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neglected bull terrier was so flea-ridden he bit off the end of his own tail in desperation after a month of suffering excruciating itching, a court heard.
Vets said two-year-old Sambuca had been scratching and biting himself for weeks, before the RSPCA found him covered in open, weeping sores and a wound in place of the tip of his tail.
Owner Shelley Blackwell, 29, was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to Sambuca at Milton Keynes Magistrates` Court on Tuesday. As well as a £1,000 fine and 120 hours community service, she has been forced to hand over Sambuca to the RSPCA and banned from keeping animals for three years.
RSPCA officers were shocked when they inspected Mrs Blackwell`s home in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshier in April 2011 and found Sambuca wounded and in distress.
Vets said he had been scratching and biting the skin for a month and had sores five days old when he was assessed.
They said he was so desperate he chewed the hard skin off his tail out of relief to leave a bloody, open wound.
Ms Blackwell said she had treated her dog with off-the-shelf flea products from a pet shop but these had not worked.
RSPCA Inspector Sue Haywood said after the case: `Vets investigations said it would have taken a month to have got to the state the end of the tail was in.
`There was signs of trauma from the five day old sores that has led to the dog biting off the end.
`For the sake of spending £20 or £30 on proper flea treatment from the vets, all this could have been avoided.
`You can see if a product is or is not working and we would advise pet owners take a vets advice if unsure.
`This should be a warning to everybody who has dogs or cats.
`We were satisfied with the sentence she received.`
The RSPCA is now looking for a new home for Sambuca.