AN animal owner has been found guilty of the most serious case of malnutrition in a dog an RSPCA inspector has ever seen.

David Lowe, of Egerton Street, Farnworth, faced five charges relating to animal cruelty to a female tan lurcher.

Lowe, who did not attend the hearing, was found guilty in his absence based on the evidence in two statements from RSPCA inspector, Vicki McDonald, and vet, Angus McKenzie — who said he had never seen a dog, dead or alive, so emaciated.

The dog, called Fly, had to be put down on the day it was discovered.

RSPCA inspector Ms McDonald said: “This is the most serious case of malnutrition I have ever seen. It was hard to believe that she was still alive.

"Individually each condition could have been treated but together it was kinder to put her to sleep.

“I understand that it’s that difficult to let go of a dog you have had for years but you can’t leave them to get into this state. It is unacceptable and heartbreaking.”

Lowe, aged 33, was found guilty of failing to provide veterinary care for an inflamed mammary tumour, a discharging abscess, and dental disease, as well as failing to investigate and address the causes of her poor bodily condition, and failing to provide an adequate supply of drinking water resulting in dehydration.

Yesterday Bolton Magistrates Court heard how after an investigation by the RSPCA on October 20, last year, the 15-year-old dog was found to be half the weight it should have been.

The dehydrated dog, which was diabetic, also had signs of a tooth abscess, a mammary tumour, and severe advanced dental disease.

A warrant without bail has been issued for Lowe’s arrest and he will be sentenced once caught.

Tony Stock, prosecuting, told the court: “RSPCA inspector McDonald saw the dog lying in its bed and was shocked by how emaciated it was.

“The vet Mr McKenzie has more than 30 years’ experience in the field of small animals and he had never seen a dog — dead or alive — as emaciated as this.

“Because of the condition, the vet said that the only humane thing to do was to put the dog to sleep.”