A woman whose lurcher dog endured ‘months of suffering’ before being found dead in a wheelie bin has been banned from keeping pets for 10 years.

Rachel Burke’s lurcher, called Blue, was found dead ‘devastatingly thin’ at less than his ideal body weight, wrapped up in a bin bag in a wheelie bin.

A black Labrador, named Floyd, was also found with no food or water left at the property on Dene Street, Hetton-le-Hole, where the floors were strewn in faeces.

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Burke, 39, failed to turn up at court when she was convicted of two offences under the Animal Welfare Act in her absence. She was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to Blue by not addressing his weight loss and failing to provide a suitable environment for either dog.

The Northern Echo: Blue was found in a bin bag at an address on Dene Street, Hetton-le-Hole.Blue was found in a bin bag at an address on Dene Street, Hetton-le-Hole. (Image: RSPCA)

The court heard how RSPCA inspectors were shown an image by a resident showing a dead dog laying next to a pink water container in the yard.

Inspector John Lawson told the court: “We checked the wheelie bin in the rear garden and at the top of the bin was a black bin bag with a small hole in it. To the touch and through this hole it was clear the bag contained a deceased dog and his colour was the same as the dog in the photograph.”

A post-mortem later revealed that Blue, who was six-and-a-half-years old died from a gastrointestinal disease. The vet’s report concluded he would have been suffering for months through malnutrition

The Northern Echo: An outside pen at the Dene Street property.An outside pen at the Dene Street property. (Image: RSPCA)

Lawson added: “It was devastating to see how thin he was. His ribs, spine and hips were clearly visible, there was no muscle mass and his eyes were sunken in.

“Blue’s abdomen had sunk to a level I had never seen before.”

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Police gained access to the property and found the floor upstairs littered with dog faeces and the bathroom toilet full of human excrement.

An outside dog pen is also said to have been in a filthy condition.

As the inspectors were about to leave the property Burke appeared with a man, who said they had just returned from London.

The Northern Echo: The state inside the property.The state inside the property. (Image: RSPCA)

Appearing before Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court last month (November 16) she was banned from keeping animals for 10 years and ordered to complete 220 hours of unpaid work as part of a two-year community sentence.

In mitigation the court was told that Burke was previously of good character and had seen mental health issues worsen after a break-up.

She could not recollect putting Blue’s body in the bin but said she had place him in a bin bag so her children could not see.

The labrador, Floyd, is due to be rehomed by the RSPCA.

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