Pet dog left to die in cold abandoned flat
An emaciated dog was found dead on the sofa in a flat the owner had abandoned because he said it was too cold for him to live in.
Another dog, also extremely thin, was removed from the Blackpool flat and eventually signed over to the RSPCA.
Jamie Higgins, unemployed, aged 28, of Dodgson Road, Ribbleton, Preston, pleaded guilty to two offences of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal between February 15 and 29 this year.
He was banned from keeping any animal for five years, sentenced to an 18 months community order with up to 25 days rehabilitation with a 12 weeks tagged curfew from 8pm to 7am and ordered to pay £100 costs with £85 victims’ surcharge.
Presiding magistrate at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court, Michael Leigh, told him: “We felt the animals were kept in appalling conditions.”
Jonathan Fail, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said in February a neighbour went into Higgins flat in Bolton Street, Blackpool, to look at the dogs, both Staffordshire Bull Terriers - a female called Rosie and a male called Prince.
Both had no water and the neighbour gave them some, but when he returned the next morning he found Rosie dead and called the authorities.
A vet found both dogs very underweight with Prince described as having a bodily condition of 2 out of 10 and weighing 10.9 kilos. The following month, having been cared for, he weighed 15.5 kilos and was re-homed.
A post mortem found no pathological condition killed Rosie and it was the vet’s opinion her loss of weight and being underweight caused her suffering.
The prosecutor said: “When interviewed by an RSPCA inspector, Higgins said he was not currently staying at his flat because it was so cold it was making him ill. He felt the flat was not suitable for him to occupy, but it was okay for the dogs.”
Steven Townley, defending, said his client left the flat after having trouble with a neighbour, being assaulted and encountering problems with the heating system, but said he returned morning and night to feed and walk both dogs.
Some months previously Rosie had been taken from his flat and when she was returned she had injuries. He believed she had been used in dog baiting.
Rosie had been his first dog and he described her as his pride and joy. He did not know why she had died and no cause for the dog’s death had been revealed. Higgins was so upset on hearing of her death he could not go in and see her body.
RSPCA inspector Vicki Westwood, said: “This was a really upsetting case.
“Rosie was dead on the sofa when we found her, she was still wearing her harness, and Prince was so emaciated you could see his bones through his skin.
“The house was so cold that what food the dogs did get would probably have been burnt off trying to keep warm.
“We were too late to help Rosie, but I’m so glad that things have worked out well for Prince, who is now recovered and happy in a new home.”