AN ex-couple have been fined for treating a dog so poorly at a house near Redditch that it had to be put to sleep.

Bull mastiff Blue was rescued by a dog warden in January, after receiving a call from Jaspal Boparia, of Wasthill Lane in Hopwood, claiming she had taken in a stray.

The dog, described by the warden as 'emaciated, skin and bone, with no muscle tone', was given immediate veterinary treatment, but was found to be suffering unnecessarily and euthanised.

An investigation by Worcestershire Regulatory Service discovered Blue was actually owned by Mrs Boparia's ex-husband Ranjit, from Barwell in Leicester, but had been left in her care a few months before.

Mrs Boparia admitted falsely reporting the dog as a stray after she noticed he had stopped eating, because she couldn't afford to take him to a vet.

The 47-year-old pleaded guilty to an offence under Section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act for failing to provide Blue with a suitable diet.

At Redditch Magistrates' Court on September 19, Mrs Boparia was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 80 hours of unpaid work. She will also pay a £1,225 contribution to the prosecution costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

Mr Boparia, 46, who was already banned from owning a dog for five years, pleaded guilty to failing to take steps to prevent the animal's suffering. He was fined £333 and must pay a victim surcharge of £33 plus costs totalling £2,447.

Speaking after the trial, a WRS spokesman said: "Cruelty of any kind towards a defenceless animal should not be tolerated and our dog warden service frequently run campaigns to highlight the plights of animals across the County.

“It is hoped that the more people are exposed to the cases the department faces, the more they will look out for cases of cruelty so we can step in and end any unnecessary suffering before it is too late.”