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Woman jailed after dogs starved in 'one of worst' cruelty cases seen by court

Dudley | News | Published:

A pet owner from Halesowen has been jailed for five months after she failed to care for her two starving two dogs – with one dying as a result of her neglect.

Jodi Russell, from Hillwood Road, was sentenced at Dudley Magistrates Court after magistrate Neville Jinks described the animal cruelty case as 'one of the worst the court had seen'.

The 28-year-old was also given a lifetime ban from looking after animals or being associated with them in any way.

Russell, a mother of four, was found guilty of two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to the dogs and four charges of failing in her duty as owner at Dudley Magistrates' Court in August 2013.

Russell will serve a 20-week sentence for all offences, which will run concurrently.

Another of the dogs left starving

The court heard on Thursday how the dogs were described as 'lifeless' and given the lowest possible condition ratings by vets after they were seized from Russell's former home in Maple Road fourteen months ago.

One of the dogs, named Storm, was described as the thinnest a vet had ever seen and died within 24 hours of starvation. The other – which had been treated the same way – survived and was later re-homed.

The court heard how RSPCA charity inspector Steven Morrell found the dogs, in a starving state in urine-soaked cages in the living room of Russell's home while children played around them.

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Mr Daryll Foster, defending, said Russell was suffering emotionally at the time she was looking after the dogs, following the death of her much-loved father and after splitting up with her partner.

He said: "Miss Russell, in hindsight, now accepts what she has done wrong and realises she should have made steps much earlier and is now a much better person than before."

But Mr Jinks told the court: "This is one of the worst cases of animal cruelty this court has seen for a very long time.

"I understand you were suffering from emotional difficulties at the time, but this is no excuse for letting the two dogs suffer the way they did.

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"I have no choice but to give you a custodial sentence."

Speaking after the sentencing, RSPCA spokesman Andy Robbins described the two dogs' suffering as 'shocking'.

He said: "RSPCA inspectors deal with truly horrific cases of neglect, but it is always upsetting to see animals in such poor condition as these.

"Anyone can see simply from looking at the sorry images presented as part of the case that this was a matter where a shocking level of cruelty had taken place.

"We hope that the court's decision means no other animal will suffer at the hands of the defendant in this case."

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