollywood Close, in Buxworth, Derbyshire, was sentenced today (Wednesday 11 October) at Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to three Animal Welfare Act offences at a previous hearing.

As well as the lifetime disqualification order on keeping all animals, Hobson was also given a 12-month community order, told to do 120 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £500 costs, a £180 fine and a £85 victim surcharge.

The court heard when the RSPCA visited Hobson’s home, in April this year, the dog - named Coco - was so emaciated that all of her ribs, hips and spine could be seen.

RSPCA inspector Heather Morris said: “Coco was such a sorry sight and she was in a poor condition. When we took her away, she was so quiet. She was clearly a very poorly dog and she looked really down.

“Coco really is a totally different dog today. It is hard to believe that she is the same dog who I took into our care earlier this year. Back then she was so quiet and clearly suffering, but now she is so playful and happy. It goes to show what difference love and care makes towards a dog.”

Coco’s transformation began within a week of being in the RSPCA’s care, when she started being fed regularly.

“When I saw her the following week she was a completely different dog and the change in her was obvious,” said Inspector Morris. “It was so nice to see the change in her demeanour. The problem was that Hobson quite simply was not feeding Coco and as a result Coco was getting thinner and weaker.”

Labrador-cross Coco also had a severe skin allergy which had resulted in sore skin and fur loss.

The RSPCA were initially contacted about Coco last year, which led to an inspector’s visit. Advice was given at the time, which Hobson followed - and led to Coco’s welfare improving.

But the RSPCA visited again after receiving calls from concerned members of the public in March this year to say that the dog’s condition had deteriorated.

Inspector Morris said: “Hobson did initially follow advice a year ago, but sadly she stopped following this advice earlier this year which led to us becoming involved again.

“Poor Coco’s skin condition seemed to be caused by an allergy to so many things - grass, dust, mites, pollen and fleas. If your pet is in clear discomfort then you are legally responsible to ensure they do not suffer - something which Hobson failed to do.

Coco has now been signed over to the RSPCA’s care and will soon be available for adoption.


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