Armagh, County Armagh: Martha Toal and Michael Ferris

#TheList Martha Toal, born c. 1966, of 2 School House Close, Glenanne, Armagh BT60 2GA, and partner Michael Ferris, born c. 1956, of 7 Shillinghill Road, Armagh BT60 2EE – for a catalogue of animal cruelty to horses

Toal was convicted of 12 charges. Ferris, whose farm on Shillinghill Road, Mowhan in Armagh was where the investigation centred, was convicted of nine charges.

Horse abuser Martha Toal from Armagh, Northern Ireland
Horse abuser Martha Toal had her prison sentence reduced from five months to two on appeal but her lifetime ban on keeping any animal was upheld

In October 2016, Toal and Ferris were both jailed for five months for what a judge described as one of the worst cruelty cases he had ever come across.

Before the couple were led away to begin their sentences, the presiding judge warned them the ban included every animal “down to a goldfish”.

Horse abuser Martha Toal from Armagh, Northern Ireland
Callous Martha Toal. Sadly we do not yet have a photo of her partner Michael Ferris

In addition, the judge also ordered the pair to hand over a total of £46,000 to the authorities, after she heard they had refused to allow two statutory bodies to sell the seized animals despite them being told that if they agreed, costs of the animals being fed, housed and cared for would be dropped.

This case arose from an animal welfare complaint received by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.

Victims of horse abuser Martha Toal from Armagh, Northern Ireland
Suffering horses at Michael Ferris’s farm at 7 Shillinghall Road, Armagh

On investigation of the complaint animal welfare officers found horses and ponies and one donkey at premises and on land at Shillinghill Road.

Eight equines were taken into possession by the Council as they were certified by a veterinary surgeon as suffering due to starvation and neglect.

Of these eight, three did not survive.

Victims of horse abuser Martha Toal from Armagh, Northern Ireland
Suffering horses at Michael Ferris’s farm at 7 Shillinghall Road, Armagh

Two dead ponies were also found on the premises.

Toal and Ferris were found guilty of failing to dispose of equine carcasses, causing unnecessary suffering, failing to provide a wholesome diet, and failing to comply with welfare improvement notices.

They also pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to seven horses and a foal.

Sentencing: two months in jail (reduced from five on appeal); total of £46,000 in costs. Lifetime ban on keeping any animal.

Lurgan Mail

Stoke-on-Trent: Ian Williams

#TheList Ian H Williams, born 1959, of 15 Geneva Drive, Stoke-on-Trent ST1 6UW – beat and stamped on a pet dove, which later died

Williams, who went on to be convicted of drink driving, was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to the dove by subjecting it to violence.

The court heard that Williams attacked the bird in the garden of his parents’ house in Rosewood Avenue, Stoke. The dove was the pet of a neighbour.

RSPCA inspector Charlotte Melvin, who investigated, said: “Williams had made it known that he did not like the doves and, very sadly, a dove suffered unnecessarily because of this. It was very obvious that the poor bird had been attacked in the most horrific way.

“A post-mortem examination of the dove showed injuries consistent with being beaten with a stick and then stamped on. It is very sad that such a beautiful bird suffered a horrible, painful death. Put simply, this was a completely mindless attack and there is absolutely no excuse for it.

“It is important to remember that the welfare of all animals is protected by the law – birds the same as dogs, cats and horses – and none deserve to be treated with cruelty.”

12-month community order; £985 in costs. Banned from keeping animals for three years .

ITV News

Gnosall, Stafford: Peter David James Waters

#TheList Peter David James Waters, born 16/11/1975, previously of Monks Walk, Gnosall, Stafford ST20 0DF, and more recently (2018)  Hunters Road, Birmingham B19 1DU  – stabbed his pet Staffy multiple times and dumped his body in a bin.

Peter Waters from Stafford stabbed Staffy Kyzer to death then dumped the body in a  bin
Peter Waters from Stafford stabbed Staffy Kyzer to death then dumped the body in a bin

Waters pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to Kyzer, whom he had only had for four months.

