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Abandoned Shih Tzu Dog ‘Eaten Alive by Fleas’


A 48-year-old man who neglected his Shih Tzu dog for months as fleas “ate him alive” will serve 18 weeks in custody, a judge ruled. The judge also banned Darren Hughes — a resident of Islington, North London — from keeping pets for an indefinite period.

Shih Tzu euthanized after fleas caused iron deficiency

Hughes was sentenced on Feb. 12, at the Highbury Corner Magistrates Court. The court heard that Hughes left his dog, a Shih Tzu named Chewie, riddled with fleas for several months. Shockingly, the Islington resident never sought treatment for Chewie’s severe flea infestation, as per The Independent.

To add to that, The Mirror says the dog had no access to food and water while under Hughes’s care. A member of the public found Chewie unconscious on the floor and rushed him to a vet. Unfortunately, the vet diagnosed him with chronic iron deficiency anemia resulting from heavy flea infestation.

Tragically, Chewie had to be euthanized to end his suffering.

In a statement presented to the court, the vet wrote, “Chewie was suffering for an extended length of time.” He noted, “The initial mean corpuscular volume (MCV) was very low, and with chronic anemia and ongoing blood loss, one or more months are required before the MCV and MCHC decrease below reference intervals.”

The vet further stated, “This patient’s mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) wasn’t even registered by our laboratory, which is likely to mean red blood cells do not have enough hemoglobin. It also shows thrombocytosis (increased platelets) which is often present in animals with iron deficiency anemia.”

In defense, Hughes pinned his neglectful actions on his alcohol addiction.

RSPCA Inspector Shahnaz Ahmad commented on Hughes’s sentencing. He stated although “it was too late to save Chewie…it does mean this individual will never be able to neglect pets in this way again.”


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