A dog owner from Medway Road, Ferndown, who admitted to cruelty towards an elderly Shih Tzu dog, has been banned from keeping animals for five years.

Nicholas Hawkes, 41, did not provide any veterinary care for the 12-year-old Gilly who was suffering from a painful eye condition. The condition was discovered by a dog groomer who contacted the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).

The dog was also diagnosed with diabetes, which was untreated. Gilly had to have one eye removed, while the other remains blind.

Hawkes was sentenced to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and 10 days of rehabilitation. He had to pay £500 costs, the Poole Magistrates' Court said.

Gilly was looked after by RSPCA Inspector Patrick Bailey while she received veterinary treatment. Bailey later went on to adopt her. He said Gilly had been "extremely underweight" with bones prominent under her skin.

"The groomer had already expressed a concern to the family that the dog appeared to be losing weight on a previous visit, suggesting they get her checked by the vet. On this visit, the groomer was upset to find the dog was now extremely thin. She had some general matting to the fur on her body and legs but significant matting to each eyeball and both were covered in a black, crusty substance," Bailey was quoted as saying by the Daily Echo.

"She described them as looking like pirate patches and that it was impossible to see the eyeball through the matting. She gently and carefully removed the crusting and found each eyeball to have ulcerated. She refused to give the dog back to the family and rushed it to a local vet and contacted the RSPCA," Bailey added.

When Hawkes was interviewed, he said he preferred trying "home remedies" to taking the old dog to the vet, Bailey said. These apparently included bathing the dog's eyes in saline solution, applying apple cider vinegar to the back of her neck and making her drink water.