'Walking skeleton’ dog left starving in house for months – survived by eating toothpaste

A PET dog was left to starve in a locked house for two months surviving on toilet water and toothpaste.

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Husky-cross Yogi became a "walking skeleton" and was the thinnest dog one RSPCA inspector had ever seen. She was so weak when found she was barely able to walk or stand and had bones protruding from her emaciated body.

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The poor pooch weighed just a third of her bodyweight at 8.75kg and her breed would normally weigh around 30kg.

Her owner Ayla Gilchrist, 23, has now been banned from keeping animals indefinitely after admitting three animal welfare offences at Derby Magistrates’ Court.

She was also handed an eight-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay £200 costs and a victim surcharge of £128 on March 8.

Yogi was rescued by the RSPCA after a housing officer attending the address in Loscoe, Derbyshire, reported seeing a severely underweight dog inside.

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Husky-type cross called Yogi was discovered with bones protruding from her body

Yogi was described as the thinnest dog one RSPCA inspector had ever seen (Image: SWNS)

'Walking skeleton’ dog left starving in house for months

Yogi was thin and weak when the RSPCA found her (Image: SWNS)Animal rescuer Rachel Leafe attended on January 6 last year and could see Yogi in the house which had dirty nappies, litter and dog faeces covering the floors.

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.

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Yogi now lives a happy and healthy life with her new owners in Cumbria

Yogi now lives with her new owners Linda Merrill, 57, and husband John, 58 (Image: SWNS)

“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 immediately called Derbyshire Police and with their help was able to gain access to the property.

She climbed onto a ledge through an open window and was able to safely lift the dog free - as she was too weak to jump on the windowsill.

Rachel added: “I was so shocked at how light the dog was to pick up.

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'Walking skeleton’ dog saved by RSPCA

Yogi now lives in Cumbria with her new owners (Image: SWNS)

"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.”

Rachel rushed the dog for emergency veterinary treatment as she was underweight, dehydrated and appeared confused and weak.

The vets also found a microchip which revealed the dog’s name was Yogi, she was aged five, and she belonged to Gilchrist at the address where she was found.

During a search of the property, Rachel found no available food and water for the pet but came across a tube of toothpaste which had been ripped apart and chewed.

The 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.”

Use Dog Toothpaste on a Rope Toy. If your dog doesn’t like having his teeth brushed squeeze some doggie tooth paste onto a rope toy & let them go at it. It’s a nice way to start desensitizing them to having their teeth brushed.

After emergency treatment Yogi was taken to the RSPCA Chesterfield and North Derbyshire branch where she was rehabilitated.Yogi now lives with her new owners Linda Merrill, 57, and husband John, 58, at their home in Staveley, Cumbria, who have named her Honey.Linda 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.

“When I told my husband he said we should go and see her and when we did we felt she was so lovely that we adopted her exactly a year ago this week.

“She loves plenty of fuss and attention and she is so spoiled.

"She even has her own sette where she looks out of the window and likes to watch the neighbours and they also like to see Honey.

“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.”