The court heard how Waters plunged a kitchen knife into Kyzer with such force two of the dog’s ribs were broken and his lungs collapsed. The knife had snapped.

Kyzer had two stab wounds to the chest and suffered extensive bleeding. A vet said he would have experienced severe pain, a feeling of suffocation, panic, fear and distress, indicating an act of cruelty and suffering.

The RSPCA, which brought the prosecution, discovered dried blood around the flat.

The court heard Waters claimed he had taken Kyzer on from a previous owner, who had abused him. He told police Kyzer was “a brilliant dog”.

Peter Waters from Stafford stabbed Staffy Kyzer to death then dumped the body in a  bin

The morning of the attack, a neighbour said Waters banged on his door, shouting. He appeared unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred. He said he heard Waters return to his flat and begin shouting at his dog, yelling: “Where’s your fucking lead?”

Waters banged on the neighbour’s door again several times until he answered at around 4pm. He said Waters told him: “I’ve killed my dog. I’ve stabbed him twice in the heart and cut his throat.”

When police were called, they said Waters appeared to be drunk. Officers said he was abusive and believed he presented a threat. After a struggle, in which Waters tried to kick and bite an officer, they overpowered him and he was arrested.

The dog was discovered wrapped in blood stained bedding inside a bin in Greenside, Yarnfield near Eccleshall. The broken knife was protruding from his body.

The court heard when Waters arrived at the police station he remained aggressive and restraints and a spit hood were used.

The RSPCA described Waters’ cruelty towards Kyzer as ‘stomach-churning’, saying the dog would have been ‘terrified’.

Waters was jailed for 23 weeks and disqualified from keeping animals for 20 years (expires February 2037).

Express & Star

Hartlepool, County Durham: Paul Woolston

#TheList Paul Francis Woolston, born 09/12/1974, as at 2019 of 75 Cornwall Street, Hartlepool TS25 5RY – threw a cat across a road and dumped him, still alive, into a wheelie bin

Cat killer Paul Woolston from Hartlepool

Paul Woolston pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a one-year-old cat named Chester in the incident on July 8, 2016.

The court heard that Woolston had grabbed Chester by the scruff of the neck, took him outside then threw him through the air.

He told RSPCA inspectors he had reacted after the panicked animal attacked his partner’s cat and clawed his hand after he tried to coax him out of his cage.

Neighbours recorded Woolston on a mobile phone, picking up the “twitching” animal off the road before dumping him in the bin.

Cat killer Paul Francis Woolston from Hartlepool

John Ellwood, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said Chester may not have been dead when he was thrown into the bin.

He was collected by refuse collectors the following day and his body was never recovered, which meant a post-mortem examination could not be carried out.

“This defendant, for whatever reason, threw a cat, did not check if it was dead, did not check what was wrong with it, just put it in a wheelie bin to die a pretty miserable death,” he told Teesside Magistrates’ Court .

In a statement, Chester’s owner said: “He was lovely, he was always looking for attention and there was no aggression in him at all.

“He never growled or scratched or bit anyone whilst in my care.

“My partner had various health problems and the cat’s fur aggravated them.”

Convicted thief Victoria Woolston is married to cat killer Paul Woolston and lied to cover up her husband's vile actions
Woolston’s wife Victoria, who went on to be convicted of stealing tens of thousands of pounds from a vulnerable pensioner, lied to Chester’s previous owner that the cat was vicious and had to be rehomed. In reality her twisted husband had brutally killed him.

She was contacted by Woolston’s partner, Victoria Woolston, who had offered to give Chester a home.

“I described the care he needed and said it had to be a forever home,” said the owner.

“I took Chester on the Wednesday and she told me on the Thursday he was vicious. She told me she had rehomed Chester in Seaham.”

She contacted the RSPCA after hearing about the animal’s ordeal.

Sentencing: 12-month community order with 250 hours of unpaid work; total of £170 costs and charges. Banned from keeping animals for five years (expires February 2022).

