A DOG has been returned to a couple four months after he was seized by police - but they say he is now just "skin and bones".

Carole and John Roberts both broke down in tears when their beloved Dylan was returned to them by West Mercia Police on Friday. Neither of them had seen him at all since he was seized by West Mercia Police in December because he was suspected of a fatal attack on another dog – something the couple always denied.

While relieved to have him back at their home in Guildford Close, Ronkswood, Worcester, the couple were shocked at his poor condition and believe that if he had been kept in kennels any longer he would have died. When he was taken, they say, he was a healthy weight but now Dylan’s ribcage and spine are clearly visible through his skin and fur. His collar, which had fitted him snugly, now hangs loose from his neck.

Mrs Roberts, 72, who estimates that Dylan has lost ‘over half his bodyweight’, said when three officers arrived at her home her first thought was that they had come to take her other dog, Alfie, a French bulldog and Dylan’s best friend. "When she saw Dylan she said: “I bent down crying. He looked like skin and bones. I was crying and trying to hold him. He was so skinny, I was frightened of hurting him. I said ‘I know why you have brought him back - it’s because you’re afraid of him dying in kennels'.”

Mr Roberts, 79, who is on dialysis for kidney failure and has suffered three heart attacks, said: “I broke down in tears. I could not believe it. I said ‘you b**tards!’ I believe if it had not been for the Worcester News we would have a dead dog. We’re over the moon to have him back.”

On the verge of tears, he said he wished he could have done more to help his wife of 55 years who is also his carer but was ‘so weak and ill’. He added: “The police said he was a friendly little dog. Why didn’t they bring him back sooner? Why keep him so long? He was innocent.”

As a last desperate resort, the couple had planned a protest outside Worcester Police Station in Castle Street with placards in the hope they could get Dylan back. They are convinced that police didn't want to see this protest go ahead as it would have looked bad for the force, which is one of the reasons the dog was returned.

We have previously reported how Dylan was seized by police with riot shields and Tasers on December 11 last year during fraught scenes at the family home. His return also proved a tense moment.

In a heated exchange, Mrs Roberts - who accepts she is ‘feisty’ - was so upset at Dylan’s condition she told a female officer ‘get off my drive!’ When she offered to step back Mrs Roberts said ‘no you won’t, get off my drive!’ When an officer handed her Dylan’s medication she said she told told them: “I beg your pardon!”

Mrs Roberts said Dylan had never been on medication before he was seized and now he is on four different kinds, including anti-anxiety drugs and another for gastric problems, as well as an antibiotic.

A medical report given to the family refers to ‘chronic weight loss’ and stress-related diarrhoea and intestinal disease. Blood and other tests came back normal however.

The notes also show Dylan has showed ‘no intolerance of other dogs’ while in kennels. The couple, who have already written to Worcester MP Robin Walker, are now planning to lodge a formal complaint against West Mercia Police and seek compensation.

“Why should we pay the vet bills after what they have done to him?” said Mr Roberts.

They plan to take the dog to the vets today and are feeding him in the hope he can put on some weight. Mrs Roberts said: “I would like to thank friends and family for all their help and the Worcester News.”

Mrs Roberts said she had developed convulsive shaking and felt suicidal after police took Dylan because he was suspected of a fatal attack on another dog.

Police have confirmed that a dog had to be put down after a savage mauling by a Staffordshire Bull Terrier in Worcester in August last year.

But the great-grandmother maintained throughout that the description of the attack dog did not match her Dylan, describing him as gentle and innocent and saying he ‘wouldn’t hurt a fly’.

Since he was taken she said she had suffered from panic attacks, sleepless nights, weight loss due to worry and had been prescribed antidepressants.

Robin Walker wrote in a letter before Dylan was returned: “The CPS have advised that the case is subject to regular review, but a decision is not yet possible until other potential lines of enquiry have concluded. It is expected that this will be achieved by the end of April and the CPS expect to be able to make a charging decision then.”

Before her dog was returned, an inconsolable Mrs Roberts said: “It’s like losing one of your children. I feel suicidal most days but I wouldn’t do it because I have to hold myself together. If it wasn’t for my husband and my other dog Alfie I would have thrown myself in the river. I’ve told police that.”

Police seized Dylan under the Dangerous Dog Act. The animal lover, who has had Dylan since he was a pup, says 12 police officers came to her door searching for a Staffordshire Bull Terrier that had bitten another dog.

However, police said Dylan was taken as part of an investigation into an attack on another dog that left the animal so badly injured they had to be put down, and that only six officers attended Mrs Roberts’ home. Mrs Roberts maintains there were 12 officers.

A spokesman for West Mercia Police said:  “As part of an investigation into the tragic death of a small terrier dog in August 2020, Dylan, a Staffordshire bull terrier, had to be seized by police and was homed in private kennels.

“The death of a pet dog is taken extremely seriously and therefore a full investigation was commenced so that wherever possible we are able to mitigate any future risks to other owners, other animals and the wider community. We submitted a prosecution file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service in December 2020 and they have now made the decision to take no further action. Therefore, we returned Dylan to his home on  Friday 9 April after the decision was made by the CPS.

“During his stay in kennels, he had regular visits from a vet and was fed and cared for in accordance with his dog breed. During an assessment with the vet whilst in the kennels, they concluded that Dylan was overweight and adjusted his diet accordingly.

“He was walked daily and had enrichment activities provided by the kennels. We are aware that he was subscribed medication by the vet during his stay in kennels for a number of ailments and have therefore provided the owners with the details and the necessary follow-on medication.”