- Denise Leitch let Corgi Tyke balloon to double his recommended weight
- She was ‘killing it with kindness’ with all the snacks she would feed him
- But he has now been taken from her after becoming dangerously oversized
- Mrs Leitch escaped a jail term but has lost her pet who will go to new home
Euan McLelland For MailOnline
A dog owner who let her Corgi get so fat that it weighed a back breaking seven stone has denied being cruel to animals after welfare officers were forced to confiscate her pet.
Denise Leitch, 59, let her dog Tyke balloon to double his maximum recommended weight by feeding him too many treats with little exercise to burn them off.
He had grown to such a size that vets thought he looked more like a seal than a dog, with one vet saying the ‘ginormous’ cross-breed was the most obese dog he had ever seen.
At his fattest, Tyke tipped the scales at seven stone when he should have been just over three.
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Denise Leitch let her dog Tyke balloon to double his maximum recommended weight by feeding him too many treats with little exercise to burn them off. He had grown to such a size that vets thought he looked more like a seal than a dog, with one vet saying the cross-breed Corgi (pictured) was the most obese dog he had ever seen
But Mrs Leitch – who escaped a jail term after a court concluded she was ‘killing it with kindness’ rather than as an act of cruelty – insists she, nor her husband Alex, is a threat to animals.
Speaking today at her semi-detached home in Earlston in the Scottish Borders, she said: ‘I loved that dog.
‘The animal welfare officers took him away – we were forced to sign him over. We both loved that dog.
Mrs Leitch (pictured) – who escaped a jail term after a court concluded she was ‘killing it with kindness’ rather than as an act of cruelty – insists she, nor her husband Alex, is a threat to animals
‘They badgered us in to it, and then he was in a hot van for an hour and a half. They’re making out as though I’m the bad one and I’m not.’
Mrs Leitch has another dog, a Jack Russell, and a cat, both of which she has been allowed to keep.
She continued: ‘They left my other dog, and my cat. Like they said in court they are both healthy. I am not cruel to animals
‘Growing up in Wales I had cats all my life. I’ve never been cruel to an animal.
‘My solicitor overheard the sheriff talking to the procurator fiscal at one point during the case asking why this had been brought to court, but it’s happened now.’
Tyke was seized by Scottish SPCA officers after a neighbour tipped them off that he could barely walk and had difficulty breathing because he was so fat.
At Selkirk Sheriff Court on Monday, Leitch pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to provide treatment for a morbidly obese dog.
She also admitted causing Tyke unnecessary suffering between April 1 and October 13 last year.
The offence carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison, a fine of £20,000 or a disqualification from owning animals.
But Sheriff Derrick McIntyre – who studied pictures of the dog and described it as ‘ginormous’ – said it was not a normal case of maltreating an animal.
Defence lawyer Claire Patterson said Tyke had been ‘freaked out’ by a firework display last year and rarely ventured out to exercise.
Ms Patterson said: ‘She has already been punished by losing custody of the dog. It was not intentional for the dog to reach that size but it is accepted she did not seek the proper treatment.’
Depute fiscal Tessa Bradley told the court: ‘The SSPCA officer said the dog was like a seal because it was so obese.’
Since he’s been under the care of the Scottish SPCA, Tyke (pictured now) has lost two stone and is more mobile – but he is still overweight and cannot walk any distance
Mrs Leitch bought the dog as a Christmas present for her husband – but she was the person charged with mistreating it as she was legally responsible for its welfare.
Sentence was deferred for one year for good behaviour.
Since he’s been under the care of the Scottish SPCA, Tyke has lost two stone and is more mobile – but he is still overweight and cannot walk any distance.
He will be re-homed with another family once his health has fully recovered.
Westley Pearson, director of claims at pet insurance company Animal Friends, said: ‘We conducted a five-year study of pet obesity, and found that there’s been an 850 per cent increase in cases of canine diabetes since 2011.
‘It’s imperative to keep an eye on what your pets are eating; if you give them snacks throughout the day you should deduct the appropriate calorie value from their regular meals.’
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