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The cruel irony of YOLO - the dog starved to death in a flat

Published: Wednesday, 7 February, 2018

*****WARNING: The photographs in this press release contain distressing images***** A Dursley resident has been given a suspended prison sentence for causing her dog unnecessary suffering which resulted in his death.

Emma Miles, a 28 year old mother of two, left the Staffordshire Bull Terrier locked in the kitchen of the council flat she rented in Oak Drive, Dursley, when she moved to a new address in August 2016.

Following her formal eviction from the property, council workers clearing the property discovered that the kitchen floor was covered in faeces and a brown sludge, and subsequently discovered the emaciated corpse of a dog wrapped in a plastic bin bag, which had been placed in a cupboard.

When Stroud District Council’s animal welfare officers were called in to investigate the case Miss Miles claimed that she had given the dog, named Yolo, to a former boyfriend. However rigorous investigations by SDC officer Alex Myrie demonstrated that was not the case, and that Miss Miles had left Yolo alone in the flat without food, water or human company over a period of weeks, which resulted in him starving to death.  

A post mortem investigation found that the dog’s stomach contents contained only dog fur and faeces, the only sources of food that would have been available to him. A wound was discovered that was consistent with a pressure sore arising from an inability to move prior to his death. The brown sludge found on the kitchen floor was consistent with the advanced decomposition of internal organs. A veterinarian appointed by the council reported that Yolo “suffered a great deal in the slow, cruel and unnecessary process of starvation.”

Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court sentenced Miss Miles to 18 weeks of custody, suspended for 12 months and to complete 180 hours of unpaid work in the community within 12 months. Furthermore, Miss Miles was disqualified from owning or having responsibility for any animal for 10 years and ordered to pay £1000 towards Council costs as well as a £115 victim surcharge.

Alex Myrie, who led the investigation, said:

“In my 16 years in this role, this is the worst case of animal cruelty I have had to deal with. The last days and weeks of Yolo’s life must have been the stuff of nightmares. Staffies thrive on human company and the thought of Yolo spending his last week’s not only starving and thirsty but also lonely, breaks my heart. It seems a cruel irony that Yolo’s name stands for “You Only Live Once” when his life ended so cruelly and needlessly. There are no winners in cases of this nature but we are very grateful to the Courts for bringing Miss Miles to account for her actions, in particular banning her from having any responsibility for any animal for the next 10 years.”

Cllr Simon Pickering, chair of Stroud District Council’s environment committee said:

“The level of cruelty uncovered in this case is completely abhorrent. I wish to publically thank the diligence and dedication of our animal welfare and legal teams for their excellent work to ensure a successful prosecution. In these difficult financial times I am sure that most members of the public are also pleased that, a as council we continue to provide these frontline services, as much of the work our animal welfare team does is preventing such cruelties, but these don’t hit the headlines “

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