Owning a dog is a big responsibility. Anyone who’s had a dog in their life knows this, and know all the blood, sweat, and tears that go into keeping a pup healthy and happy.
Owning a puppy is even more work than owning an adult dog. Adults are set in their ways, mature, and have usually learned the lay of the land, while puppies are absolutely adorable fluffs of mischief and mayhem.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed when there are too many draws on your time. One mother in Stoke, Carly Bennett, learned this lesson the hard way, and is now banned from keeping any animals.
The 28-year-old mom was strained to her limits. She already had five children under the age of ten, and was pregnant with a sixth, and had three adult dogs and four puppies.
That would be a lot for any mother to handle, and it was very clear that she was no longer in control of the situation. The problem extended past the dogs and children, though, and her entire back yard was in complete squalor.
Piles of trash were heaped up everywhere, and an awful stench covered everything. It wasn’t a safe place for any living creature, let alone puppies or children.
The RSPCA went out to perform an inspection, but couldn’t assess the situation immediately as the mother was not home. Instead, the inspector spoke to a neighbor, who volunteered important information about the poor condition the puppies were in.
By the time the inspector was able to meet Bennett, she lied and said that the puppies were no longer on the property. Her husband had allegedly taken them away, and she thought she was in the clear.
Not easily fooled, the inspector entered the backyard, and though she was overcome by the stench and the rubbish, she heard whining. Not big-dog cries, but puppy whimpering.
Four puppies had been hidden. They were bull mastiffs, but they were so skinny that their ribs, spines, and hip bones stuck out from beneath their dull fur. The three adult dogs on the premises seemed to be in good condition, but the puppies were starving.
Bull mastiffs are large dogs, known for their size and long heralded as a loyal guard dog. Bull mastiff puppies should be tubby rolls of chub, but these poor pups bolted from their hiding spot and immediately began scrounging through the trash, trying desperately to find something — anything — to eat.
The living quarters that the 7- to 9-week-old puppies had been kept in were unhealthy and unsanitary, soaked in dog waste. In an attempt to explain why they were outside, Bennett claimed that she’d put them outside the night before because they wouldn’t let her sleep.
The puppies were removed from the situation, but the three adult dogs, being in acceptable condition, were left. Perhaps the case of the puppies was a one-off: maybe they were sick or had worms or some other explanation for their sorry state.
But it would be strange for the puppies to be the ones in bad condition and the adults to be OK.
Assuming any of the adult dogs were the parents, you’d think they’d be in worse condition: puppies in such situations are generally raised for their monetary value, not their companionship, and so it was strange indeed that they were starving while the adults were not.
But that didn’t last for long, either. When the house was again inspected three months later, one of the three formerly healthy dogs was now also reduced to skin and bones, and still living in poor conditions in the yard.
Fortunately for the doggos involved, all of them have been removed and have made full recoveries. We hope their futures will include clean, open yards and plenty of high-quality food.
For her negligence, Bennett was charged with causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and failing to ensure the welfare of an animal. Someone alleged that the dogs were not actually hers, but even if they weren’t, she allowed them to continue in those horrible conditions.
Bennett faces over $500 in fines, 15 days of rehabilitation activity, and is not allowed to own animals for 10 years. Hopefully she is able to take better care of her children.
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