Warning this report shows images of child neglect that some readers may find distressing.

A COUPLE who neglected and abandoned a mother dog and her three puppies in a flat have been banned from keeping animals for five years.

Dean Daniel Christopher Nevin, 27 and Liat Best, 24, both of Hughes Avenue, Prescot pleaded guilty at a previous hearing on February 1 to three animal welfare offences following an investigation and prosecution brought by the RSPCA.

Both were sentenced at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court on March 26 to 26 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.RSPCA Animal Rescue Officer John Littlewood was alerted to the condition of dogs left in an unsecure flat by a concerned member of the public who rang the charity’s emergency line in September last year.

Through a window John could immediately see bull breed type Tilly laying on dirty bedding surrounded by urine and faeces.

He described Tilly as very flat - she was barking but kept her head down on the mattress and had discharge coming from one of her eyes. He was concerned about Tilly and requested police assistance. On entry police found Tilly laying on top of a deceased puppy.

St Helens Star:

The puppy was decomposed and appeared to have been dead for a considerable amount of time.

Two of her other puppies were still alive - Loki and an unnamed puppy - both were thin and had skin conditions. Tilly and her surviving puppies were examined at a nearby veterinary practice before they were transferred to the RSPCA’s Wirral and Chester Branch for boarding.

In written evidence to the court the Inspector said: “I noted that the carcass (the puppy) was in a poor state and had begun to decompose.

“The body condition of the dog was very poor with spine, ribs and hips clearly visible through the skin.

St Helens Star: TillyTilly (Image: RSPCA)

“The entire carcass had little fur present and parts were affected by crusty smelly skin.

“I suspect that this puppy was in a very poor state prior to death and that the situation had been chronic in nature.”

The dog appeared to be a similar age to two live puppies removed by colleagues from the incident location … and I suspect she was a littermate to those puppies.”

The vet concluded the dogs had suffered for many weeks, likely longer due to the failure of Nevin and Best to get them veterinary treatment.

The dogs were treated for parasites and given routine vaccinations. Fortunately, the two surviving puppies have since been rehomed by the RSPCA but sadly Tilly had to be euthanaised on behavioural grounds.

St Helens Star: The conditions the dogs were kept inThe conditions the dogs were kept in (Image: The conditions the dogs were kept in)

Animal Rescue Officer John Littlewood said: “The suffering caused to Tilly and her puppies could have been avoided if the pair had taken responsibility for the dogs’ welfare and given them the care they desperately needed.

“Pets are completely reliant on their owners, and there is never an excuse to ignore their needs like this.”

In addition to the five year ban and suspended prison sentence both were ordered to complete 20 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days and pay a £154 victim surcharge.