A MAN has been warned he could face jail for animal cruelty after his pet dog was found in such a state of suffering that a vet decided it had to be put down.

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Nigel Purdy, from Stalham, appeared in court today (Friday) and pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the German Shepherd named Shadow.

He also pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the dog’s needs were met.

RSPCA investigators, along with police, found the black and tan pet in cramped living conditions covered in urine and faeces at Purdy’s premises.

Officers at the scene said the condition of the 4 x 6ft stairwell Shadow was being kept in was “horrendous”, the smell of ammonia was “unbearable” and there was no food or water available to the dog.

Statements from police and investigators, who discovered Shadow in July, were read out during this morning’s hearing at Great Yarmouth Magistrates’ Court.

One officer said the dog was in “dire condition” with a badly matted coat and had no room to move.

The statement added: “Due to the matting it was impossible to assess the weight and size of the dog. We managed to find something to tie the dog to as a lead and took the dog outside.

“It went straight to a puddle and frantically drank.”

Kevin Batch, representing the RSPCA which has brought the case against Purdy, 46, told the court Shadow was then seen by a vet, who assessed the pet as being at the bottom of a body condition score - used to rate animals’ health - with a grade of 2.5 out of 9.

The court heard Shadow was also weighed and tipped the scales at 33.6kg, with the vet estimating at least 3 - 4kg of his weight was matted fur.

Mr Batch said after discussing the dog’s condition with RSPCA officers the vet decided the “most humane” way to deal with Shadow was to put him down.

He told the bench that in interview Purdy, of Allen Meale Way, said he had owned Shadow for eight years and fed, watered and cleared up after him every day but in the last two months the dog had made his maintenance difficult.

Mr Batch said Purdy stated he had “tried cleaning him (Shadow) and he won’t let me, he wouldn’t let me touch him” and said he had bought a bag of dog food the day before his interview.

The court heard Purdy told officers he suffered from depression and had a “good job looking after myself” but he had done everything he could for Shadow.

Kieran Dunphy, mitigating, asked for a report to be prepared before his client was sentenced.

Chairman of the bench David Fairhurst told Purdy: “We do look at these instances as very, very serious and we’re not ruling out a custodial option.”

Purdy was released on conditional bail to return to court on November 9.

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