Man in UK convicted for having obese dog

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A British man, Ronald West, has been convicted of animal neglect after authorities received complaints about his five-year-old dog being severely overweight. Authorities discovered the case of neglect in December 2008 after a neighbor complained that West's Border Collie Taz appeared to be too fat.

File photo of a Border Collie (not Taz).
Image: Pleple2000.

When authorities arrived at West's residence, they found Taz's feces scattered around the house and in every room. Authorities made several more visits to West's home until March 2009, at which point they determined that there had been no improvements in living conditions, and so they seized the dog. Taz weighed 88lbs (40kg) when authorities seized him.

West had said that he had been ill with the flu and was unable to clean up after Taz or take him for walks. He admits that he and his friends overfed Taz which led to his obesity, but West says it was not intentional.

"I'll put my hands up and say I'm guilty of [Taz] being overweight, but it wasn't deliberate. You can be cruel with kindness," said West in March, according to the police report.

West's sentencing has been postponed because he failed to appear at today's hearing. When sentenced, West could face a fine of up to £5,000 (US$7,581), six months in prison, and may be forbidden from owning any pets.