Penrith, Cumbria: David Nellist

#TheList David James Nellist, born 17/02/1977, of 31 Brunswick Square, Penrith CA11 7LS – caught on CCTV punching and kicking a cowering dog before throwing her against a wall

David Nellist of Penrith, Cumbria, was caught on CCTV punching and kicking a cowering dog before throwing her against a wall
Former restaurateur David Nellist was caught on CCTV punching and kicking a terrified dog

Drunk David Nellist flew into a rage with black Labrador/Spaniel crossbreed Coco and was captured ‘relentlessly pursuing, punching, kicking and picking up by the throat and throwing’ her.

Coco’s howls of pain woke a neighbour who traced the noise to Nellist’s nearby restaurant and called the police.

Nellist admitted causing unnecessary suffering to Coco by subjecting her to unnecessary physical violence.

The court was told the incident took place early on Monday, January 19, 2015, at the restaurant Nellist then co-owned in Keswick.

RSPCA inspector Martyn Fletcher said: “A neighbour was awakened in the middle of the night by a noise that she described as ‘an animal in extreme pain or distress.

“It wasn’t a bark but a scream. It sounded like it was being tortured.

“She told us the sound continued intermittently, causing her to be so concerned that she actually got up, left her home and followed the noise to the restaurant. This was 3.30am.”

CCTV footage from several interior cameras showed Nellist beating the dog.

Over a period of about 15 minutes he’s seen interacting with her, she’s jumping up at him looking like she wants to play, then he punches her.

RSPCA inspector Fletcher said: “There is no audio recorded on it, but it’s horrible to watch.

“He’s seen pursuing her relentlessly as she moves from room to room, clearly frightened and trying to get away from him.

“He repeatedly punches her, kicks her and on two occasions picks her up by the throat and throws her across the room onto the ground.

“It’s not difficult to imagine what might have happened had it not been for the actions of the neighbour.”

Police were called to the restaurant but left after finding no obvious injuries to the animal.

The RSPCA was called and after viewing the footage, Coco was seized by police on veterinary advice and placed in RSPCA care.

David Nellist of Penrith, Cumbria, was caught on CCTV punching and kicking this dog before throwing her against a wall
Coco suffered no physical injuries during the attack by her drunken owner and was rehomed.

On examination, the vet found no injuries but prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs based on what she had seen on the footage.

In mitigation, Workington Magistrates court heard that Nellist was drunk at the time and was appalled by his actions.

A police spokeswoman said the incident occurred on the final day that Nellist worked in the restaurant, and he has since sold all his shares.

Coco has been rehomed.

RSPCA inspector Fletcher added: “I’ve seen her since and she’s like a different dog. She’s got a fantastic owner who has another dog too, and they’ve become great friends. She’s a really cheeky girl.”

Sentencing: two months in prison, suspended for 18 months; ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work and pay court costs of £1,580. Five-year ban on keeping animals (expired April 2020).


Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria: Stacey Louise Dick

#TheList Stacey Louise Dick, born c. 1992, who also uses the names Louise Greer and Stacey Simcox, of Egerton Court, Barrow-in-Furness LA14 – left her four pet cats to die after moving out of her flat; has breached ban on keeping animals twice

In April 2015 Dick was banned from owning pets for 15 years after she left her four pet cats to starve to death in an abandoned property.

The animals all died from multiple organ failure after going without food, and investigators found their lifeless bodies ridden with maggots and fleas.

The neglect occurred between June and September 2014.

RSPCA investigators did not find any food or water in the house, with vets later confirming that none of the cats had been fed for a significant amount of time.

Cat killer Stacey Louise Dick from Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria
Stacey Louise Dick, also known as Louise Greer, abandoned four cats to starve to death and as at January 2019 has breached her 15-year ban on keeping animals twice.

Dick admitted abandoning them when she moved home and claimed that she visited occasionally to feed them.

The court heard how after discovering three of the four cats had died during one visit, Dick left their decaying bodies and the one surviving animal.

Cat killer Stacey Louise Dick from Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria

She was banned from owning pets for 15 years after allowing pets Rosie, Mojo, Daisy and Cheryl to perish in her home.

Speaking at the time, RSPCA prosecutor Steven Marsh explained how the animals were decomposing, with some missing eyes and riddled with fleas and maggots.

