A DOG owner who kept her pet in squalid conditions - surrounded in rubbish and its own faeces - has been given a six-week suspended prison sentence.

Wirral Magistrates Court heard that 16-year-old collie Timmy, who had a facial tumour the size of an orange, was rescued by fire crews who forced entry into the house in Selby Street, Wallasey following concerns by neighbours about living conditions.

They found Timmy lying on a sofa in the living room, which was strewn with rubbish, faeces and mouldy food and there was a strong smell of ammonia. Firefightes contacted the RSPCA 

The dog's then owner Christine Daley was interviewed and pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to 16-year-old collie Timmy by failing to provide veterinary treatment to the tumour, and failing to providing him with a suitable living environment, between October 1 and October 25 last year.

Magistrates imposed a six-week prison sentence suspended for six months. Daley was also banned from keeping all animals for 10 years and ordered to pay costs of £1,075.

Timmy was treated by a vet and now lives on a farm in Cheshire.

RSPCA inspector Anthony Joynes told the Globe: "The fire crew could smell something very strong and unpleasant through the letterbox and were concerned that there was a dead body in the house, so they gained entry with the police.

"That's when they found Timmy, so they contacted us.

"The house was in squalor - every room was full of faeces.

"It was very hard to not stand in faeces as the carpet was full of it.

"It was one of the worst environments I have been in.

"The ammonia smell from the urine was very strong and there was mouldy food and rubbish on the floor.

“There was no evidence to suggest someone had been living there - there was no food in the fridge and there was no electricity.

"Timmy was essentially using the house as his kennel and as his toilet.

He continued: "Additionally, there were flies all over the house.

"It was a wonder that Timmy wasn't suffering from flystrike too, which happens when flies lay their eggs on an animal's flesh, with a wound like that on his face. 

"If he hadn’t have been found when he was, we could have been dealing with a dog on the brink of death, or even the body of a dog.

"I went home that night quite upset and shocked, just thinking about what Timmy went through.

"He is an elderly dog and should have been relaxing on a sofa in a lovely home, not living as he was, in a lonely, dirty environment."

Commenting on Timmy's new life, Inspector Joynes continued: "He had so many hurdles to overcome. 

"He had to have a series of tests to determine if the tumour was attached to any bones, or if it had spread elsewhere.

"Luckily, these tests came back as negative so it was something which could be surgically removed safely.

"He survived the operation, however due to the size of the tumour which had been removed, he was in some discomfort for a few weeks afterwards - but he has overcome that and now he is living such a nice life.

"It makes all the bad thoughts from that day worth it.

"Timmy is now living with a vet on a farm in Cheshire and he is having such a lovely life.

"There is a genuinely happy ending to such a sad case".

Timmy's story will feature on Channel Five's The Dog Rescuers later this year.