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Cathryn Tarbuck, 28, was having friends over at her house in Willenhall, West Midlands, on 27 January this year. During that visit, one of them stumbled upon a a disturbing sight: an emaciated Rottweiler, Maisie, was trying desperately to dig her way out of the kennel she was locked into.

RSPCA inspector Dawn Burrell said, “Maisie was trying to dig her way out of her kennel but she was clearly weak. Tarbuck’s friend helped get Maisie out and then said to Tarbuck, ‘She is in a really bad way’.”

Shocked, Tarbuck’s friend immediately called a vet, who sadly could do nothing but put Maisie to sleep – and call the RSPCA.

“The vet who came to assess Maisie said that she had been suffering and sadly she was put to sleep on humane grounds,” Dawn said. “She had likely been suffering for at least three months. When she was trying to dig her way out of her kennel, she was in her final death throes. It is so sad that she had been left to suffer like that and for her life to end during such a period of distress.”

Found guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to her dog, and failing to meet her needs, on Monday 25 September Tarbuck was given a 12-month community order, was ordered to pay a fine of £50 and costs of £385, and was banned from keeping animals for life.

“There is simply no excuse to neglect an animal like this,” Dawn said. “This was a case of extreme neglect for a long period of time. If you have a pet, you are legally responsible to ensure that their needs are met – something Tarbuck clearly failed to do.”

For all the suffering Maisie had to endure, the sentence is nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has been campaigning since February for tougher sentences in animal cruelty cases. To support the campaign, visit Battersea’s website.

Image by RSPCA.

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