Dick was back before the courts in July 2018 after she was found living at a house in Cameron Street with five dogs.

She argued she had not understood the conditions of the ban and was handed a 12 month community order and tasked with completing 50 hours of unpaid work.

In January 2019 Dick was jailed for just eight weeks after pleading guilty to breaching the ban for a second time.

Original sentence for starving the cats: 18 weeks in jail. Banned from keeping any animal for 15 years (expires April 2030).

Mirror 15/04/2015

Swindon: Sarah Jane Reeves

#TheList Sarah Jane Reeves, born 23/11/1995) of 215 Frobisher Drive, Swindon SN3 3HB – owner of a kitten that was beaten and starved to near death

Negligent cat owner Sarah Jane Reeves from Swindon

Reeves  owned a six-month-old kitten. Tilly, who was starved to a third of her body weight and beaten at a home in Haydon Wick

Tilly was ‘clearly dying’ when the RSPCA were called to a property in Speedwell Close and found her under a blanket on the sofa, cold to the touch.

The authorities were only alerted after Reeves discovered a friend had been filmed throwing the tiny cat against the walls of her home.

Despite being rushed to a nearby vet, Tilly was beyond help and had to be euthanised on humane grounds.

Tanya Jones, prosecuting, told the court: “RSPCA inspector Miranda Albinson was informed a cat at an address in Swindon had allegedly been beaten two days previously.

“She was told that there was video footage of the incident.

“She could see the cat was emaciated and looked skeletal.

“Her ribs and hip bones were protruding, and the cat was clearly dying.

“The surgeon would have expected a cat that age to weigh about two to three kilogrammes, and in his opinion, it is not something we would expect to happen over a few days.”

Terry McCarthy, defending Reeves, said much of the punishment meted out to the kitten was not her fault.

An identified 16-year-old youth was tried separately for his role in Tilly’s suffering and given a community order and 10-year ban on keeping animals.

Sentence:  community order for 12 months, with six months’ supervision and 100 hours of unpaid work; £500 in courts costs and £60 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping any animals for 10 years (expires April 2025).

Swindon Advertiser

Holmfirth, West Yorkshire: Kevin Dixon

#TheList Kevin Dixon, born 23/031980, formerly of Newsome, Huddersfield and more recently Field Road, Holmfirth HD9 1EJ – axed a neighbour’s dog to death

Kevin Dixon, Facebook image

Self-employed joiner Kevin Dixon pleaded not guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to an Akita-type dog called Tempa but was convicted after a trial.

Victim Tempa

He was accused of slashing the pet seven times after the dog, who it was claimed had a history of biting people, bit a woman at a house party. The dog belonged to grandmother Amanda Hamer but Dixon had been walking him twice a day for her after she suffered a severe whiplash injury.

On May 16, 2014, Miss Hamer decided to have a social gathering at her home in Newsome, Huddersfield and invited Dixon.

The prosecutor told the court the dog bit a woman in the face.

Kevin Dixon, Facebook image

The RSPCA was contacted and their advice was to take Tempa to a vet on the following Monday morning to be euthanised. However rather than follow that advice Dixon decided to take matters into his own hands. He said he would take Tempa for a walk but gave no indication of his motives.

Approximately an hour later the defendant returned to the property without the dog.

The court heard Miss Hamer asked where her dog was and Dixon replied: “I have done what needed to be done”.

He then mentioned an axe and said: “It felt good, it was not easy, it struggled”.

The court heard the pet’s owner was shocked and moved away from him.

The matter was reported to police but when officers contacted he told them he had given the dog to a passer-by. However, when he was arrested on May 19, 2014, he admitted killing Tempa and took officers to where he had buried the dog.

Kevin Dixon, Facebook image

In March 2015, Dixon was convicted of cruelty by killing the dog “in an inappropriate and inhumane manner” after the RSPCA were able to produce evidence showing that the dog had suffered. It wasn’t that Dixon had killed the dog but the way he did it.

Sentencing: 18-week jail sentence suspended for two years; curfew; costs of £1,500.


Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire: Gavin Best

#TheList Gavin Patrick Best, born 20/09/1982, of Avondale, Redbourn Way, Scunthorpe DN16 1NQ – left his pet Dalmatian in squalor and without food or water

Dog abuser Gavin Best from Scunthorpe
Gavin Best is banned from keeping animals until 2025 after starving his pet Dalmatian

RSPCA prosecutor Rachel Taylor told the court how five-year-old Dalmatian Freckles had been left in squalor at Best’s home.

