Case Snapshot
Case ID: 17479
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Prosecutor(s): Matthew Knight
Defense(s): Simon Brimacombe
Judge(s): Rosemary Ditchburn

Thursday, Sep 9, 2010

Disposition: Alleged

» Louis Santi
» Julie Ann Santi

A COUPLE whose family dog had to be put down after a five kilogram tumour grew on its stomach have appeared in court on animal cruelty charges.

Julie Ann Santi, aged 49, and Louis Santi, aged 64, both of Buddleia Close, Weymouth, appeared before Weymouth Magistrates Court on Thursday, February 24 to each answer two charges of cruelty:

Firstly that between September 9 and December 30, 2010 the couple caused unnecessary suffering to a cross breed dog called Ellie by failing to provide adequate veterinary care and attention for a tumour and that in failing to act the animal would be caused suffering.

Secondly that between the same dates the couple caused unnecessary suffering to Ellie by failing to provide adequate veterinary care and attention for a skin condition.

Both Julie Ann Santi and Louis Santi pleaded guilty to the offences.

Two additional charges for each of the defendants of failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the needs of Ellie were met by providing her with adequate veterinary care, were withdrawn by the prosecution.

Matthew Knight prosecuting the case for the RSPCA said that the tumour weighed five kilograms and would have cause Ellie great distress as she had to carry it around.

He said: "The tumour was approximately 12 inches by 10 inches and when it was weighed after Ellie was put down it weighed 5kg.

"The weight of the tumour caused the dog's spine to twist over and would have caused suffering because of this.

"Also because it was infected and secreting fluid."

He added: "The skin condition although not life threatening would have caused scratching and caused the dog to feel depressed.

"This animal was suffering severely and allowed to get to an emaciated state."

Mr Knight said that all the food that Ellie would have been eating would have gone to increasing the size of the tumour. He said that the tumour would have been growing for a long time.

Representing the couple Simon Brimacombe, said in mitigation that the couple had owned Ellie for eight years and they had taken her to the vet but that due to an outstanding bill of £240 the vet had refused treatment.

He said: "Julie Ann and Louis were very disturbed and upset by the pictures of Ellie because she had been considered part of the family."

He added: "Ellie had been suffering with phantom pregnancies and a blocked milk ducts and at first this is what the couple thought was the problem. They tried to go to the vet and got cream to put on her skin.

"They were worried about the expense but they were most frightened that they would have to put her down."

The case was adjourned for a pre-sentence report until March 17 at Blandford Magistrates Court at 2pm.

Chairman of the magistrate's bench Rosemary Ditchburn said: "We want to know more about the family and circumstances before sentence is passed. We have looked on this as a very serious case."

The pictures of Ellie were passed to the Echo but we considered them too horrific to publish in a family newspaper.


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