#TheList David Michael O’Toole, born c. 1986, of Birkett Rd, Rock Ferry, Birkenhead CH42 4PR – set his dog on his girlfriend’s pet tortoise and sent her videos of the attack
O’Toole could be heard shouting “go on, get him,” over and over again as the dog “bit chunks” from the helpless tortoise’s shell.
The owner of the tortoise, Lucy McDonald, was forced to give her pet to a rescue centre after being unable to afford to pay for treatment needed as a result of the attack.
O’Toole pleaded guilty at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court today to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and to sending an offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing communication.
Hannah Griffiths, prosecuting, told the court: “The victim had been at a family member’s house after a weekend away with the defendant, who is now her former partner.
“While at her family member’s address she received two videos of the defendant goading his dog into going for the defendant’s pet tortoise, which was upside down. In the background he could be heard saying ‘go on, get him’, over and over again.”
The court heard the incident was reported to the police who attended O’Toole’s address. Officers found the tortoise bleeding, and noticed it had chunks of shell missing, and arrested the defendant for animal cruelty.
Ms Griffiths said: “The complainant, in her statement, said she thought the defendant would kill the tortoise and described being extremely scared and upset.”
Joel Samuel Finley, born 23/11/1990, of Failsworth, Manchester – beat gentle dog Dingo around the head and threw him in the canal
Dingo was beaten and thrown in the canal by his former owner Finley – a British Army soldier. He was left with serious head injuries and suspected hypothermia.
Vet Darragh Kavanagh, who was called in to treat the poorly animal at the Hillcrest Animal Hospital in Chorley, said: “Dingo had been beaten with a blunt object. He had three fractures to his head and skull and we could see he had suffered a beating to his chest because had air trapped in his lung and had to have the air drained.
“He was suffering hypothermia from being in the canal in the middle of February.
“He was in a very distressed state and had marks to his face.
“He is such a nice dog. I know in my heart he never put up a fight at all. I can see from his gentle and friendly character he would have just taken it.
“It’s horrible to see what happened to him. People who live locally have said he was left all day, sometimes tied up in lashing rain. He had no love.
“He has been rehomed with a nice family so he can be a normal, happy dog – his whole life has changed.”
Police were called to an address on Smith Street, Adlington, to reports of banging and howling coming from the property.
There was no answer at the door, but as police were outside the house Finley approached the property with the cross-breed dog. He told police he did not live there and left again, still carrying Dingo, who was wet and bleeding. But officers followed him towards the canal and he eventually admitted it was his address.
Finley said he had given him a ‘crack’ and thrown him in the canal to “discipline it” for soiling in the house. The police seized Dingo, who was unable to move, and took him to Hillcrest Animal Hospital where he was put on a drip.
It later transpired Finley was producing cannabis at the property. He pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and producing a class-B drug.
Sentence: £1,172.31 compensation for Dingo’s vets bills and a £60 surcharge; banned from keeping dogs for 5 years (expires May 2021).
#TheList Linda Susan Clark, born 03/04/1951, of 10 Cannon Hill, Prenton, Birkenhead CH43 4XR – left elderly dog “Trouble” to suffer arthritis for so long, most of his bones were broken; Gordon David Roach, born 17/05/1975, of 45 Fairbrook Drive, Birkenhead CH41 7EF dumped the stricken dog in the cemetery
Clark pleaded guilty to a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to her dog, called Trouble. The dog, named Elmo by vets after he was found abandoned in Wirral’s Flaybrick Cemetery, was in such poor condition when eventually seen by vets that he had to be put to sleep.
The case caused such outrage when it was first made public that an online petition was launched to demand justice for the dog.
The court heard that Clark, who had owned the 13-year-old cross-breed since he was a puppy, failed to provide adequate veterinary treatment to alleviate her pet’s suffering. She said she handed the dog over to a friend’s son who said he would take the dog to the RSPCA or a vet.
He was spotted the next day in the undergrowth in a remote part of Flaybrick Cemetery. X-rays showed he had multiple bone fractures and joint dislocations due to an untreated arthritic condition and would have been in “immense pain and discomfort.”
The man Clark had handed Trouble over to to take to the vet or RSPCA – Gordon Roach of Dundonald St, Birkenhead – admitted that he had dumped the dog.
After the hearing, RSPCA Inspector Anthony Joynes said: “This case obviously attracted huge public outrage and it is only down to members of the public that we have been able to fully investigate this incident and bring two individuals before the courts so I thank them for their assistance.
“Elmo had been left with multiple bone fractures and joint dislocations due to an untreated arthritic condition and would have been in immense pain and discomfort every day for many months, and probably much longer.
