A WOMAN whose pet dog was left to suffer with an untreated tumour the size of a child's football has been banned from keeping animals for five years.

Michelle Woods appeared at Wirral Magistrates Court to be sentenced for causing unnecessary suffering to Staffordshire bull terrier Sasha and failing to meet the dog's needs.

The 31-year-old, from Birkenhead, pleaded guilty to the offences at a previous hearing earlier this month.

The RSPCA was contacted by a member of the public concerned that Sasha had not received treatment for tumours on her body.

An inspector visited Woods' home in Woodward Road and, looking through the window, saw Sasha lying on the sofa. 

But the full extent of her suffering was initially hidden.

Sadly, she was later put to sleep to end her suffering.

RSPCA inspector Naomi Norris said: "Sasha's tumours were so large that it is no surprise that she couldn't move off the sofa.

"The largest tumour on the underside of her body was the size of a child's football, and she had another two by her genitals which were the size of golf balls - both of which had become ulcerated.

"She was clearly in a lot of pain and very uncomfortable.

"We took her to a vet and they believed she had been suffering with these tumours for months.

"This was clearly a case of prolonged neglect.

"Sadly, as she was so poorly, the vet made the decision that the kindest thing to do was to put her to sleep to end her suffering."

In court, it was said that Woods did not get Sasha the treatment she needed because of financial reasons.

Insp Norris added: "Pet-owners have a legal responsibility to seek veterinary treatment for their animals when they require it.

"There are many organisations out there who can help if there are financial issues.

"It simply isn't acceptable to leave an animal to suffer."

As well as a five-year ban on keeping animals, Woods was given an 18-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months, told to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £1,020 and a £115 victim surcharge.