WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGES: Jail for Preston dog owner who starved his dogs to death

A dog owner who starved his two dogs to death has been jailed and banned from keeping animals for life.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 19th January 2018, 4:55 am
Updated Friday, 19th January 2018, 1:45 pm
Left, Steven Hogwood, right, the appalling conditions
Left, Steven Hogwood, right, the appalling conditions

Shocking pictures show the grisly scene that met RSPCA inspectors when they found their emaciated bodies of tragic American bulldogs Sky, two, and Kilo, four, at a house in Aughton Walk, near Preston city centre.

The starving dogs, which were living amid mouldy food, rubbish, and excrement, had even chewed through a metal kettle and a dog food tin as they were so hungry, and had no water anywhere in the flat.

Authorities had attended several times to respond to complaints over a smell coming from the address.

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Preston Magistrates’ Court heard a post mortem examination revealed the animals were left to starve to death and had died around two weeks earlier.

Steven Hogwood, 41, of Eldon Street, Plungington, Preston pleaded guilty to causing the animals unnecessary suffering.

The bench jailed him for 12 weeks and ordered him to pay a victim surcharge of £115.

Prosecuting, Paul Ridehalgh said: “On entering the flat there was a large build up of post addressed to Mr Hogwood and a large build up of faeces and rubbish. There was a very strong overpowering smell of excrement, urine and stale air.

The shocking scene at Aughton Walk, Preston

“In the bedroom off to the left of the hallway, Sarah Hayland found a dead dog lying on the floor. Next to it was a bowl containing mouldy food and a heavily chewed dog food tin. There was a bag of dried dog food on the bed.

“The room was a mess with faeces, clothing and rubbish everywhere. There was no water. The dog was a female bulldog breed, white with brown patches.

“She was in very poor body condition with all her bone structure visible and palpable. There was no microchip or identification.

“In the living room the second dead dog was located lying in an open fronted dog crate in the corner of the room. The curtains were closed and the room again was cluttered with debris and rubbish with a large build up of dried excrement. The dog was a larger male bulldog breed, white with brown patches. He was also visibly in poor condition with bone structure visible and palpable.

The shocking scene at Aughton Walk, Preston

“He was lying on ribbed and chewed bedding. There was a chewed kettle and an empty bowl nearby. There was no water. A half full tin of mouldy dog food was found. The whole flat, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living room were filthy and unkempt with barely anywhere to walk without excrement and rubbish being strewn around.

“The air was sour and very unpleasant. There was no water anywhere in the flat. The toilet was closed and the bath and sink were bone dry.”

In an interview, Hogwood claimed both dogs had become very ill over a three-day period and both had passed away and that he could not face going back to the flat to deal with the situation.

He claimed that he used to go to the flat daily, even though he had stopped living there as he had been subject to a curfew where he had to sleep overnight at his mother’s home.

He said one weekend, around two weeks before April 12, the dogs wouldn’t eat and had become very ill.

They had blood in their excrement and would not eat.

He told officers he had no money for vet’s bills and that he had left some water and food for them and had gone out and when he came back the next day found Sky dead in the bedroom and Kilo in his cage.

He said everything had become “unbearable” and he did not know what to do.

Post mortem reports on both dogs showed both dogs had a poor bodily condition and Sky’s stomach contained multiple foreign bodies, a common finding in starved animals.

A vet concluded they died around 13 days earlier on around April 5, and there had been inadequate feeding, although water may have been available.

The lack of any food in their systems indicated they received no food at all for one to three days before they died and had suffered for two to three weeks before their deaths.

Before he was jailed, Hogwood begged the Post not to report the case, claiming it would pose a risk to his safety.

He told the court his relationship with his partner had broken down and he had left the dogs in her care.

A Community Gateway spokesman said: "In February 2017 CGA received a complaint regarding a smell coming from a property in Aughton Walk. Staff attended the property to discuss the smell and the condition of the property with the tenant, but were unable to gain access.

"Staff were able to see and hear that the dogs were inside and had been informed that a family member was ensuring the wellbeing of the dogs and that they were being fed and walked. Further discussions with the tenant failed to gain CGA access to the property and as we do not have the legal power to gain entry without a warrant/court order CGA staff liaised with partners at the RSPCA who were able to gain access."