A mum from Lewisham has been banned from keeping pets after her dog starved to death while she was away to Portugal. 

Sonia Marcos, of Lewisham Road, appeared at Bromley Magistrates’ Court on May 17 for sentencing after she pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to her Jack Russell named Bella. 

The 42-year-old left Bella alone while she went away for two weeks to visit a sick relative in October 2022, the court was told at a previous hearing. 

By the time Marcos returned Bella was emaciated and she died by the time she was taken to the vet later that day, an RSPCA prosecutor said

When interviewed under caution Marcos claimed Bella had been a healthy weight when she left for Portugal and that she had arranged for someone to look after he. 

“The information given about the friend did not stack up and this person couldn’t be traced,” the prosecutor said. 

Bella weighed just 2.25kg after he death (compared to 4.2kg when she was just a puppy) and a vet described it as one of the worst starvation cases she had ever seen, the court heard. 

Bella was also severely dehydrated and had fleas and overgrown nails which were growing into the pads of her feet, likely causing great pain. 

“The vet said the dog would have suffered due to weakness, lethargy, unrelenting hunger and pain from her nails,” the prosecutor said. 

A postmortem found no medical cause of Bella’s poor bodily condition other than a lack of food

The vet’s opinion was that Bella had been suffering for at least four weeks, if not months. 

At a previous hearing Marcos was warned she could face a custodial sentence but on May 17 it was decided that instead she would be given a community order including 100 hours of unpaid work. 

An order was made under Section 34 of the Animal Welfare Act, disqualifying her from owning any animals.