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Scarborough couple jailed for leaving dog to suffer for three years

Zeus the akita
Zeus the akita

A couple have been jailed for leaving their elderly dog to suffer from a painful leg injury for more than three years.

Sophia Koch, 30, and Adrian Wilkie, 31, both of Trafalgar Square, Scarborough, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

Sophia Koch and Adrian Wilkie

Sophia Koch and Adrian Wilkie

The RSPCA launched an investigation after multiple reports from residents in Scarborough about a limping dog in the town.

RSPCA inspector Claire Little said: “We received a number of calls from members of the public at the beginning of the year who had concerns for an akita they’d seen in Scarborough town centre.

“They reported that a couple were begging in town with the dog but that the dog had a serious limp.”

RSPCA officers managed to track down the dog, 11-year-old Zeus, and his owners.

Zeus the akita

Zeus the akita

“Poor Zeus had a ruptured cruciate ligament which had led to serious arthritis in both of his rear legs,” Inspector Little said.

“The vet said he’d been suffering from the injury for at least three years.”

Zeus was taken into RSPCA care and received treatment for his leg injury and resulting arthritis.

“He was a popular resident at the local RSPCA branch and would spend his days snoozing on his special bed in the reception area,” Inspector Little said.

“He was an older gentleman and, unfortunately, while in RSPCA care his general health began to deteriorate and vets decided the kindest thing to do was to put him to sleep.”

Koche and Wilkie were due to appear in court last week for causing unnecessary suffering to Zeus but failed to attend. Warrants were issued for their arrests and they were put before magistrates on Monday (July 16) having been arrested, where they pleaded guilty.

Koche was sentenced to a 12-week prison sentence and Wilkie received 18 weeks. Both were disqualified from keeping animals indefinitely.

“As a dog owner you are responsible for ensuring your pet is happy and healthy,” Inspector Little added. “It’s completely unacceptable to ignore a health problem - and there’s no excuse for failing to act when the issue is something as obvious as a leg injury which causes a limp.

“If anyone is concerned for their pet’s welfare they should always go to the vet for a check-up and advice.”