#TheList Adeline Anne Stopher, born 27/08/1962, of 64 Attleboro Road, Moston, Manchester M40 5EN, and son Chris James Stopher, born 12/04/1988, of 160 Church Lane, Harpurhey, Manchester M9 4HZ – watched their German shepherd slowly starve to death
Chris Stopher and his mother Adeline Stopher, who at the time lived together in Burnthorp Avenue, Blackley, were convicted in their absence of causing unnecessary suffering to the six-year-old female dog, known as Wilson.
The offence came to light when a driver for Manchester Dogs’ Home called at the house to pick up the dog for cremation. He was so appalled at the dog’s ‘totally emaciated’ condition he called in the RSPCA.
Animal welfare officers investigated the case and the Stophers were arrested.
Veterinary examination showed Wilson was less than half her normal weight and was so hungry before her death she had started to eat cloth. She also had a large tumour in her chest. Experts said she may have suffered for six weeks or longer before finally dying.
David McCormick, prosecuting, told the court: “Both accepted responsibilities for the dog and said it had died slowly of hunger.
“They agreed they should have taken it to the vet but made no effort to do so.
“Mr Stopher said he had no money on his phone. Mrs Stopher indicated she preferred the dog to die at home, rather than be put down by a veterinary surgeon.”
Mr McCormick said: “The cloth in its gastro-intestinal tract suggested it was ingesting foreign materials to satisfy its hunger”,.
No explanation was given as to why they hadn’t fed Wilson for several weeks.
Mr McCormick said: “They knew of the dog’s deterioration and did nothing.”
Jailing the pair, court chairman Wallace Johnson said: “Reports show you both have mental health factors but they were not linked to the offending behaviour.
“This dog died a slow death as a result of your neglect.”
Alexandra Patison, defending, said the pair had ‘very troubled’ backgrounds and were deeply sorry for what happened. She said: “What they did wasn’t out of malice; it was a lack of understanding. They have a tendency to try and deal with things themselves when they need help.”
Sentencing: six months in jail. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years (expires January 2023).
Additional information: in August 2019 Chris Stopher was given a suspended prison sentence after sending indecent messages to an underage schoolgirl. He was ordered to undertake 120 hours of unpaid work, participate in a sex offender programme and 25 days of rehabilitation activities.