Serviceman left dogs to become ‘skin and bone’

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AN AMERICAN serviceman failed to provide his three dogs with nutrition, leaving one dead and two severely malnourished.

Miles Rafanan Rodriguez, 24, pleaded guilty to three charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court last Thursday.

Rodriguez’s neglect of his pets left a tan and white Staffordshire bull terrier named Dougie and a tan and silver Yorkshire terrier named Louie so malnourished their body condition was rated one out of nine, the lowest it can be scored.

Mac, a black and white Staffordshire bull terrier, aged between six months and one year, was found dead by an RSPCA inspector on land adjoining Rodriguez’s rented accommodation in Thyme Close, Red Lodge.

The court heard that up until about May 23 this year, Rodriguez was driven from RAF Mildenhall, his place of work, to feed his dogs every two days by his colleague, Mr Sevi.

On June 22, Rodriguez was confined to base due to a punishment order.

He did not leave the base until June 29 when, accompanied by Staff Sergeant Standre, he went to clean the rented property, he was due to move out of.

Hugh Rowland, prosecuting, told the court that upon entering, the staff sergeant encountered a ‘terrible smell’ and dogs that were ‘skin and bones, one that looked like it was about to die’.

Dougie and Louie were taken to RAF Feltwell where they were inspected by vet Captain Diamond.

The examination showed that Dougie weighed 19lb and Louie weighed 3lbs, a weight drop of 1.6lb and 16lb respectively.

In a statement, Captain Diamond said they had both ‘undergone a rapid decline since last examined’.

On July 7, Mac was found dead.

Mr Rowland said: “RSPCA inspector Lythgoe went to the address in Red Lodge from where the dogs were taken.

“A few metres from the fence he found a black and white plastic dog kennel which contained the decomposing body of a dead dog.”

The dog’s body was taken to a vet who found signs of malnutrition.

Rodriguez told the court he had previously sold Mac to two men but had no contact details for them, magistrates found this claim to be unbelievable.

Speaking in mitigation, he said: “I’m very sorry for my animals.

“I can’t tell you guys how much seeing my dogs in good health again made me realise what I was doing or what I did was horrible.”

Rodriguez told the court he was undergoing treatment for mental health, anger management and substance abuse.

Dougie and Louie have now been restored to good health.

Rodriguez will be sentenced at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court on October 11.