Owner left 2 dogs to starve to death in flat on Walmersley Road, Bury


Byron Rowland, 23, of Limefield Road, Radcliffe, has been banned from keeping animals for five years after a prosecution by the RSPCA.

The RSPCA made the horrific discovery of the emaciated bodies of bulldog breed dogs Tank and Frankie after they had been left unsupervised and without water for more than three weeks at Rowland’s rubbish-strewn flat on Walmersley Road.

Dark silhouette stains where the dogs had laid were visible on the carpets when they were removed from the flat after the discovery during a routine inspection by the landlord of the property on January 19 this year.

The dogs were found lying in two upstairs bedrooms, where the floors were littered with dog faeces.

Rowland pleaded guilty to two offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and appeared for sentencing at Manchester and Salford Magistrates Court on December 6.

He admitted causing unnecessary suffering to Tank and Frankie by failing to provide the proper and necessary care for them between October 31 last year and January 19 this year.

He also admitted failing to ensure the needs of the two dogs were met between the same dates.

RSPCA inspector Jessica Araujo said in her witness statement presented to the court that when she went into the flat on February 23 there was not a single source of water available for the dogs to drink.

She said: “Any bowls, pans or plates were dry. All taps were turned off.

“The kitchen sink, bath and toilet were all dry.

“The landlord informed me that the central heating had also been left on.

“In the bedroom where Tank was found there were around 40 piles of faeces, an overturned empty dog bowl, two empty upright bowls and an open bag of dry dog food.

“And in the bedroom where Frankie was found there were, again, multiple piles of dog faeces mixed with torn up tissue.”


Inspector Araujo later spoke with Tank’s original owner, who said she had asked Rowland to look after him after she couldn’t take him to her new home.

The defendant was eventually tracked down after Inspector Araujo contacted his mother and he was interviewed on March 10.

A vet’s expert report said Rowland claimed he had left two bowls of water for the dogs when he left them in the flat.

There was also a bag of dog food.

The vet said: “Dog food was still accessible at the time of their death but the dogs did not have access to water.

“A dog that has access to food but not water will dehydrate and die within eight to 11 days.

“When the water bowls became depleted it is likely the dogs began to search for other water sources.

“The inspector noted the toilet was dry, which was likely due to them having drunk the water after their bowls were empty.”

In defence, the court was told Rowland had lost his job and he was in arrears with his rent when he left the flat.

Rowland was given a custodial sentence of 26 weeks which was suspended for 12 months.

Magistrates also ordered he complete 30 rehabilitation activity days and 150 hours of unpaid work.

He must to pay £1,972 legal costs and vets fees as well as a victim surcharge of £128.

Speaking after the sentencing, Inspector Araujo added: “It was such a horrific way for those two poor dogs to die, especially since it was totally avoidable.”