Cambridge: Christopher Boswell

#TheList self-styled ‘cat hunter’ Christopher Storer Boswell, born c. 1973, of 28 Eden Street, Cambridge CB1 1EL – shot a Siamese kitten with an air rifle

Self-styled 'cat hunter' Christopher Boswell from Cambridge and his victim, Siamese Pia.
Boswell proclaimed himself a ‘cat hunter’ and neighbours expressed concern that he may be responsible for the disappearance of up to 20 cats in the area

Christopher Boswell pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, June 20, 2017.

In June 2017 the then 73-year-old, who was described in court as a ‘cat hunter’ since he was 17 years old, was handed a 12-week prison sentence, ordered to pay £1,500 compensation and a £115 victim surcharge.

But Boswell appealed his sentence straight after the hearing, with an appeal then held at Cambridge Crown Court on July 20, 2017.

It was reported how Pia the white Siamese kitten, worth about £450, belonged to Cambridge resident Caroline King.

Ms King noticed her cat was missing from her garden about 7.20pm on April 7, 2017, and when she went round to ask Boswell about her missing cat, he told her he had been hunting cats since he was 17.

Boswell had told her: “I don’t like cats, I hate them. They are a menace to wildlife and birds.”

Ms King asked if Boswell was joking but he replied: “No, I’ve shot it twice – once in the head, once in the body and I have put it in the neighbour’s garden. You had better knock on their door.”

Ms King went to her neighbours’ garden where she saw her kitten lying motionless on the floor, making no attempt to move.

The kitten had to have her right leg amputated. One air rifle pellet caused a tear in Pia’s windpipe, while the other shattered her femur.

Ms King paid £5,168 for Pia’s veterinary treatment bills after the cat was rushed to a vet and spent more than a week at a Cambridge veterinary hospital.

In a victim impact statement, Ms King said: “I feel devastated and horrified and cannot fathom why somebody I do not know would carry out such an act.

“I cannot believe Chris would be so calm and calculated over what he has done as if he got some enjoyment from it – as he did not have to tell us and could have chosen to remain quiet.”

Following Boswell’s initial sentencing, a neighbour raised concerns he could have something to do with the disappearance of between 12 and 20 cats that have gone missing in the area in the previous five years.

Self-styled 'cat hunter' Christopher Boswell from Cambridge.
Boswell was initially jailed but following an appeal, his sentence was suspended

Michael Magee, mitigating for Boswell in the appeal hearing, said Boswell became increasingly isolated and lived a very solitary existence after his retirement.

He told the court that at the time of the incident, Boswell was on painkillers to deal with chronic arthritis and an itching rash “much like scabies” which had spread over his body.

Mr Magee added: “He became increasingly housebound and this led to a deterioration in his mental state.

“In terms of culpability, one can understand how he fostered his little garden and the birds that came into that garden…that was his very small connection to the previous active life that he had.

“With the background of the mental health issues, he picked up an air rifle while in drink, which belonged to his son, and stupidly shot the cat.

“His desire was to protect the birds, not to cause the cat harm.

“With matters of his pain, the cancer, the severe itching rash that had covered the vast majority of his body, the loneliness and perhaps the focus on his family of birds, he called it; he took that relatively stupid decision.”

Mr Magee said Boswell was a rowing coach for many years and had recently been volunteering two nights week for the Cam Rowers charity.

He urged the court to suspend Boswell’s prison sentence, telling them he had sought help for his alcohol addiction entirely by himself and that he was now in a position to be more active in his life.

After retiring to consider the appeal, Recorder Sandeep Kainth warned Boswell that his actions were “grave and serious” but said he felt satisfied that Boswell’s prison sentence could be suspended.

He added: “This was a deliberate attempt to cause suffering; this is evidenced by your actions of shooting the cat two times not one.

“But there are more mitigating features than aggravating features in this case.

“You have an excellent work ethic, you are a man of good character, this incident was isolated and you have shown genuine remorse.

