Dog ‘eaten alive by fleas’ after owner neglected him for months

Dog ‘eaten alive by fleas’ after owner neglected him for months

The owner of a neglected dog who was “eaten alive by fleas” has been banned from keeping pets.

Darren Hughes, 48, had left his Chewie, a Shih Tzu, abandoned and suffering for several months at his home in Islington, Highbury Corner Magistrates Court heard.

A member of the public found Chewie collapsed and took him to the vet, where he was diagnosed with a heavy flea burden and iron deficiency.

Darren Hughes was sentenced at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court

(PA Archive)

The vet was forced to put Chewie to sleep to end his suffering, the RSPCA said.

Mr Huges was sentenced at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on 12 February after being convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

Chewie was also diafnosed with iron deficiency


He was banned indefinitely from keeping all animals and was sentenced to 18 weeks in custody, suspended for 18 months. He was also fined a victim surcharge of £154.

The 48-year-old also had a cat removed from the property, who will now be rehomed.

In mitigation, he said an alcohol addiction resulted in failing to provide Chewie with veterinary treatment, thereby causing unnecessary suffering.

Chewie, a Shih Tzu, developed a heavy flea burden after being neglected for several months


In evidence, the vet wrote: “Chewie was suffering for an extended length of time, as the initial mean corpuscular volume (MCV) was very low, and with chronic anaemia and ongoing blood loss, one or more months are required before the MCV and MCHC decrease below reference intervals.

“This patient’s mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration (MCHC) wasn’t even registered by our laboratory, which is likely to mean red blood cells do not have enough haemoglobin. It also shows thrombocytosis (increased platelets), which is often present in animals with iron deficiency anaemia.

“The biochemistry blood test results show that he had low creatine, which was likely related to muscle loss, and increased urea, which is likely related to dehydration. He was diagnosed with severe anaemia due to his infestation with fleas.”

After sentencing, Inspector Shahnaz Ahmad said: “This was a distressing case, poor Chewie had been left on his own for large periods of time while he was riddled with fleas, they were literally eating him alive.

“It’s thanks to a member of the public alerting us to the condition of this dog that he was punished for his actions. Sadly it was too late to save Chewie, but it does mean this individual will never be able to neglect pets in this way again.”

Leave a Reply