#TheList Abigail Emery (née Aire), born 1988, of Callington Road, Saltash PL12 6LL – left a Shih Tzu-type dog alone in a property to starve to death
Emery admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the dog known as Clyde by leaving him to starve to death.
RSPCA lawyer Kevin Whithey told the court the exact cause of death could not be determined due to the level of decomposition, but an analysis of the dog’s corpse suggested he had been dead for “not less than three weeks” when he was found.
A veterinarian’s evidence was read out which revealed how a reduced supply of water would result in organ failure and damage to kidneys, resulting in a “prolonged, slow, agonising death for a dog”.
Equally, a lack of food would result in multiple organ failure and death.
Mr Whithey told the court that Emery had started a new relationship at another property nearby and it appeared that “Clyde was no more than an inconvenience” and was abandoned.
He said it would have been “straightforward” to contact the RSPCA or other animal charities and just ask for Clyde to be rehomed.
He said she initially offered not guilty pleas and the case was listed for trial. However, the day before trial she changed her plea.
He suggested that Clyde’s death was “prolonged and deliberate” and would have caused a “high level of suffering”.
Mr Whithey asked magistrates to consider passing an order to have Emery’s remaining dog, cat and rabbit removed and placed with the RSPCA to be rehomed.
A probation report was read out in court which noted Emery was dealing with a complex and sensitive domestic issue at the time and her focus at that time was not on Clyde. The report accepted that she did attend the property and fed Clyde on a daily basis, but this soon changed to weekly and then one a month. As a result she was unaware of his health and the faeces in the property.
The probation report noted that she claimed she was “terrified” of getting into trouble and initially misled investigators.
The probation officer told magistrates she did not feel there was “any malicious intent” by Emery.
In mitigation, advocate Andrears Parsons said her client did not deliberately set out to cause suffering and her domestic issues were at the forefront of her mind at the time.
She highlighted how Clyde would have endured a “slow and agonising death”, over which Emery had initially lied and tried to blame someone else.
However, they also recognised she was of previous good character with no offences to her name, and that she was going through a traumatic time in relation to other matters.
They believed there was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation.
Following the hearing a spokesperson for the RSPCA said: “It is just heartbreaking to think of the suffering Clyde went through.
“The RSPCA believes there is no excuse to do this to an animal. Pet-owners have a legal responsibility to ensure their animals do not suffer like Clyde did.”
Sentencing: 16-week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months; 80 hours of unpaid work; 25 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days. Costs and charges of £866. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years with the right of appeal after five years.