A WOMAN from South Devon who failed to seek treatment for her French bulldog puppy’s broken elbow after he was injured in a domestic accident has been prosecuted by the RSPCA.
Hannah Louise Brown, aged 27, of Middle Park Terrace, South Milton, Kingsbridge, pleaded guilty to one offence under the Animal Welfare Act when she appeared for sentencing at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court on July 4.
The court was told that Tony, a fawn and white, three-month old French Bulldog was in pain six days before a relative of Brown’s took him to a vet on New Year’s Eve 2022.
He later underwent orthopaedic surgery at St David’s Veterinary Hospital in Exeter, but medics have warned he might still have to have the limb amputated in the future.
Brown was placed under a one-year community order in which she will have to complete 12 rehabilitation activity days. She was also fined £100 and told to pay court costs of £150.
Tony, who was among a litter of puppies bred by Brown in September last year, was suffering from a swollen left elbow and x-rays confirmed a fracture.
On January 3 this year he underwent a three-hour long operation and in a vet’s expert opinion the extended time under anaesthetic posed a greater risk to the canine because of his brachycephalic breed.
A vet’s report presented to the court stated the surgeon described Tony’s fracture as chronic and said the outcome to the surgery would have been far better had the operation been done in the first two to three days after he was injured - something his owner failed to provide.
When she was interviewed about the circumstances of her dog’s injury Brown said she knew that someone had “admitted throwing the puppy on the sofa” on December 25; and recounted a previous incident when Tony injured the same leg playing on the stairs.
When RSPCA inspector Suzy Hannaby attended at the vets to take the young dog to hospital, she saw that he was struggling to move around on three legs.
“There was obvious swelling to his left elbow area and he held his leg off the floor constantly. He was very reluctant to put the foot to the ground or to bear any weight on the leg and walked with a severe, very obvious limp,” said inspector Hannaby.
Brown claimed she had allowed the dog to rest after discovering the elbow was the site of the pain. She said that cost and transport were also problems for her.
But the vet stated: “The very obvious symptom of his fracture would have been a sudden onset of severe pain with non-weight bearing lameness and pain to the touch in the elbow. It is hard to believe the owner did not realise that Tony had a fractured limb, that it was very painful, and would not get better if left untreated.”
The vet concluded: “Tony’s needs were not met. He had no preventative health care and no regular veterinary advice. He was not kept away from stairs while young and when the owner realised that he was injured she failed to phone for veterinary advice and to immediately cage-rest him.
“The delay in treatment will lead in the fullness of time to more severe arthritis in this joint and
possibly amputation. The strong possibility is that as a result of the failure to seek treatment, he will suffer, to some degree, permanently.”
The court was told that Brown had shown remorse.
A district judge said he considered the offence to be a “serious matter where a small puppy suffered”.
Tony was signed over into the care of the RSPCA who said he has since been rehomed.