A WOMAN has admitted abandoning her dog with no food or water for three weeks.

Holly Berkeley, 20, of Ness Road, Shoebury, told her family she had put her shar pei, named Beretta, into care, when in fact, she had left it to starve in her house in Chinchilla Road, Southend.

Ben Irwin, prosecuting for the RSPCA, told Southend Magistrates’ Court inspectors were called in response to a complaint last December.

They checked the house three days running and on the second day, gave food to the dog, On their third visit, officers called police, who broke in and rescued the animal.

Mr Irwin said: “The house itself was in a terrible mess, with dog faeces and urine. The dog was highly distressed, very aggressive and only calmed down when it was taken from the house.

“It had been severely malnourished, and its liver had damage.”

The RSPCA found a new home for the dog, which is now healthy again.

Berkeley’s lawyer, Adam Merrick, said his client was an animal lover, adding: “She’s someone who’s been a previous pet owner and has had no problems with looking after them before.”

He said she had been suffering at the hands of a violent former partner and her three children had been taken into care.

He added: “The gentleman came back to this address and there was further physical violence. She left the address and moved into a refuge, and the dog was left on its own.

“Unfortunately, as she said in an interview, she went off the rails.

She did care, but her actions didn’t show it at the time.”

Berkeley did once return to the house once during the three weeks and try to release the dog into the street, he said.

Chairman of magistrates Alan Payne told her that she could face prison. He asked: “If the RSPCA hadn’t fed the dog, would it be here today?”

Berkeley admitted causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, and three charges of of not taking responsibility for an animal’s welfare.

She will be sentenced on June 20.