A twisted couple who starved their Lurcher puppy to death in one of the most heinous cases of animal cruelty officers have ever seen have been jailed.

Kerry Patterson, 35, and Reece Milburn, 30, pretended to find three-year-old Tiggy abandoned by the side of the road and reported it to their local council.

An animal welfare officer arrived at their home in Blyth, Northumberland, and was so disgusted by the animal’s condition that he described it as the “worst case he’d seen in his 15 years on the job.”

Tiggy was photographed with almost no fur and her ribs protruding from her emaciated body.

She was also severely dehydrated, had dermatitis and a mite infestation, and was so weak she couldn’t stand.

Northumberland County Council issued an appeal to find Tiggy’s owners after she was discovered just days before Christmas in 2019 and her harrowing images went viral.

Several days later, the council received dozens of emails claiming Tiggy belonged to Patterson and Milburn.

When the couple appeared in North Tyneside Magistrates Court last Thursday, March 3, they admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

They also admitted failing to ensure the welfare of their other dog, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Enzo, a terrier with a skin condition and a mite infestation.

The pair were jailed for 12 weeks, were barred from owning or keeping animals for the rest of their lives, and were each ordered to pay a £120 victim surcharge.

According to Philip Soderquest, a council spokesperson, it was “one of the most shocking and high-profile cases of animal cruelty the county has ever seen.”

‘Our animal welfare team works tirelessly to investigate cases of animal neglect and cruelty and bring perpetrators to justice,’ he continued.

‘We were adamant that Tiggy’s former owners would have their day in court, and although it took two years, we finally got the result we wanted today.’

Tiggy had a happy ending thanks to the dedication of the team at Berwick Animal Rescue Centre.

‘With a new home, a new life with dog companions, and even a new name, she is a picture of health and happiness.’

Enzo, the couple’s other dog, is still in kennels and is looking for his forever home.