Ipswich woman Millie Whitham jailed for starving bull terrier

Lottie - before and after Photos of Lottie before and after she was rescued and fed by the RSPCA

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A woman has been jailed after a dog was found weighing half its recommended weight in an Ipswich flat.

The Staffordshire bull terrier was found with minimal food and water in September, the RSPCA said.

Millie Geraldine Whitham, 47, of Defoe Road in Ipswich, had admitted three animal cruelty offences before magistrates in Ipswich.

She has now been jailed for 12 weeks. Her son Cy Whitham, 20, was given an 18 week sentence in January.

He had also admitted three charges of animal cruelty.

The dog, known as KD at the time, was found by a pest controller at the flat on Donegal Road, surrounded by excrement.

The RSPCA said she weighed 20.3lbs (9.2kg), when she should have been up to 44.1lbs (20kg).

'Severely emaciated'
Essex Animal Defenders A protest group welcomed the jail sentences, but said they should have been longer

The courts also banned the pair from keeping animals for 15 years.

Speaking after the hearing, Insp Jason Finch, from the RSPCA, said: "The dog was severely emaciated and in another two or three days she would probably have been dead.

"If somebody finds that they can't cope with an animal, there is help out there and it's never an excuse to leave one in that kind of situation."

A group of about 25 demonstrators from Essex Animal Defenders were at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court.

Marcia Hagon, a spokesperson, said: "I think if they'd got anything less than a custodial sentence it would have been a disgrace, but I don't think it's enough.

"We're campaigning for stiffer sentences for animal abuse and we're hoping it will be addressed at legislative level."

The dog, which has been renamed as Lottie, has regained weight at the RSPCA's Martlesham Animal Centre and is waiting to be re-homed.

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