“That is completely unacceptable no matter what the mitigating circumstances of the owner are.
“Animals rely on us completely to provide veterinary care for them when they become ill or are injured. Failing to provide this is a criminal offence which not only the RSPCA but the courts take seriously.
“It is also something that the public clearly won’t stand for and rightly so as animal cruelty and neglect is abhorrent and has no place in today’s society.”
Linda Clark – three-month suspended prison sentence; £380 in costs; banned from keeping animals for 10 years (expires May 2026).
Gordon Roach – four weeks in prison, suspended for two years. Banned from keeping animals for five years (expires May 2021).
#TheList Lindsey and Sam Kearney of 49 Blackleach Drive, Worsley, Manchester M28 3GP – left their elderly pet dog Barney to die pinned under an ironing board underneath the kitchen table ; Barney sadly put to sleep on the spot.
Lindsey Kearney and her son, Sam Kearney, ignored the stricken cries of collie cross Barney after he collapsed on the floor and left him there for at least TWO days, covered in his own urine and faeces.
The vet involved in the case said it was the ‘worst case of neglect’ he had seen in 34 years.
Barney had acid burns all over his body and to his face from being left in his own urine.
He was in such a severe and devastating state, RSPCA officers had to immediately summon a vet to the house to put him to sleep as it would have been too painful to move the pet.
Lindsey Kearney pleaded guilty and Sam Kearney was found guilty after a trial to causing unnecessary suffering to the animal, including poor body condition and weight loss, and a further charge of causing unnecessary suffering for his collapsed state and urine scalds.
Prosecutor David McCormick said: “I think the vet summed up this case the best when he stated, ‘This was truly one of the most severe cases of neglect that I have ever seen in 34 years in this profession.’
“To this, I can add one of saddest cases I have dealt with in my 40 years as a prosecutor.
“The defendants had owned Barney for 18 years and yet could leave him to die lying on a hard floor under a table, in a pool of his own urine and with an ironing board propped across him.
“Sodden in his own length in his own urine where he had laid for days.
“What a sad and undignified end for a pet of 18 years.”
Passing sentence, District Judge Sam Goozee, told the pair: “A dog who you have loved as a family pet had to be put down as a consequence of neglect both of you showed towards him.
“The photographs were disturbingly taken while he (Barney) was still alive.
“His death was undignified and painful and nobody should treat a pet in this way.”
Sentencing: Lindsey Kearney was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months. She was also given 200 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £300. Sam Kearney was given 300 hours of unpaid work and also ordered to pay costs of £300.Both were given a 10-year ban on owning any animals (expires May 2026).
#TheList Lee Michael Davies, born 14/01/1988, previously of South Roundhay, Kitts Green, Birmingham and as of June 2020 of 27 Gravelly Lane, Erdington, Birmingham B23 6UJ – left a 12-week-old puppy in agony with a broken leg
Davies left his 12-week-old puppy to suffer with a fractured leg and did not take him to the vets. The cause of the fracture has not, apparently, been explained.
Davies pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the puppy by failing to provide veterinary care and attention.
When an RSPCA inspector arrived at Davies’s house after a call from a member of the public, the puppy – named Daisy – had a bandage around her front right leg which Davies had put on himself.
RSPCA inspector Jon Ratcliffe, who investigated the case, said: “It was not enough to just a put a bandage on poor Daisy’s leg – this would have done nothing to alleviate the pain she was clearly in.
“When we got her to a vet, she yelped whenever her leg was touched or manipulated. This could easily have been avoided had she just been taken to the vets which was just half-a-mile away.
“If your pet is injured in any way, it is so important to get veterinary treatment for them as soon as possible to prevent them suffering any further.
“Daisy was only a few weeks old when this happened. It is so sad to think that she went through this pain and suffering at the start of her life. Thankfully she has now been rehomed with a family who gives her the love and attention that she deserves.”
Daisy is pictured when she first arrived in the RSPCA’s care, above right, and as she was after treatment.
Sentencing: 12-month community order, total of £360 costs and charges; banned from keeping animals for 3 years (expired May 2019).
#TheList serial offenders Grace Banks (aka Leah Grace Rogers) and Julian King (aka Alec Paul Rogers), both of 10 Reed Street, Gorton, Manchester M18 8JT, and Peter Jones (aka Aneirin Joseph Sculley) of 20 Graymarsh Drive, Poynton, Stockport SK12 1YW – imported and sold severely ill puppies to unsuspecting families
An investigation in Manchester led to the convictions in October 2015 of three people who made £35,000 a week importing sick and dying puppies from Ireland and selling them on to heartbroken animal lovers.
