A DOG owner has been spared an immediate custodial sentence after she failed in her duty of care towards a Staffordshire Bull terrier.

Stephanie Sweeney, of Rossall House in Barrow, was sentenced at South Cumbria Magistrates’ Court on June 24 for causing unnecessary suffering to the dog, named Ariel.

Court records show the 37-year-old failed to provide adequate nutrition for the dog’s needs and/or failed to investigate and address the cause of the animal’s poor body condition and weight loss.

Magistrates banned her from owning, keeping, or participating in keeping animals for life.

In her defence, Michael Graham said his client had poor mental health and that she was the primary carer for three children.

He added custody would have an impact on her children, especially to two who have ‘significant mental health problems’.

Mr Graham argued the defendant had a strong prospect of rehabilitation given her remorse and the fact she was of previous good character.

As a result, magistrates sentenced Sweeney to a 12-week suspended sentence for 12 months with one requirement of completing 20 rehabilitation requirement days.

She was also told to pay a £154 victim surcharge.