A dog owner who told vets his pet had drowned in the shower has been banned from owning pets after an RSPCA investigation revealed she had died from horrifying injuries.

Tiago Da Silva claimed his eight-month-old pet mastiff Diva must have fallen and blocked the drain - but a post mortem revealed she died of internal bleeding from a blow to the liver, with other bruising and bleeding on her body.

Da Silva, 28, whose address was listed as Steele Road, Tottenham, was found guilty at Willesden Magistrates Court on December 5 of failing to protect Diva from injury, despite his denials.

Diva's limp body was taken to a vet on January 24, but she died despite attempts to resuscitate her. 

Da Silva told vets he had put her in the shower after she defecated in his house in Seven Sisters Road, Islington, and he thought she must have fallen and blocked the drain.

But assessments revealed bruising in her left ear, signs of recent haemorrhaging around the left eye, and marks on her lips.

The vet called the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).

Inspector Shahnaz Ahmad led the investigation and asked an expert vet to examine Diva’s body and decide if she had suffered.

The vet's report said a post mortem found Diva had died as a consequence of "significant blood loss" into the abdominal cavity as a result of physical damage to the liver.

This was consistent with "blunt force trauma", with further evidence of blows at the back of the skull and the chest.

It added: “The post mortem findings do not support death by drowning and it is difficult to explain how a dog may have sustained multiple blunt force trauma injuries while in the home environment accidentally while being showered by her owner.

"The suspicion of non-accidental injury (physical abuse) is raised.”

The report concluded that Da Silva had not protected Diva from injury, and that she may have suffered pain and distress as a result of trauma to her abdomen. 

In mitigation, Da Silva said his failure to meet welfare needs was not intended and he denied that the injuries were caused by blunt force trauma.

As well as an indefinite ban, Da Silva was given a 20-week suspended jail sentence, ordered to carry out 150 hours' unpaid work and a victim surcharge of £114.

Following sentencing, Inspector Shahnaz Ahmad said: “We are grateful to the vet for reporting this incident to us. If they hadn’t we would have never found out that an offence had been committed.

"We always encourage vets to report suspected animal abuse cases to us so that we can investigate and where necessary, pursue a prosecution.”