Drunken dog owner who covered her pet in cigarette burns found guilty of animal cruelty

Buster was taken to a vet, who conducted multiple tests and estimated that the mixed-breed dog had been suffering for nearly three months

STOCKTON: A drunken dog owner reportedly inflicted horrendous cigarette burns on her dog named Buster, who was found by the RSPCA with multiple skin lesions, a severe ear infection, and a jaw muscle condition at a house in Stockton, County Durham.

Reports state that when an inspector turned up at Nicola Poppleton's house to inspect her pet, she was drunk and started a fight with a group of people nearby. 

The 38-year-old pet owner also failed to attend court on Tuesday, however, the charges against her between January 15 to April 17 were found proved in her absence. Poppleton was also due to appear at Teesside Magistrates' Court to answer to four separate charges relating to animal cruelty.

The prosecuting attorney, Stewart Haywood, while addressing the court said that the RSPCA were called to the road where Poppleton lived as Buster was found in "poor health."

"The officer noticed there were a number of lesions consistent with cigarette burns," Haywood said. "There was muscle wastage to his head and he could barely open his jaw. The inspector tried to speak to the defendant, who was drunk."

Reports state that the responding officer could not speak to Poppleton at length because she "got into a fight with a group of people who were in a similar state." After further talks with the RSPCA officials, Poppleton eventually allowed the dog to be taken in by the pet rehabilitation organization.

Buster was taken to a vet, who conducted multiple tests and estimated that the mixed-breed dog had been suffering for nearly three months.

The court, on Tuesday, was told that the dog could not open his mouth fully because of the cigarette burns, which hindered the correct measurement of his body temperature. after the vet gave him treatment, including pain killers, Bustin still could only open his mouth about "three centimeters."

He also had an ear infection, and injuries consistent with "cigarette burns." However, it could not be determined whether the cigarette burns were accidental or deliberate.

Haywood also told the court that Poppleton had "accepted ownership" of the dog and had said that "did not know" he was suffering all these months. 

The 38-year-old was subsequently found guilty of animal cruelty as the court issued an order for her arrest.


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