Lewisham mum ‘left dog to starve to death as she went to Portugal’

Sonia Marcos, of Lewisham Road, appeared at Bromley Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (April 18) where she pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to her Jack Russell cross named Bella. 

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The 42-year-old went to Portugal for two weeks in October 2022 as a relative was very ill, an RSPCA prosecutor told the court. 

When Marcos returned Bella was emaciated and by the time she took her to the vets later in the day she was dead. 

When interviewed under caution, Marcos denied any wrongdoing, claiming that Bella had been a healthy weight when she left and that she made arrangements for someone to look her while she was away. 

“The information given about the friend did not stack up and this person couldn’t be traced,” the prosecutor said. 

The vet described it as one of the worst cases of starvation she had ever seen. 

When weighed after death Bella was just 2.25kg, almost half the 4.2kg she weighed when she was just a puppy in 2017. 

Bella was also severely dehydrated and had fleas and overgrown nails which were growing into the pads of her feet, likely causing great pain. 

“The vet said the dog would have suffered due to weakness, lethagy, unrelenting hunger and pain from her nails,” the prosecutor said. 

A postmortem found no medical cause of Bella’s poor bodily condition other than a lack of food. 

The vet’s opinion was that Bella had been suffering for a minimum for four weeks, if not months. 

Marcos pleaded guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal but maintains that she had made arrangements for someone to look after Bella. 

Sentencing was adjourned for a pre-sentence report, but Marcos was told that she could be given a custodial sentence for the crime. 


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