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Thamesmead ex-crack addict Alan O'Donnell spared jail over dog abuse
AN UNEMPLOYED crack addict from Thamesmead had his dog taken away after he left it on a small balcony, starving and covered in its own excrement.
Now-clean Alan O’Donnell was spared jail at Bromley Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday when he appeared for sentencing on four charges of not ensuring an animal’s welfare and one of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
The 31-year-old, who was found guilty in his absence at an earlier hearing, was given a six-week prison sentence, suspended for a year, and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £250 costs.
O’Donnell’s white bull terrier Jack was found by police officers “whimpering on the balcony” of his then-home in Wolvercote Road, Abbey Wood, on November 16 last year during a police raid.
The officers noticed Jack was clearly underweight and loosely tied up or tangled on the 4ft by 8ft balcony, which was covered in faeces. Jack’s claws were unnaturally long, indicating he had not been exercised, and he smelt strongly of urine.
There was no water on the balcony and no dog food in the flat.
Jack was examined by an RSPCA officer and taken away.
In four days, he put on 11.5 per cent of his body weight, and in a few months gained another 22.35 per cent.
The RSPCA estimated it spent £9,664.75 in legal, vets and boarding fees.
Prosecutor Leigh-Anne Mong said: “The inspector could see the dog’s ribs and spine. She said there were piles and piles of faeces, some of it old. It was impossible to estimate the number of faeces.”
In interview, O’Donnell – who now lives with his sister in Carnoustie House, Thamesmead – said Jack only used the balcony as a toilet and claimed his poor condition could have been because he was unwell.
Frazer Bradshaw, mitigating, said O’Donnell had been a heavy user of crack cocaine but was now clean.
He said: “He was unable to look after himself let alone an animal.”
He added: “He looks back on this period and he is horrified.”
Chairman of the magistrates Michael Burgess said O’Donnell had come “very, very close” to going to prison.
He said: “It was at least two weeks of neglect, potentially much longer.”