“The risk of you offending again is very low; we accept that your motive was to protect the birds in your garden.

“It’s disappointing that at the age of 73 you find yourself before the courts, but we accept that for you this is a salutary lesson in itself.”

Sentencing: Boswell’s immediate prison sentence earlier handed down by magistrates was amended to a 12-week sentence, suspended for one year.

The court heard that Boswell had paid the £1,500 compensation to Ms King and his air rifle had been forfeited and destroyed.

Cambridge News

Launceston, Cornwall: Heather Green

#TheList Heather Patricia Green, born 26/02/1948, formerly of Dockacre Road, Launceston and as at September 2019 of 21 Bishops Place, Paignton, Devon TQ3 3DZ – kept 27 poodles in squalid conditions at her home

Hoarder Heather Green kept 27 poodlesin cramped and dirty conditions at her home in Launceston, Cornwall
Hoarder Heather Green kept 27 poodles in cramped and dirty conditions at her home in Launceston, Cornwall

Heather Green was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to the animals in her care and failing to provide a suitable environment.

RSPCA inspector Lewis Taylor said, “These dogs were kept in inadequate conditions and were sadly suffering as a result.

“We found 21 dogs squashed together in five metal cages with six others running loose in just one room. It was a miserable existence and no way for animals to live.

“Anyone caring for animals must be able to meet their needs and provide them with the kind of life they deserve.”

According to the RSPCA, Heather Green told the court that she loved her animals and “never deliberately hurt them”.

She did not accept there was any problem or that the animals suffered unnecessarily, adding that “she felt her care of them sufficient”.

Hoarder Heather Green kept 27 poodles in cramped and dirty conditions at her home in Launceston, Cornwall
The poodles led a miserable existence in the care of Heather Green

Several of the dogs were suffering from untreated dental disease; five were found to be underweight, while one of the poodles was obese. The poodles recovered in the RSPCA’s care and were to be made available for rehoming.

Sentencing: six-week custodial sentence, suspended for twelve months. Fined a total of £865. Banned from keeping dogs for 10 years.

BBC News
Dogs Monthly

Middlesbrough: Leslie Michael Bishop

#TheList Leslie Michael Bishop, born 07/08/1965, of Maple Street, Middlesbrough TS1 3DS – kept three thin and hungry Akita dogs named Nikita, Storm and Niko in squalid conditions.

Career criminal and dog abuser Leslie Michael Bishop from Middlesbrough

The RSPCA found Niko and Nikita in a back yard among an “extensive accumulation of faeces”. Both dogs appeared hungry and thin and their coats were molting and dirty.”

Storm had been kept indoors where conditions made for a “hazardous environment”.

There was urine on the floor, flies circling around rooms and a foul smell. One of the dogs had a severe ear infection.

Career criminal Bishop pleaded not guilty to five charges but refused to attend the trial via video link from prison where he was remanded in custody for another unrelated matter. The trial was however continued in his absence and the case against him proven.

Jailed for  18 weeks. Banned from owning animals for 10 years (expires July 2027).

Bathgate, West Lothian: William Dobbie

#TheList William Dobbie, born c. 1986, of Dundas Street, Bathgate EH48 – left three dogs to starve so badly their bones protruded through their skin

William Dobbie from Bathgate, West Lothian, man admitted starving his three pet dogs
William Dobbie from Bathgate, West Lothian, man admitted starving his three pet dogs

Dobbie pleaded guilty to failing to provide the dogs, called Mitzi, Sugar and Kane, with appropriate and adequate nutrition and failing to obtain adequate veterinary treatment to treat their infestation with fleas.

The Scottish SPCA received a complaint in October 2016 about the way Dobbie’s animals were being treated. After meeting police outside the house, inspectors from the animal charity gained access to the property.

Inspector Jenni Surgeon said, “On entering the property I discovered a Staffordshire bull terrier in a cage behind the door with no access to food or water.

