Mother and son left starved to death dog in bathtub for 'several weeks'

French Bulldog Violet, who was underweight and had eye problems <i>(Image: RSPCA)</i>
French Bulldog Violet, who was underweight and had eye problems (Image: RSPCA)

WARNING: This article contains a graphic image

A mother and son from Lancashire have been banned from keeping animals after admitting to starving two dogs in their care - one of which was found dead in a bathtub.

Susan Shaw, 60, and her son Jack Wynne, 30, pleaded guilty to five animal welfare offences early this month.

The pair, both of Blakehall, Skelmersdale, appeared before Wigan Magistrates' Court on April 9 after the RSPCA  investigation which found both animals - French Bulldog type dogs - were underweight and dehydrated, while the dead dog had been dead for "between several weeks and 18 months".

The court heard the dead dog, a female named Gucci, had died from starvation or dehydration and had weighed only 3.4kg, when a healthy adult should weigh around 10kg.

The second dog, a female named Violet, was alive but was underweight at 7.6kg, and RSCPA staff found water bowls in the house were dry, and when police had arrived at the property there was an "overwhelming smell" in May last year.

An expert vet witness for the RSPCA said in a statement to court: “Violet was found to be in a very thin bodily condition.

"The dog was shaking and when offered water drank it quickly.

"While upstairs [a police officer] found in the bath a deceased French Bulldog dog. The dog was decomposing and covered by a cloth, and the bath also contained a number of red maggots that were crystallising.

“Some of the tissues were showing early signs of mummification. An estimate as to how long this animal had been deceased was several weeks to 18 months based upon the post-mortem findings alone.”

A second vet who examined Violent found she also had issues with her eyes and skin, but within three months of treatment gained 3kg in weight and her eye and skin issues had started to improve.

She has since made a full recovery and has been rehomed.

Lancashire Telegraph: One dog had been dead for weeks and was covered in maggots
Lancashire Telegraph: One dog had been dead for weeks and was covered in maggots

One dog had been dead for weeks and was covered in maggots (Image: RSPCA)

The court heard Shaw had been given the dogs six months prior to the incident last May by her daughter's friend who wanted to rehome them.

The friend said in a statement: “I have a friend and her mum Sue Shaw had always liked Gucci since she was a pup.

"I had met Sue a couple of times and she seemed like a lovely person at that time.

"I mentioned to my friend about finding someone to look after my dogs for a while and she suggested her mum, Sue.

“Sue said yes and both she and my friend reassured me that they would be well looked after.

"I made a point of checking that she would be able to cope with taking on both the dogs and Sue Shaw said yes.”

RSPCA Inspector Vicki Brooks, who investigated for the animal charity, interviewed Shaw and Wynne.

She said: “Wynne initially claimed to have no knowledge of Gucci dying but later admitted he knew she had died and it was his mum Susan who had told him to put her body in the bathtub.

"He gave no explanation for her cause of death other than she ate something on a walk, had vomited later that day then seemed fine, but the next day he woke up and she was dead.

"When asked who was responsible for what happened to Gucci and Violet his response was that it was both him and his mother.”

At court, Shaw and Wynne were both banned from keeping any animal for 10 years.

Shaw received a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, while Wynne was handed a three-month term, also suspended for 18 months.

Both were ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £154.

A snake and fish found at the home were also signed over to the RSPCA.