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Trainee solicitor jailed for 18 weeks over dog death

Katy Gammon has been jailed for 18 weeks. Photo: Claire Hayhurst/PA Wire

A trainee solicitor who locked her pet dog in a kitchen in Bristol and left it to die has been jailed for 18 weeks.

Katy Gammon, 27, moved out of her home in the city, leaving five-year-old boxer Roxy trapped inside without food or water.

The dog's remains were not discovered until 10 weeks later, when neighbours reported a large amount of flies around the property.

A post-mortem examination found Roxy suffered a "prolonged and painful" death over a six-day period.

Bristol Magistrates Court heard RSPCA inspectors were forced to remove Roxy's remains from the kitchen floor with a snow shovel.

Roxy had shredded part of the kitchen door in an attempt to escape and emptied mops and buckets from cupboards to find water.

Shockingly, Gammon had piled tins of dog food and dog treats outside the kitchen - just feet away from where Roxy was locked inside.

Gammon, of Capel Road, Bristol, later admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the dog and failing to prevent causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

The solicitor, dressed in a black suit, remained emotionless in the dock as she was told her actions were "deliberate".

Rod Mayall, chair of the bench, told Gammon:

This was prolonged neglect of a dog where she was locked in a house and left to die of starvation and dehydration.

You have shown limited remorse. Although you were somewhat depressed, you failed to take up at least two offers of alternative housing for the dog. You failed to act as any normal person would.

This is the most serious incident of animal cruelty that we have encountered in these courts.

– Rod Mayall, chair of the bench
5-year-old boxer Roxy was trapped inside the house for a week without food or water. Credit: Adam Taylor

Gammon was also banned from keeping animals for life.

Prosecuting for the RSPCA, Lindi Meyer said Gammon had acquired Roxy while living with her boyfriend, Adam Taylor in December 2012.

The couple separated in April 2013 and Gammon kept Roxy, leaving her home alone during the day while she went to work.

Initially, Roxy had roam of the house but Gammon later decided to lock her in the kitchen as she would urinate and defecate inside.

In August 2013, Gammon began staying with her mother who lived a few streets away in Bristol.

She returned each morning to feed Roxy but only walked her three times a week, otherwise leaving the dog confined to the kitchen.

However, in late August, Gammon dislocated her knee and did not visit the property, in Campbells Farm Drive, Bristol, for a week - meaning Roxy was completely unattended.

Ms Meyer said: "When anyone asked about Roxy, she lied and said her ex-boyfriend was looking after her."

Neighbours called Avon and Somerset Police after spotting flies in the window of the property, and officers attended on November 3.

Ms Meyer said: "Officers gained entry to the property and noticed there were cobwebs in the door frame. It was obvious the property had not been entered for some time.

"It was noted that there were unopened tins of dog food and an open pack of dog chews in the lounge but not in the kitchen for Roxy.

"Roxy had been left with a plastic dog basket and one soiled sheet. She died on the hard lino."

On entering the home, officers found a length of rope rigged between the kitchen door and hooks in the hallway to keep it closed.

Roxy's remains were inside the kitchen, covered in maggots.

100,000 people have signed an online petition "Justice for Roxy". Credit: Adam Taylor

A post-mortem examination carried out by an RSPCA vet found: "Roxy suffered the distress and discomfort of a gradual death. This suffering was entirely avoidable and unnecessary."

The court heard Roxy would have experienced abdominal pain, muscle spasms, blindness, an irregular heart rhythm and kidney failure before death.

In interview, Gammon claimed she had tried to get rid of Roxy by posting messages on Facebook but did not have any takers.

Gammon told RSPCA Inspector Miranda Albinson she last attended to Roxy at the house on August 30.

However, she did not return - leaving Roxy without food or water - until a week later, on September 6, when she found an "awful smell".

"I didn't go into the house, I assumed she was dead," Gammon told the inspector. "I never went back.

"I don't know what you want me to say. I can't change it. It's horrific."

In a victim impact statement, Mr Taylor said he had felt "physically sick" after seeing photographs of Roxy's remains in the kitchen.

Roxy was mistreated by her previous owner. She used to panic if she was left alone and would become distressed.

I don't understand why Katy did this. She had so many friends and family who would have taken Roxy and would have helped her.

I am happy with the sentence but in my eyes it is not enough.

For me, the life of a dog is just as much as a human life so there should be the same punishment.

– Adam Taylor, Gammon's former boyfriend

Farah Rasid, representing Gammon, said her client had been "hounded" by animal campaigners following Roxy's death.

Gammon had been training as a solicitor and was awaiting her first post when Roxy was discovered - ending her career.

Ms Rasid said: "She is a young lady who is a prisoner in her own home. She is a young lady who has lost a career she was waiting to start. She is her own critic of herself."

Gammon remained emotionless as she was led to the cells.