Despite the severe neglect that left the pet on the brink of euthanasia, the dog owner walks away from court without facing any consequences.

A dog owner has been convicted of animal cruelty charges after RSPCA inspectors found his dog so badly starved ‘euthanasia was the only option’.

David Lowe, 33, said he had been in a psychiatric ward for five weeks and was scared if he took his 15-year-old lurcher Fly to the vet, she would be put down.

When RSPCA inspectors found the dog she weighed just eigh kilos.

Vet Angus McKenzie, who examined the dog, said Fly was the most severely emaciated dog he had seen in 30 years of practice.

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Bolton Magistrates’ Court heard RSPCA inspectors discovered the pet on October 20 and were “immediately shocked” at her condition.

Tony Stock, prosecuting, revealed Fly had severe dental disease, overgrown nails and one a scale of one to five, with one being emaciated, scored zero.

Mr Stock said: “These conditions were all treatable and manageable. The dog could have lived a longer and healthier life if advice had been sought earlier.

“Because it did not happen it reached a stage where euthanasia was the only option.”

A friend of Lowe’s mother “realised he was not going to be able to do what was necessary” and alerted the RSPCA.

Lowe was convicted in his absence of five counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal earlier this year.

Furious protesters donned t-shirts with the dog’s picture on them as they crammed into the court to hear the sentence passed.

Lowe was hit with a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and given a lifetime ban from owning or keeping an animal.

He was also ordered to pay £1,080 costs over the next two years, and given an 18-month supervision order.

Chairman of the Bench Derek Tate said: “In view of everything that has been said it would be appropriate to suspend the sentence.

“It is clear that a rehabilitative element would be more appropriate in your case.”

Angry protesters speaking outside court revealed they were “devastated” at the decision not to give Lowe a custodial sentence.

Speaking after sentencing, Lorraine Edwards, owner of Loz’s Lurcher Rescue, said: “We’re bitterly disappointed that he did not get a custodial sentence.

“This is a new example of courts being lenient in animal cruelty cases. We will be starting a petition to show the world that we are not happy.”

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