A STAFFORDSHIRE bull terrier called Sky suffered the effects of an extreme skin condition for years.

Blackburn magistrates heard the dog's misery was eventually ended when she escaped from her owners and after being narrowly missed by a police car as she ran across the road jumped into the back of the car and settled down.

Her condition was eventually diagnosed and treated by vets acting on behalf of the RSPCA.

And District Judge Huw Edwards told the dog's owner he had been "ignorant, arrogant and rude" in his dealings with the animal welfare charity.

District Judge Edwards said he had listened to a "very sorry tale".

"The dog has clearly suffered and anyone with any degree of sensitivity could see that," said District Judge Edwards.

He told Ian Boyes, the dog's owner: "Your dismissal of the fact a vet could help shows the level of ignorance, arrogance and rudeness you have displayed during the investigation of this offence."

He said Boyes' partner, Leanne Ashworth, had abdicated her responsibility towards the dog.

Boyes, 52, and Ashworth, 42, both of Sycamore Avenue, Burnley, were convicted in their absence of failing to act to ensure the dog received the appropriate treatment.

Boyes was ordered to do 120 hours' unpaid work and Ashworth was made subject to a curfew between 10pm and 6am for 42 days.

They were both banned from keeping animals for five years and ordered to pay £250 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

An order was made handing custody of Sky to the RSPCA.

Paul Ridehalgh, prosecuting, said a police officer was driving towards Burnley town centre when a dog ran out in front of her car.

"As the officer got out of her car the dog jumped into the back seat and settled down," said Mr Ridehalgh.

A vet found a severe skin condition which resulted in lumps and bumps on the dog's back and areas of skin that were red raw and bleeding.

The dog was microchipped to Boyes and an RSPCA inspector went to speak to him.

He confirmed they had owned the dog for four years after taking it as a rescue dog from Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary.

He claimed the dog had the skin condition when they got it and described it as "Staffy rash".

"When the inspector said they would be investigating he became rude and aggressive," said Mr Ridehalgh.

"He said he had looked after dogs all his life and claimed the dog was in fantastic condition apart from the rash. He said they had tried to cure the skin condition with cream and medicated shampoo."

The vet's report revealed chronic inflammation, blocked oil glands, infection and large cysts.

"The vet said the dog's condition was preventable and treatable," said Mr Ridehalgh, who showed before and after photographs to illustrate the point.

"Both the defendants were well aware of the condition but failed to do anything about it," he added.

Duncan Nightingale, defending, said Boyes claimed the dog had a skin condition when he took it as a rescue dog three and a half years ago.

"His view is that he did try, at various stages, to treat the dog," said Mr Nightingale.

"He did the best he could but it was never going to be enough to deal with the deep-seated problem."

He said that other than the skin condition the dog was in good condition.

"They have tried but it was never enough and at the end of the day it comes down to money," said Mr Nightingale.