A DOG owner has been jailed for 16 weeks and banned from keeping animals for life after abusing his female American bulldog.

Gary Bell, of Coronation Way, Keighley was sentenced at Bradford Magistrates' Court on Thursday, January 9.

The 50-year-old was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to female American bulldog, "Smiler", under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

It included three offences: inflicting trauma on Smiler, failing to provide veterinary attention for her injuries and applying cleaning products to her head and eyes.

The latter offence had the effect of causing intense stinging, pain and irritation.

The conviction came after a trial on December 3.

Mr Bell was due to attend court on Tuesday, January 7, but failed to appear and was arrested on warrant.

His sentence from January 9 includes Smiler being taken from him and a £121 victim surcharge.

RSPCA inspector, Sarah Bagley, was first alerted to possible issues after dealing with Mr Bell on a couple of occasions, due to a condition Smiler had known as "Cherry Eye".

This manifests when the tear-producing gland in a dog's third eyelid - which is not usually visible - pops out and sits in in the corner of the eye.

It is not believed to cause discomfort, but needs to be treated as soon as possible to maintain good eye health, according to Blue Cross.

Smiler was discovered in a bad way and covered in blood on her head, when Mrs Bagley acted on her concern and visited Mr Bell's home with police.

She said: "Initially there was no reply, then myself and one of the police officers heard heavy breathing through the ground floor bathroom window.

"I was horrified to see Smiler in the bath with a bloodied tea towel on her head.

"A friend of Bell’s let us into the property and we found Smiler barely conscious.

"She and the bath were wet and there was a bottle of human shampoo and Flash household cleaner which appeared to have been used on her.

"Between us we were able to get her out of the flat and I rushed her straight to a local vet practice.

"By the time I got her there her eyes were swollen shut.

"She was found to have multiple injuries including two large wounds to the top of her head which needed to be stitched, bruising to the head and a loose tooth that needed to be removed.

"Her eyes were flushed to get rid of any cleaning product."

A veterinary examination ruled that the injuries were not accidental.

Mr Bell offered no "plausible explanation" for Smiler's predicament, stating she'd cut her head on barbed wire during a walk in the woods, according to Mrs Bagley.

After Smiler was first taken in, she spent a week under treatment and supervision at the vets.

She was slowly able to physically recovery and is now being cared for at RSPCA Sheffield.

Mrs Bagley said everyone at the centre loves Smiler.

She added: "She is recovering well, gaining weight, her skin and coat are improving and she seems to be a much brighter, happier dog.

"The cherry eye is being monitored on vet advice at the moment.

"She is a very sweet dog who loves people and I can't wait to hear that she’s thriving in a loving new home."

Smiler is set to be put up for adoption soon.

Anyone who is interested in offering an RSPCA rescue dog a new home can find their perfect match at: rspca.org.uk/findape