A couple have been banned from owning pets after they left their dog with a “maggot-infested” nose injury that was so severe he had to be put down.
Jason and Toni Woodford, from Lydd-on-Sea, told RSPCA inspectors they did not know how their Yorkshire Terrier suffered the wound and had not noticed the maggots.
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But a court heard the injury was probably caused by a muzzle being left on too long and too tightly, or something had been tied around little Samson’s nose.
Magistrates were also told Mr Woodford, 43, and Mrs Woodford, 38, have another dog - a pug called Bobby - that will be seized by the RSPCA.
The court heard the “incompetent” couple, who are on benefits, had failed to promptly get Samson veterinary care for his infected and necrotic nose lesion.
As a result, they had both been charged with causing unnecessary suffering to an animal between January 25 and February 3. They both pleaded guilty to the offence on August 23.
The pair returned to Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on Thursday to be sentenced.
The court heard that by the time Mr and Mrs Woodford took Samson to see a vet after “a deliberate delay in getting treatment”, the injury was so bad he had to be put down.
Sophie Read, prosecuting, said: “An [RSPCA] inspector went to their home a couple of days after the vet visit and Mr Woodford told them the dog had been missing for nine days and had come back in that state.
“There was another dog at their home and a grey parrot in a cage and the inspector noticed the cage was dirty.
“The other dog, a pug, also had a cancerous growth on its lip.”
Mrs Read said RSPCA inspectors continued to investigate how Samson came by his injury. The couple were questioned further separately and their stories didn’t match up, with inconsistencies about how long the dog had been missing.
She added: “The vet thought the injury had been caused by the nose being tied or a muzzle left on for too long and too tightly. There were maggots in the wound - it was a deliberate delay in getting treatment.
“Three or four days later the couple were questioned separately and denied they had tied anything around Samson’s nose. Mrs Woodford said the dog had been missing for 24 hours and she thought it had either been stung or had suffered a snake bite.”
She also told the bench that when Mr Woodford was interviewed he changed his initial account of what he told inspectors.
He instead said Samson had been missing for four or five days and upon their pet’s return they had tried to care for him and fed him chicken and rice. He said they did realise the wound had an awful smell and that they had given the dog cuddles, love and prayers in the hope it got better.
“They said they didn’t notice the maggots,” she added.
Lewis Holloway, defending, said his clients did try to care for Samson after the dog came back after disappearing - but when the wound didn’t improve they took him to the vet.
He said: “There were well intentions, but incompetent care. They have had eight dogs in 20 years and have never had any issues before.
“They did have another dog too, but that passed away today of old age.
“Their parrot has also passed of old age, but they still have her parents’ dog - the pug, Bobby.
“He is 12 years old and he does have a cancerous lump on his lip but they had it checked out by a vet.”
The court also heard Mrs Woodford had never been in trouble before - but her husband had convictions, albeit from 24 years ago.
Magistrates placed the couple on 12-month community orders which will see them attend 15 rehabilitation sessions with probation. The court also ordered they pay £200 costs each at a rate of £20 a month.
They were also banned from keeping animals for four years. The bench issued a seizure order for Bobby to allow RSPCA inspectors to collect the pug, which will then be re-homed.