Grim photos show a pet puppy lying dead in a filthy flat strewn with rubbish after she was starved to death by a family-run group of ‘backyard breeders’.
French Bulldog Coco was abandoned for three months after teenager Kyle Moore was paid to look after her by his older sister Leanne Griffiths, 33, who left the rented property to move in with her fiancé Jon Brookshaw.
Moore, 19, watched as eight-month-old Coco became thinner and thinner – said to be ‘barely alive’ at one point – yet apparently he ‘forgot’ to feed, water and walk her until she died.
The discovery was made after agents acting for the landlords broke into the empty ground floor flat in Birkenhead, near Liverpool, following complaints from neighbours about the smell.
Coco was found dead in the lounge next to a discarded child’s doll and a toy robot.
Heartbreaking photos show French Bulldog puppy Coco lying dead in a filthy flat after she was starved to death by a family-run group of ‘backyard breeders
Kyle Moore, 19, was paid to look after Coco by his older sister Leanne, 33, who left the rented property to move in with her fiancé Jon Brookshaw
Leanne Griffiths (right) was traced to her new marital home due to the flat being registered in her name. When confronted her fiancé Jon Brookshaw (left), 36, said: ‘What am I supposed to do when I’ve got my future wife and her brother telling me it’s fine. If you weren’t here I would have punched his f***ing head in. I’ll kill him’
Today pictures of the grisly scene emerged as Moore, from Ellesmere Port, Cheshire was sentenced to 18 weeks in custody suspended for 12 months by Wirral magistrates after he admitted animal cruelty offences
Griffiths was later traced to her new marital home due to the flat being registered in her name. When confronted, Brookshaw, 36, said: ‘What am I supposed to do when I’ve got my future wife and her brother telling me it’s fine. If you weren’t here I would have punched his f****** head in. I’ll kill him.’
It emerged the couple had received Coco for breeding purposes, but when Griffiths moved out in March 2022 she refused to take the dog to their new home due to the puppy not being toilet trained.
Today pictures of the grisly scene emerged as Moore, from Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, was sentenced to 18 weeks in custody suspended for 12 months by Wirral magistrates after he admitted animal cruelty offences.
Mother of three Leanne and Brookshaw, have since married and received the same suspended sentences at an earlier hearing. All three were banned from keeping animals for a period of five years.
Peter Mitchell, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said that police were called to a flat on Dorset Gardens on Old Chester Road in Birkenhead on May 12 of last year, following a request by the landlord Magenta Housing.
‘They were due to carry out an eviction on this premises,’ Mr Mitchell said. ‘There was a strong smell and numerous flies coming from the flat.
‘They entered the property whose registered occupant was Leanne Griffiths, who is the defendant’s sister. There was no person present. However, it was discovered that there was a dog dead in the premises, a black and tan bulldog type dog.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
A vet’s report said Coco, who weighed just 4.6kg, had been suffering from hunger and starvation for a period of several months prior to her death
The report added: ‘The environment in which Coco was housed was totally inadequate for her as it was not clean and sanitary, nor did it provide her with a clean, dry, comfortable and safe place to rest’
‘The police officer stated that the flat was in a terrible state, with dog faeces on the floor and no sign of any food or water for the dog. The RSPCA was contacted and Inspector Anthony Joynson attended the same day.
‘He was overwhelmed by the smell of decomposition, faeces and urine. He saw the dead dog on the floor.
‘There was faeces over every floor of the flat. There were multiple piles of dried diarrhoea. There were food and water bowls on the kitchen floor, empty and dry.
‘There was no food found on the premises. He did discover post pertaining to Leanne Griffiths and Jonathan Brookshaw, her fiance. He made enquiries and discovered the dog’s name was Coco, originally owned by another person but ownership was transferred to Miss Griffiths.’
When questioned, Griffiths said: ‘We’ve been struggling yeah. I was there three or four days ago, she was skinny but she was alive. She couldn’t come with us because she was s***ing and p***ing everywhere.’
