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Dartford court protest after Erith dog owner Stacey Lockhurst avoids jail for abuse of German shepherd which starved to death
DISTRESSING ANIMAL PHOTOS
As before when previously covering this case, News Shopper has given careful consideration to publishing these photos of the German shepherd dog (above - click on thumbnails). Our decision to publish them is to help convey the immense suffering this poor creature endured.
It is not an easy decision but we hope that printing images such as these will encourage people to report any incidents of animal cruelty to the relevant authorities immediately.
We appreciate some people will find the images distressing and/or that the photographs should have been withheld from public view, but if this story helps protect just one animal from a similar fate in the future, it will have been worthwhile.
Call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999
UGLY scenes erupted outside Dartford Magistrates’ Court after an Erith woman avoided jail when she was sentenced for dog abuse.
More than 20 protestors shouted “shame on you”, “evil woman” and “murderer” as 27-year-old Stacey Lockhurst was driven away in a police car this morning.
Moments earlier Lockhurst had been given a suspended prison sentence and banned from ever keeping animals again, having previously pleaded guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
The black and tan dog’s co-owner Paul Brunsden, aged 25, formerly of Neptune Terrace in Erith, was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison in August when he also admitted the same offences.
Brunsden and Lockhurst, who now lives in a care home in Erith and suffers with pronounced learning disabilities and emotional problems, kept the dog in a squalid cage at Lockhurst’s old home in Forest Road, Erith, where it starved to death in an inch of its own excrement.
When RSPCA inspectors found the cage, it was teeming with flies and maggots and littered with plastic bags and a takeaway food carton.
German shepherd Jack’s water bowl was full of excrement, as was his mouth.
Lifting him out of his container, the RSPCA inspector could clearly feel his spine from the underside of his body and described it as “the thinnest dog she had ever seen”.
In August, Judge Michael Kelly described it as “one of the worst cases of animal cruelty I have ever come across.”
He added: “This dog was effectively tortured and neglected.”
Lockhurst was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison, suspended for a year, and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work. She was disqualified from keeping any animal for life and ordered to pay £200 costs.
Judge Kelly said: “I have decided this offence deserves custody, but given your particular circumstances, the part you played in this, the fact you have never committed an offence like this and the fact you pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, I have decided to suspend the sentence.”
Protester Lee Gaskin caught a train from East Finchley to see the sentencing.
She said: “When I heard about the case and how Jack the dog suffered, I got a group together on Facebook called Justice for Jack. It got bigger and bigger and the more people heard about it, the more they got upset.
“The sentence has been an absolute nightmare to think about. She has effectively got off.
“My son has learning difficulties, it is no excuse.”
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