William Dobbie from Bathgate, West Lothian, man admitted starving his three pet dogs

“She was extremely thin and her bones were protruding through her skin.

“The cage contained large quantities of faeces, some of which had mould, indicating the cage had not been cleaned for quite some time.

“There was a foul smell inside the property which was caused by the multiple deposits of faeces throughout the house.

“The property was very unhygienic which put the animals at risk of injury, disease and illness.

“There were two extremely underweight Jack Russell terriers roaming around the house, both of which had staining to their legs and lower abdomen which has most probably been caused by the pair lying in their own urine and faeces.

William Dobbie from Bathgate, West Lothian, man admitted starving his three pet dogs

“We welcome the fact that Dobbie has been dealt with by the court and the sentence handed down.

“We hope he will give serious consideration about his suitability to care for other animals in the future.

“Thankfully, the dogs have now received the proper treatment and have made a full recovery.”

Five-month restriction of liberty order. Banned from owning or keeping animals for three years (expires July 2020).

Scottish Sun

Runcorn, Cheshire: Michelle Baldwin and sons Shaun and Shane Baldwin

#TheList Michelle Baldwin, aka Michelle Robinson (DoB 14/08/1976) and Shaun Baldwin (DoB 26/05/1996) both of 63 Masseyfield Road, Runcorn and  Shane Andrew Baldwin (DoB 17/11/1997) of 22 Linkway, Runcorn – allowed their two dogs to starve so badly one had to be put down.

Evil: Michelle Baldwin and sons Shane and Shaun who left two dogs to starve.
Evil: Michelle Baldwin and useless feckless sons Shane and Shaun. The trio left two dogs to starve.

The RSPCA said the dogs, Staffordshire terrier-type breeds Bruno and Roxy, were so thin their ribs were clearly visible and they were living in ‘atrocious’ conditions.

Bruno was put to sleep on health grounds despite the charity’s efforts to save him and Roxy has been rehomed.

The trio each pleaded guilty in May to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to the dogs and one of failing to provide a suitable environment at an earlier hearing.

Speaking about the case, attending RSPCA Inspector Lisa Lupson described both dogs as being  “very thin” especially Bruno who was described as being very lethargic and subdued and so weak he had to be put on a drip .  Sadly he couldn’t be saved.

Court papers said Michelle Baldwin had entrusted the care of the dogs to two young adults without taking responsibility for them herself.

Sentence: Michelle Baldwin was given an eight-week prison sentence suspended for six months and her sons Shaun and Shane were both given a 12-month community order and told to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work. All three were told to pay costs of £100 and an £85 victim surcharge each. A 10-year ban on keeping animals was imposed on the trio. 

Liverpool Echo 11/07/2017

Claudy, Londonderry: Michael Conwell

#TheList Michael Stephen Conwell, born 14/01/1994, of Slievebuoy Park, Londonderry BT47 4BE – for cruelty to three dogs found with mouth injuries consistent with badger baiting

Badger baiter Michael Stephen Conwell from Londonderry failed to treat his dogs' appalling facial injuries
Badger baiter Michael Stephen Conwell from Londonderry failed to treat his dogs’ appalling facial injuries

Conwell’s animal cruelty was uncovered during a police search of properties in the Claudy area of Londonderry as part of an ongoing investigation into wildlife offences.

Inside his property police found three dogs with visible injuries to their mouths and lips.

A lurcher had long-standing damage to the right side of her mouth and damage to her lips. A vet who examined the dog believed the injuries had been inflicted three months earlier and described the lurcher’s condition as poor.

A patterdale terrier also had damage to her lips and scarring injuries, which the vet also believed were two months old.

The third dog, a Cairn-Patterdale cross, had several of her teeth missing as well as injuries to her lips. The vet believed those injuries were between two weeks and three months old.

Badger baiter Michael Stephen Conwell from Londonderry failed to treat his dogs' appalling facial injuries

The prosecutor said although the defendant was neither charged with nor convicted of badger baiting, the vet who examined the three dogs believed that the injuries were consistent with badger baiting.

