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Woman banned from keeping dogs after pet had mouth tumour so big he couldn’t eat

3 min read

A woman has been banned from keeping dogs for two years after she left her dog with a large tumour in his mouth which meant he struggled to eat.

Sarah Belle, 31, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to her dog Rio.

RSPCA inspector Natasha Wallis investigated after the charity received a call from the Blue Cross in October last year.

Rio, an 11-year-old brindle Staffordshire bull terrier was taken to the animal charity on October 21 and rushed in for emergency care over concerns he wasn’t breathing.

The emaciated dog and had a very large mass in his mouth and sadly had already died by the time he was presented to the vet.

Inspector Harriet Dalliday who collected Rio’s body, said: "The dog was extremely thin with all ribs, spine and hip bones protruding.

"There was a large tumour stemming from the inside of the dog's mouth and was approximately the size of my fist."

Wimbledon Magistrates Court heard how the animal had a very large mass protruding from his mouth approximately 8cm by 5cm.

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It prevented the closure of his mouth and a post-mortem showed he was suffering from bone cancer and was severely emaciated.

Rio's ribs, spine, and pelvis protruded from his body and could visibly be seen from a distance.

On October 21 last year, when he was examined after his death, he weighed 9.8kg.

But before that on November 9, 2017, he had weighed 22kgs which meant he had lost more than half his body weight.

A vet report stated: "In my professional opinion, Rio would have had considerable trouble eating due to his inability to close his mouth property and apprehend food due to the size of the mass.

"Rio's emaciated appearance suggests chronic malnourishment over the past few months.

"I fail to believe Rio had been eating normally the night prior to his presentation as suggested by the owner.

"In my opinion, Rio's owner failed to seek veterinary attention for his severe weight loss, which would have been obvious, and as a result failed to protect him from hunger and thirst."

Belle from Vauxhall, southwest London, was sentenced to a 12-month community order and required to do 90 hours of unpaid work. She was also banned from owning dogs for two years and ordered to pay £100 in costs and a £95 victim surcharge.

She said she had voluntarily taken Rio to the vets when he died and accepted she did not intend to cause the dog any suffering.

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