A TEENAGER starved a dog to death before putting the body in a suitcase and dumping it in a Leeds cemetery.
Mason Medford was jailed for 18 weeks today and banned from keeping animals for life over the death of the Staffordshire bull terrier called Leo.
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An RSCPA officer described how Leo was "literally a skeleton of a dog" when his body was found under bushes in Harehills Cemetery on January 24 this year.
Medford, of Bellbrooke Grove, Harehills, was arrested on warrant this morning and presented to Leeds Magistrates’ Court for sentencing.
He was due to appear before the court last Tuesday but failed to attend and the case was heard in his absence.
Medford was found guilty of two counts of causing unnecessary suffering and one of failing to meet the needs of the dog under the Animal Welfare Act.
RSPCA inspector Sarah Mason said: “This was a really shocking incident to deal with and I’m glad that the court viewed it so seriously.
“Leo’s emaciated body had been crammed into a black suitcase, wrapped in a towel.
“When vets weighed him he was just 11.6kg, he was literally a skeleton of a dog.
"The collar he had around his neck - which presumably fit at some time - was just hanging off him.
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“The suffering Leo endured before he died must have been enormous.”
Leo was microchipped to an address in Newport, Gwent - over 200 miles and four and a half hours drive away - but when Inspector Mason called the number registered she was told he had been re-homed six months ago via the internet.
A media appeal followed to try to establish what had happened to him.
The coverage resulted in Medford handing himself in to a police station.
At the hearing last week, the court heard that Medford took the dog on from some friends, who had themselves bought him from someone in York.
They found that Leo and their other dog did not get on and that his previous owner refused to take him back.
Medford brought him home on November 26 last year.
He told police that the dog had growled at him and acted aggressively so he left him at the house.
Inspector Mason said: “He literally abandoned this dog to die.
“He shut him in a room with no food or water and didn’t come back until he was dead.
“Veterinary evidence found that he had suffered for a minimum of four weeks, eventually suffering multiple organ failure.
“The house was disgusting, there was faeces and urine everywhere, and splatters of blood.
"What Leo went through during that time doesn’t bear thinking about.”
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