A WIDOW has been ordered to have her cat and budgie re-homed after she admitted causing suffering to her late husband’s dog.
Kathleen Marno, 62, of Stearns Close, Blacon, was banned from owning any animal for 10 years and told to pay the RSPCA £1,000 in costs during a hearing at Chester Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
Defence solicitor Guy Dodd had argued that the disqualification order should be restricted to dogs, as she was very attached to her cat and budgie.
But magistrates agreed with the wishes of the RSPCA, which brought the prosecution and said she was unfit to look after any pet.
An officer for the animal charity visited the home Marno shares with her son Daniel, 32, on April 11 this year following a tip-off.
He was struck immediately by a “strong, pungent smell” coming from the lounge where the 14-year-old springer spaniel called Anu was lying, the court heard.
Chris Murphy, representing the RSPCA, said: “The dog had a large open wound or growth on the right side of its neck and there was a strong smell of infection. It was weeping and oozing. The dog’s hip, back and rib bones were easily felt through fur.”
Marno had reportedly told the officer she thought the smell was “just because the dog was old”.
An examination by a veterinary surgeon revealed Anu was almost 5kg (11lbs) underweight and had chronic dental disease, which had loosened teeth to the extent that the animal had difficulty chewing food. He was later put down.
“In the vet’s opinion the animal had been suffering for a minimum period of one month,” Mr Murphy said.
Mr Dodd told the court that the pair had been struggling with money and could not afford vet’s bills, as Marno was on a state pension and Daniel only had a part-time job as a cleaner.
He said: “This isn’t a case of deliberate negligence or malice. She is a lady in very poor health. She has high blood pressure and anxiety and quite severe panic attacks.
“The dog was 14 and nearing the end of its natural life. It was a family pet for many years which belonged to her late husband, who died in 2003. The animal was properly looked after for a period in excess of 12-13 years. It was always fed and exercised properly.”
He said the pair had initially bathed the dog’s abscess in salt water and had been “actively discussing” what to do about it when the RSPCA officer visited.
“The hope was that the animal would die naturally at the home,” he said.
Marno pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and was told to repay £5 a week to the RSPCA to cover vet’s bills and court costs.