AN East Brent couple have been banned from keeping dogs for five years after neglecting their pet German Shepherd.

Karen and Christopher Witheridge, who live in Orchard Close, East Brent, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to their nine-year-old dog Ruby, after failing to provide veterinary care for a chronic skin condition and ear disease.

The case came to light following an investigation by the RSPCA after the animal welfare organisation received a call from a member of the public.

RSPCA inspector Jo Daniel: “When I first saw Ruby my heart sank.

“She was in a terrible state, very underweight with an awful ear infection and sore and infected skin because of a flea allergy.

“Sadly she had never, ever, seen a vet despite the fact the condition was not getting any better.

“The couple had bought over the counter treatments - on all the packets of which owners are told that if the symptoms persist to consult a vet.

“Pet owners need to realise that they have a responsibility to care for their animals. That includes ensuring any health issues are dealt with promptly to avoid distress to animals in their care.”

Alongside the disqualification, both were ordered pay a £202 fine and £500 court costs when they appeared before North Somerset Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, September 7.

Jo Daniel continued: “Ruby, who is nine years old, is now looking for a loving new home after recovering thanks to care from the team at RSPCA Brent Knoll in Somerset.

“The ideal place for Ruby would be with owners who have experience with dogs in a home where she will be the only dog without young children.

Anyone who thinks they can offer happiness to Ruby should contact the team at the RSCPA’s North Somerset Branch based on Brent Road in Highbridge.

To speak to a member of the team call 01278 782671 or email The Animal Centre is open from 11am-1pm and 2pm-4.30pm but closed Mondays.