Two ‘remorseless’ brothers who starved a dog to death at their home avoided jail but been banned from keeping animals for life.
Yousef Jouichat, 30, and Ameer Khan, 22, mistreated their three-year-old female American Bulldog for at least two months, a court heard.
The animal, named Liner, was left skeletal and with a chronic skin complaint and overgrown nails at their home in Pickering Court, Jarrow.
RSPCA officers said the brothers were caught when they took the already dead dog to a vet to inquire about having it cremated.
The vet grew suspicious of their account of its condition and called in RSPCA inspectors, one of whom described Liner’s condition as the worst she had seen.
Magistrates heard the pair claimed they had been visiting relatives in Cardiff during the two months leading up to its death and that they had entrusted Liner’s upkeep to a man named Ali, who they had met on a football pitch.
Neil Taylor, prosecuting for the RSPCA, told the court their accounts differed, and they could not further identify the man they accused.
He said: “It’s a pretty clear case of neglect. Over a prolonged period they starved an American Bulldog named Liner to death.
“They claimed the dog was a fussy eater which had lost and gained weight intermittently. The vet was concerneda nd also noticed the dog’s nails were overgrown.”
He added: “They made up a story that they had left it in the care of another person whose name was Ali, who they had met on a football pitch.
“It’s the prosecution case that they couldn’t afford medication and that Mr Ali didn’t exist and that they starved the dog to death and did so with no remorse.”
Khan, a chef, pleaded guilty to charges of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and failing to take reasonable steps to ensure its needs were met.
The charges relate to between September 2 and October 2, 2017, the day the dog was taken to Blythman and Partners vets.
He was given an 18 month community sentence with 200 hours of unpaid work and 15 days rehabilitation requirements.
Khan, who must also pay £300 costs and an £85 victim surcharge, cannot appeal his ownership ban for 15 years.
Jobless Jouichat pleaded guilty to the same charges at a hearing at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on April 10.
He was sentenced to 12 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work with 20 rehabilitation requirements.
Jouichat must also pay £300 court costs and a £115 victim surcharge, and also cannot appeal his ban for 15 years.
After Khan’s case, RSPCA inspector Rachael Hurst said: “This is the worst case of cruelty I’ve seen in my five years with the RSPCA.
“The dog was like a skeleton, it was skin and bones, and the smell was horrendous.
“It must have suffered terribly, and I can’t imagine the level of suffering this dog has gone through before it died.
“We don’t know why they did it. There were no calls of concern around this dog.”
District Judge Roger Elsey said: “It clearly is a serious case. It merits punishment, and if you had any previous convictions it would be a custodial sentence.”