Cruel woman left pet dog to starve to death
TWO suffering dogs were starved so badly that one of them died a "horrendous" death and the other was forced to eat part of his mother's dead body in a desperate attempt to survive.
The two neglected animals were pathetically emaciated when they were finally found after two weeks of starvation, a court heard.
The dog that was barely alive was "shockingly thin" and there was a "nauseating and overpowering" stench in the house, the court was told.
Katrina Plumridge, 31, of Hainton Avenue, Grimsby, admitted two offences of causing unnecessary suffering to the two dogs between March 22 and April 19.
Nigel Burn, prosecuting, told Grimsby magistrates that the degree of suffering was so serious that the female Staffordshire bull terrier died of starvation and the male dog, her son, was so badly emaciated that, in order to survive, he had started to eat the dead body of his mother around her jaw and neck area.
"The degree of suffering caused to both dogs was extreme and prolonged," said Mr Burn.
"It was as severe and extreme as it can get because death was caused by starvation."
A letting agent visited Plumridge's then home in Wellington Street, Grimsby, and saw dog mess on the steps and stairs.
There was a "nauseating and overpowering" stench and more dog mess was seen on an upstairs floor and bed.
A painfully thin dog ran out of a bathroom and jumped past him. Its ribs, spine and hip bones could all be seen and it was the thinnest dog he had ever seen.
He tried to go into the kitchen but it was blocked from the inside by the dead body of the mother dog, called Ronnie.
"Every single bone in its frame was visible and the stomach was curved in," said Mr Burn.
"The empty dog bowls were bone dry."
The agent felt sick at the sight and called in the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals, which brought the prosecution.
A decorator said the stench made him feel physically sick and the dead dog was like a skeleton. The younger dog, called Scrappy, had been so driven by hunger that he had been ripping at the neck of his dead mother. He had eaten his mother's lips, cheeks and neck.
The dog was so "shockingly thin" that the decorator was surprised that he was still alive.
A veterinary surgeon later estimated that the dogs would have been suffering from starvation for at least two weeks.
Plumridge moved out of the house on March 28 but the dogs were not found until April 19.
Unemployed Plumridge was given an 18-week suspended prison sentence, 180 hours' unpaid work and was ordered to pay £500 costs. Another £180 costs will be paid out of central funds.
She was banned from owning, keeping or being involved with the care of animals until further notice under the Animal Welfare Act.
She will have to serve a minimum ban of one year before she can apply to a court to have the ban lifted.
Presiding magistrate Tony Miller told Plumridge that it was a "prolonged neglect" of her duty to check on the dogs every day, even after she believed a friend was looking after them or rehoming them. She should have continued to check on them to ensure they were in safe keeping, he said.
Food not left out due to 'decorating work'
THE woman who callously left two dogs to starve without checking on them claimed she thought a mystery friend was supposed to be finding new homes for them, a court heard.
But her story was treated with scepticism by the RSPCA because she did not even know his full name, could not provide a telephone number for him and did not even check that he was actually looking after them.
She even claimed she could not leave bowls of food or water for the dogs "because decorating was going on", Grimsby magistrates heard.
Ed Bates, mitigating, said Plumridge admitted that they were "horrendous" offences and that they led to "very sad circumstances".
Plumridge claimed that the dogs were looked after "okay" but she admitted that no bowls were left for them "because decorating was going on" at the house where she had been living until moving out.
Concern had been raised by visitors because the dogs seemed to be hungry but "these were dogs that were always hungry and they would eat anything that was put down," said Mr Bates.
One of the dogs had pinched some of the decorator's sandwiches but "they always acted that way and it was not because they were not being fed properly," claimed Mr Bates.
"This was a very stupid, ill-advised, negligent thing she has done."
Plumridge claimed that she got talking to an old school friend – whose surname she did not even know – and thought he had offered to rehome them for her.
"She foolishly took him at his word and handed him the key," claimed Mr Bates.
Probation officer Graham Marshall said Plumridge had been unemployed for about two years but, before that, had worked as a sales assistant for seven years until the business closed. She claimed she was three or four months' pregnant – but prosecutor Nigel Burn said Plumridge had told the RSPCA during interview that she could not have children.
She had said in the interview: "They were my dogs. I don't have kids. I can't have kids. They were my babies."
After the hearing, Plumridge declined to comment.