A DURSLEY couple who failed to take action when their elderly dog’s weight plummeted have been banned from keeping animals following a prosecution by the RSPCA.

The dog, called Marley, was in such a poor condition when an RSPCA inspector took him to a vet's that he had to be put down to relieve his suffering.

Kirsty Gerlach, 41, and Matthew Gerlach, 43, both of Kingsdown, Dursley, each pleaded guilty at Cheltenham Magistrates Court to one offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

The court heard how RSPCA inspector Richard Carr made a follow-up welfare check at the couple’s home after a member of the public contacted the charity with concerns about Marley.

He discovered that Marley, a black Labrador cross, was very underweight and weak was in a dog crate in the kitchen and covered in his own excrement.

On a previous visit in December last year the inspector had told Mrs Gerlach to seek veterinary help if the 13-year-old’s health took a turn for the worse.

In a statement to the court, Inspector Carr said: “Marley’s hips and ribs were easily visible and he was lethargic and seemed reluctant to walk. 

“The owner said he had lost control of his bowels.”

Stroud News and Journal: Marley’s hips and ribs were easily visible Marley’s hips and ribs were easily visible (Image: RSPCA)

Stroud News and Journal: RSPCA

Mrs Gerlach agreed to let the inspector take Marley to a vets, where he had to be carried into the premises by the council officer because he was so unwell. 

The vet decided the kindest thing to do was to put the dog to sleep to end his suffering.

The vet who examined him said that Marley was extremely underweight with a body condition score of two out of nine. 

She said in her expert report she was confident that the dog’s weight loss was caused either by an underlying condition for which the owners should have sought treatment for or him being starved for a period of longer than four weeks.

In mitigation, the court heard that the couple claimed they “would have taken the dog to a vet if they had been told to”.

The couple both received 10-year disqualification orders and were placed under 12-month community orders by the court.

As a condition of her order, Kirsty Gerlach also has to complete 20 rehabilitation activity days and pay a £40 fine. 

Matthew Gerlach was told to complete 15 rehabilitation activity days and do 100 hours of unpaid work.

Both defendants were told to pay costs of £400 and a victim surcharge of £114.