A WOMAN has denied three animal welfare charges after a dog described as “skeletal” was discovered.

Jorden Farley is accused of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, failing to ensure animal welfare and aiding and abetting the failure to ensure animal welfare.

All three charges relate to a Staffordshire bull terrier called Tinkerbell which was found exceptionally underweight in March.

During a short hearing at Colchester Magistrates’ Court, yesterday Farley, 24, denied each count as well as a bail act offence having allegedly failed to show up for a previously scheduled court hearing.

She spoke only to confirm her pleas and personal details.

Outlining the case, Lauren Bond, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said: “Information was received that there was a very thin dog at the address.

“Inspectors found an extremely thin, skeletal dog. The dog was taken away by the RSPCA and has since become a healthy weight through normal feeding.”

Farley insists she was feeding the dog.

It is alleged she failed to investigate the causes of Tinkerbell’s weight loss and poor condition, did not seek help from a vet regarding her diarrhoea and failed to meet the needs for a suitable living environment for a pet.

A trial date has been set for Farley, of Wick Road, Colchester, next year, on March 6.

There will also be a further case management hearing on February 13 to see whether either the prosecution or defence will require expert witnesses to be instructed which could see the trial run into a second day.

Both hearings will take place at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court. Farley was granted unconditional bail until her next court date.

Chairman of the bench Robert Clubb warned Farley failing to show would be a criminal offence and she could be arrested.

He said: “Two dates have been set in relation to this case.

“You must report to somebody in authority at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court by 9.15am on the first date and not leave the building until matters concerning you have been dealt with. If you are late or fail to attend you may be held in custody.”