A sick family dog had to die alone, barricaded in the toilet on the ground floor, because the owner did not get her medical help.
Dolci, a 15-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier, was found dead by RSPCA inspectors in a house in Dawlish in poor conditions.
The owner, Louise Cleave, 39, said she left the dog in the toilet when it got weak and was too scared to see if she was dead.
She told the inspectors that she could not afford a vet and that she had suffered a mental disorder due to problems in her family life.
Cleave was tried in Exeter Magistrates’ Court for admitting unnecessary suffering to an animal by failing to provide Dolci with adequate veterinary care. She was forbidden to own animals for the rest of her life.
The dog was found to have suffered from a number of illnesses including a longstanding skin condition and kidney disease, but the most serious of which was pyometra, a fatal infection of the uterus.
Prosecutor Lindi Meyer said RSPCA inspectors went to Cleave’s address in January following a report of concerns about the treatment of a dog.
Cleave told them that Dolci had been unwell for a while but couldn’t afford treatment. A cabinet was placed against the door along with a stack of laminated flooring strips.
She wasn’t sure if the dog was dead. She told the inspectors it could have died, but she was too scared to look.
The inspectors found Dolci lying on her side in her bed. She was dead.
RSPCA inspector Beccy Wadey said: “She was lying on a bed of dirty toilet paper and next to her was a red tartan blanket on a dirty sheet, a very dirty pillow and what looked like a puppy training pad that was also dirty. It was a very unsettling sight.
“Dolci was emaciated with protruding ribs and spine and had a bloated, bloated stomach.” There was some old minced dog meat and water in a bowl.
Damage to the door indicated that Dolci had been trying to scratch her way out for some time.
Cleave said the dog had been unwell for two or three weeks. Her back legs had given way, but she feared she would “get ready” when the vets saw the condition she was in.
She already owed them money and could no longer afford it. She didn’t want to think about animal suffering.
Ms. Meyer said Cleave tried to blame others, including the police and the Animals in Distress charity, which she allegedly contacted repeatedly but received no response.
The vets concluded that Dolci had died of septicemia, septic shock, kidney failure and suffered mental agony for several days.
An autopsy revealed that she was in poor condition with her spine, ribs, and hip bones protruding. Her skeletal muscle was reduced. There was a reduced layer of fat under her skin, she weighed only 10 kg.
Her kidneys were showing signs of illness and the pyometra caused the formation of a foul-smelling fluid that would not drain. Veterinarians said the amount of infected fluid – two liters – was “amazing”.
“While Dolci was poor and losing weight, she effectively gave up instead of getting veterinary help,” the prosecutor said.
“The suffering was significant and lasted about two weeks.” She said Cleave showed no remorse and did not believe she did anything wrong.
“Even the skin complaint should have drawn attention,” she added. “This little dog suffered from a lack of kindness, treatment, and comfort in dying.”
Lisa McArthur, who defended herself, said Cleave had owned and loved the dog for many years.
Her 21 year old son had returned to live with her and brought his Mastiff dog with him. She had put Dolci in the downstairs toilet to protect her from it.
She was afraid of her son’s temperament and other family problems caused her mental health to deteriorate. She had noticed that her dog had gotten slower and weaker, but into old age.
She said she made the dog comfortable and checked her the day before the inspectors arrived.
She was diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder, has been a victim of domestic violence, and has suffered from anxiety and low self-confidence.
Cleave had her head buried in the sand hoping the dog problem would go away, Ms. McArthur said.
A probation report stated that Cleave would not intentionally harm animals, but had no insight into the offense and was not responsible for their actions.
The judges told her, “We find that you have neglected and mistreated an elderly dog who was seriously ill, in pain and distress, and who you knew needed immediate medical treatment. As a result of you Unfortunately the dog died due to neglect. ” However, they said Cleave has been significantly defused due to the offense related to her mental health, responsibility for caring for her family, and the fact that she is currently pregnant.
She was detained for 12 weeks, suspended for 12 months, and asked to do 20 days of probationary rehabilitation. Cleave also has to pay a cost of £ 528.
Cleave was also told she cannot appeal her lifelong disqualification from keeping or caring for an animal for 10 years.