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Dog owners turned labrador into a "flab"rador!!


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The 11½ stone dog 'that was cruelly overfed'


by ANDREW LEVY Last updated at 08:38am on 30th November 2006



A labrador who was allegedly made so obese by his owners that he 'looked like a seal' and could barely waddle a few steps.

Brothers David Benton, 53, and Derek Benton, 62, are the first pet owners to be prosecuted for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal on the basis of overfeeding.

They claim the dog was given a normal diet of dried food and the occasional bone. But the RSPCA says they allowed Rusty's weight to balloon to more than 111/ 2 stone - double the average for his breed.

Yesterday, RSPCA inspector Jason Finch told magistrates in Ely, Cambridgeshire, of his first visit to the Bentons' home in Fordham, near Soham, Cambridgeshire, in February.

'My immediate reaction was that the dog was grossly overweight to a point where it didn't actually appear like a dog - it looked like a seal,' he said.

The court heard how David Benton was served with a notice ordering him to take Rusty to a vet as soon as possible.

But when Mr Finch returned five weeks later, no action had been taken - because the brothers claimed it was not necessary. They were eventually persuaded to allow an RSPCA vet to carry out an inspection, but Mr Finch then struggled to load Rusty into his van.

'It was 40 or 50 yards to my vehicle,' he said. 'Rusty was only able to go four or five paces before he had to sit down.'

Prosecutor Stephen Climie said the brothers had ignored vets' advice over five years to put the dog on a diet.

Vet Alex Wylie said Rusty also had an ear infection which should have been treated, adding: 'He looked like a walrus.'

The court heard the dog had lost three-and-half stone since he was moved to an animal carer in March.

David Benton yesterday told the court Rusty ate a small bowl of dried food in the mornings and a larger one in the evenings, with an occasional bone.

He said the dog had been walked at least twice a day until 2004, when he began to suffer badly with arthritis.

'We tried to cut his food down, but he would get hungry and irritated. We also tried him on diet food but it made him ill. His food was his enjoyment, I suppose.'

The brothers deny two charges of causing unnecessary suffering - for the obesity and for failing to treat the ear infection. The case was adjourned until January 12.

'Food was his enjoyment'

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