A HORTON man who failed to provide appropriate care for his dog has been disqualified from keeping dogs for two years.

Samuel Aaron Rigby, 26, admitted an animal welfare offence at Taunton Magistrates' Court following an investigation and prosecution by the RSPCA.

The charity had been contacted by a member of the public with concerns about 11-year-old Bella.

Bella was examined by a vet who found her to be thin and lethargic with a tucked in abdomen and prominent hip spinal and shoulder bones.

She also had staining of her hair consistent with frequent licking due to irritation, most notably over her back end and feet, with associated hair loss and thickening and roughening of the skin.

The vet concluded it was most likely due to a flea infestation that would have caused annoyance and irritation preventing sleep and comfortable rest.

More detailed examination revealed both sets of eyelids were thickened and crusting indicating longer term skin disease.

Her right eye was held partially shut, indicating probable pain, while the left eye had clouding of the surface of the eyeball.

Examination of the abdomen revealed a firm grapefruit sized region suspected of being an inflamed bladder.

Bella also suffered muscle loss, mammary masses, dental disease, inflammation of her toes and reduced motion in her elbow and shoulder, while she was passing red urine.

X rays also revealed abnormalities within her chest, abdomen and spine and sadly they decided Bella had to be put to sleep because of the severity of her condition.

RSPCA Inspector Jo Daniel, who investigated for the animal welfare charity, said: “Our plea to all animal owners is to make sure they always receive care and treatment from veterinary experts when they need it.

“If people are struggling to cover the costs, there are a number of charities which provide help for veterinary care for pet owners in genuine financial difficulties.

"People can also work with their vet to spread the cost of treatment.

“Pets are completely reliant on their owners to ensure their needs are met and they are kept safe and healthy.

"Owning an animal is a privilege - and ensuring appropriate veterinary care is a key part of the responsibility we have towards our pets.

"It’s so sad that, in this instance, that responsibility was not met.”

Alongside the two-year disqualification from owning dogs, Rigby was also ordered to pay a £460 fine and £400 costs.