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Starving dog was found dead hanging from blinds after woman abandoned it in her flat

Aleshia McLaverty, 23, today avoided a prison sentence after the starved maggot-infested black Labrador was discovered by shocked animal welfare officers

Belfast LiveAleshia McLaverty, leaves Antrim Court after pleading guilty to dog cruelty by leaving a dog at a house in Antrim

An emaciated pet dog was found dead hanging upside down from blinds after its owner abandoned it in her flat.

Aleshia McLaverty, 23, today avoided a prison sentence after the starved maggot-infested black Labrador was discovered by shocked animal welfare officers.

McLaverty was given a two month jail term suspended for two years and was also banned from keeping animals for five years at Antrim Magistrates Court, reportsBelfast Live.

At a previous court, Deputy District Judge Chris Holmes said pictures he was shown in the case were “the worst photos I have ever seen of cruelty to an animal”.

She pleaded guilty to charges of permitting unnecessary pain or distress to a dog under her control and being the keeper of a dog without a valid licence.

Belfast LiveAleshia McLaverty has been accused of abandoning a black Labrador dog in a flat where it was found dead "hanging from blinds". Her case at Antrim Magistrates Court has been adjourned until August
Banned: The 23-year-old can not keep another animal for five years

McLaverty no longer lives at Firmount Drive in Antrim, Belfast, where the dog was found.

Outside the court McLaverty, who has a young child, did not comment.

Malcolm Irvine, prosecuting, said after receiving a report from a member of the public about a dead dog at a property, animal welfare officers gained entry to the property in April last year to be met with a “pungent” smell and a house full of flies with floors covered with dog faeces.

An emaciated Labrador-cross type dog was found dead hanging upside down from a blind cord with maggots in its mouth and eyes.

Mr Irvine said there was no food and the toilet bowl was dry suggesting the dog had drank from it and there were scratch marks on packets of food consistent with the dog trying to find something to eat.

A post mortem revealed the dog died of dehydration and starvation and it was likely in its death throes it tried to jump through a window in a last gasp bid to escape but then became entangled on a blind.

Google MapsAleshia McLaverty has been accused of abandoning a black Labrador dog in a flat where it was found dead "hanging from blinds". Her case at Antrim Magistrates Court (pictured) has been adjourned until August
Antrim Magistrates Court

During interviews McLaverty first said the dog belonged to her sister and that she herself did not live in the house as she had gone to stay with her mother but later in court she pleaded guilty to the offences.

Defence barrister Aaron Thompson said it was a “tragic case of passive neglect” and said the house was registered to McLaverty but she took nothing to do with it and her sister had lived in the address at some stage.

He said although McLaverty owned the dog she did not have direct control of it and the house was “abandoned” and had not been lived in for some time.

He said it was the sort of tragic case which “captures the ire of the community” and he said McLaverty, who now lives with her partner and their child, was “very emotional and distressed” and came to the court with a “good character” and with a clear record.

By her guilty plea he said she accepted she knew the dog was in the house and “effectively did nothing about it”.

Suspending a two months jail term for two years, District Judge Alan White said he had to give credit for the guilty plea and her clear record and the fact she has a “new baby” and he ordered her to pay costs of £119.