A man has been banned from keeping animals for five years after his pet dog was so badly infested with fleas you could see them crawling in his fur.

John Baimbridge, of Grey Street, Stalybridge, also kept another dog who was so emaciated you could see her bones.

A member of the public contacted the RSPCA following concerns over the welfare of two dogs at his home address.

An inspector visited the property on August 31 last year, and found both of the animals were scratching furiously due to a severe flea infestation.

Ollie, a red Cocker Spaniel, and Pippa, a German Shepherd breed, were both discovered to be underweight.

Pippa was so underweight you could see her bones

Pippa was also completely bald due to fur loss.

RSPCA Inspector Lorna Campbell asked the man at the home if the dogs belonged to him, but he said they were owned by his brother John who lived at the same address.

Inspector Campbell discovered both dogs had not been under veterinary treatment since May and asked him to sign the dogs over to RSPCA care.

Ollie was badly infested with fleas with matted paws

The pooches were then taken to Greater Manchester Animal Hospital for emergency veterinary treatment.

Pippa was found to weigh just 21.5kg, when an average weight should have been 32kg.

Her body condition score was one out of nine, with one being the lowest possible score.

The dog's ribs, spine and hip bones were clearly visible.

She also had widespread hair loss across her body due to a chronic skin condition, believed to have been caused by an untreated flea infestation which the vet estimated had been ongoing for four months.

Vets found Ollie's foot had grown around towards the paw pad due to the matted fur. The matts had to be shaved off and his claws were cut.

Following on from the treatment both dogs made a full recovery and have been re-homed.

Baimbridge admitted two animal welfare charges at Tameside Magistrates' Court on January 7, 2020.

He was banned from keeping animals for five years and given a 12 month community order including 100 hours of unpaid work.

Ollie has made a full recovery and has been re-homed

Baimbridge must also pay costs of £400 and a £15 victim surcharge.

Insp Campbell said: "When I attended the house Pippa was crying as she was scratching so much she was cutting into her own skin with her nails and had lost almost all her fur. While Ollie was infested with fleas you could see them crawling in his fur.

Pippa has made a full recovery

“Both dogs were clearly underweight but Pippa was our concern as all of her bones were visible.

“I found out that Baimbridge had taken Pippa for vet treatment in May for her skin condition and he was asked to return with her for further treatment but he failed to do so.

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“There is never an excuse for failing to meet the needs of an animal and allowing them to get into such a poor condition by either not seeking veterinary treatment or by not feeding them properly.

“In this case both dogs probably lost much of their weight due to burning so many calories constantly scratching.”

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