AN ISLE of Wight man who allowed his dog to become badly emaciated and lame — which led to it being put down — had denied ill-treatment up until the day before he was due to stand trial. 

Stuart Squibb, of Lower Furlongs, Brading, admitted two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, namely his 11-year-old whippet, Weasel, between November 14 last year and January 14.

On New Year's Day, a dog walker was so shocked by Weasel's poor condition, video was taken and shared with the RSPCA.

The RSPCA launched an investigation, with Squibb snubbing their phone calls and officer visits.

Eventually, one was let in, who found Weasel in poor health and emaciated condition, with untreated osteoarthritis and a deformed lower limb, which left Weasel unable to walk properly for six to eight months.

Weasel had not received vital veterinary care for 18 months and was half the weight it should have been, said Sarah Wheadon, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, at the Isle of Wight Magistrates' Court.

Weasel had an extremely poor quality of life, and was put down, said Mrs Wheadon.  

Squibb, who failed to attend an RSPCA interview, went on to deny ill treatment charges on May 16 and a trial was set for August 16.

But he reappeared the day before trial, doing a U-turn on his pleas.

Mrs Wheadon said Squibb deliberately disregarded Weasel's welfare, failed to co-operate with investigators and showed no remorse.  

For Squibb, Jim Osborne said his client inherited Weasel from his late mother.

Squibb claimed concern about Weasel's mobility and appetite and took him to a vet, who said nothing was wrong, which the RSPCA argued was untrue.

Mr Osborne said dad-of-two Squibb then lost his job and suffered financial hardship, but claimed he always ensured Weasel was fed.

"He is deeply remorseful and understands what he did was wrong."

Presiding magistrate David King said: "This is a terrible story of a dog suffering prolonged neglect."

Squibb was handed a year's probation, comprising 15 rehabilitation sessions and 80 hours' unpaid work, with a £140 surcharge.

He was also made subject to an order prohibiting him from owning, keeping, looking after animals, or being involved in how they are kept. 

Due to Squibb's means, the RSPCA applied for the recovery of £8,000 costs from the public purse.