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Dog’s skin left ‘rotting away’ by cruel owner who showed ‘no remorse’ as she was jailed


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Rebecca Dowbenko, 53, failed to seek treatment for her Newfoundland dog Lily who was suffering from injuries so severe she had to be put to sleep.

Lily the dog

Lily had to be put to sleep because of her injuries (Image: RSPCA)

A dog needlessly suffered at the hands of her cruel owner who showed “no remorse” as she was jailed. Newfoundland Lily, aged nine, was found swollen and septic, with her skin seeping pus from infected sores. Rebecca Dowbenko, 53, of Fairfax Road, Bradford, failed to seek treatment for her pet who was also suffering from rib injuries as well as other health issues.

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The dog’s face was swollen and septic with infected sores as a result of either suffering blunt force trauma to the head or the growth of a tumour, YorkshireLive reports

The canine’s skin tissue was rotting away, which left a “horrific” smell, RSPCA inspector Demi Hodby said. Lily was also found covered in paint the defendant said had rubbed off from a wet wall.

The court heard that when the RSPCA visited Dowbenko’s home in Fairfax Road on January 4, 2022, Lily was in a very poor state of health and it appeared she had been deteriorating for several months.

The dog was in terrible pain and she was taken to the RSPCA Greater Manchester Animal Hospital for treatment, but the prognosis for her was so poor that sadly she had to be put to sleep to end her suffering. Dowbenko, the court was told, failed to follow up appointments with the PDSA charity.

Lily the Newfoundland

Lily appeared to have been suffering for several months (Image: RSPCA)

Dowbenko appeared at Bradford Magistrate’s Court for sentencing on May 4 after previously pleading guilty to a charge of causing unnecessary suffering by failing to provide proper and necessary veterinary care for the dog under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. She has been jailed for 12 weeks and banned for 10 years from keeping animals.

In a statement to the court inspector Demi Hodby said: “Lily had a very large, swollen face and mouth. Her face was oozing with pus and infection. She was lethargic and when she walked it appeared like she was having to think and calculate in her head each of her steps.

“She was in poor body condition and due to the infection Lily smelt horrifically. She spent most of her time during the visit lying on the floor subdued and lethargic. I asked [Dowbenko] if the dog was under veterinary treatment and she said she had not been to the vets but was going to call them that day.”

A vet concluded there was a “significant probability” that Lily’s injuries were not accidental, although the facial damage may also have been caused by a cancerous tumour. A post-mortem showed she was suffering from osteomyelitis, with evidence of dead bone on the left side of the face, as well as chest trauma. She was also suffering from a rare form of dermatitis.

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RSPCA Greater Manchester Animal Hospital

Sadly Lily had to be put to sleep (Image: RSPCA)

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    They said: “It is my opinion that Lily was allowed to suffer due to her owner failing to present her for timely veterinary assessment and treatment of multiple, serious health conditions despite acknowledging the dog was in pain for prolonged periods.”

    The vet noted that the defendant failed to follow up a call to a PDSA clinic highlighting a burst abscess on the side of the dog’s face in November 2021.

    It was said Dowbenko “persistently failed to follow vet advice from 2017 to 2021”. In mitigation, the court was told she was suffering from poor mental health.

    She was sentenced to a further two weeks imprisonment to run concurrently to her 12-week sentence after admitting failing to attend court on March 2.

    No costs were imposed but she was told to pay a victim surcharge of £154 with magistrates telling her: “You have shown absolutely no remorse for the prolonged period of suffering which you have caused this animal. That suffering was caused by your total neglect of Lily”.

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