Page last updated at 13:12 GMT, Friday, 9 May 2008 14:12 UK

Dog starved to death in bedroom

A woman locked a dog in a bedroom until it died of starvation because she was "too knackered" to care for it.

Ruth Carlisle, 27, admitted failing to care for her friend's Labrador, which she had offered to look after.

Carlisle, from Cambridge, locked the dog called Snuggles in a bedroom for three weeks and left it food and water once a week, Ely magistrates heard.

She was ordered to complete 60 hours of unpaid work, pay 250 costs and was banned for life from keeping animals.

I just couldn't hack it. I didn't have the time
Ruth Carlisle

RSPCA officer Mark Niepold found Snuggle's corpse swarming with fleas in what he called "the worst infestation he had seen in 15 years in the job", the court heard.

Magistrates were shown photographs of Snuggle's emaciated body and her claw marks at the bedroom door.

Audrey Clark, 56, also from Cambridge, had entrusted Snuggles to Carlisle's care after the dog's brother and sister were taken away by concerned family members.

Carlisle told the court: "I just couldn't hack it. I didn't have the time. I had to go to YMCA for a training course and had to get up early and sometimes I was knackered when I came back.

"I was worried when she stopped barking, but I did not want to get in there and find something."

The RSPCA also brought charges against Clark, despite her denying any knowledge of the cruelty, because she had failed to check on her dog.

'Equally to blame'

Matthew Edwards, mitigating, said Clark had trouble walking because of osteoarthritis and had provided Carlisle with 8-a-week to buy dog food.

Presiding magistrate Dr Christine Shaw said Clark was equally to blame for the neglect.

She said: "You said you trusted Miss Carlisle to look after your dog, but you said yourself she could not even look after herself.

"And you said it was all right when you heard the dog had not been exercised for three weeks."

Clark was fined 100, ordered to pay 500 costs and a 15 victim surcharge.

She was also banned from keeping animals for life - but was allowed to keep up to three cats.


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