A man from Lancashire has been jailed for 12 weeks and disqualified from keeping animals for five years after allowing his dog and cat to starve to death.

Jamie Birtwhistle (D.O.B 31.05.86) of Nuttall Street Mews, Nuttall Street, Accrington appeared before Blackburn Magistrates’ Court on Friday (6 October).


At a previous hearing he pleaded guilty to failing to meet the needs of Staffy ‘Bella’ and cat ‘Storm’ by failing to provide them with an adequate diet between 1 October 2016 and 17 April 2017.

Bella who was starved to death in Accrington
Bella who was starved to death in Accrington

New tenants found their decomposing bodies at a flat on Belfield Road when Birtwhistle moved out after being warned by him ‘not to look in the cupboard under the stairs’.


RSPCA inspector Natalie Taylor said: “He told us that he had owned Bella for 10 months and Storm for about a year and that they were well cared for until the breakdown of a relationship in September 2016.


“After that he said he fed them when he remembered, one day coming home to find Bella dead on the sofa and a few days later Storm died too.


“It seems likely that these animals suffered for a long time before they died, which typically happens when they reach half their ideal body weight.”


Birtwhistle was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £115.


RSPCA inspector Taylor added: “We all go through difficult times in our lives but it doesn’t mean that we neglect our pets, who rely on us for everything.


“Bella and Storm were let down in the worst possible way by the person who was meant to be caring for them, their bodies found hidden from sight in a cupboard under the stairs.”