Obese dalmatian man banned from keeping dogs

A man has been banned from keeping dogs for 10 years after allowing his Dalmatian to become chronically obese.

Barney ballooned to more than twice his normal size as his owner fed him a diet of crisps and chocolates.

John Green, 40, of Macclesfield, Cheshire, was given the ban by the town's magistrates after he pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering.

The court heard yesterday that RSPCA inspectors were first alerted to the plight of eight-year-old Barney following concerned calls from members of the public in June 2007,

Officials warned the defendant about the dangers of his dog being so overweight and advised that he should go on a diet.

However, over the following months Green failed to maintain Barney's weight loss and his condition worsened until he became dangerously overweight.

Barney was removed from his owner in June this year and examined by a vet. He was found to weigh around 70kg - 30kg-35kg more than a typical healthy dog of his breed.

He was put on a special diet and moved to private boarding kennels where staff ensured he received regular exercise and a carefully controlled diet, until he reached a healthy weight of just under 40kg.

The court was told, in mitigation, that Green treated Barney as more of a friend than a dog and that he did not set out to deliberately harm the dog but failed to realise the seriousness of his condition.

Green, of Chelford Road, was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

RSPCA inspector Rachel Andrews said: "When we removed Barney he was dangerously obese - his condition would have caused him huge discomfort, put pressure on his joints and could potentially have shortened his life.

"Hopefully this case will show pet owners just how vital it is to provide their animals with a carefully-controlled diet and regular exercise. With Christmas just round the corner it might be tempting to overfeed them, but it's important to remember that those extra pounds can have a huge impact on their comfort, health and well-being."

Barney is in the care of RSPCA Warrington, Halton & St Helens Branch Animal Centre where he is looking for a new home.