Man left dog to die with whole potato stuck in its throat, court finds

Pup will probably never be able to eat normally again due to tissue damage

Joe Pagnelli
Saturday 08 February 2020 12:51

A man who abandoned his poorly dog with a whole potato stuck in his throat leaving him on the verge of death has been disqualified from keeping animals.

Steven Harrison failed to seek treatment for poorly pup Benson who was also found to have a dishcloth in his stomach when treated by vets.

Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard how poor Benson was “skinny, lethargic and retching” when a member of the public found him on 4 February last year.

The cross-breed was rushed to a veterinary surgery late that night to undergo a life-saving operation where doctors discovered he had a potato stuck in his throat and a dishcloth in his stomach.

Harrison was found guilty of two animal welfare offences and sentenced to six weeks custody suspended for 12 months.

After an earlier trial, Harrison, from Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, was found guilty of one count of causing unnecessary suffering and one of failing to meet Benson's needs, under the Animal Welfare Act.

RSPCA inspector Clare Wilson said: “When I first saw Benson he was skinny, lethargic and kept retching and coughing constantly. I could feel and see all of his ribs and his spine.

“It was late at night so I took him to a nearby vet surgery where staff were concerned that he had an obstruction.

“He was put onto a drip and given pain relief and medication to help with the sickness. Vets did lots of tests and x-rays showed a large obstruction in his chest cavity, behind the heart.

“He needed a special operation to remove it - and that’s when vets found a whole potato and dish cloth inside him.

“It was touch and go whether he’d survive the complex operation but, luckily, he pulled through.”

Ms Wilson traced negligent Harrison and found that Benson had been vomiting for days but was left to stray.

Ms Wilson said: “He was extremely poorly by the time we were able to get him the vet. He was lucky to survive.

“Poor Benson has a stricture in his oesophagus which means he will probably always need to be fed small amounts of food regularly so this incident has had a life-changing effect on him.

“He’s doing well otherwise though and is such a lovely dog that the animal centre staff who are caring for him are hopeful they will be able to find him the special home he needs and deserves when he’s ready.”

Harrison was sentenced to six weeks custody suspended for 12 months, and ordered to do 80 hours unpaid work.

He was disqualified from keeping all animals for seven years and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £115.

SWNS

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