#TheList Samantha ‘Sammii’ Little, born 08/02/1993, of 2 Leuchars Drive, Elgin IV30 4AU – starved a lurcher-collie to death
Little kept crossbreed Hamish in such pitiful condition that his body was found among piles of droppings after he had eaten poisonous painkillers.
A worker from the Scottish SPCA went to Little’s then home and found Hamish’s remains “in a particularly emaciated condition, with faeces lying around the body. No food or water was available for the dog, and dry bowls were found in the kitchen area”.
The court heard empty and chewed ibuprofen packets were also found in the kitchen.
When the animal’s remains were sent for post mortem the vet found rigor mortis had disappeared and decomposition was beginning to set in.
The cause of death was confirmed as starvation combined with ibuprofen toxicity.
Analysis showed Hamish had suffered severe muscle loss in his limbs and trunk and his eyes were milky white in colour and “completely sunken in”.
The vet found no dental abnormalities to explain why he might have stopped eating, and said ulcerations in the dog’s stomach were consistent with him having consumed ibuprofen.
Little admitted the charges to police when she was questioned in April 2014.
In court, her solicitor Stephen Carty said she and her former partner had looked after the dog together until they split up.
Mr Carty said: “Her family situation at the time was very difficult, but she accepts she did not care for the animal.
“She did make efforts to rectify the situation by calling her support worker but that was all rather late in the day.”
Sentence: 100 hours of community service. Banned from owning any animal for 10 years (expires February 2025).
#TheList John George Psaila, born 02/12/1965, of 11 Alan Ball House, 89 Bolton Road, Farnworth, Bolton BL4 7AT – a “key figure” in British dog-fighting
RSPCA officers uncovered what was in effect a training school for pit bull terrier-type dogs at John Psaila’s previous home in Thornvale, Abram, Wigan.
Psaila admitted 14 allegations including training dogs for the purpose of fighting, possession of equipment designed or adapted for use in dog-fighting and possession of pit bull terrier-type dogs.
Officers even discovered one dog being trained on a treadmill when they arrived at Psaila’s address in summer 2014.
Inspectors from the RSPCA’s special operations unit – which investigates organised animal crime – joined officers from Greater Manchester Police on warrants at Psaila’s Abram address, as well as a house on Lowton Street in Radcliffe, Manchester, on June 9, 2014.
They were acting on information that he was involved in organised dog-fighting and an allegation he was preparing to take a dog to a fight.
At the Abram address they found what resembled a training school for fighting dogs, including treadmills, weighing scales, home veterinary kits with medication and muscle-gaining powder and breaking sticks, which are typically used to separate dogs during a fight.
The RSPCA found Psaila had two pit bull-type dogs – called Ziggy and Tip – in his care and he subsequently admitted training both of the dogs to fight.
Psaila also admitted to training a dog called Cruise to fight. Although the dog was not found at either address, texts from his phone revealed plans to arrange a fight between Cruise and another unknown dog.
Footage of the dogs being trained on treadmills was found on the defendant’s mobile phone, said the RSPCA.
Other paraphernalia such as dog-fighting yearbooks and magazines, as well as a bucket and a sponge covered in blood were also discovered at a property belonging to Psaila.
The father-of-two, who has a pit bull tattooed across his back, winked at his daughter when he was jailed after admitting a series of crimes under the Animal Welfare Act.
Magistrates also ordered the destruction of two pit bull-type animals as they were considered too dangerous to spare.
Sentence: jailed for 121 days. Banned from keeping animals for life.
#TheList Paul Carroll, born 24/07/1963, of Mitchell Street, South Moor, Stanley, County Durham DH9 7BQ – drowned his dog and dismembered her body, then blamed black magic for her death.
Carroll held Bedlington terrier Molly underwater in a bath, then tried to bury her at the Hat and Feather Inn pub near Consett. Fearing the dog’s body would be discovered, he cut it up in to a number of pieces and put it down the drain at the back of the property. Molly’s dismembered body was found by drainage workers called to unblock it.
