March 2021

Dog survived on toilet water and toothpaste after being kept locked in

A woman has been banned from keeping all types of animals after her dog was severely malnourished and turned into a “walking skeleton”

Yogi, a husky-type cross, was so emaciated that the RSPCA inspector who rescued her said she was the thinnest dog she had seen alive.

Ayla Gilchrist 23, of Egreaves Avenue, Heanor kept Yogi locked in a rubbish-strewn house. Dirty nappies, litter and dog faeces covered the floor.

Yogi was kept in this condition for three months and lost two-thirds of her natural body weight.

Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court heard RSPCA inspector Rachel Leafe attended the property on January 6, last year.

In a statement, she said: “She was walking, but looked very weak and unsteady on her legs.

“I could visibly see, despite the thick fur, that the dog was grossly underweight. The outline of every rib could be seen through the fur, as could the spine and hip bones. The dog’s face was sunken in.

“Her stomach was so sucked in that it looked like somebody could easily wrap their hands around her waist. I could not see any food or water. I was very concerned that if the dog was to be left any longer she may not survive.”

Rachel called Derbyshire police and with their assistance gained access to the property and carried Yogi to safety. The dog was too weak to jump onto the windowsill to escape.

Rachel said: “I was so shocked at how light the dog was to pick up. It just felt like picking up an empty rucksack. I could feel her breast bone which was very sharp and prominent and there was no fat or muscle surrounding her body at all.

“She looked like a walking skeleton and I had never felt a dog this thin that was still alive in all my life and career as an RSPCA Inspector.”

Yogi was then rushed to a vets, where they discovered she was micro-chipped and found that she was registered to Ayla Gilchrist.

Further investigation of the property found that there was no food or water for the pet. All they found were empty dog food tins and a tube of toothpaste, which had been ripped apart and chewed.

A vet who examined Yogi said: “The only reason she perhaps stayed alive as long as she did was because she was able to access the water in a downstairs toilet. The dog was caused an unimaginable degree of suffering for a period of at least two months.”

Yogi was taken to the RSPCA Chesterfield and North Derbyshire branch where she was rehabilitated and has been transformed into a healthy and loving dog. Rachel began calling her Honey, due to her sweet nature and fur colour.

Gilchrist pleaded guilty to three animal welfare offences after she admitted leaving Yogi alone in a house in Egreaves Avenue, Loscoe, Heanor, with no food.

As well as a ban on keeping animals, Gilchrist was given an 8 week sentence, suspended for 12 months for each of her offences.

She was also ordered to pay £200 costs and a victim surcharge of £128.

Her new owners, Linda and John re-homed her in Staveley.

Linda said she now enjoys getting plenty of love and attention who adores people – especially their grandchild Amelia.

The 57-year-old said: ” We have always had rescue dogs and I was on the look-out for one as we had lost our previous dog a year before. I saw her on the RSPCA branch website and fell for her then.

“She loves plenty of fuss and attention and she is so spoiled. She even has her own settee where she looks out of the window and likes to watch the neighbours and they also like to see her.

“I am so glad the RSPCA were able to rescue and rehabilitate her and she is such a lovely girl – they did a great job.”