The trio created a callous facade of a reputable pedigree puppy company selling healthy and happy dogs, but the reality was a short life of pain, suffering and disease for the animals.
RSPCA investigators uncovered how Banks, King and Jones:
Received weekly deliveries of puppies imported via ferries from the Republic of Ireland;
Kept puppies at a “holding” address at Seventeen Windows, a large rented property in Marple Road, Stockport, which had purpose-built kennels at the rear, before selling them via a network of rented residential properties;
Used a variety of different names;
Lied to buyers, telling them the puppies for sale had been bred in a homely, family environment and were the first litter;
Set up their own company through which they provided buyers with glossy “Kennel Registration” folders containing false paperwork;
Used more than 30 mobile telephones, each one for selling specific breeds of puppy, to avoid confusion when contacted by buyers.
When the RSPCA and Greater Manchester Police raided Seventeen Windows as part of Operation Pagan aimed at shutting down the sale of dogs over the internet, they were confronted with the shocking truth of the crooked gang’s criminal operation.
The bodies of four Yorkshire terrier puppies were found at one of the addresses. One had been dumped in a wheelie bin, two in a plastic bucket in the footwell of a car on the driveway and one was with a live puppy in a pen.
Evidence given by vet Dr David Martin during King’s trial suggested these puppies had died from starvation over a prolonged period of time.
At least six large plastic buckets filled with live puppies were discovered.
In total inspectors discovered 87 live puppies, including Yorkshire terriers, huskies, West Highland terriers, pomeranians, Labradors, beagles, shih tzus, French bulldogs, cockapoos and more. The average advertised price for these puppies at the time was approximately £600 each.
All of the animals were suffering from health problems including lice, pneumonia, diarrhoea, conjunctivitis and bloody stools. Some had parvovirus and distemper. No veterinary treatment had been sought for any of the puppies.
Full details of the ghastly trio and their convictions are as follows:
Grace Banks (23/09/1986), real name Leah Grace Rogers. A former prostitute, she was also commonly know as Lilly Cooper. Her other aliases included Holly Saxon and Sarah Connor. She was a director of Lilly’s Puppy Boutique Ltd which traded from a rented residential property at Seventeen Windows, Marple Road, Stockport.
For months, Banks had played the part of a caring woman with a one-off litter – even giving away cosy blankets with the puppies so they could feel ‘safe’.
In reality, the tiny animals were riddled with contagious diseases, kept in pens, advertised using fake images downloaded from Google and other websites – and sold for up to £600.
Buyers all described Banks’ white Mercedes, high definition eyebrows, long black hair and pouty lips.
Banks admitted offences of failing to protect more than 1,200 puppies. She was sentenced to five months in jail and ordered to pay £4,500 in costs.
In May 2016 Banks was jailed for a further nine months after it was discovered that she had continued to sell poorly puppies while awaiting sentencing for her original conviction.
King was found guilty of failing to protect 835 puppies from pain, suffering and disease. He was sentenced to five months in jail and ordered to pay £2,500 in costs
Peter Jones (30/06/1983) whose birth name was Aneirin Joseph Scully, has used aliases George Cooper, Marco Emme and Michael Emme and is sometimes known by the nickname ‘Nye’. We understand that he may since have changed his name to Arnie Swartz. He is a former director of King’s ‘pedigree registration’ company Kennel Registration Ltd. He has a brother named Keir Sculley and his mother’s name is Diane Sculley.
Jones was found guilty of failing to protect 835 puppies from pain, suffering and disease. He was given six months in jail and ordered to pay £2,100 in costs.
All three were banned from keeping animals for life.
The RSPCA rehomed the puppies that were seized during the investigation, after providing the required treatment and care to those which were sick.
=== Peter Jones and Julian King were previously banned from keeping animals for 10 years following a successful RSPCA prosecution in April 2010. Jones was convicted in the name Michael Emme and King in his birth name of Alec Paul Rogers.
The charges related to six ten-week-old Staffy-type puppies that had been left to lie in their own filth, unfed and in the dark, for days on end in the middle of winter.
Just three of the puppies survived after RSPCA inspectors found them in a freezing, pitch-black outhouse, with their ribs, spine and pelvic bones protruding from their bodies.
The pups were found on a stone floor, whimpering and huddled together to keep warm. They were extremely underweight and only had one small, dirty plastic bed between them – in the middle of November.
There was an “overwhelming smell of urine” when inspectors approached the outhouse, on Braddon Road, Woodley. The pups had worms and had been licking their matted fur in an attempt to groom themselves.
King had left the pups in the care of Jones while he went on holiday for a week, in what a vet later described as “atrocious conditions”.