RSPCA inspectors and police removed a further three dogs and a snake from the house, which was littered with excrement, once the investigation was launched in January 2015.
Margaret Carroll, born 04/07/1954, of First Street, Watling Street Bungalows, Consett DH8 6HW, was originally charged with helping her husband drown the dog but was later cleared. She is currently serving a four-year jail sentence for starting a fire at the family home, alongside daughter Katrina Livingstone, born 26/08/1977, of the same address, in an attempted suicide bid.
Sentence: 18 weeks’ custody, suspended for 12 months, supervision order. Banned from keeping animals for ten years (expires February 2025).
#TheList Robert Harry Phipps, born 07/12/1978, of Station Road, March PE15 8LB – for the neglect of 34 ‘rescued’ dogs kept inside a warehouse
In late 2013 the RSPCA was given information that pet shop owner Phipps, who ran JJ Rescue, was keeping dogs in cramped conditions in cages at a warehouse in Commercial Road, March, and launched an investigation.
What they found at the premises were two smallish rooms each housing 17 dogs in metal cages. One room was a closed internal space without fresh air or natural light.
RSPCA chief inspector Mark Thompson explained: “There were serious concerns for their welfare, but despite several visits and a lot of welfare advice the conditions of these dogs did not improve and the advice was not followed. We then attended along with the police and a vet in February 2014 when police took the dogs and put them in RSPCA care.”
The court heard that the dogs were kept in crates overnight without access to water. Some cages had two dogs inside.
One dog suffered facial injuries where their cages were pushed closely together and they were fighting.
One dog later lost an eye because the vets could not save it following infection for a fight injury.
There was blood where dogs had been fighting and some dogs had excrement in their cage.
Phipps said he was willing for the dogs to be re-homed but could not get a commitment from the RSPCA that dogs would not be put to sleep.
He said he would rather have dogs in crates than in kennels, where they are “not happy” and “spinning”.
He said the dogs would normally be in crates overnight from 10pm to 8am. In the morning, they would be let out for water and fed.
Dogs would be walked two to three times a day and the crates would be cleaned every day, Phipps said.
He estimated he had spent thousands of pounds on vet bills to ensure dogs got the appropriate care.
Phipps said the dogs were getting an appropriate amount of food and exercise, and were well hydrated.
If there were two dogs in the same cage, it was because they were brother and sister and “could not be separated” due to their level of attachment.
Phipps was found guilty of:
Failing to provide a suitable environment for 34 dogs,
Failing to provide the dogs with an appropriate supply of drinking water, and
Causing unnecessary suffering to a dog by housing them in cages next to each other, allowing them to fight through the bars and cause injuries to each other.
Deputy district judge Boswell said: “This man had the very best of intentions but simply took on more than he could handle.
“However, this is a serious case. As an experienced dog handler he should have known that keeping dogs in those conditions was wholly unacceptable.
“Out of your sheer desire to take in dogs to re-home them, you kept your eyes closed to the conditions they were being kept in.”
Sentence: 12-month community order, 180 hours of unpaid work, £1,000 costs and a £60 surcharge. Disqualified from keeping dogs for three years, later reduced to 18 months on appeal (ban expired).
#TheList Carrie Brady (née Carrie Reid), born August 1986, and Joseph Brady, born May 1978, both of Cairns Street East, Kirkcaldy KY1 2DS – left their three Staffies to suffer from an agonising skin condition
The Bradys pleaded guilty to failing to provide veterinary attention for their dogs Opal, Poppy and Tyson, who were all suffering from skin conditions.
Commenting on the investigation and court case, Scottish SPCA Chief Inspector John Chisholm said, “Opal had the most severe skin complaint. She had significant areas of hair loss and her skin was red and inflamed over almost her entire body.
“Poppy was bleeding and had some areas of hair loss on her back and limbs.
“Tyson had thinning of the hair on his back and underside, particularly on his rear legs.
