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Pet owners fined over cruelty.

Byline: Matthew Pardo

A couple who failed to get vet treatment for a cat and flea-bitten dog in their care have been fined by magistrates.

Robert Goodings and Patricia Newton, of Eden Road, Middlesbrough, admitted two counts of animal cruelty each when they appeared before Teesside magistrates yesterday.

Both had previously denied the charges.

Simon Catterall, prosecuting, told the court RSPCA inspectors were called to their home last July.

There they saw Bonnie the border collie and Fluffy the cat needed veterinary attention.

The inspectors warned Goodings and Newton to get both animals to a vet, said Mr Catterall.

But Newton told the inspectors the animals were her daughter's and that she was just minding them.

When the inspectors returned a week later the animals still had not seen a vet so both were taken away and have since been rehomed.

Mr Catterall said the dog had a chronic skin condition and "was heavily infested with fleas and the cat had a severe skin condition with thinning hair".

He said a vet who examined the animals thought it would have taken at least two months of flea bites for the dog to get into the state she was in.

In interview Newton repeated her claim that although she had cared for the dog for a year it was her daughter's. But she did admit the animals were "in a bad state".

During interview Goodings said they did not seek care for the animals as they had three registered with free vet service the PDSA - the most you can have, Mr Catterall told the court.

He then said that in June, Newton's daughter Rachel, 20, had appeared in court on the same cruelty charges and had been banned from keeping animals for life.

Gerry O'Shea, mitigating, said: "To some extent this couple's hands were tied. Perhaps they should have been more forthright in trying to get something done where these animals were concerned."

The magistrates fined the pair pounds 50 each for each offence and ordered them to pay pounds 50 RSPCA costs each - but did not ban either from owning animals.

Inspector Christine Guy said: "This pair should have been prepared to act for these animals as long as these animals were in their care - and they didn't."
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Title Annotation:News Local
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Aug 20, 2004
Words:378
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