A County Londonderry man has admitted starving his pet Husky to death and then leaving its body in his kitchen for four months.
Robert Porter was charged with animal cruelty after the dog was discovered by an animal welfare officer at his former home in Maghera.
The Derry man, whose address was given as Ballysillan Drive, Belfast, appeared at Magherafelt Magistrates Court yesterday and pleaded guilty to causing the dog to suffer unnecessarily and failing to take steps to ensure the needs of the dog were met.
The court heard that on May 20, 2014, animal welfare officer Sam Jackson went to Porter's previous address at King William III Crescent, Maghera, following a complaint. Inside, he was immediately struck by the smell of a decomposing body. He found the dog's remains in the kitchen, and noted the animal was very thin.
Further searches of the house uncovered rubbish, including empty tins of dog food.
Following a post-mortem examination, a pathologist found the dog was malnourished and weighed just 11kg.
He had been dead for some time, his skin was dry and there was thick mould inside his mouth. There was no food in his stomach and the dog did not have a disease. The post-mortem found the dog died from starvation and dehydration.
During police interview, Porter said he was the owner of the Husky, admitted the dog had been dead for four months before it was found, and that it had not been fed for several weeks before it died.
District Judge Alan White described it as a "shocking" way for an animal's life to end.
He told Porter that he had seen photos of the dead dog which were "disgusting".
A prosecuting solicitor told the court she was seeking a lengthy disqualification order against Porter.
Porter's solicitor, Enda McKaigue, told the court that a pre-sentence report was being prepared ahead of sentencing, on March 1. The case was adjourned until then.
Judge White said he was taking a serious view of the matter. He told Porter he would have to co-operate with the Probation Board and that, if he did, he would consider a non-custodial sentence and a lengthy disqualification order.
In a statement, Mid Ulster Council said: "The council is committed to safeguarding the welfare of domestic pets and horses and will investigate complaints thoroughly, taking all appropriate action.
"This includes prosecution, as in this particularly harrowing case, which should serve as a warning to anyone who does not properly care for their animals."