“All three dogs were scratching in an attempt to gain some relief from the pain and discomfort caused by their skin conditions.
“We are pleased Reid and Brady have received a ban and hope they will fully consider their ability to care for any more dogs in the future.
“Thankfully Opal, Poppy and Tyson all made full recoveries and have since found loving new homes.”
Sentencing: £200 fine each. Banned from owning dogs for three years (expired 2018).
#TheList Leyton Charles Harford, born 29/07/1983, of 135 Elgar Avenue, Malvern WR14 2HA – beat his 10-week-old puppy over the head repeatedly causing it to swell like a tennis ball
Harford was convicted of two counts of causing unnecessary harm to an animal.
In November 2013 the RSPCA were called to Harford’s flat after complaints a puppy had been hit 15 times over the head with a chew toy and also ‘kicked until it collapsed’.
When inspector Pippa Boyd approached the young Staffy, called Riddick, she said he was very subdued with noticeable swelling on his head.
Harford claimed the injury had been caused after Riddick went out to the toilet and disappeared around a corner only to yelp moments later when he heard the sound of a car driving away.
But Rafe Turner, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said Harford’s story changed three times during questioning adding it was ‘blindingly obvious’ he had beat the dog.
A vet called as an expert witness said it would be nearly impossible for that type of injury to be caused by a car without there being other cuts and grazes. He also said it was unlikely it was caused by a kick either.
Pictures were shown to the court of Riddick with the ‘half-tennis ball sized’ lump on his forehead, which Harford had claimed were taken by a relative on the night of the accident.
But the vet witness said the swelling would have taken up to 18 hours to get that bad.
Harford did admit to the charge of causing further unnecessary harm to the puppy by failing to take him for treatment after the injury claiming it would have cost him a ‘fortune’ and he was already ‘on the sick’ with Christmas approaching.
During the investigation, he said: “I know I did wrong, I made a mistake but I have been a good owner and I have put time and effort into him.”
While Riddick was in temporary foster care he hid under the table for half an hour after weeing by the back door, the court heard. The vet said this was a result of him being ‘extremely scared’ of the repercussions.
Sarah Brady, for Harford, said her client was “in rather poor health, he’s been having investigations for months in relation to chronic vomiting.”
Brady added: “This is a matter that’s caused him difficulties at home, he’s struggled to leave his house. His family have received threats.”
Addressing the court magistrate John Taylor said: “The defendant showed total disregard for the welfare of this dog. He could not give a credible explanation as to what happened, when it happened and how.”
RSPCA inspector Boyd said: “I am very pleased with the outcome of this case, which reflects the seriousness of Mr Harford’s actions against Riddick, the puppy.
“Riddick, who was an extremely subdued and non-interactive pup, has now developed into a lively, playful dog. He has been found a new home where he has settled in well and he is enjoying his new life.”
Sentencing: Curfew. Total of £1,860 costs and charges. Lifetime ban on keeping animals with no leave to appeal for ten years.
#TheList Sam John Andrews (DoB 17/12/1988) formerly of Barrhead and more recently (2018) Craig Road, Neilston, Glasgow – caught on CCTV dragging and beating a terrified Staffy and tormenting him with a cigarette lighter
Andrews pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering after being caught on camera whipping Scooby with his lead and terrorising him with a naked flame. Andrews was seen dragging Scooby backwards on his lead and then repeatedly striking the animal, causing him to cower and shake.
Andrews also hit the dog with his hand, forced him to the ground, with his foot planted firmly on his back, and then sparked a cigarette lighter which he held close to his face.
Police were alerted and Andrews was traced and arrested.
Inspectors from the Scottish SPCA who rescued Scooby discovered the frightened Staffy was underweight. He was later rehomed.
Sentence: 6 months in jail; 10-year ban on keeping animals (expires February 2025).
