Hartlepool, County Durham: John Michael Donaldson

#TheList John Michael Donaldson, born 25/05/1969, of 12 Oak Grove, Hartlepool TS24 8JG – left two dogs to starve to death.

Donaldson left a female white and black terrier-type dog called Bess and a male black terrier named Whiskey at a house in Straker Street, Hartlepool, without food.

The dogs were found dead on May 23, 2017, by the landlord of the house that Donaldson rented.

RSPCA inspector Lucy Hoehne said: “The smell was overwhelming and there was faeces, urine and bits of chewed up foam from a sofa all over the floor.

“The dogs were in the upstairs back bedroom.

“It was an absolutely heartbreaking scene, they were snuggled together in a corner where there was a duvet on the floor.

“If it hadn’t been for the smell, at first glance you might have thought they were sleeping.

“They had been dead for some time, likely as a result of starvation and dehydration, and were covered in maggots.”

The court earlier heard that Donaldson had previously lived at the house but left the dogs there when he moved to another address.

John Elwood, prosecuting, told the court at an earlier hearing it was not possible to say how long the dogs had been dead. He said: “For the dogs to be in the condition they were found, the period of neglect must have been prolonged.”

Donaldson refused to cooperate with the RSPCA investigation. He was convicted in his absence of two offences of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal between April and May 2017.

Donaldson was eventually arrested after a third warrant was issued when he failed to turn up at court.

RSPCA inspector Hoehne said: “What these dogs went through before they died doesn’t bear thinking about.”

Sentencing: 24 weeks in jail. Total of £415 costs and charges. Lifetime ban on keeping animals.

Hartlepool Mail

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