Teesside Live

Oldbury, West Midlands: Richard Cheshire

#TheList Richard James Cheshire (deceased), born 1982, of Beeches Road, West Bromwich B70 6HH – captured on CCTV kicking and stamping on his dog during a drunken rampage

Cheshire, who claimed in court to be an animal lover, was seen throwing bull terrier-cross Pablo across the floor, kicking him, stamping on his head and spitting on him.

The unemployed drunk was also seen chasing the dog into a lift where the animal ‘cowered and whimpered’ as his owner continued the beating and gave a thumbs up to the camera.

Part of the 30-minute recording of the assault in the communal area of Cheshire’s block of flats in Oldbury, West Midlands, was shown to magistrates who spared him a jail sentence.

As he left court in Birmingham he shouted to magistrates: ‘I want you to know, I love animals.’

Sukhdip Randhawa, defending, said Cheshire, who admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a dog, took Pablo in as a stray just a week before September’s attack.

He said his client was on ‘a bit of a bender’ during the incident and could not remember any of it.

‘He is an animal lover and would like to own a pet again in the future,’ he added.

12-month community order with 120 hours of unpaid work. Banned from keeping animals for life but can apply to have the ban lifted after just two years.


2019 update: in August 2019 BirminghamLive reported that Richard James Cheshire had died after being knocked down by a car. Karma’s a bitch, eh?

Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex: Michael Royale

#TheList Michael D Royale, born c. 1970, of 27 Mornington House, 340 Station Road, Westcliff-on-Sea SS0 8HF – inflicted blunt force trauma on a Staffordshire bull terrier dog

Royale was spared jail after he admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the unnamed dog.

He inflicted blunt force trauma to the Staffy in Westcliff on July 6, 2016. The condition or fate of the dog was not reported.

Sentencing: 12-week prison sentence suspended for 19 months. Total of £415 costs and charges. Banned for life from keeping animals as pets


Swindon, Wiltshire: Darren turner

#TheList publican Darren Turner, born 03/04/1975, of the Kings, 20 Wood Street, Swindon SN1 4AB – neglected four goats he kept in a ‘petting zoo’ at his pubs

Swindon publican Darren Turner was not banned from keeping animals despite his failure to care for four goats who had to be euthanised to end their suffering
Swindon publican Darren Turner was not banned from keeping animals despite his failure to care for four goats who had to be euthanised to end their suffering

Darren Turner, who owns four pubs, including 20 at the Kings, the Clifton in Old Town and the Fox and Hounds in Wroughton, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to four goats between the start of December 2015 and January 20 2016.

Turner kept the goats at his pubs as part of a menagerie.

Graham Gilbert, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said when a vet saw the goats in April 2015 she was immediately concerned for their hooves, though they were otherwise in good health.

Their feet were not entirely normal, he said, and she discussed the long term prognosis for them with Turner, saying the hooves needed to be regularly trimmed.

The following months she wrote him a letter outlining the long term options for the animals, including the possibility of them being put down if it got worse.

Mr Gilbert said the vet said she lost contact with Turner after July 2015 and in October she was at the Fox and Hounds, not to visit the goats, when she spotted them.

“It appeared the goats’ feet had deteriorated,” he said, and though she called Turner and left a voicemail, he did not get back to her.

Swindon publican Darren Turner was not banned from keeping animals despite his failure to care for four goats who had to be euthanised to end their suffering
Animal abuser Darren Turner

In January 2016 an RSPCA officer saw the goats had an odd gait and because of the impact the hooves were having on the quality of their lives they were destroyed.

The legs were then removed and sent to an expert who said the hooves were severely overgrown to a worrying degree, and curling up on themselves.

In at least two he said there were pathological fractures and also had problems with their knees.

“He concluded the goats were clearly in pain and that would have been entirely apparent to anyone who saw them from their gait,” he said.

When he was interviewed by RSPCA officers in January 2016 Turner accepted he knew their hooves needed to be trimmed regularly.

“He said the last thing he wanted was for the goats to suffer in any way, or for them to be put down,” he said.

