A woman who called Slough Borough Council and claimed she had found a dying dog dumped in woodland has been banned from keeping animals after it was revealed to be her own pet.

Emma Welland’s Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Rasher had been severely neglected over a significant period and was seriously malnourished.

She claimed to have found the abandoned animal in Britwell's Bluebell Woods on June 12 when she called to tell the council’s neighbourhood enforcement team she had taken it home to care for it.

The dog was rushed to an emergency vet. But nothing could be done for the elderly dog which could not even walk and he was put down a week later.

The vet found Rasher was severely neglected with serious muscle wastage, malnutrition, dangerous weight loss and a nasty skin condition. An appeal was launched to find the callous owner and several people identified Welland as the person actually responsible for Rasher.

Welland, 47, of Wavell Gardens, Britwell, admitted a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal under Section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 when she appeared at Reading Magistrates’ Court on February 22.

She was banned from owning or keeping any animal for five years, ordered to complete 40 hours unpaid work and undertake a 12 month community order and 15 days of a rehabilitation activity. Welland was also ordered to pay £60 costs and a victim surcharge of £85.

Ian Blake, the council’s neighbourhood manager, said: “This was a very difficult case due to the original reports from Emma Welland frustrating the investigation.

“She claimed to have found Rasher when she was actually the dog’s owner and person responsible for his terrible condition.

“She had fabricated the entire story of the abandoned dog in the wood and tried to pass her responsibility as an owner over to Slough Borough Council.

“Extensive efforts were made by vets and the kennels to support and rehabilitate Rasher however, he had deteriorated to such a poor state there was little more that could be done.

“Everyone involved in this case found it difficult to come to terms with what happened to Rasher. The actual facts of the matter would never have come to light if people had not come forward with information during the council’s publicity campaign and I would like to thank those who did.”

Councillor Pavitar K Mann, cabinet member for regulation and consumer protection, said: “Emma Welland was identified after Slough Borough Council launched a search to find Rasher’s owner when we thought he had been abandoned.

“To find out his owner was the woman who tried to claim to be the hero in this scenario was just so sad.

"As the council we will always endeavour to gather as much information as possible which could lead to prosecution through the justice system.”