Griffiths said she had been given the dog on breeding terms months earlier but did not bring Coco to her new home as they claimed the puppy would be attacked by their other dog, Molly.
She admitted she had visited Dorset Gardens since moving, saw water and biscuits but agreed the ‘place was a s***hole’. She said she had last seen the puppy alive about three to four days previously and that she was ‘skinny but alive’.
She added that she thought her brother was caring for Coco.
The report also said: ‘It is my expert opinion that Coco was caused to suffer from hunger, weakness and lethargy over a prolonged period of time’
Grim images revealed today show the environment that eight-month-old Coco was living in before her death
Teenage Moore said he was going about two times per week to feed Coco, believing that his sister was going as well. He admitted he forgot to feed Coco ‘quite often’.
Mr Mitchell added: ‘He accepted that there were days quite often missed when the dog was not seen at all. He recognised that the dog was getting thin and on one occasion was barely alive and needed feeding. He noted that Coco had been losing weight for about three months.’
A vet’s report said Coco, who weighed just 4.6kg, had been suffering from hunger and starvation for a period of several months prior to her death.
‘She will also have experienced periods of time where she had no access to water and will have suffered from dehydration,’ the report said.
‘The environment in which Coco was housed was totally inadequate for her as it was not clean and sanitary, nor did it provide her with a clean, dry, comfortable and safe place to rest.
‘Of more concern than the poor environment is the complete lack of socialisation and companionship provided to Coco who was spending up to a week at a time with no interaction or social activity at all.
‘It is my expert opinion that Coco was caused to suffer from hunger, weakness and lethargy over a prolonged period of time as a result of the intermittent starvation and dehydration that she was enduring from the failure to provide her with an adequate and sufficient diet on a daily basis.’
In mitigation for Moore, who lived with his mother, defence lawyer Laura Flynn said her client was on the autism spectrum, adding: ‘He is really sorry in his way that the dog died but that ability to demonstrate the appropriate remorse and demonstrate an appropriate sadness was completely lost on the probation services. It is not a criticism but it is because they do not know him.
‘Anyone who is a dog lover is going to be offended by these offences, it’s as simple as that. I did not want you to think that this is someone who was completely careless. It is not that. There are fundamental issues here.
‘The fact that his sister has given the dog to someone who cannot organise himself, never mind anything else, was very remiss. Did he think there was something wrong with the dog? Yes.
‘But did he not think it was his place to do something about it. It did not occur to him that it was his responsibility. That does not make him less culpable, it just explains what was going on. It was not his dog and he did not live with it. He did for a short time but not for a long time before it died,’ she said.
At an earlier hearing the Brookshaw’s lawyer, Malcolm Gregg, said: ‘The thought of them being sentenced to imprisonment horrifies them and terrifies them.
‘Clearly Coco was taken into their care for breeding and clearly they should have taken proper care of Coco. All are equally culpable for the distress and suffering to the poor animal.’
Regarding Griffiths, Mr Gregg claimed she was caring for her ill father at the time, including visiting him in hospital, and added: ‘She is very sorry, she does express deep remorse and she does have empathy for the loss of Coco. She does try her best but has clearly failed immensely in Coco’s welfare.’
Moore was also ordered to complete 15 rehabilitation activity days, as well as 50 hours of unpaid work. The Brookshaws were each ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £500 in prosecution costs, plus a victim surcharge of £128.
After the case Inspector Anthony Joynes, of the RSPCA, said: It’s hard to prepare yourself to walk in and deal with an incident where a dog has been starved to death.
‘You know you can’t do anything to help at that stage, and all you can do is remain professional and investigate the case to ensure that the animal’s suffering does not go unanswered.
‘I noted that the dog was wearing a collar with a tag containing the name ‘Coco’ engraved onto one side but it was far too big, providing some indication of how big the dog may have been at some point before losing body condition, as people generally don’t put collars on their dogs that are far too big and can just slip off.’
‘It remains one of the saddest sights I’ve ever seen in 14 years, Coco just lying there dead, emaciated and alone surrounded by children’s toys and bits of rubbish, having been completely let down by the people she relied upon.’