She said: “Officers attended the property after a tip-off from the public and entered the home.

“The inspector saw the dog verging on skeletal and very dehydrated.

“There were empty bowls in the kitchen with no water present.

“The living room floor was covered in faeces and shredded paper, which the dog had shredded out of boredom or hunger.”

The court heard how the property’s toilet bowl was empty, suggesting Freckles had been drinking from the toilet due to lack of water.

Starved Dalmatian Freckles
Freckles only weighed half the normal weight for her breed

A vet described Freckles as “a bag of bones covered in fur” and on the verge of emaciation at almost half her expected weight.

After four weeks, the animal’s body weight had increased by around 45%.

In mitigation, Sunny Dhinsa said the case was out of character for his client. He said Best had spent little time in the property due to work commitments.

He told the court: ”He has no track record of this sort of behaviour, so it’s surprising to me.

”He accepts that he behaved in a negligent manner and has co-operated throughout the case. He has no excuses, the reasons have simply been laziness, not having enough time, and lack of finances

Sentence: Ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work, fined £521.56, ordered to pay £63.90 in vets’ fees and a £60 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping all animals for 10 years (expires April 2025).

Original newslink (Scunthorpe Telegraph) removed

Upton, Merseyside: Sean Lawton

#TheList Sean Lawton, born c. 1985, of Big Meadow Road, Upton, Wirral CH49 – left his Staffy in an empty property without food or water and surrounded by mouldy faeces for at least four days

Sean Lawton of the Wirral abandoned Staffy Sam without food or water in an empty property.
Sean Lawton of the Wirral abandoned Staffy Sam without food or water in an empty property.

The court found that Lawton had failed to provide an adequate supply of food and water, appropriate care and supervision, maintain the dog’s body condition and provide a suitable environment.

Chris Murphy, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, told magistrates the animal welfare charity received a call from a concerned member of the public on October 24, 2014, after the dog, known as Sam, was spotted sitting on the inside window ledge of the property. In desperation Sam had had chewed through the brickwork of the wall and door in order to get to the window ledge to be seen.

The RSPCA placed paper seals on the front door and rear gate of the property. They were checked each day for the next four days but were unbroken, showing that no one had returned to the property.

Conditions inside the property where Sam had been abandoned by his owner Sean Lawton of The Wirral
Conditions inside the property where Sam had been abandoned by his owner

RSPCA Inspector Anthony Joynes – who had been feeding Sam through the letterbox during this time – entered the property with police and a vet on October 28, 2014, finding it to be in a state of “absolute squalor”.

Mr Murphy told magistrates the property smelled so strongly of ammonia that it “stung the eyes” of those who entered.

No food or water was to be found anywhere in the property.

Sam was taken to a vet, who gave him a body score of just 2 – one being emaciated and five being obese. He weighed 15.3kg when he should have been at least 18.5kg.

Mr Murphy said: “The vet anticipated the dog had been in this condition for four days but due to the amount of faeces, which had gone mouldy, believed the dog had been left alone for longer, at least a week to 10 days.”

The man who left Sam to starve to death was identified as Sean Lawton. Lawton had tried to sell the dog on social media but in the end apparently chose to abandon him in an empty property to starve to death.

Dog abuser Sean Lawton of the Wirral pictured outside court
Dog abuser Sean Lawton pictured outside court

Lawton was convicted in his absence of animal cruelty.

Mr Murphy told the court that Lawton “said his child’s mother had left him and he was left with the dog.

“He said he had lived there since February 2011 and moved out about two weeks before the dog had been taken by the RSPCA. He said he had no money and no way of getting there.

“He said he had left some food and water. He said it was a hungry dog. He accepted it was not acceptable to leave the dog and he knew it was wrong.”

He told police he was working ten hours a day and said he did not want to have the dog put down “because he was a good dog”.

Lawton, who was not represented by a solicitor, told the court: “I just did something stupid”.

Sam’s story was featured in Channel 5’s The Dog Rescuers. He programme showed him settling in to his new forever home.

Sentencing: 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months. Ordered to complete 160 hours of unpaid work and pay £1,000 in costs. 10-year ban on keeping animals with right of appeal after five years (expires April 2025).

Liverpool Echo