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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 January 2007, 12:16 GMT
Fat dog will return to its owners
Rusty the fat Labrador

Two brothers penalised by a court for allowing their pet Labrador to get too fat are hoping to be reunited with the dog later in the week.

Derek Benton, 62, and his brother David, 53, were convicted of causing unnecessary suffering after a trial at Ely Magistrates' Court, Cambridgeshire.

The brothers, who received conditional discharges, are allowed to have Rusty back if he is properly cared for.

Rusty ballooned to 11 stone (69.8kg) at the Bentons' home in Fordham, Cambs.

David Benton said he and his brother planned to visit Rusty, who is being cared for by a foster owner, this week and bring him home next weekend.

"We have arranged with the RSPCA that Rusty can come home next weekend," he said.

"But before that we'll be going to see him. He's being cared for by a foster family at the moment."

'Like a walrus'

The RSPCA, which launched a prosecution, told magistrates that the Bentons had allowed Rusty's weight to rise from 8 stone to more than eleven-and-a-half stone in two years.

Officials said the brothers had ignored veterinary advice and failed to give Rusty an appropriate diet.

They said 11-year-old Rusty was "hugely and grossly" overweight and a vet had described the dog as looking like a "walrus".

Inspectors said the dog could barely walk a few steps and collapsed if kept standing.

RSPCA officials said the dog had lost nearly four stone since being taken away from the Bentons in March 2006.

Ch Insp Mark Thompson, who led the investigation, said he was disappointed that the court had ruled that the dog could return home and said he feared for the animal's future.

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


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
The Benton brothers give their reaction



SEE ALSO
Brothers guilty in fat dog trial
12 Jan 07 |  Cambridgeshire
Fat pet dog trial is adjourned
29 Nov 06 |  Cambridgeshire
Pair's dog 'looked like a walrus'
28 Nov 06 |  Cambridgeshire

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