A WOMAN who starved her dog to death and left its emaciated body in a garden shed has been banned from keeping any animal for the rest of her life.

Finn, a black and white six-year-old springer spaniel, was matted and had overgrown nails and large open sores when its body was found. The animal weighed 8.8kg at the time of its death – the weight it should have been at three months old.

Debbie Clara Wills, 29, also kept a second springer spaniel in a terrible condition. The dog, Aero, weighed just 6.4kg, and was so thin it was unable to lift its head when RSPCA inspectors visited Wills' home in Lower Cranesmoor, Bovington.

A court heard the dogs had been kept in a cage, with food just beyond their reach. Wills walked past their cage, which was in the hallway of her home, but ignored their suffering.

Officials were alerted by a concerned member of the public who said they worried about the condition of Wills’ pets.

RSPCA Inspector Graham Hammond visited her home. There, he found Aero, three. Insp Hammond said the collapsed dog's skull, shoulder bones, spine and leg bones were visible.

It also had very matted ears, open sores, and curled, overgrown nails.

Insp Hammond then found the body of Finn stored in a garden shed. A post-mortem found the dog had starved to death.

Aero was rushed to a vet who provided emergency treatment. The pet's weight quickly increased to 7.94kg.

The dog as since fully recovered, now weighing 13.8kg, and has found a new home.

Wills appeared at Poole Magistrates' Court last week to be sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for two years, after previously admitting two offences of animal cruelty.

Insp Hammond called the case "heartbreaking".

"The dogs were in emaciated condition on the hard cage floor. Their open sores, long nails and matted wet ears would have definitely caused both Aero and Finn to suffer greatly," he said.

"This case is heartbreaking. Debbie Wills ignored the needs and suffering of Aero and Finn.

"Finn died in front of Aero. Aero collapsed soon after Finn, he was so weak he was within hours of death.

"There was food within inches of them, just outside their cage, but sadly too far away.

"During these last days of their lives, Debbie Wills could see that they were losing weight and were dangerously thin but did nothing about it.

"She walked past their cage in her hallway, containing two starving dogs, never taking the opportunity to feed them adequately, take them to a vet or even asking someone for help."

Wills claimed she was struggling to cope because of having a poorly child.

She said her failures were neglectful, rather than intentionally malicious.

Magistrates also ordered that she carries out 15 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement and pays £512. The lifetime disqualification cannot be appealed for ten years and the six month sentence was suspended for two years.