A BULLDOG died as the result of the worst flea infestation local RSPCA inspectors have ever seen after its owner failed to take it to vets.

Members of the public contacted the animal welfare organisation and Dorset Police after dog Little Bruv, two, collapsed in the street in July last year.

The pet's owner, Paul Briggs, of Herbert Avenue in Poole, has now been banned from keeping animals for five years after admitting an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

A court heard the severity of the flea infestation caused Little Bruv's organs to shut down. The bulldog was also suffering anaemia and didn't have enough red blood cells to sustain life.

RSPCA inspectors rushed the dog to an emergency vet after it was seen struggling to stand. The inspectors discovered Little Bruv's fur was "visibly teeming" with hundreds of fleas.

Although the vet administered a fast-acting flea treatment in the hope of saving Little Bruv's life, the dog couldn't be helped.

Briggs, 48, appeared at Poole Magistrates' Court on March 7. He admitted failing to take such steps as were reasonable to ensure Little Bruv's needs were met by not protecting the dog from injury, suffering or disease on dates between July 1 and 22 2017.

He also admitted separate charges of attempted burglary, possessing a knife in a public place and two counts of commission of a further offence while subject to a conditional discharge.

Magistrates sentenced Briggs to six months in prison suspended for 12 months and a rehabilitation activity requirement.

He has also been banned from owning pets for five years, and must pay court costs.

RSPCA inspector Tina Ward said: “It’s tragic that Briggs allowed a treatable flea infestation to become so severe it cost Little Bruv his young life.

"He was neglected and left to suffer when all he desperately needed was help.

“We hope this shows people that fleas must be tackled quickly. As well as being very uncomfortable for your pet they can pose serious and even fatal risks to their health.”

For information on flea treatments, visit rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/general/fleas