The three dogs were removed from Conwell’s home by the police and kept in kennels.

The PSNI incurred kennelling costs of £14,000 for the three dogs, all of which have recovered from their injuries and are now waiting to be rehomed after the conclusion of the court proceedings.

The prosecutor said Conwell gave a “no comment” interview to the police following his arrest and gave no explanation as to how the injuries had been inflicted on his three dogs.

Sentencing: Conwell was originally given a three-month prison sentence and ordered to pay £14,000 kennelling costs. Following his appeal his sentence was increased to four months but suspended for three years. Costs were reduced to £7,500. Disqualified for life from owning animals.

Belfast Telegraph

Newbold, Chesterfield: Shaun Musson

#TheList Shaun Musson, born 25/03/1992, of Chaucer Road, Newbold, Chesterfield, Derbyshire S41 8SS – starved a dog until he became so weak he couldn’t make his way up stairs

Convicted dog abuser Shaun Musson from Chesterfield and his victim Maxie
Shaun Musson from Chesterfield is banned from keeping animals until 2027 following his neglect of a dog he claimed he was too depressed to feed

KFC worker Shaun Musson pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the Staffordshire bull terrier named Maxie.

The court heard that Maxie was given a low body score of one out of nine and that he was so emaciated that he had no muscles in his legs.

RSPCA inspector Rachel Leafe, who rescued Maxie, said: “When I took Maxie to the vet after he was rescued, he was so weak that he stumbled up the stairs at the entrance. He had no muscle in his legs, he was so weak. He had to keep stopping while walking because he just could not walk properly.”

The court heard that Maxie weighed 11kg, instead of the 18kg he should have weighed.

Inspector Leafe said: “Musson said that he believed the dog had lost weight because he was stressed, as Musson had gone from being at home all the time to working 40 hours a week. Put simply, Maxie lost a lot of weight as a result of not being fed properly. He was such a skinny dog and you could see every single bone in his body. He looked like a skeleton with fur.

“As well as being underweight, he had an overgrown claw which was curling over into his pad. It would have been incredibly painful for him.”

The court heard that a member of the public contacted the RSPCA after seeing Maxie.

He recovered in the RSPCA’s care and was made available for rehoming.

Sentencing: 12-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months; £300 in costs. Disqualified from keeping all animals for 10 years (expires July 2027).

RSPCA Chesterfield
Derbyshire Times

Edgware, London: Nijamul Islam

#TheList serial dog abuser Nijamul Islam, born 19/02/1973, of 91 Farm Road, Edgware HA8 9LR – kept dozens of large-breed ‘protection’ dogs in cramped, dirty conditions and without food or water

Serial dog abuser Nijamul Islam of Edgware, London, kept dogs to be used in the security industry
Islam ran a business supplying dogs to the security industry but kept them in filth and squalor and without food or water

Persistent animal abuser Nijamul Islam was first convicted of dog abuse on a massive scale in November 2012. Then trading as the Vardalu Pet Hotel based in Elstree, Herts, Islam was convicted of cruelty to 173 dogs and puppies, including Rottweilers, German shepherds, Belgian malinois and American bulldogs. He was given a two-year suspended prison term and banned from keeping dogs for 10 years.

Footage from the RSPCA’s 2012 raid on Islam’s then premises in Elstree, Hertfordshire

In October 2014 the authorities discovered he was keeping 102 dogs at Woodhill Farm, Stanstead Road, Great Amwell SG12 9RN after a kennel maid was attacked by a Belgian shepherd and a German shepherd. The victim was rushed to hospital with life threatening injuries and required surgery to save her arms.

The two dogs concerned were later destroyed due to their “extremely aggressive nature”.

Serial dog abuser Nijamul Islam of Edgware, London, kept dogs to be used in the security industry

Both police officers and officers from the RSPCA entered the farm later on the same day where they discovered more than a hundred dogs being kept in “squalid” conditions.