=== Additional information: following his animal cruelty conviction, Lance Elgar left the Jesus Army headquarters in Nether Heyford, Northamptonshire. While the group originally stood by Elgar and allegedly paid some of his legal costs, it appears that they expelled him after several witnesses came forward to say they had seen him hurting other animals on the farm. One man said he saw Elgar using pliers to pull out and sever the tongues of live chickens.
Elgar has been something of a drifter in the years since his conviction. He has lived in Portsmouth, Rugby and Chichester and also spent some time in prison (crime unknown) but appears to have settled in Brixham in Devon.
He is dating single mother Holli Peplow, née Mascilo. We contacted Ms Peplow to warn her about her boyfriend’s past. This is a screenshot of our conversation.
As Ms Peplow has three young children, we expected her to be grateful for the warning. We were wrong. And yes social services will be notified.
#TheList Stefan Tad McCormick aka Stefan Dixon, born 22/04/1991, most recently of 84B Woodchurch Lane, Birkenhead CH42 9PD – swung a four-month-old Staffy by his front legs into a solid object. The puppy’s legs were snapped and he was in so much pain he had to be put to sleep.
Stefan McCormick was on bail for the brutal attack on his Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Ty, when he breached a non-molestation order and beat up his former partner.
He was jailed for 20 months at Liverpool crown court on October 9, 2014, for the alcohol-fuelled assault on the 17-year-old in Hoylake, in which he punched, kicked and dragged her along the street.
A week later, he appeared via video link at Wirral magistrates’ court, having earlier pleaded guilty to a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
The court heard the Staffy’s injuries, sustained in December 2013, were so bad he “screamed” when examined by a vet, who was left with no option but to put him down.
Chris Murphy, prosecuting, told the court how RSPCA officers were called to McCormick’s home after a report a dog had been hit by a car.
But the court was told the officer who attended quickly concluded something more sinister had happened.
On examination, the officer said “the dog was clearly in pain – it was unable to get on to its forelimbs. Its paws were bent over and it tried to bunny hop but screamed.”
Vets said the injuries suggested the dog had its legs ripped apart, with one reporting: “The injuries were consistent with a person pulling a puppy by its forelimbs using undue force.”
When an expert was called in to further assess the puppy, he said Ty had suffered “severe blunt force trauma” to his front legs – adding the injuries were consistent with “the dog being picked up by the front legs and swung against a solid object”.
After the hearing RSPCA Inspector Anthony Joynes described himself as “relieved” McCormick had pleaded guilty, saying the injuries Ty had sustained were “appalling”.
He said: “This has been a long drawn out investigation, probably one of the most brutal and violent I have ever dealt with as well as my colleagues and the police and the vets involved have all been upset by this case… I’m just hoping now that we can get some closure on the case in a few weeks’ time and hopefully the magistrates do the right thing and sentence Mr McCormick accordingly.”
Sentencing: originally jailed for 24 weeks for the animal cruelty offence, to be served consecutively with the 20-month sentence he was already serving for assaulting his ex-partner. This was later reduced to 20 weeks on appeal after the court heard how McCormick had suffered from mental health problems.
UPDATE May 2020: McCormick was jailed for 10 weeks after wishing coronavirus on nurses and throwing a bloodied tissue at a hospital worker.
Medics were trying to help cruel Stefan McCormick, but he repaid them by becoming abusive when they wouldn’t let his girlfriend accompany him because of Covid 19 fears.
After shouting at nurses, telling them he hoped they get the disease, he also called a female security officer a “bitch” and a “slag”.
McCormick admitted intentionally causing harassment, assaulting an emergency worker and breaching a suspended sentence.
McCormick was jailed for 24 weeks in October 2014, consecutive to a 20-month sentence he was serving for battering his ex-girlfriend, despite at the time having a copy of a court order to stay away from her in his pocket. This was later reduced by four weeks on appeal.
At the time of this latest hospital incident he had a nine-month suspended sentence hanging over him, for an affray at San Carlo restaurant in June 2018.
McCormick was jailed for 17 months for wounding in 2017 and was on licence at the time of the restaurant disturbance.