A man has been jailed after leaving two Jack Russell dogs to fend for themselves for more than a month, resulting in one starving to death and the other surviving by eating its remains, the RSPCA said.
Nala, a female, and Simba, a male, were left alone in a house without proper food and water but appeared to have been desperately trying to reach a bag of dog biscuits that had been left out on a worktop.
RSPCA inspector Lorna Campbell was called to the property by a concerned member of the public and said she thought she could see a chewed-up dog toy through the window - but soon realised it was the remains of Nala.
Today, Shane Maurice Potts was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to the two dogs under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 at an earlier hearing.
The 29-year-old, of Lower Lane, Chinley, High Peak, Derbyshire, was also banned from keeping any animals for ten years and ordered to pay £500 in costs.
Potts admitted causing unnecessary suffering to Nala and Simba by failing to provide proper and necessary care and supervision, resulting in the death of Nala and Simba becoming dehydrated and emaciated, between February 29 and March 31, at an address on Buxton Road in Furness Vale, Derbyshire, at an earlier hearing at Buxton Magistrates' Court.
He also admitted a second count of causing unnecessary suffering to the two dogs by failing to provide an adequate diet, including the provision of fresh drinking water.
Describing the horrific moment she discovered the two dogs, Ms Campbell said: "When I saw Simba at the window it was obvious he was emaciated and when I looked in I saw what I thought was a toy he'd chewed up.
"It took a moment before I realised the full horror of what it actually was, the remains of Nala. It was devastating."
The RSPCA had offered advice to Potts in July last year, given him neutering vouchers and re-homed a third dog that he had at the time.
He and his children had moved in to his mother's house in Chapel-en-le-Frith, where he had also taken another female Jack Russell that he said did not get on with the others, the organisation said. She was signed over to the RSPCA and re-homed.
Potts left Nala and Simba alone at the property on Buxton Road for more than four weeks.
Ms Campbell said Simba's survival was a "miracle".
He was so thirsty when inspectors got into the house that he raced past them to try and drink from a bowl of dirty water in the garden that had cigarette butts floating in it.
"The conditions in the house were terrible," she said.
"The place was covered in faeces and the floor was slippery with urine.
"There was a shredded dog food bag on the floor, an empty tub of gravy granules and chewed towels and of course what was left of his companion.
"Tragically, there was a bag of dog biscuits on the worktop which it looked as though the dogs had been trying to reach, but it was just too high."
Potts' solicitor told the court he was finding it difficult to manage his responsibilities and had moved in with his mother to help, the RSPCA said.
After being signed over to the RSPCA, Simba recovered and has been happily rehomed.
Following today's sentence, Ms Campbell said: "I'm pleased that the court has viewed this case with the seriousness it deserved and have sentenced accordingly.
"The ban on keeping animals is always the most important thing to the RSPCA, as it's the best way of protecting other animals in future."