A Darlington woman has been handed a two-year ban on keeping dogs and rabbits after her pets were found with both injuries and multiple health issues - and led to one of them needing to be put down.

Elizabeth Cusick, 66, of Trafalgar Terrace in Darlington was convicted of two offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court on June 12.

Magistrates found that Ms Cusick caused "unnecessary suffering" to her Chihuahua cross named Chester by failing to seek vet treatment and for not addressing the "poor body condition and ill health" of her rabbit, Teddy.

Chester the dog.Chester the dog. (Image: RSPCA)

The court heard the defendant took her six-year-old dog in a pram to Stanhope Park Veterinary Hospital in Darlington on June 10 last year.

When a vet examined the pooch so as to carry out a procedure to ease a urinary blockage, injuries were found on Chester’s rear end.

A statement from vets revealed that when the dog arrived he "had not eaten for five days" and was in a "lethargic state, unable to walk more than two or three steps".

“When we clipped the fur between the dog’s back legs ready for the operation we noticed extensive bruising reaching from the ventral midline down either side of the back legs to the stifles. The dog’s perinanal area was also heavily bruised,” she said.

Teddy the rabbit.Teddy the rabbit. (Image: RSPCA)

“I called the owner and asked her if anything had happened inside or outside her house, but she could not give any explanations as to how the bruising might have happened.”

The vet said that in her expert opinion Chester had suffered from trauma, likely from a kick or multiple kicks between his back legs, which caused bruising and bleeding.

Following the exam, the vet swiftly contacted the RSPCA to raise concerns about the welfare of the dog, who was soon seized by police and taken into the care of the charity.

He later underwent surgery and his health improved.

Teddy the rabbit.Teddy the rabbit. (Image: RSPCA)

A visit to Ms Cusick's home two days later (June 12) found a rabbit living in a small hutch with no bedding, food and water. 

It was found to be suffering from an multiple infections and had matted fur which were heavily soiled with his own excrement.

The RSPCA says the rabbit was in such poor health that sadly the kindest course of action was to put him to sleep.

The vet said: "This rabbit had multiple infections that could have been prevented by proper care and attention and the severity of his respiratory infection would have been reduced had veterinary care been provided.

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"The owner should also have noticed that the rabbit’s eyes were abnormal and sought vet advice."

Ms Cusik was fined £292 and told to pay a victim surcharge of £117 and court costs of £250.

Chester the dog is said to have recovered in RSPCA and is currently being looked after by foster carers before he finds a new home.