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Last Updated: Friday, 12 January 2007, 16:01 GMT
Brothers guilty in fat dog trial
Rusty the fat Labrador

Two brothers who allowed their dog's weight to rise by almost four stone in two years have been convicted of causing unnecessary suffering.

Derek Benton, 62, and his brother David, 53, were found guilty of providing their pet Labrador, Rusty, with an inappropriate diet.

Vets said Rusty was like a walrus after his weight rose to 11 stone (69.8kg).

The Bentons, of Fordham, Cambs, were given a three-year conditional discharge by magistrates in Ely.

The court was told the brothers had ignored a vet's advice on ways to deal with the dog's condition.

'Like a walrus'

Rusty, nine, has now lost three and a half stone (22.2kg) under RSPCA care.

During the trial, the court was told Rusty was so fat, vets described him as looking like a "walrus".

But despite that the Benton brothers have been allowed to keep Rusty subject to the condition that he does not regain the weight he has lost.

Rusty must also be given appropriate medication for the rest of his life.

After the case David Benton, a crane driver, said: "I'm happy because we're getting our boy back. I'm absolutely delighted.

"He will be going to another vet and we'll make sure he gets what he needs."

The RSPCA, which brought the prosecution to court, said it was pleased with the guilty verdict but was very disappointed the brothers would be allowed to keep the dog.

'Devastated by decision'

Jason Finch, from the RSPCA, said: "We'll be trying to work with the Bentons to monitor Rusty and hopefully they will adhere to the conditions set out regarding his care."

The vet who treated Rusty when he was brought in by the RSPCA barely able to stand, Alex Wylie, said: "The one thing we didn't want was for Rusty to be allowed back to the Bentons. We are devastated."

Bryant Watson, chairman of the bench at Ely magistrates, said: "The diet provided by the Bentons was inappropriate to Rusty's weight.

"We were aware that the Bentons were advised to control Rusty's weight by the vet.

"We find that Rusty was suffering and that he was overweight due to an inappropriate diet."

The Bentons were found not guilty of a second charge of failing to provide appropriate vet treatment for a chronic ear infection.

The Benton brothers give their reaction

Pair's dog 'looked like a walrus'
28 Nov 06 |  Cambridgeshire
Fat pet dog trial is adjourned
29 Nov 06 |  Cambridgeshire

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