#TheList David William Lee, born 01/02/1966, and Lydia Ann Lee, born 18/07/1963, both of The Oaks, Radfall Ride, Whitstable CT5 3EW – kept a neglected dog outside in a faeces-filled kennel and wild birds in cages
David and Lydia Lee, who are members of the travelling community, were disqualified from keeping animals for life after their terrier type dog was found living in appalling conditions.
The RSPCA prosecuted them after issuing a warrant in relation to the illegal trapping and keeping of wild birds. At the property they found wild birds and set traps in the shed as well as the small dog, Frances, living outside in filthy and freezing conditions.
The couple were charged with causing unnecessary suffering to the brown and white female terrier by failing to investigate and address the cause of her poor body condition and weight loss. They were also charged with keeping Frances in a filthy faeces-contaminated kennel which had a sodden carpet and no bedding or dry lying place.
She was also tethered by a chain which was embedded in faeces and mud on the floor which restricted her movement, contrary to Section 4(1) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
David Lee was also charged with possession of live wild birds, 12 Goldfinches and a Redpoll, as well as committing an offence of intentionally taking wild birds and possessing traps, all contrary to the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.
RSPCA Inspector Carroll Lamport was one of the inspectors on the scene in January 2017 when they arrived at the property following an investigation into wild bird trapping and keeping.
He said: “It was a very upsetting scene. Whilst there I found the little dog frozen to the floor of the kennel as the chain was frozen fast. This was a very nasty case of a deliberate act of long-term cruelty as the trapping of birds is a planned act, and this was coupled with the long term neglect of the pitiful little dog that I found in filthy, wet and frozen conditions.
“It was a very upsetting and unnecessary case of deliberate, planned and callous cruelty.”
Thankfully Frances the terrier managed to pull through after suffering from mange and malnourishment and was later rehomed to her forever home.
Sentencing: Lydia Ann Lee – 12 weeks in custody, suspended for two years; 12-week curfew; costs and charges totaling £415. David Lee – 18 weeks in custody, suspended for two years; 18-week curfew; ordered to pay a total of £865 cost and charges. They were also both disqualified from keeping animals for life.
#TheList Zara Brown (aka Zara Prentice or Zara Rooney), born 06/01/1988, of New Cottages, Patna, Ayr KA6 7JF – for appalling acts of cruelty and neglect towards homeless pets at her rehoming charity, Ayrshire Ark
Pet rescue owner Zara Brown failed to give dogs in her care adequate food and water and she abandoned them in a filthy derelict primary school with no lights.
Some of the animals were left to die in the building and she stored several of the carcasses in a chest freezer.
In all, authorities found 16 dead pets – 15 dogs and one cat – and many more with untreated conditions including a broken bone, arthritis, ear and paw infections, pressure sores and ulcers.
Several dogs believed to be in the care of the Ayrshire Ark remain unaccounted for to this day with Brown refusing to reveal their fates to their distraught former owners.
In August 2017 mother-of-four Brown appeared in the dock at Ayr Sheriff Court.
Depute fiscal Jason Bell told the court how a Scottish SPCA inspector discovered a scene of horror at the Ayrshire Ark shelter, including a stash of seven dogs and a cat in a freezer, some of whom were badly mutilated.
The charity visited the sanctuary, housed in a derelict schoolhouse in Patna, after receiving reports that a Presa Canario cross named Ozzy was lying dead on the floor.
Mr Bell revealed the Scottish SPCA inspector and police had to wait four hours to gain access because Brown wasn’t there and partner Gary Rooney, who part-owns the building, claimed not to have keys.
During the delay, the welfare team peered through a window and saw dead Ozzy slumped on the floor and other dogs in bad health. One very thin dog appeared to be standing in her own filth, without food or water, in a cloakroom.
The depute fiscal went on: “They could see two large bulldog-type dogs clambering over rubbish and debris — they appeared to be running freely in the corridor and in poor condition.
“They also noticed a large dog within one of the former classrooms that appeared lifeless. It was very underweight.
“They tried to rouse it by banging on the window and it appeared the dog was clearly dead.”
Brown finally appeared from the back of the former school at around 11pm and let the authorities inside.
The court heard the “overpowering” stench of faeces and urine made them gag as they made their way through the unlit building, where they stumbled across an animal in a cage.
Mr Bell said: “They noticed the bulldog-type dogs which had been viewed earlier in the corridor appeared to have been secured in a classroom before entry had been gained by the witnesses.
“They located a chest freezer and within were seven dead dog carcasses and a dead cat.”
The mercy crew searched for the lifeless dog they’d spotted through a window — but it had vanished.
Mr Bell said: “There were visible drag marks indicating it had been moved.”
Two more underweight dogs were in a classroom, while a third dog was found “weak and struggling to stand” in a toilet area, despite having access to food and water.
Mr Bell said: “They entered a further room and found a dead dog behind the door. Zara Brown stated she knew this dog as Bruce.
“The inspector formed the opinion the dogs were suffering. They had poor body condition, bones clearly visible. Their living conditions were woefully inadequate with regards to cleanliness.”
