Page last updated at 12:31 GMT, Thursday, 19 November 2009

Owner's ban for dog's junk diet

Barney, before and after his weight loss
Barney is going to be re-homed after his weight loss

A man has been banned from keeping dogs for 10 years after his Dalmatian ballooned to twice its size when he fed it crisps and chocolate.

John Green, 40, of Chelford Road, Macclesfield, Cheshire, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to eight-year-old Barney.

The court heard the dog weighed about 70kg (154lbs) - 30kg-35kg (66-77lbs) more than his breed's ideal weight.

Barney now weighs 40kg (88lbs) and is being re-homed by the RSPCA.

The charity's inspectors were first alerted to Barney's condition by calls from members of the public in June 2007.

'Dangerously obese'

Green was warned about the dog's diet, but he failed to maintain Barney's weight loss and his condition worsened until he became dangerously overweight.

Barney was removed from his owner in June and moved to private boarding kennels, where he was exercised and put on a special diet.

The court was told, in mitigation, that Green treated Barney as more of a friend than a dog and that he did not set out to deliberately harm the dog.

Green was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

Rachel Andrews, RSPCA inspector, said: "When we removed Barney he was dangerously obese - his condition would have caused him huge discomfort, put pressure on his joints and could potentially have shortened his life.

"Hopefully this case will show pet owners just how vital it is to provide their animals with a carefully-controlled diet and regular exercise."

Barney is being looked after by the RSPCA's Warrington, Halton and St Helens Branch until new owners are found.

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