|Neglected ... German shepherd puppy in the bottom half of the cage|
Stacey Lockhurst, 27, of Dartford, Kent, kept the German shepherd in a cage without food or water, surrounded by its own filth – for SEVEN MONTHS.
The RSPCA described it as one of the worst cases of animal cruelty the officers had ever seen.
Lockhurst was found guilty at Dartford Magistrates’ Court of causing unnecessary suffering to the puppy and failing to address his rapid weight loss.
She was given a 20-week prison sentence by magistrates on Friday, but it has been suspended for a year.
Her partner Paul Brunsden, 25, was jailed for 20 weeks when he appeared at the same court last month.
|Unloved ... Jack survived without food or water for seven months|
RSPCA investigators first visited Lochurst's home in October 2010 when the puppy, Jack, was 16 weeks old. The inspectors suggested they turn the dog over to the RSPCA.
Seven months later, Jack was found dead, his container infested with maggots and his water bowl full of excrement.
District judge Michael Kelly said it was a “particularly bad” case, but he thought Lockhurst, who has learning difficulties, had been “influenced to an extent”.
He added: “There may have been some lack of appreciation of what was happening.”
|Cruel ... Brunsden and Lockhurst have been banned from keeping animals for life|
Lockhurst was also ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £200 court costs.
Wayne Crowhurst, defending, said: “She regrets what she did. I don’t think she set out with that in mind.
“She’s a very vulnerable lady. I think she’d be bullied in prison.”
Animal rights campaigners protested outside the court – along with members of a Facebook group formed in memory of Jack.
One of the protestors said: “It’s not enough. She should have gone to prison.”
Both Lockhurst and Brunsden have been banned from keeping animals for life.