Eleven Newfoundland dogs were found starving and locked in pens at a Shropshire farm, a court heard.

The animals, who were so thin their ribs were showing, were discovered by RSPCA officers in October last year.

Some of the dogs weighed around half of what a normal, healthy Newfoundland should weigh.

Magistrates at Telford were told that at the time the 11 dogs were in the care of 25-year-old Daryl Stock of Walford Heath, near Wem.

He was given a four-month suspended prison sentence and was banned from keeping animals for five years.

Stock, who pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the 11 Newfoundland dogs in September and October last year, was also ordered to pay £500 costs.

The court heard the RSPCA was alerted by a concerned member of the public about the conditions at Woodside Farm, Shrawardine.

RSPCA Inspector Nayman Dunderdale described it as a ‘shocking’ case having discovered the dogs being held in three pens that had been constructed in a stable.

He said the animals had no food or water and only minimal bedding and it appeared the dogs had not been fed for some time.

The pens were screwed shut suggesting the doors were not opened very often in order to regularly feed and water the animals.

A vet was called to the site and the police approved the removal of the dogs to avoid further suffering and so they could be cared for by the RSPCA.

Magistrates heard the dogs were all emaciated and the dogs’ gastro-intestinal tracts were completely empty and most were suffering from conjunctivitis.

It was clear the dogs had considerably restricted access to both food and water for a significant period of time while being kept by the defendant.

The court heard that since their rescue all 11 dogs had now reached healthy weights and had been adopted by dog lovers.