A COUPLE have been banned from keeping animals for 10 years after their dog was starved so badly it looked like "a walking skeleton".

Jennifer Jayne Plater, aged 39 and Michael Knight, aged 41 of Rutland Road, Tyldesley, were found guilty of allowing their young female Weimaraner to suffer.

Wigan Magistrates Court heard that the dog, called Lola, was extremely thin — weighing just 14.5kg when she was rescued by the RSPCA.

The average weight for a dog of her type is between 25 and 30kg.

She was found by the RSPCA in December last year and seized by police, and she was then signed over to the RSPCA who helped increase her weight with feeding to more than 21kg.

The charity says Lola has now been happily rehomed.

Plater and Knight were convicted in absence at court on counts of failing to investigate and address the causes of Lola’s weight loss and poor bodily condition and failing to provide a suitable diet and fresh water between the dates of November 2 and December 14 last year.

RSPCA inspector Vicki McDonald said: “Lola was so emaciated you could see every bone in her body.

“Anyone could see that she was extremely underweight - in fact we were alerted to her plight after a shocked member of the public saw Mr Knight out with her, though he does deny this — She was like a walking skeleton.”

As well as the disqualification on keeping animals, both Plater and Knight were given curfew orders between the hours of 9pm and 7am for 26 weeks.

Plater was also ordered to pay £200 in costs while Knight was ordered to pay £300.

In mitigation the court heard that Knight had health problems resulting in a stay in hospital and it was during this time they had struggled with all of their commitments, including that of owning a dog, but Inspector McDonald said this did not excuse the treatment of Lola.

She added: “All owners are responsible for meeting the needs of their pets, the most basic of which is the provision of an adequate diet.

“This couple failed this dog terribly — she was literally starving to death. The vet report stated that Lola had suffered for around six weeks.”

“People should always think long and hard about taking on a dog, or any animal, to ensure they can meet the commitments involved. It’s clear that didn’t happen here.”