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Monday, 9 July, 2001, 16:19 GMT 17:19 UK
Couple admit animal cruelty
Holly in plastic bag
Holly was found in a plastic bag
A pedigree shih-tzu was trussed up with dog leads and dumped in a four-foot culvert days before Christmas, a court has heard.

Seven-year-old Holly, who had been wrapped in a bin-bag, was found on Boxing Day by a member of the public who heard her cries and alerted the RSPCA.

Holly's former owners Jonathan Maxfield, 25, and his partner Louise Swannick, 21, appeared at Oswestry Magistrates Court, Shropshire, and admitted causing the animal unnecessary suffering.

The dog had been systematically deprived of adequate nourishment for 14 days

Prosecutor Fay Wright
The case attracted national media attention and a woman from Surrey offered a 2,000 reward for information about who was responsible for the dog's plight.

Magistrates heard that Holly had been in an "appalling" condition when she was found.

She was malnourished and had a festering right eye.

The court heard that Holly was given to Maxfield, of no fixed abode, and Swannick, of Lime Grove, Oswestry, by a neighbour who thought she would make a suitable pet for Miss Swannick's daughter.

Jonathan Maxfield outside court
Jonathan Maxfield outside court
Prosecutor Fay Wright said the dog was last seen tied up outside Miss Swannick's home on 21 December last year.

Five days later, RSPCA inspector Barry Williams pulled Holly from a concrete culvert after being alerted by a woman who was walking her own dog near a railway line in Oswestry.

"The dog was in an appalling condition," Mrs Wright told the court.

"The smell of the infection within the eye was so offensive they found it quite a shocking and emotional experience."

She added that two vets who had examined the dog said she weighed half as much as she should have done.

Full recovery

Mrs Wright said: "The evidence indicated to them that when found, the dog had been systematically deprived of adequate nourishment for 14 days."

Holly lost her right eye but made a full recovery and now has a new home.

Louise Swannick
Louise Swannick: Guilty plea
The two accused admitted causing the dog suffering by unreasonably omitting to provide proper care for the animal between 11 December and 21 December last year.

Defence solicitor Phil Mason said the couple were extremely saddened and deeply regretted what had happened.

But he asked magistrates to note that the charges related specifically to 11 December and 21 December when the dog was in their care.

He said they did not relate to the condition in which the animal was found.

The case was adjourned until 23 July for reports to be prepared.

Holly's case attracted national media attention and a woman from Surrey offered a 2000 reward for any information.

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