A COUPLE from Ledbury have been banned from keeping animals after a social media appeal identified them as the owners of a dog which had been left to starve.

Mark and Anne-Marie Haron were banned from keeping pets for five years after Zeus, their Staffordshire bull terrier, was found in an emaciated condition.

A vet discovered that Zeus was weighing in at just under half his ideal body weight, when he was examined shortly before Christmas, last year.

Zeus had been handed in to the vet by a relative of the Harons who claimed he’d found the dog as a stray.

After an appeal on Facebook, the Harons were identified as Zeus’ owners.

Mark Haron, aged 31, and Anne-Marie Haron, aged 29, both of Oatleys Terrace in Ledbury, each admitted one offence of animal neglect when they appeared before Worcester Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, April 30.

RSPCA Inspector Suzi Smith, who investigated the case for the animal welfare charity, said: “Following the social media appeal, witnesses came forward and identified the Harons as the owners.

“From there I was able to begin an investigation which has led to justice for Zeus in court.”

She added: “When Zeus was handed in, he was found to be extremely underweight but has made an excellent recovery with just the provision of an adequate and suitable diet.

“There is a huge difference in his condition. He’s thriving under the care of Hereford and Worcester Animal Rescue.

“He was sadly just half his ideal body weight upon coming in to their care last year.”

Mark and Anne Marie Haron were both sentenced to a five-year disqualification order on all animals, and ordered to pay £50 each towards court costs.

Animal lovers criticised the couple for allowing the dog to starve.

Posting on Facebook, Sarah Smith wrote: “How could anyone do this to a dog? People who are cruel to animals are the lowest of the low.”

The actual charge the Harons faced was that “between October 21, 2018 and December 2 at an address in Oatleys Terrace, Ledbury, you did not take such steps as were reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the needs of an animal for which you were responsible, namely a Staffordshire bull terrier dog known as Zeus, were met to the extent required by good practice in that you failed to ensure it was protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease by not adequately investigating and addressing the cause of its poor body condition, contrary to Section 9(1) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.”