#TheList Clive Price, born c. 1957, of 69 Exeter Street, Stafford ST17 4EF – shot a cat out of a tree and clubbed her to death
Clive Price had a gun disguised as a walking stick – described by the judge as “an assassin’s weapon” – among his prohibited firearms. It was found along with a handmade pistol and a silencer during police investigations into the shooting of the cat, Stafford crown court heard on 27/2/12.
Price shot the animal out of a hawthorn tree using an illicit air rifle – because she had been attacking some nesting birds.
He fired the air rifle because he was angry with the cat and having severely injured her, he went and picked her up and killed her either by clubbing her or swinging her against a wall.
Price admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the cat as well as four firearms offences .
Sentencing: 18 weeks in jail, suspended for two years, for the animal cruelty offence. 52 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for two years and 300 hours of unpaid community work for the firearms offences.
#TheList violent career criminal Alan Smith, born 26/03/1981, previously of Hebburn, South Tyneside, but as of 2020 living at 43 The Avenue, Hetton-le-Hole DH5 9DQ – abandoned two dogs to starve to death in atrocious conditions
When bailiffs forced their way into Alan Smith’s flat to serve an eviction notice, they found his mastiff Sam lying dead in a living room surrounded by dog dirt and rubbish.
They also found an emaciated Staffordshire bull terrier called Lily in the room, who had only survived by eating flesh from the dead dog.
The bailiffs called in the RSPCA who took the surviving dog to a vet and had a post-mortem examination carried out on the mastiff. This revealed both dogs had been starved of food and water for about a month.
Smith appeared by videolink as he was already serving a three-year prison sentence for an unrelated crime.
No charges were brought regarding Lily, after Smith told magistrates she belonged to his girlfriend.
Denise Jackman, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said: “When the bailiff opened the door to the living room, a small dog ran out and went to the toilet to drink water.
“A large emaciated dog was dead in the corner of the room. The smaller dog had been living off the corpse, as half of its face was missing.
“The room was strewn with faeces, empty beer cans and other rubbish. Both dogs were almost skeletal.”
Speaking about the case after sentencing, RSPCA inspector Claire Hunt said: “This was an extremely shocking case that upset everyone who dealt with it.”
“This dog died an awful death, deprived of the most basic of things, food and water, for up to a month. The fact that the other dog survived such a horrendous ordeal is a miracle.
“The room they were in was covered in faeces and urine, beer cans and other rubbish and there was a chewed up sofa. She was literally living off the flesh of her mate. When the bailiffs opened the door she shot out of the room and started to drink from the toilet.
“Happily, she is now with new owners and having the kind of life she always deserved.”
Sentence: jailed for 17 weeks, banned from looking after animals for 10 years (expires February 2022).
Update April 2020: Alan Smith was jailed for nine months after threatening a woman with an axe. Headcase Smith was taken into custody following a three-hour stand-off with armed police. In addition to the prison sentence, Smith was given a five-year restraining order.
#TheList Julie Taylor, born 02/02/1962, and son Jamie Stuart Taylor, born 18/03/1980, both most recently of Hendford Drive, Bradford BD3 0SE – locked their pet dogs in an attic and left them to die
Julie and Jamie Taylor ignored the heartrending cries of the two dogs, who suffered weeks of hunger and thirst before dying.
The rottweiler and Staffordshire bull terrier-type dogs had been kept in the attic at Julie Taylor’s house, where they were found by police decomposing with maggots and flies on their emaciated bodies.
Prosecutor Nigel Monaghan said a board had been nailed in place to stop the dogs from going down the stairs, which would have also made it “extremely difficult” for anybody to tend to the animals.
“It’s difficult without being dramatic to think of a worse case of animal cruelty,” he said.
Mr Monaghan said the RSPCA officer who visited the house had described the smell of rotting flesh getting “stronger and stronger” as he climbed up to the attic where there was no clean air, bedding, food or water.
A vet who examined the animals concluded they had died from starvation and dehydration and said: “the appalling conditions and horrendous suffering would have been obvious to any lay observer”.
Both defendants pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the dogs by failing to provide them with an adequate diet and also admitted to failing to meet the dogs’ needs by not ensuring they were kept in a suitable environment between September 14 and October 14, 2011.
Jamie Taylor, who shouted as he was led away from court, also pleaded guilty to failing, as the dogs’ owner, to provide the animals with reasonable care and supervision.
