Tiggy left for dead, 'worst pet case in 15 years' - now she's a beautiful dog again

A sick couple has been sentenced for starving their Lurcher dog to death in one of the most terrible examples of animal cruelty investigators have ever seen.

Kerry Patterson, 35, and Reece Milburn, 30, purported to discover three-year-old Tiggy abandoned on the side of the road and reported him to their local council.

An animal protection officer came at their house in Blyth, Northumberland, and characterized the animal's condition as the "worst instance he'd seen in his 15 years on the job."

Tiggy was pictured with practically no fur on her body and her ribs protruding from her thin frame.

She was also very dehydrated, suffering from rashes and a mite infestation, and was so weak that she couldn't stand.

Tiggy was discovered only days before Christmas in 2019 and her heartbreaking photographs went viral, prompting Northumberland County Council to make an appeal to identify her owners.

Several days later, the council received dozens of letters saying Tiggy was Patterson and Milburn's property.

In Thursday, March 3, the couple appeared at North Tyneside Magistrates Court and acknowledged inflicting needless suffering to a protected species.

They also agreed to neglecting to look after their other dog, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Enzo is a terrier that suffers from a skin ailment and a mite infestation.

The duo were sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, forbidden from owning or maintaining animals for the rest of their life, and told to pay a victim fee of £120 each.

According to a council spokeswoman, Philip Soderquest, it was "one of the most appalling and high-profile examples of animal cruelty the county has ever seen."

'Our animal welfare team works relentlessly to investigate animal neglect and cruelty instances and bring culprits to justice,' he added.

'We were insistent that Tiggy's former owners would have their day in court, and despite the fact that it took two years, we finally obtained the result we needed today,' says the attorney.

Tiggy's story ended happily thanks to the hard work of the team at Berwick Animal Rescue Centre.

'She is a picture of health and happiness, with a new home, a new life with dog pals, and even a new name.'

The couple's other dog, Enzo, is still in kennels and waiting for a permanent home.

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