SPCA officers said pit bull Venom, pictured, was emaciated with his spine and ribs protruding from his body and needed immediate medical care. *Photo supplied
SPCA officers said pit bull Venom, pictured, was emaciated with his spine and ribs protruding from his body and needed immediate medical care. *Photo supplied
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MONDAY, FEBRUARY 27: A man accused of neglecting his former dog was today cleared of any wrongdoing.

Kurt Dowling, 30, denied permitting unnecessary suffering, pain and injury to be caused to a dog, a pit bull named Venom, between December 7, 2010 and January 21, 2011.

The prosecution had alleged Mr Dowling chained Venom to a tree at a Cedar Lane, Warwick, residence without food or water.

Venom was emaciated with his spine and ribs protruding from his body.

SPCA officers seized the dog on January 21, 2011 after complaints from neighbours. SPCA welfare officer Debbie Masters told the court Venom needed immediate veterinary care.

Mr Dowling told the court during his evidence that he tried to care for the dog after he was contacted by the dog warden.

He said he got Venom in 2007 but had to give him up to a friend, Kijon Steede. The court also heard Venom was not licensed at the time of the seizure.

Giving his verdict, Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo said: “In my judgement, the evidence doesn’t support the defendant causing suffering, pain and injury with or up to that date.

“The fact that the defendant wasn’t the registered owner and opted to take care for the dog didn’t make him responsible for the dog’s condition up to December 7.

“A proper investigation would have discovered who was the true owner of the dog.”

He continued: “I am not satisfied so that I feel sure that the defendant committed the offences as charged so I find him not guilty.”

After the hearing Mr Dowling’s lawyer, Eugene Johnston, said: “It’s probably a case that shouldn’t have been brought and if they had done their job, they would have realised Kurt Dowling wasn’t responsible.”

Mr Dowling declined to comment.