A FORMER Mayfield woman whose dog was starving to death because it had fabric lodged in its stomach has been ordered to serve community service.
RSPCA officers seized the emaciated two-year-old American bulldog from 37-year-old Michelle Rowe's home on June 16 last year.
A veterinary report from that day described the dog as ``extraordinarily skeletal'', with a body score of zero out of nine and weighing just 14.4 kilograms.
Tests and exploratory surgery were conducted, and three days later the dog had a stomach operation to remove a wad of fabric.
At the Launceston Magistrates Court yesterday, RSPCA prosecutor Glenn Carey said it would have been obvious to Rowe the dog was in need of veterinary attention.
``The dog was near death when the animal welfare officer seized it, and if not for the intervention through surgery it would surely have died,'' Mr Carey said.
``The dog suffered for a significant period of time.''
Mr Carey said the dog recovered well after its surgery and had since been adopted out.
Rowe pleaded guilty to animal cruelty yesterday, and did not offer an explanation for her neglect of the dog.
Magistrate Reg Marron said it was important Rowe understood the seriousness of the crime.
``The information suggests it's a miracle that it's still alive,'' Mr Marron said.
``But for the intervention of the RSPCA I have got no doubt that the suffering that the animal was under would have continued.''
Rowe was convicted and ordered to perform 63 hours of community service.
She was also ordered to pay $1883.25 in veterinary costs to the RSPCA and banned from owning a pet for two years.