A dog owner who allowed his Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Delboy to starve has been spared jail but banned from keeping any animal for 10 years.

Paul Roberts, 42, pleaded guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, namely that he failed to ensure the dog was provided with adequate nutrition and failed to investigate and address his poor condition and weight loss.

The RSPCA, in a statement issued after a sentencing hearing, said veterinary staff were left distressed by Delboy's 'emaciated' state after the dog was taken to a practice in Manchester. The charity said Delboy, an eight-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier, had suffered for up to 12 weeks.

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Roberts, of Broadoak Road, Wythenshawe, was prosecuted by the RSPCA after Delboy was taken dead to a veterinary practice in the area on February 22 last year. The dog weighed just 27.1 pounds and pictures, which the M.E.N. has not been published due to their distressing nature, show his emaciated condition that a post-mortem examination concluded was due to starvation.

At a sentencing hearing at Manchester Crown Court on November 13, Roberts was jailed for 21 months, suspended for two years. He was also disqualified from keeping any animal as a pet for 10 years.

Delboy pictured before he was starved to death

The RSPCA said the court heard how Delboy was collected alive from Roberts' home on 21 February by someone who knew the defendant after it was reported the dog had 'been starved and wasn't in a good state'. He died overnight before he could be seen by a vet.

An investigation was then launched by the RSPCA. One vet said in evidence: "Delboy's physical condition on presentation was emotionally distressing and upset a number of staff members." Roberts was also placed on a curfew between 8pm and 6am for four months.

Speaking after the case, the RSPCA said: "The images of Delboy are so distressing and it is clear from them he had been woefully neglected for some considerable time. We would urge anyone who is struggling to look after their pets to seek appropriate help and advice in a timely manner. It is totally unacceptable to allow pets to deteriorate into the appalling condition that Delboy was found in."