A RSPCA inspector who dealt with an horrific case of cruelty has called for the Government to pass a new welfare bill.
Insp Roly Parkes helped convict a Winsford man who starved his dog so badly it had to be put down and says the Animal Welfare Bill cannot come soon enough.
Dean Bostock, 29, was found guilty of causing prolonged unnecessary suffering to Nero, a Neapolitan Mastiff, last October. He was jailed for five months and banned from keeping pets for 10 years.
When RSPCA inspectors found Nero two years before, he was thin to the point of emaciation, dehydrated and suffering from hypothermia and probable heart failure.
Insp Parkes said: 'The RSPCA had visited Bostock at his house on Arkwright Close previously and advised him that the dogs needed veterinary treatment, but he ignored our advice and there was nothing we could do - now one dog is dead.'
The Bill, due next autumn, will introduce a 'duty of care' on pet owners to provide for their animal's basic needs - such as adequate food and water and veterinary treatment when required.
Insp Parkes said under the new law, he may have been able to take Nero off Bostock on the first visit (when he noticed the dog was unhealthily thin) or the second (when it was clear Bostock was refusing to take the animal to the vets). If that had happened under the existing rules, the RSPCA would be effectively 'stealing' the animal from its rightful owner.
Insp Parkes said: 'The way it is written it puts a duty of care on the owners and as I see it if we see an animal that, in the view of most reasonable people, looks maltreated, we can get it out and get it treated. The whys and wherefores can be looked at later on.'