#TheList Tracy Jane Dawson, born 06/10/1972, of 281 Broxtowe Lane, Aspley, Nottingham NG8 5NE, and son Robert Scott Smith, born 29/07/1993, of 1 Chetwin Road, Bilborough, Nottingham NG8 4HU – left pet dog to starve for at least 6 weeks
Vets believe morbidly obese Tracy Dawson and son Robert Smith underfed the crossbreed named Bruce for at least six weeks. His ribs were clearly visible when he was rescued by RSPCA inspectors.
The pair admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the dog. Prosecutor Paul Wright said: “On March 2 , it was reported there was a dog at a home in a poor state. Inspectors from the RSPCA attended and spoke to Tracy Dawson.
“The dog was extremely thin with a sunken face.
“He was assessed by surgeons who gave a body score of 0.5 out of five, where one is emaciated, so he was severely underweight. He was skin and bones.
“His condition was due to starving and lack of nutrition.
“Both defendants were interviewed voluntarily and both accepted there was an issue.”
Bruce was taken in by the RSPCA and brought back to full health.
Sentencing: 12-month community order; 100 hours of unpaid work; costs of £500 each. Banned from keeping animals for five years (expires July 2020).
#TheList James David Robert Hill, born 22/07/1993, and younger brother Thomas Hill, born 25/07/1994, originally from Bolsover, Chesterfield – punched and kicked a blind and deaf dog to death.
The court heard that Thomas Hill, who as at July 2018 lives at 2 Hillcrest Close, Bolsover S44 6FJ and James Hill, formerly of the same address but now of 3 Spring Villas, Market Street, Ilkeston DE7 5RB, subjected elderly mongrel Tyson to a terrifying ordeal while they were high on the drug MCAT and drunk,
Magistrates heard James Hill used a poker to kill Tyson – after he was thrown across a room, and kicked and punched by the pair.
Prosecuting solicitor Rod Chapman said: “Thomas picked up Tyson and threw him across the room.
“As the dog was mid-air, James punched it. Witnesses said this was repeated a second time. James then kicked the dog.
“The witnesses said they were appalled but didn’t intervene because they feared the brothers would turn on them.”
John Wilford, mitigating, said James Hill – who arrived at court almost two hours late – admitted using a poker to kill the animal. A vet’s report concluded the dog died because of blunt trauma to his head. He also suffered a broken jaw and a tooth was knocked out.
The brothers pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal after originally pleading not guilty.
James Hill – who has 17 previous convictions – admitted criminal damage and arson and Thomas Hill – who has seven previous convictions (their mother must be so proud) – also admitted arson.
The brothers showed no remorse as they were each sentenced to 23 weeks in prison.
#TheList Hayley Jayne Cowan, born 31/07/1992, most recently of Linney Square, Scholes, Wigan WN1 3LN – strangled her pet dog to death and hid the body in her garden
In what RSPCA chiefs called one of their most harrowing and distressing cases of all time twisted Hayley Jane Cowan killed a defenceless Staffie named Bo by wrapping duct tape around her muzzle before strangling her with her collar and lead.
Cowan then buried Bo’s lifeless body in a shallow grave in the back garden of her then home in Sale Road, Tyldesley, Manchester.
The shocking case only came to light when one of Cowan’s concerned friends turned detective and dug up Bo’s remains before alerting the RSPCA.
Friends of Cowan had witnessed her kicking Bo in the face on an earlier occasion. The friends took the dog away from her callous owner after the kicking incident but later returned her when Cowan promised she wouldn’t hurt her.
But they were called by Cowan the following morning, who said Bo had run away.
Just three weeks later, however, Cowan admitted to them that she had killed then buried Bo in the garden.
One of the witnesses attended the garden on a later date and found the body.
The RSPCA was called on November 5, 2014, and a post-mortem examination was ordered after an exhumation.
The results confirmed Bo died from strangulation by means of duct tape and the tightening of a collar.
