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Cruel dog owner, 43, who left her Staffordshire Bull Terrier named Rocky to starve in a filthy house after moving in with a new partner is spared jail

  • WARNING TERRIBLE CONTENT

A cruel dog owner who left her dog Rocky to starve in a filthy house after moving in with a new partner has been spared jail.

Carrie Hansford abandoned her Staffordshire Bull Terrier, who had been her pet for ten years, and left him to die a slow and painful death surrounded by huge piles of garbage and his own waste.

Harrowing photos show the starving dog’s corpse in the dirt. Handsford had seen the dog the day after his death but instead of alerting authorities, he left its tiny body to rot before returning to her new lover’s home, a court previously heard.

A dog warden eventually broke into her home in Southampton, Hampshire, with a search warrant, where he found the ’emaciated’ and insect-riddled remains of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Hansford was this week banned from keeping animals for five years and given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months. She was also ordered to work 100 hours without pay.

Carrie Hansford abandoned her Staffordshire Bull Terrier – who had been her pet for ten years – and left him to die a slow and painful death

Carrie Hansford abandoned her Staffordshire Bull Terrier – who had been her pet for ten years – and left him to die a slow and painful death

Harrowing photos show the starving dog's corpse in the dirt.  It is unknown how long Rocky was abandoned

Harrowing photos show the starving dog’s corpse in the dirt. It is unknown how long Rocky was abandoned

Zookeeper Mark Knight told Portsmouth Magistrates Court how he found 10-year-old Rocky surrounded by piles of his own faeces after being called to Hansford’s home.

Upon entering the building, the former veterinary nurse was greeted with an “overwhelming” smell.

Mr Knight said: ‘The smell immediately indicated something was wrong and my immediate thoughts were that I was going to find something dead.’

After searching the first floor of the house, Mr Knight returned downstairs, where the smell became stronger.

He said: ‘When I walked into the kitchen I immediately saw a pile of dog feces – months and months worth of it. I looked near the kitchen bench and saw the emaciated dog lying on the floor, clearly dead.

‘It was very annoying. “I have been a vet for six years and also an animal welfare officer and it is one of the worst cases I have come across in ten years.”

He added: ‘It is clear the owner intended to leave the dog to die. She could have easily gotten help and assistance and that would have given the dog a chance.

Hansford was this week banned from keeping animals for five years and given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.  She was also ordered to work 100 hours without pay

Hansford was this week banned from keeping animals for five years and given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months. She was also ordered to work 100 hours without pay

Zookeeper Mark Knight told Portsmouth Magistrates Court how he found 10-year-old Rocky surrounded by piles of his own faeces after being called to Hansford's home.

Zookeeper Mark Knight told Portsmouth Magistrates Court how he found 10-year-old Rocky surrounded by piles of his own faeces after being called to Hansford’s home.

The court heard Rocky had died a slow, painful death from starvation and dehydration and weighed just 6.75kg when he was found.  Devastatingly, his collar was four times too big for him

The court heard Rocky had died a slow, painful death from starvation and dehydration and weighed just 6.75kg when he was found. Devastatingly, his collar was four times too big for him

‘He had no chance of being locked behind a door without food or water. There were torn packages, everything was torn everywhere. The dog was looking for food and trying to find a way to survive.

‘As a zookeeper, I am there for the well-being of animals. I felt raw emotions then.’

She had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

The court heard Rocky had died a slow, painful death from starvation and dehydration and weighed just 6.75kg when he was found. Devastatingly, his collar was four times too big for him.

It is not known how long he lay dead, but Southampton Magistrates’ Court previously heard that Hansford saw Rocky the day after he died – December 17, 2022 – but left him there to rot.

She left the family dog ​​behind to live with her new partner, the court heard.

Speaking about the sentence she received, Mr Knight added: ‘I find the sentence quite shocking but she has now had five years to think about it and hopefully she won’t do something like that again.

After the sentencing, an RSPCA spokesperson said: ‘Dogs are completely dependent on their owners and failing to meet their needs is a breach of the law.

‘Providing food, water and a suitable living environment are essential parts of that care.

“The vet emphasized that Rocky had been without food and water for a long time and that the suffering Rocky has suffered as a result is unimaginable.”