The stench of decomposition and bleach hit a RSPCA inspector who found the emaciated body of a dead lurcher under a sheet, a court has heard.

Victoria Louise Reynolds, currently of Martlewy, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a dog when she appeared before Haverfordwest magistrates today (Monday).

She admitted failing to exercise reasonable care and supervision which led to the death of the crossbreed dog, between October 22 and December 22.

Jon Tarrant, prosecuting, told the court that a RSPCA inspector called at Reynolds’ Milford Haven home on December 22.

“The inspector was allowed entry and shown the deceased animal. There was a strong smell of bleach and decomposition.”

A sheet was removed to reveal the body of a curled up, very emaciated lurcher-type dog called Lenny.

The body was seized and taken to a vet for examination, where it was found to weigh only nine kilogrammes, while a healthy dog of this type should weigh around 25kg.

Mr Tarrant said: “Its nails were overgrown, there was a putrid smell and the body was emaciated.

“It is believed that the animal would have been suffering before his death, for weeks, if not months.”

The bench heard it appeared that Lenny had been dead for weeks before the inspector’s visit, and had been covered up and left in a back room.

Pictures of the dog's emaciated body were shown to the court. 

Most are too graphic to publish but the Western Telegraph has taken the decision to publish one of the photographs to show the level of emaciation.

His owner Deborah-Marie May, 25, formerly of Milford Haven, had been in a relationship with Reynolds, 29, and left the dog with her when the pair separated and she went to work in Swindon.

May, 25, was banned from keeping animals for five years and handed a 22 week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, at a previous hearing last week.

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The court was told that May had not offered any financial assistance for the dog while she was away, and Reynolds’ benefits had been sanctioned at the time, which led to her neglecting the animal.

She accepted that she should have sought assistance from a vet or the RSPCA for Lenny.

Megan Williams, defending, said: “Miss Reynolds is not looking to excuse what happened and takes full responsibility.”

The chairman of the bench said: “This is one of the worst cases of lack of care of a dog that the bench has encountered in our careers.

“This is terribly inappropriate care of this dog. You had plenty of opportunity to contact many agencies that would have cared for the dog.”

Magistrates imposed a 26 week prison sentence, suspended for two years, with a ten day rehabilitation activity requirement, and banned her from keeping any animals for ten years.

She was ordered to pay £415 in costs and a surcharge at a rate of £5 a week.