Bruising to her limbs suggested she had been held down.
The court was told that Cowan has a history of mental health problems.
Cowan, who openly boasts on social media about her promiscuity, drug-taking and taste for violence, was banned for life from keeping any animal as a pet. She has since racked up further convictions for violence. During a 2016 court case Cowan’s lawyer described his client as “a Jekyll and Hyde” character whose personality changed under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Rumours abound locally that Cowan has gone on to hurt other animals, however, specifically a rabbit that she allegedly tortured to death. She is also said to have threatened to harm other people’s pets, telling one horrified neighbour that she would “make your dog scream”.
Sentencing: four months in jail. Banned from keeping animals for life.
#TheList Paul Anthony Wilcock, born 12/12/1966, formerly from Latchford, Warrington but as of April 2020 living at 4 Churchfields, Clock Face, St Helens WA9 4GL – battered a dog to death
Jack Russell terrier Molly was beaten and left lying in a pool of blood by Paul Wilcock in the hallway of his brother Kevin Hickman’s home.
The court heard how the pair, who had been drinking, were discussing their mum’s death before a ‘physical struggle’ broke out.
Molly started to bark during the incident and it was then when Wilcock focused his anger on her before launching the attack, during which he kicked her repeatedly.
A police officer who attended the scene said he saw Molly lying motionless, along with a substantial amount of blood on the walls and floor.
He also described seeing Wilcock ‘swaying and struggling to stand’.
Wilcock initially claimed that Molly was ‘alive and well’ when he left the property but was caught when forensic examination found a 100% match between bloodstains on his clothing and Molly.
He ultimately admitted two offences under the Animal Welfare Act: causing unnecessary suffering to Molly and failing to protect her from pain, suffering and injury.
Prosecuting Tom Stock confirmed there had been no suggestion that the brutal act was carried out by Wilcock in order to protect himself.
“The defendant caused Molly to suffer by kicking and striking the dog repeatedly in an unprovoked and sustained attack,” he said.
“The inspector noticed blood dripping and smeared on the walls.
“The dog was a well-natured dog and showed no signs of aggression.
“She died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head which would have cause immense suffering – it was a brutal attack.”
A post-mortem examination showed multiple fractures of Molly’s skull, bruised lungs and a windpipe full of blood.
Speaking after sentencing, RSPCA Inspector Anthony Joynes said: “Finding Molly lying motionless in a pool of blood is something I will never forget.
“This was quite an awful crime and it saddens me that this poor dog has met such a brutally violent end.
“I am pleased, however, that she did not suffer completely in vain as we have managed to bring her abuser before the courts and he now has many long nights to sit and think about what he has done.
“Wilcock denied any involvement in the killing of Molly – that is until his clothes and shoes, seized at the time of his arrest, were sent for forensic examination.
“Six areas of blood were located and tested 100% positive for dog DNA.
“I struggle to comprehend the amount of pain and suffering Molly must have been subjected to. It still upsets me, almost a year later, to think about it.
“We are completely zero-tolerance on this sort of abhorrent behaviour and this case just goes to show that we will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that animal abusers are brought before the courts to answer for their actions.”
Sentencing: 20 weeks in prison, reduced from 26 weeks for his early guilty plea; £400 costs. Banned from keeping animals for life. He cannot appeal for termination of the ban.
#TheList Aaron Wielding, born 02/01/1990, and partner Selina Jane Ferguson, born 22/03/1994, both of 68 Staveley Street, Edlington, Doncaster DN12 1BP – allowed two dogs to starve to death in freezing conditions locked in a pen in their garden.
Wielding and Ferguson shut Rosie, an 18-month-old brindle bull breed, and American bulldog Buster in a pen in the garden with no food in January and February 2015.
RSPCA inspector Sandra Dransfield, who investigated the case, described the scene. She said: “Buster, the larger of the two dogs, died first, and in desperation for food Rosie was forced to eat his remains, she said.