Alex Daymond, defending, said his client had got the animals, which had issues with their legs and feet when he got them, as part of a sort of petting zoo at his pubs.

He said he never intended to cause any harm to them but accepted for a short period of time he neglected to look after them properly.

Turner now employed two people full time to look after the animals, he said, and had also spent £40,000 to care for them.

And he said because of the nature of his work running four pubs he would struggle to find the time to complete any unpaid work.

Recorder Patrick Clarkson QC, sitting with two magistrates, said they would not ban him from keeping animals as recent inspections had not raised any welfare issues.

Sentencing: 80 hours of unpaid work. No ban on keeping animals.

Swindon Advertiser

Llandudno, Conwy County Borough: Richard Thomas Davies

#TheList Richard Thomas Davies, born 15/12/1984, of 24 Cae Clyd, Llandudno LL30 1BL – flung a kitten around by her tail before hurling her into a pond and letting her drown

Loser and cruel bastard Richard Thomas Davies who drowned a helpless kitten to punish his child
Alcoholic loser and cruel bastard Richard Thomas Davies who drowned a helpless kitten to punish his child

Thomas admitted causing unnecessary suffering to an animal at a pond near an adventure playground in Rhyl.

Prosecutor James Neary told the court that a young girl saw the kitten in the water.

“She immediately took off her coat and went in the pond to save the kitten’s life,” he said.

“The defendant grabbed her by both arms and he was laughing and said ‘you will not have a kitten ever again’.”

Children pulled the kitten from the water and tried in vain to save it.

“The defendant seemed to find the whole situation amusing. He had a smug look on his face,” Mr Neary said.

The kitten had been promised to a girl who had already chosen a name for the pet and when seen by the police she was very upset, the prosecutor added.

Court chairman Brian Cossey told Davies: ”This was very horrific and callous. We are appalled by what we have heard. You probably traumatised a very young vulnerable person.

“We have considered an immediate prison sentence but we have stepped back.”

A probation officer said Davies felt “sick” about his behaviour, having made no attempt to save the kitten. He was on state benefit.

Defence solicitor Dafydd Roberts said: ”This was a particularly mean offence. He’s gutted about what happened that day. It was in drink. The defendant has been blighted by alcoholism.”

However, he was now “very different” from the man who committed the unpleasant offence in August , the lawyer added.

Sentence: 12-week suspended jail term; alcohol treatment and rehabilitation; £50 compensation and £735 costs;  banned from keeping an animal for five years (expires February 2022).

Daily Post

Middlesbrough: Kieran Fowler

#TheList Kieran Benjamin Fowler, born 1993, of Palm Street, Middlesbrough TS1 3EE – left his pet dog to suffer with a broken pelvis for two weeks

Kieran Fowler from Middlesbrough left his pet dog Lizzy to suffer with a broken pelvis for two weeks but was not banned from keeping animals

Fowler failed to get veterinary help for his pitbull-type dog Lizzy for two weeks after she was hit by a car.

By the time the animal was finally assessed by a vet, her pelvic canal had displaced, causing the bone to become displaced and completely shredded.

The injury was found to be inoperable and a decision was made to put her to sleep.

Fowler claimed he had done “everything he could” to save the pet but pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

It was heard that unemployed Fowler failed to provide the necessary treatment for the dog after she slipped her lead and got knocked down in October 2016.

Prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, John Ellwood said: “The defendant took the dog to the PDSA charity because he said he couldn’t afford treatment otherwise.

“They administered pain-killing treatment for the dog on an emergency basis while the defendant was asked to provide his benefit details. They asked him to bring the dog back to them straight away but he failed to do so.

“He then waited until November 10, some 16 days after the initial meeting, to ask for further assistance.”

The court heard Fowler was asked to bring the dog back for an X-ray but again failed to show and so the case was reported to the RSPCA.

Mr Ellwood continued: “His perception was that he would have had to pay a reduced rate but wanted to wait for his benefits so he could receive the treatment for free.”

John Nixon, defending, said: “What is clear is that the defendant attended the PDSA on two occasions. It is clear there were financial issues as a result of which he was not able to receive treatment. He is a young man living alone with no family for support and so the potential costs were completely and utterly beyond his ability to pay.”

