A man has been jailed after he let a German Shepherd puppy starve to death in an excrement-filled cage for up to seven months.
Paul James Brunsden, 25, was sent to prison for 20 weeks
and banned from ever
keeping an animal again after Dartford Magistrates’ Court heard he 'effectively tortured' the dog in one of the worst cases of animal cruelty investigators had ever seen.
RSPCA inspectors found the puppy, named Jack, in a container festering with flies, maggots and strewn with rubbish.
The court also heard that a water bowl was full of excrement, as was the dog’s mouth, and that when the puppy was lifted out of the pen, the RSCPA inspector could clearly feel its spine.
'There was a strong smell of ammonia, faeces and decomposing flesh,' prosecutor Andrew Wiles said.
'She (the inspector) described it as the thinnest dog she had ever seen.'
The co-owner of the dog, Stacey Louise Lockhurst, has been warned she faces a similar sentence for her part in the cruelty.
Sentencing Brunsden, Judge Michael Kelly said: 'It is one of the worst cases of animal cruelty I have ever come across. This dog was effectively tortured and neglected.'
Brunsden, of Hornchurch, East London, and 27-year-old Lockhurst both pleaded guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to the black and tan dog.
RSPCA inspectors visited Lockhurst’s former home in Erith, in October 2010, when Jack was just 16 weeks old.
They recommended the plastic box he was kept in be taken away and gave the pair advice on training.
Stacey Louise Lockhurst, 27, was warned she also faces a possible jail term for her role in the neglect.
And noticing they were struggling, the inspectors suggested they hand over ownership.
But seven months later, they found Jack dead in the same crate, covered by a curtain.
The RSPCA was called out to the address in May last year and found the dog, which was less than a year old, along with a cat and two kittens that were also seized.
At the hearing on August 1st, prosecutor Andrew Wiles said: 'When the top of the crate was removed it was clear the dog was emaciated.
'There was an inch or more of faeces covering all of the floor of the crate except where the dog was laying.'
Despicable: The court heard that the German Shepher puppy's mouth was full of excrement when he was lifted out of the pen, the RSCPA inspector could clearly feel its spine.
A post mortem examination showed Jack was emaciated, had no fat and almost
certainly died of starvation.
The examining vet concluded the puppy 'suffered greatly and unnecessarily for a great period of time'.
Defending Lockhurst, who was granted bail until returning for sentencing on September 7th,
Robert DeBanzie said she suffered from 'pronounced learning disabilities'.
Judge Kelly said: 'There is a real risk you will be serving a prison sentence for this.'
Defending Brunsden, Frederick Hookway argued his client had reduced culpability because he did not live at the house where the dog was kept.
Sentencing Brunsden to 20 weeks in prison and disqualifying him for life from owning animals, Judge Kelly said: 'This is one of the worst cases of animal cruelty I have come across.
'This dog was confined in a little cage so small it appears it could barely stand up.
'It was kept there without being allowed out at all for any exercise or freedom and was starved to death. You could have released the dog. You could have provided food for it. You were offered help and advice from the RSPCA.
'I can’t imagine any human being would have failed to recognise the suffering and distress of this dog.'
RSPCA Inspector Alison Fletcher said: 'It is heartbreaking that this poor dog lived and then died in the squalor of this cage, hungry, thirsty and alone.
This kind of cruelty is simply horrendous and anyone looking at the photo of this dog can see the suffering.