Jail for Hartlepool dog owner who left his animals to starve to death

Teesside Magistrates' Court
Teesside Magistrates' Court

A heartless Hartlepool pet owner has been jailed and banned from keeping animals for life after he left two dogs to starve to death.

John Donaldson, 48, of Oak Grove, left a female white and black terrier-type called Bess and a male black terrier named Whiskey at a house in Straker Street without food.

The RSPCA has commented on the report.

The RSPCA has commented on the report.

He was locked up for 24 weeks and handed a lifetime ban on keeping animals by Teesside Magistrates Court yesterday.

The dogs were found dead on May 23 by the landlord of the house that Donaldson rented.

RSPCA inspector Lucy Hoehne said: “The smell was overwhelming and there was faeces, urine and bits of chewed up foam from a sofa all over the floor.

“The dogs were in the upstairs back bedroom.

“It was an absolutely heartbreaking scene, they were snuggled together in a corner where there was a duvet on the floor.

“If it hadn’t been for the smell, at first glance you might have thought they were sleeping.

“They had been dead for some time, likely as a result of starvation and dehydration, and were covered in maggots.”

The court earlier heard that Donaldson had previously lived at the house but left the dogs there when he moved to another address.

John Elwood, prosecuting, told the court at an earlier hearing it was not possible to say how long the dogs had been dead.

He said: “For the dogs to be in the condition they were found, the period of neglect must have been prolonged.”

Donaldson refused to cooperate with the RSPCA investigation.

He was convicted in his absence of two offences of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal between April and May of this year.

Donaldson was arrested on Tuesday after a third warrant was issued when he failed to turn up at court.

He was also ordered to pay £300 costs and £115 victim surcharge as part of his sentence.

RSPCA inspector Hoehne said: “What these dogs went through before they died doesn’t bear thinking about.”