A couple starved their two dogs before burying one of the animals in woods close to their home, a court heard.

Neither Hayley Ann Wolsoncroft, 29, of Bowen Court, Ruabon, nor her partner Gavin Lee Lewis, 32, of Cobden Road, Wrexham, attended Wrexham Magistrates Court where the case was heard in their absence.

Glen Murphy, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said Wolsoncroft was charged with three counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal kept at her address.

Lewis, who spent a lot of time at the Bowen Court address, was charged with one count of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

Each offence took place between February 26 and April 10 this year.

Mr Murphy said RSPCA inspectors had attended the address on Bowen Court on April 10 after concerns had been raised for a Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Molly.

The inspectors learned that another Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Fudge had died and already been buried in some nearby woods.

On entering the house the inspectors reported ‘a strong smell’ and observed dog faeces and urine all over the living room floor.

Molly was described as ‘very lethargic’ and was lying in an open crate which contained food which was not dog food.

The dog was bloated but very thin and its spine bones could be felt through its back.

Wolsoncroft told the inspectors the dog was her boyfriend’s and that she had been trying to feed it tuna.

A neighbour showed the inspectors where Fudge had been buried among some trees about 15 metres from a road and arrangements were made to exhume the carcass which was found to be very thin.

In a police interview Wolsoncroft said Molly was ‘a fussy eater’ and that she had owned her for a year after ‘getting her off Facebook’.

She said she thought Fudge had died after eating poison.

When Lewis was interviewed he said that Molly lived with Wolsoncroft and agreed she was underweight but he said he did not know why Fudge had died.

A vet’s report carried out on Molly described her as being ‘emaciated’ and in ‘very poor condition’, a dog body condition score rated her as one out of five.

A pathology report on Fudge said he was emaciated at the time of death with an extended stomach and that starvation due to an inadequate diet was the most likely cause of death.

Both dogs had suffered ‘acute pain for two weeks’ and ‘severe’ pain for at least 24 hours.

District judge Gwyn Jones said all matters had been proved and advised Mr Murphy to inform Lewis and Wolsoncroft that they should both attend Wrexham Magistrates Court on November 21.