A man has been banned from owning a dog for five years and sentenced to community work after his pet was found in an appalling state.

Wayne Simmonds pleaded guilty in the Whanganui District Court on Friday to a charge of failing to provide his adopted greyhound with sufficient nourishment.

His landlord at the time, Kiri Valerie Edwards, pleaded guilty to failing to get veterinary assistance to relieve stress and pain the dog suffered.

Simmonds took ownership of retired greyhound Max on May 23 last year while boarding with Edwards. On July 21 he suffered a head injury and had to go to Wellington Hospital, where he had surgery on July 31.

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Edwards was left in charge of Max and also had her own two dogs to care for. Text messages were exchanged between Edwards and Simmonds, who said he had given his girlfriend at the time $70 a week for the dogs care. But the money never reached Edwards.

Animal officers were called to the Wanganui property on August 5 following a barking complaint and found Max in an emaciated state.

He was taken to the pound, fed and given supplements but after five days showed little sign of improvement, weighing just 19 kilograms. The dog was 34kg when Simmonds took ownership of him.

Max was taken to Wanganui Veterinary Services where he was cared for and improved, gaining nearly 10kg over the next two weeks.

Defence lawyer Stephen Ross said Edwards did feed Max and had asked Simmonds to do something about his dog. Edwards had accepted the dog needed veterinary care but assumed someone was coming to pick up the dog on Simmonds behalf, Mr Ross said.

He also argued that if the pound did not take the dog to the vet in the five days it had him, she should not have been expected to see the need to.

Simmonds lawyer, Raukawa Simon, said he had been in hospital and unable to go home. Because of that, Simmonds thought he had taken all reasonable steps.

Judge David Cameron said it was Simmonds who was principally responsible for the appalling state of the dog at the time and held some sympathy for Edwards.

At the end of the day, it was his dog. While he was in a difficult position being in Wellington ... he nevertheless had a responsibility to ensure the dog was being properly cared for and being properly fed, Judge Cameron said.

I think shes got the rough end of the stick from this guy but she needs to be punished in some way.

Simmonds was disqualified from owning a dog for five years, sentenced to 100 hours community work, ordered to pay vet costs of $575, $372 for boarding costs and $500 towards the prosecution.

Edwards was fined $500, ordered to pay $500 towards the prosecution and $130 in court costs.

Max made a full recovery and has been re-homed.