Two hungry dogs had to be fed through a letterbox after being locked inside a filthy Ilkeston house for days without food or water, a court heard.
Staffordshire bull terriers Rosy and Tyson were finally rescued when owner Julia Feakes, 50, returned to her home on Kingsway on October 15 last year.
By that time, the RSPCA had been regularly dropping in food after the alarm was raised on October 6, magistrates heard on Thursday.
The pair were taken to a vet who found they were severely underweight. She felt ‘their period of suffering had been at least a month’, said John Sutcliffe, prosecuting.
Rosy weighed 8.5kg, while the vet said she should have been at least 14kg. The male dog was 12.3kg, compared to an expected weight of over 18kg.
The pair were also dehydrated and ‘drank water excessively’, said Mr Sutcliffe. But by January, they had recovered well and have now been re-homed.
Feakes failed to attend court but was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering. The case was adjourned for three weeks to await a probation report.
The RSPCA is to urge Derby magistrates to bar Feakes from keeping pets.
Mr Sutcliffe said an RSPCA officer noticed one of the dogs had a ‘swollen belly’ when it came to a back window on October 7. It was easy to see the outline of its skeleton through the skin but he saw ‘only a brief glimpse’ of the other pet.
“The house was appallingly filthy, untidy with lots of faeces in the property and rubbish all over it,” he told the court.
On a later visit, both dogs appeared ‘unwell’.
When Feakes returned, she said she stopped living there because the electricity had been cut off.
“Mrs Feakes said the house was in a bit of a mess, which was something of an understatement,” added Mr Sutcliffe.
“It smelt strongly of ammonia from the faeces and the house was very cold. The smell was such that it made the inspector’s eyes water.”
Presiding magistrate Carol Burtoft said: “Mrs Feakes needs to be in court to know the situation cannot go on and is intolerable.”
Feakes had never been in trouble before. She told the RSPCA that she had been in hospital and that one dog had belonged to her mother.