“All we found that was left of him was the upper and lower jaw and atlas bones which had gnaw marks on them.
“It was truly horrifying. Rosie later died too.”
Both defendants pleaded guilty to failing to provide proper care, failing to provide a suitable environment, and causing unnecessary suffering.
Sentencing: Wielding was jailed for 16 weeks, has to pay £1,000 in costs and has been banned from keeping all animals for life, which he cannot appeal for at least 10 years.
Ferguson was given a 10-week custodial sentence suspended for a year, 20 days rehabilitation and a 10-week curfew order along with £400 costs and a ban for life as well.
#TheList Robbie Knight, born 09/03/1986, of 21 St. Johns Crescent, Tyler Hill, Canterbury CT2 9NB – serial dog abuser who beat and kicked a Staffy named Zeus on several occasions
Knight “booted” Staffordshire bull terrier Zeus several times, leaving him in severe pain.
On January 26, 2015, RSPCA inspector Rachel Leafe attended Knight’s home and noticed Zeus was limping.
He had two strips of fur missing from his back, a small wound at the base of his tail covered in dried blood, and his left hind leg was significantly larger than his right.
Sophie Reid, prosecuting, told magistrates in Folkestone: “Mr Knight said the missing fur happened a while ago when he jumped onto the kitchen side and knocked the kettle over.
“He said he had been limping for four or five days. He said that he kicked Zeus once because he didn’t like bathing and had bitten his middle finger when he tried to do it.”
Inspector Leafe left the property and shortly after received a telephone call from a member of the public, who said they had seen Knight kicking Zeus as well as beating and throwing stones at him on several occasions. She returned to St Johns Crescent to take the dog away for an assessment by vets, to which Knight consented.
Vet Rachel Croucher said Zeus was limping heavily, had an extremely swollen thigh area stretching round the back of his leg and was resistant to examination, indicating he was in “severe pain”. She added the injuries were consistent with a blunt force trauma.
Speaking after the sentencing, Inspector Rachel Leafe said: “After we received a complaint I was able to visit Zeus quickly and therefore saw the extent of his injuries, the kick had had a big impact on him.
“There is never any need to react to a dog in this way. “Hopefully he can now move on and get rehomed and be given a second chance in life.
“He is a lovely dog with great markings and a brilliant personality so I’m sure someone will come forward to rehome him.”
Sentencing: 120 hours of unpaid work in the community; £1,000 costs. Banned from keeping dogs for life.
#TheList Heather Ray, born 22/11/1978, previously of Whitehaven and more recently (2018) of Scotby Gardens, Carlisle CA1 2XH – starved her pet dog and failed to treat his flea infestation
The dog named Buster was found at the home of Heather Ray by the RSPCA. He had no water and was 6kg underweight. He was dehydrated, had not been fed for days and was said to be “perilously thin”.
However, after being rescued by the RSPCA, Buster recovered and went on to be rehoused.
Greg Hoare, prosecuting, told the court: “An inspector saw the dog was in poor bodily condition. Its ribs and spine were prominent, it was subdued and it was thought the coat had some sort of shimmer. It was an infestation of fleas.
“The vet who examined the dog said she had never seen such a phenomenal infestation on any animal she had examined.”
The dog gained 2kg in just 24 hours after being seized from Ray’s care.
Details of the shocking neglect emerged as Ray lodged an appeal against a prison sentence she was given following her conviction for five counts of animal neglect.
She was found guilty by magistrates of the offences, committed in June 2014, after she failed to turn up for a trial. She was given a community order, which she breached, and then received a 60-day prison sentence instead.
A further 60 days were added for non-payment of fines imposed for motoring offences.
Single mother of four Ray, who has racked up numerous convictions for a variety of offences over the years, won her appeal and the latter term, for fines default, was halved by Judge Peter Hughes QC.
Alison Whalley, defending, told the court that Ray had almost served the whole of the 120-day prison sentence in any event.
