A cruel dog owner has been banned from keeping animals for life after starving his two pets to death – and stuffing their bodies into rucksacks.
Callous James Cooksley, 31, left rottweiler Tyson and collie Lilly alone to die at his home after he fled the property claiming he was being pursued by criminals.
When he returned six weeks later he crammed their rotting carcasses into bags – before neighbours noticed a foul smell and shopped him to police.
Today Cooksley was handed a suspended 18 week prison sentence at Bristol Magistrates’ Court after admitting two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, leading to its death.
He was also banned from keeping domestic pets for life.
The court heard police officers and the RSPCA were called to Cooksley’s then home in Bedminster, Bristol, on March 8 this year.
An RSPCA inspector found the bodies of the two emaciated dogs in a green rucksack outside the property.
The rottweiler carcass, hidden in the top compartment of the bag, had its rib and hip bones showing and blood coming from its nose.
The thin body of the collie was then found stuffed in the bottom.
Kevin Withey, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said the dogs were examined by a vet from the organisation.
He told the court: ”The conclusion was both animals had not been provided with adequate food or water and therefore starved to death.
”They showed the effects of hunger and emaciation for many days.
”Her conclusion was that the suffering could have easily been avoided and as a result Mr Cooksley was arrested.”
When assessed by the RSPCA, the Rottweiler’s body weighed under 28kg, while the black and white collie tipped the scales at just 5.85kg.
The court heard Cooksley accepted responsibility for the death of the two dogs – but blamed his actions on a series of hardships in his personal life.
John Roberts, defending, said Cooksley’s life began to spiral out of control after his partner left him, taking their six-year-old son with her in August last year.
The pub relief manager claimed he was then targeted by criminals – who ransacked his flat – after he had disposed of a drugs package in his pub’s car park.
He ended up fleeing his home in fear – leaving Tyson and Rosie alone in the property.
Both dogs had died by the time he returned six weeks later.
Roberts told the court that Cooksley was deeply sorry for his actions.
He said the father-of-one was of good character and had cared for the dogs for two years before the offence.
Mr Roberts told the court: ”This is a distressing and tragic case and I make no excuses for what happened.
”It should not have happened and it caused quite a lot of upset understandably with members of the public.”
Cooksley, from Ashton, Bristol, was given an 18 week prison sentence, suspended for one year, fined £500 and given an electronic tag and curfew.
Speaking after the sentencing, RSPCA inspector Kimily Downe said she hoped the result sent a strong message to pet owners.
She said: ”We are obviously delighted the court has noted the seriousness of these offences.
”Mr Cooksley failed to carry out basic duties under the Animal Welfare Act.
”I hope he had learnt his lesson – this situation could have easily been averted.
”This sends a strong message out that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated.”