A man has been banned from keeping animals for “causing unnecessary suffering” to his pet dog

James Hamill, 37, of Forge Close, Caerleon, Newport admitted two offences relating to a West Highland Terrier called Bella.

Over an agonising period of two years she endured severe neglect resulting in extensive fur loss, a dry eye and ultimately, blindness.

Bella’s suffering was such that she had to be put down.

The offences happened in Pontypool between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022.

The case came to light when Bella was surrendered to The Original Westies Rescued UK (WRUK).

Vets involved in her care were left appalled by her state.

A statement from one of them, which was read out at Cwmbran Magistrates’ Court, said: “When I first saw Bella I was horrified at the state she was in.

“I rarely see a dog that is in such poor condition.

“My first observations were drawn to how little fur Bella had and her poor skin condition.”

James Hamill was sentenced to a 12-month community order and must carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.

James Hamill was banned from keeping animals for two years and ordered to pay £895 in costs and a surcharge.

Following the hearing, AWIP investigator Serena James, who led the investigation, said: “I am pleased with the outcome.

“This has been a lengthy investigation that has now resulted in a conviction.”

Jacob Lloyd, executive director at Animal Welfare Investigations Project, remarked on the collaboration that brought this case to light: “We are pleased to have supported our animal rescue colleagues at WRUK.

“We will always work with animal rescuers to bring those who harm animals to justice.”

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