Couple who starved dogs and locked them in a cupboard are jailed

Bisto the dog Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption The pets, which were found in an emaciated state, have since been re-homed by the RSPCA

A couple who kept two dogs locked in a cupboard under the stairs and starved them almost to death have been jailed.

Graham Burn, 46, and Ann Boddy, 34, caused "prolonged suffering" to a mastiff-type and a terrier.

The pair, of Burbank Street, Hartlepool, were convicted of two section 4 offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 at Teesside Magistrates Court.

They were each jailed for 12 weeks and banned from keeping animals for life.

'Prolonged neglect'

RSPCA inspector Lucy Hoehne had been visiting the address for over a year due to concerns over the dogs' welfare.

She said: "I'd been giving advice and offering assistance and, initially, they made some improvements but then they stopped answering the door to me or letting me in.

"Eventually, when I managed to speak to them, they told me they didn't have the dogs any more, but I was able to establish that the dogs were actually being kept locked in a cupboard under the stairs."

District Judge Harrison said the case was an example of prolonged neglect involving what she described as a protracted course of action involving months, if not years, of starvation resulting almost to the point of death.

The dogs have now been re-homed.

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