Jones kept them in his outhouse, but claimed that he had only left the pups alone for 36 hours at the most while he went on holiday to Blackpool – although he admitted the conditions were “disgusting” and the remaining pups were lucky to be alive.
Magistrates heard that Jones had given the RSPCA and the courts a series of false names and addresses, and that he had also breached his bail conditions.
The pair were given a community sentence and banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
Just one year later, in January 2011 the pair were back in court having breached their disqualification order.
This followed an RSPCA raid on Nook Farm in Tyldesley, Manchester where 33 puppies in poor health were seized. The pups, which included nine Yorkshire terriers, five West Highland white terriers, five King Charles cavaliers, five labradors, seven Pomeranians and two King Charles spaniels, had intestinal disease caused by infection or parasites and some had respiratory infections.
The farm’s owner, William Hartley, had rented buildings to Jones and King. Hartley was also prosecuted for animal cruelty but ultimately cleared. The court accepted his claim that he had prepared for the puppies’ arrival by putting out food, water and heating lamps but hadn’t seen them prior to the raid.
#TheList Tracey Tindall, born 31/08/1969, previously of Lymington Drive, Holme Wood, Bradford and more recently Birkby Haven, Buttershaw, Bradford BD6 2AG- let her cats and dogs starve in “appalling” conditions in her house
Horrified RSPCA officers discovered the bodies of dead and decomposing pets at Tindall’s home, in what prosecutors described as one of the “most serious” cases of animal neglect they had ever seen.
A “significant number” of the animals found had died and were decomposing – while the neglect of the surviving animals led them to be in a “poor state”.
Prosecuting for the RSPCA, Andrew Davidson said officers had attended Tindall’s home, where there was faeces on her windows and the path leading to her back garden and rubbish strewn throughout her home.
Mr Davidson said: “At the right hand side of the house, RSPCA Inspectors Evans and Weston found a two tier rabbit hutch.
“On the bottom tier were the bodies of two rabbits decomposing.
“They then went through a metal gate at the side of the house which led to the back garden. The path was covered in rubbish and faeces.
“In a kennel in the back garden was the body of a large Mastiff dog that was chained to the kennel by its neck.
“It was also in a state of decomposition.
“The officers then looked through the dining room window and saw a ginger cat that was in a very poor condition.”
The inspectors recovered a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and a collie that were both in very poor bodily conditions with sunken stomachs.
Mr Davidson said: “When the inspectors went into the living room, the floor was covered in faeces. There was no water present for the animals.
“When they went into the dining room, under the table was the body of a black cat which appeared to have recently died.
“In a cage they found a bearded dragon which appeared to be lifeless and had no light or water.
“In the dining area, the inspectors saw four puppy training crates. The right hand crate had the decomposing bodies of two puppies.
“Miss Tindall said the puppies had been in the crates for a couple of weeks to stop they chewing or wrecking the place.
“In the left hand crate there was the carcass of an adult collie.”
Mr Davidson told the court this was long-term neglect of the most serious type.
He said: “These animals suffered for a long time because of the deprivation of food and the conditions they were kept in.
“There were far too many animals to be looked after in a property of this size.”
The court heard in mitigation that Tindall had alcohol, depression and anxiety issues and was struggling to cope with her ill mother.
Tindall pleaded guilty to 11 charges of failing to meet animal needs and nine of causing unnecessary suffering and was jailed for 18 weeks. She was also banned from keeping any animals for 20 years, and told she would be unable to appeal the decision for at least five years. She later appealed unsuccessfully against the jail term.
After the case, RSPCA Inspector Rachel Evans said she had never faced such horrors in 12 years.
She said: “This was a truly disturbing and upsetting case. We found two decomposing rabbits and one decomposing emaciated Mastif type dog outside the property. This was a hint of the horrors that awaited us inside.”
Insp Evans said they found three emaciated dogs, four barely alive cats and a barely alive bearded dragon inside the property.
“We found the decomposing remains of a further eight cats and dogs and the body parts of an unknown number of cats that had been eaten by the remaining animals in a desperate attempt to stay alive.”
Insp Evans added: “Three of the bodies found in the property were of young puppies. They had been confined to a training crate in the kitchen, without access to food and water, and had been left to die. The mother to the puppies, Heidi, was one of the surviving dogs. The fact that Heidi will have watched and heard her puppies slowly and painfully pass away in a metal training crate, without being able to access them, must have caused her unimaginable heartache and stress. That thought and image will remain with me for a very long time.”
Sentence: jailed for 18 weeks for 20 offences; £300 costs and £80 surcharge; disqualified from keeping animals for 20 years; order was made to seize two cats and five kittens still in her possession.