Mr Nixon added that although the dog had sustained the injury, it did not vocalise any pain and there was no evidence of dehydration when assessed.

“My client showed every intention to seek treatment but was not able to pass the financial test to get the required treatment.”

District Judge Mr Lawrence said: “I am satisfied the defendant took every step to care for Lizzy, but was confused about what he was entitled to financially.

“Although the dog sustained a fractured pelvis, this was only a short term of neglect.”

Sentencing: fined £300 and ordered to pay £330 in court costs. No ban.


Woking, Surrey: Franky Mills

#TheList Franky Jay Mills (aka Franky Webb), born 18/05/1997, currently (June 2020) of 107 Gloster Road, Woking GU22 9EU, but with links to Godalming and Farncombe- used a £5,000 air rifle to shoot at least eight pet cats, killing one

Cat killer Franky Mills pictured outside court
Cat killer Franky Mills pleaded guilty to 14 offences and was jailed for 24 months

Injuries suffered by evil Franky Mills’ eight victims included lost eyes, an amputated leg and bisected spleen – and one of the animals died.

The court heard that Mills drove around the Cranleigh and Guildford area in March and April 2016, allowing another as yet unidentified person to shoot the cats with an air rifle.

Police mugshot of cat killer Franky Mills

Mills pleaded guilty to 14 charges, seven of which were offences of criminal damage valued at more than £5,000, relating to the cat attacks, and another seven counts of possessing a firearm – namely a 0.22 air rifle.

Mills’ defence barrister, Ian Wilkinson, said the teenager was an “extremely damaged man”, with his background being from the travelling community.

Cat killer Franky Mills outside court with a friend
Unremorseful: Mills laughs outside court with friend Bradley-Jordan Sayers

“Clearly what Mills was involved in was a horrible thing, we do not suggest anything otherwise,” he said.

“He inflicted pain on animals, and caused a great deal of distress emotionally, and financially. He is in no way able to change what he has done. An apology seems rather trifle at this time.

“The only way he can make amends is to lead a law abiding life, and not behave in such an appalling way in the future.”

He continued: “He felt peer pressure, wanting to be part of that group, part of the travelling community. He could have been braver, and said no, but he didn’t.”

Social media image of cat killer Franky Mills

Judge Jonathan Black said that he sentenced Mills on the fact that he was the person driving around the area, who “found a suitable target and stopped, allowing a passenger to shoot the cats – using his own air weapon”.

“This was a joint enterprise, you played a full part in injuring these animals,” he said.

The court heard no names of others who were involved in the shooting of the cats.

The judge continued: “You caused a high degree of suffering. One cat had its leg amputated, two had eyes removed, and one was put to sleep.

“These cats were much loved, children who had been brought up with them witnessed the injuries. They have been traumatised due to your cruel and callous behaviour.

“It’s clear yours was a difficult upbringing, but you have demonstrated you are someone capable of doing well in the future. Your start in life has not led you here today.”

Speaking after the sentence, Sergeant Paul Eden, who investigated the case, said Mills was not the only person involved in the shootings.

Social media image of cat killer Franky Mills

He said: “As officer in the case, seeing all the evidence, I firmly believe while he was the main protagonist, he was not the only person responsible in this joint enterprise.”

Sergeant Eden continued: “Franky Mills was the owner of the vehicle used at the time and it was definitely his air weapon.

“We managed to prove, we even had to exhume one of the cats to get the evidence where we extracted the pellet and matched to his rifle, so we could say beyond reasonable doubt that it was his gun which had been shooting these cats.

“He was driving around, and we believe, he stated, that he pulled up alongside and allowed his passengers to shoot it.

“So although he wasn’t claiming to be the trigger puller, clearly he must have known what his friends were doing because he was enabling it to happen by stopping the car providing the weapon and providing the ammunition.

“So to my mind and to the law it made him as guilty as the next person.”

Sentencing: 24 months’ imprisonment