A WIRRAL woman has been banned from keeping animals for 10 years after she let her dog reach the "brink of starvation".

Kelly Gilfoyle, of Clifford Street, Birkenhead was given a 14 week prison sentence, suspended for two years, when she appeared before Wirral magistrates on Tuesday for sentencing.

The 32-year-old had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to causing unnecessary suffering to a female boxer type dog called Rio by failing to investigate and address the causes of her poor body condition and weight loss.

Wirral Globe:

Rio was found in the property in an emaciated state with no food or water.

Gilfoyle also failed to provide an adequate supply of fresh drinking water resulting in the dogs’ dehydration.

As well as being banned from owning any animal for 10 years, Gilfoyle was also ordered to carry out 140 hours community service, a 12 month supervision order and told to pay costs of £1,740.

The RSPCA was called to an address on Clifford Street in December last year after receiving calls that the dog had been abandoned.

They found Rio in an emaciated state eating a raw onion  – which can be poisonous to dogs.

The house covered in wall-to-wall rubbish and faeces and there was no food or water to be found.

Rio - who was just skin and bone - was taken to a vet, who gave her a body score of just one – one being emaciated and five being obese.

Speaking after the case, Inspector Joynes said: “Rio was on the brink of starvation and a vet who examined her said she would have died within a few days from organ failure due to the starvation and dehydration. Since she has been in our care she has made an amazing recovery – and this is a result of us simply feeding her and giving her water.”

Rio has put on 10kg since being taken into RSPCA care and now weighs 27kg.

During a search of the property the body of a starved dead gecko was also found - it had no signs of a heat source or food or water.

Wirral Globe:

Rio will be available for rehoming soon after putting on 10kg since being in the care of the RSPCA.

Inspector Joynes added: “The worst thing for me was the fact that poor Rio had pressure sores on her shoulders and pelvic bones because she was so thin her bones were painfully rubbing on the ground when she laid down. As a result she now has scars from this awful neglect.

“Sadly cases like these do appear to be becoming more common but I hope this sentence sends out a clear message that it is unacceptable to leave an animal like this and the courts will take these offences seriously.”

Rio is currently being cared for by the RSPCA Wirral and Chester Branch at the Wirral Animal Centre in Wallasey.

She will be available for rehoming soon and anyone interested in offering her a new home is asked to call 0151 6386318 or visit rspcawirral.org.uk