A trainee solicitor who locked her pet dog in a kitchen and left it to starve to death has been jailed for 18 weeks and banned from keeping animals for life.
Katy Gammon, 27, moved out of her home in Bristol and left five-year-old Boxer Roxy trapped inside the kitchen without food or water.
The boxer dog had shredded part of the kitchen door in a desperate attempt to escape and emptied mops and buckets from cupboards to try and find water.
Roxy's remains were not discovered until 10 weeks later, when neighbours reported a large amount of flies around the property.
A post-mortem examination found Roxy suffered a "prolonged and painful" death over a six-day period.
On entering the home, officers found a length of rope rigged between the kitchen door and hooks in the hallway to keep it shut. Bristol Magistrates Court heard RSPCA inspectors were forced to remove Roxy's remains from the kitchen floor with a snow shovel.
Gammon had piled tins of dog food and dog treats outside the kitchen - just feet away from where Roxy was locked inside.
Gammon, of Capel Road, Bristol, later admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the dog and failing to prevent causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
The solicitor remained emotionless in the dock as she was told her actions were "deliberate".
Rod Mayall, chair of the bench, told Gammon: "This was prolonged neglect of a dog where she was locked in a house and left to die of starvation and dehydration.
"You have shown limited remorse. Although you were somewhat depressed, you failed to take up at least two offers of alternative housing for the dog. You failed to act as any normal person would.
"This is the most serious incident of animal cruelty that we have encountered in these courts."
Prosecuting for the RSPCA, Lindi Meyer said Gammon had acquired Roxy while living with her boyfriend, Adam Taylor in December 2012.
The couple separated in April 2013 and Gammon kept Roxy, leaving her home alone during the day while she went to work.
Roxy initially was free to roam the house but Gammon later decided to lock her in the kitchen because she would urinate and defecate inside.
In August 2013, Gammon began staying with her mother who lived a few streets away in Bristol.
She returned to feed Roxy each morning but only walked her three times a week, otherwise leaving the dog locked in the kitchen.
However, in late August, Gammon dislocated her knee and did not visit the property, in Campbells Farm Drive, Bristol, for a week - meaning Roxy was completely unattended.
Ms Meyer said: "When anyone asked about Roxy, she lied and said her ex-boyfriend was looking after her."
A post-mortem examination carried out by an RSPCA vet found: "Roxy suffered the distress and discomfort of a gradual death. This suffering was entirely avoidable and unnecessary."
The court heard Roxy would have experienced abdominal pain, muscle spasms, blindness, an irregular heart rhythm and kidney failure before death.
In interview, Gammon claimed she had tried to get rid of Roxy by posting messages on Facebook, but no-one had offered to take the animal.
Gammon told RSPCA Inspector Miranda Albinson she last attended to Roxy at the house on 30 August, but she did not return until a week later, on 6 September, leaving the dog with out food and water. She said she found an "awful smell" when she went back to the property.
"I didn't go into the house, I assumed she was dead," Gammon told the inspector. "I never went back.
"I don't know what you want me to say. I can't change it. It's horrific."
Farah Rasid, representing Gammon, said her client had been "hounded" by animal campaigners following news of Roxy's death.
Gammon had been training as a solicitor and was awaiting her first post when Roxy was discovered, which halted her career.
Ms Rasid said: "She is a young lady who is a prisoner in her own home. She is a young lady who has lost a career she was waiting to start.
"She is her own critic of herself."
Additional reporting by Press AssociationReuse content