Judge John Plumstead was told several people worked at the farm, where dogs to be used in the security industry were allegedly trained.

The judge was told the conditions for the animals were ‘appalling’ with filthy cages covered in urine and faeces.

The animals, some of which were puppies, had inadequate bedding and no access to clean water or food.

There were also dead dogs on the site.

Serial dog abuser Nijamul Islam of Edgware, London, kept dogs to be used in the security industry

Of the dogs found within the farm, 40 had to be put down either because they were deemed dangerous by the RSPCA or had severe medical conditions and were suffering.

RSPCA inspector Steph Law said: “The conditions the dogs were kept in were horrendously squalid. It was filthy and most of the dogs had been left without food and water.

“Sadly we also found that a number of the dogs were very badly injured and had been left to suffer without veterinary treatment.

“It was sickening to see the scale of suffering as we worked with the police over four days to remove the dogs and bring them into boarding.”

Serial dog abuser Nijamul Islam of Edgware, London, kept dogs to be used in the security industry

Judge Plumstead said Islam had an ‘appalling track record’ for neglect and cruelty to animals.

He said: ‘These were not everyday dogs. They were all large and potentially violent dogs.

‘These dogs were kept in dreadful conditions in a way which could only be described as scandalous.’

He said he had also seen a training video seized from Islam’s business, which showed him setting a large Alsatian-type dog across a field to attack a man wearing a bite suit.

Judge Plumstead said the dog had been ‘biting determinedly and with considerable force until it was called off by the defendant’.

He said: ‘This was not a legitimate business because he was in no position to legally be doing what he was doing.’

In July 2017 Nijamul Islam was jailed for two and half years after pleading guilty to two charges of being in charge of a dog which was dangerously out of control.

Islam also admitted being in breach of an order disqualifying him from keeping dogs and four charges of causing unnecessary suffering to dogs.

Sentencing: two-and-a-half year jail term. Continuation of his original 10-year ban on keeping dogs imposed in 2012.

Daily Mail
BBC News

Peterlee/Horden, County Durham: Andrew Lee and Mark Baxter (FOUND NOT GUILTY)

#TheList Andy Lee of Barsloan Grove, Peterlee SR8 2PY, and Mark Baxter of Morpeth Street, Horden SR8 4BE – found not guilty of animal welfare and hunting offences after a fox was dug out of a hole and stabbed to death.

Not guilty': Andy Lee (left) and Mark Baxter were cleared of animal welfare charges due to the existence of "reasonable doubt" as to their guilt
‘Not guilty’: Andy Lee (left) and Mark Baxter were cleared of animal welfare charges due to the existence of “reasonable doubt”.

Northallerton Magistrates’ Court heard that Lee and Baxter both had permission to hunt so-called vermin on land at Sandhutton near Thirsk in December 2016.

The trial heard that the pair were hunting with dogs and a shotgun but the police were called after a witness saw them digging for around an hour before throwing a dead fox up out of the hole.

The pair were charged with causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, hunting a wild mammal with dogs and inflicting unnecessary suffering to a wild animal.

They denied all charges.

Lee said that they had been hunting rabbits with two young boys and only began digging because one of the dachshunds had disappeared underground.

He said that two lurchers were being held on leads by the boys but the dogs broke free and went for the fox when it emerged from the hole.

Lee then stabbed the fox, saying his intention was to prevent its suffering.

He said: “As far as I am concerned I dealt with a bad situation as best as I could.”

A postmortem report showed the fox died instantly from the stab wound and not from injuries inflicted by the dogs, which included a broken jaw.

One of the lurchers had a cut nose and face but it was not established whether the injuries were caused by the other lurcher or by the fox.

After retiring for around an hour, magistrate Scott Handley said the bench could not be sure beyond reasonable doubt that the criminal standard for hunting a fox with dogs had been met.

The men were cleared of all charges.

Northern Echo