Dreadful plight of dogs Rocco and Smudge found 'so thin their ribs were protruding'

Mastiff, Rocco, and lurcher, Smudge, were both found living among household waste, scrap bikes and dog faeces, and were both malnourished when they were found by RSPCA inspectors. Picture: NORTHERN EHCO
Mastiff, Rocco, and lurcher, Smudge, were both found living among household waste, scrap bikes and dog faeces, and were both malnourished when they were found by RSPCA inspectors. Picture: NORTHERN EHCO

A man whose dogs were found living among their own faeces and were so skinny their ribs were sticking out has been banned from keeping animals for five years.

Charlie Nelson, 28, of Woodfield View, Harrogate, was handed a 12-month community order including 20 days rehab activity and a five-year ban on keeping animals when he was sentenced at York Magistrates’ Court on September 12.

RSPCA inspectors found the dogs underweight and living in accommodation littered with rubbish, scrap bikes and dog faeces when they were called out by police to the flat on High Street on March 18, 2021.

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Inspector Tom Hutton found the mastiff, Rocco, and the lurcher, Smudge, were so thin their ribs were protruding.

The dogs were found in a shocking state. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO

A vet, who examined the dogs, concluded both animals were malnourished. He gave Rocco a one-out-of-nine score on a body condition test, while Smudge scored just two-out-of-nine.

A charge of failing to ensure the needs of the two dogs were met under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 was proven in absence against Nelson and his brother, Robbie Nelson, 24, also of Woodfield View, Harrogate, at a court hearing in December 2021.

Magistrates handed out a similar punishment to Robbie Nelson at a sentencing hearing on July 26.

The dogs were found living among household waste. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO

Charlie Nelson was not at the flat when the RSPCA visited and he did not contest the finding of guilt at a court hearing on February 14 this year. He failed to appear for a sentencing hearing on April 14 and a warrant without bail was issued.

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In mitigation, Nelson implied his brother, Robbie, was mainly responsible for the dogs although he accepted as a joint owner he should have ensured the needs of the animals were met while he was away from the flat.

Magistrates told him: “We have taken account of the sentence imposed on the co-defendant who was also your brother. We do not accept that any distinction should be drawn in your respective roles and therefore we will sentence you in identical terms.”

Charlie Nelson also has to pay combined costs and a victim surcharge of £295.

Rocco and Smudge are now being cared for by the RSPCA who are looking to find them new owners.

Rocco (L) and Smudge (R) have been nursed back to full health and are now looking for new homes. Pictures: NORTHERN ECHO

After the hearing, inspector Hutton said: “We thank North Yorkshire Police for alerting us to the dreadful situation Rocco and Smudge were in. It meant we were able to rescue them and now we will be able to find them new homes where they are loved and cared for.”

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