The RSPCA had tried to contact him several times about the dogs after being called by a member of the public.
Another dog, which was in reasonable health, was being kept downstairs at the house, Mr Monaghan said.
Mr Taylor had said he could not take the dogs outside because they were too skinny, he added.
Solicitor Ian Hudson said Mr Taylor had owned the dogs for about five years but as his health deteriorated due to problems with alcohol he could no longer care for them. He had come to an understanding with his mother whereby she would house them but he would feed and exercise them, he said.
When his drink problems became worse he did not visit as often as he should have done and assumed his mother was feeding the animals.
Mrs Taylor was also in poor health and was also unable to look after the dogs, he said.
Chairman of the bench, Harry Atkinson, said: “The dogs experienced horrendous suffering before their death. The dogs were prisoners upstairs in the house and they died from prolonged neglect.
“They had no access to the rest of the house, nor to the outside world.
“Mr Taylor said he would be embarrassed to take his dogs outside because they were too skinny to be seen out walking.”
The pair were jailed by Bradford magistrates and banned for life from keeping animals.
Prosecuting, Nigel Monaghan, told the court: “It is difficult to think of a worse case of animal cruelty than this.
“A board of slats was nailed in place to stop the dogs, which were in the attic, from getting out and going down the stairs.”
Sentencing: jailed for four months. Banned from keeping animals for life.
#TheList Lauren McMeechan, born c. 1988, of 125 High Street, Linlithgow EH48 7EJ – left her pet dogs to starve almost to death
Callous Lauren McMeechan left the two dogs – a male Irish setter and a female black Labrador – in the worst state of starvation a vet had ever seen.
McMeechan pleaded guilty to starving and neglecting the dogs.
The court heard that when investigators called at her home in May 2010, they found one-year-old setter Reilly and five-year-old Lab Halle with their ribs, spine and hip bones sticking through their fur.
McMeechan admitted causing the pair unnecessary suffering by failing to provide proper nourishment between April 1 and May 27, 2010.
But she told the court she failed to care for them because she was suffering from depression.
Iain Smith, defending, asked for no ban to be imposed on her keeping animals. He said: “In a good mental health state she would be a fit person to look after animals, although she has no plans to do so at present.”
Sheriff Donald Muirhead admonished McMeechan but advised her to think twice about keeping pets in the future.
He said: “If you feel yourself getting down or in a low mood and you have animals, give them away because you obviously can’t look after them in that state.”
SSPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “We are shocked no ban on keeping animals has been imposed by the court.
“The vet who examined both dogs said it was one of the worst cases of starvation he had ever seen and we believe that a life ban would have been entirely appropriate in this instance.
“Not only is it important in cases such as this, where we believe the offender has demonstrated they are unfit to care for animals, it also sends out an important message – that owning an animal is a privilege and not a right.
“Thankfully, both dogs were taken into our care and, after prolonged rehabilitation, have found a loving home together.”
#TheList Claire Guy (was Cahill), born c. 1991, and Matthew Guy, born c. 1989, then of Oak Avenue, Cannock WS12 4QB – starved their pet dog to the point of death
Matthew Guy pretended to have found the Staffordshire bull terrier in a field when he contacted council dog wardens to take her away.
But his deception was discovered after the previous owners were contacted through information found on a microchip in the dog.
The bitch, called Jade, was so weak she couldn’t eat or drink and had to be put down.
Three separate veterinary surgeons had rated her condition as zero on a scale of nought to five, highlighting excessive loose skin and her skeletal state, with clearly visible pelvic and hip bones.
When the animal was first picked up, she was severely dehydrated and drank a bowl and a half of water, said Roger Price, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA.
She was put on a drip for 36 hours but remained in a critical condition, hardly able to stand, passing blood and eventually unable to feed. Vets concluded she could not be saved.
Guy’s attempt to pass the dog off as a stray was maintained throughout dealings with South Staffordshire Council’s dog wardens.
Experts estimated the animal had been starved for at least two weeks and probably longer.
Unemployed labourer Guy and Cahill bought the dog off the Internet.
Guy pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a dog and of being in breach of a conditional discharge for criminal damage. They both admitted failing to ensure the animal’s welfare.
Sentencing: 12-month supervision order; ordered to pay £1,018 in costs each. Guy was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work. Both were banned from keeping animals for 10 years (expires February 2022).