Ray did not seek to challenge the magistrates’ findings in the trial as she would have pleaded guilty to the animal neglect.
Judge Hughes allowed the sentence appeal but was scathing of the way Ray had treated her pet.
“That anyone could keep a dog in such a condition is deplorable,” he said. “The dog had been grossly neglected over a significant period of time.”
Sentence: 60 days in jail ; no ban on keeping animals.
#TheList backyard breeders Rosemary Wiggin, born c. 1966, and Paul Wiggin, born c. 1962, both of Queen St, Burntwood, Staffs WS7 4TN – kept 28 shih-tzu dogs and one chihuahua in filthy and unhygienic conditions
RSPCA Inspectors were called with concern about dogs being kept at 181 Queen Street in Burntwood in July 2014. Inspectors say some were heavily pregnant and eight young puppies were left outside in heavy rain with no shelter.
An RSPCA inspector involved with the case said: “The conditions we found the dogs in were wholly inappropriate. There were numerous hazards in the garden including items in a shed stained with faeces; bones in the garden presenting choking hazards.
“The puppies were cold, wet and whining, with no clean and comfortable resting place. I have no doubt they were suffering.
All the dogs were removed on the opinion of a vet, and with the assistance of the police. All dogs are doing well in RSPCA care.
Brother and sister Rosemary and Paul Wiggin had pleaded not guilty to failing to provide adequate living conditions.
Paul Wiggin – £7,000 costs, 12 month conditional discharge, 12 month ban on keeping dogs.
Rosemary Wiggin – £1,000 costs, three years’ conditional discharge; 12 month ban on keeping dogs.
#TheList Charmaine Samantha Grogan (aka Charmaine Cooper), born 01/10/1989, of Brownlow Crescent, Pinchbeck, Spalding PE11 3XD – failed to get veterinary treatment for Patterdale cross terrier with facial injuries possibly caused by badger baiting; dog lost an eye and her jaw was torn away
Grogan was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to Pepper, a female Patterdale-type terrier, between June 24 and July 2, 2014.
Skegness magistrates heard that Grogan had failed to seek proper veterinary care for Pepper after she suffered severe facial injuries, possibly when used for badger baiting.
Grogan, who at the time lived with serial violent criminal and convicted woman beater Matthew Dye, had first told vet staff and then the RSPCA and police that she had left Pepper in a shed but she had escaped and when found the next day, she was injured. Grogan said she immediately took Pepper to the vet.
But the vet and the RSPCA said the dog’s injury was probably caused up to ten days previously.
RSPCA Inspector William Rippon said Pepper had a serious injury to her face – skin ripped away from her lower jaw revealing bone and tendons and damage to an eye which would necessitate its removal. He said it appeared the dog had been attacked by another animal, perhaps a badger, in a confined space.
He said Pepper had been left to suffer an incredible degree of pain. He said she was underweight and ate ravenously after treatment.
In court Grogan changed her story, denying that Pepper was ever hers, and instead said that she had been approached by a traveller, whom she wouldn’t or couldn’t name but who apparently pressurised her to take the dog to a vet.
Grogan’s then live-in boyfriend, career criminal and lying toerag Matthew Dye, also refused to name the man, whom he said had been a friend but could not say where he lived or what he did for a living. He said he did not want to take the consequences which would follow if he named him. He had taken the original phone call, he said, from the traveller friend asking if he knew anyone who would take an injured dog to the vets for him.
Grogan, who also had a pet rat, cat, tortoise, terrapin and fish, said she loved all animals and would never cause one to suffer.
The magistrates told Grogan they were not going to ban her from keeping animals as she ‘did not inflict the injuries to this dog and you did take it to the vet’.
Pepper has recovered following major surgery during which her jaw was reconstructed and an artificial eye fitted. She has been rehomed.
Sentence: fined £275 and ordered to pay £500 towards the £4,600 costs of the trial, veterinary bills and boarding costs. No ban on keeping animals.