Nine dogs were signed over to the Scottish SPCA by Brown and taken to their vet in Glasgow.
They were found to be malnourished with a range of health issues. Bulldog Primo — who also had inflammation of the ears and feet — had to be put to sleep.
The court heard welfare chiefs attempted to interview Brown on December 29, 2017, but she failed to show.
Brown, who also has a conviction for VAT fraud, admitted nine charges of failing to properly feed dogs in her care or treat their health problems, leaving them suffering malnutrition, weight loss, lameness, infections and ulcers.
Defence lawyer Euan Cameron had pleaded for Brown to dodge jail for the sake of her four kids, but Sheriff Mhairi MacTaggart told her: “Such is the gravity of the offences, only a custodial sentence is appropriate.”
After the sentencing, Scottish SPCA inspector Leanne McPake said: “This case was particularly harrowing and will stay with us for a long time.”
As at late 2018 Brown is believed to be living in Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway DG7.
Sentencing: Seven months in jail. Banned for life from keeping animals
#TheList Daniel McCreedy, born 11/05/1984, of Campbell Road, Brighton BN1 4QD – caught on CCTV viciously attacking a dog
McCreedy was caught on CCTV carrying out the beating on his friend’s Staffordshire bull terrier cross at the Royal Oak pub in Lewes, East Sussex, on April 13, 2017.
He pleaded guilty to subjecting the dog, known as Babe, to unreasonable violence and causing him unnecessary suffering.
The court was shown a 20-minute video of the attack, in which McCreedy punches Babe 36 times, kicks him four times, chokes him twice with a lead and proceeds to pour a beer over his head.
RSPCA Inspector Tony Woodley, who led the investigation said: “Watching this video is just heart-breaking and stomach-churning. This dog is completely subordinate and this prolonged period of abuse is totally unwarranted and frankly disturbing.
“The poor dog is just absolutely terrified and also confused. One minute McCreedy is hitting him repeatedly in the head, the next minute he is cuddling the dog in a bid to pretend he is a caring animal owner. It is just horrific to see and a vet who watched this said that in their opinion there is no doubt this dog was caused pain and suffering during this sustained attack.
“It is perhaps lucky that the poor dog did not suffer any lasting physical injuries as a result of this attack, but he would clearly have been severely traumatised by McCreedy’s actions.
“I would like to thank everyone who has helped to bring this case to court including the witnesses who gave statements and of course the landlady who provided us with the CCTV which quickly led to McCreedy’s identification.”
Speaking after the sentencing, Babe’s owner, James Hardaker, from Moulsecoomb, said: “Babe was always very friendly to people, but now barks at them because he is scared. I’ve been advised to have him put down.
“I am going to try and re-train him as a pup to get him back to how he was.”
Sentencing: 12-month community order, 20 days of rehabilitation for mental health illness, and an eight-week curfew. Ordered to pay £300 in costs and an £85 government surcharge. Disqualified from having any contact with animals until further notice.
#TheList Zach Alan Cook (who’s taken to calling himself John Gage), born 25/02/1992, last known address Beaufort House, Strawbridge Road, Bristol BS5 9XF – left two dogs to starve on a balcony; both dogs put to sleep
Career criminal Zach Cook was banned from keeping animals for life after he left Ruby and Blacky without food on the balcony of his high-rise flat at Beaufort House, Strawbridge Road in Barton Hill.
Cook was jailed for 18 weeks after police found the emaciated dogs confined to a squalid enclosed balcony area which was covered in faeces and urine.
The RSPCA said that both dogs had to be put down by a vet.
Neighbours had reported a stench coming from the flat before officers broke in and discovered the dogs in horrific conditions.
RSPCA Inspector Dan Hatfield, who investigated, said: “Ruby and Blacky suffered horrendous cruelty and neglect because Zach Cook decided to just shut them on the balcony and just forget about them.
“His way of dealing with no longer wanting to care for his dogs was to pretend they didn’t exist while he continued to get on with his life in the flat attached to the balcony.
“When they were discovered Blacky was stood cowering next to Ruby and was so thin all his bones were showing.
“Ruby was in an absolutely terrible state. She had completely collapsed and was lying in the squalor, unable to get to her feet and had to be carried to my van in a basket.
“It broke my heart to see her use the last bit of energy she had to wag her tail as I carried her out. She was so starved, exhausted and close to death but still managed to try to show love.
“There are simply no excuses for treating animals in such a cruel and disgusting way. We plead with anyone who no longer wants their pets or can no longer care for them to ask for help before it ever gets like this.”
Cook, admitted two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to the animals and two counts of failing to meet the needs of the dogs.
Previously of Cossham Road in St George, Cook was jailed for six years and two months in March 2017 after he, and accomplices Micky Revill and Jordan Talbot burst into a home in the city centre and threatened to stab the woman inside unless she gave them money.
As at November 2019 Cook has been released from prison, but his current address is unknown.
Sentencing: jailed for 18 weeks. Banned from keeping animals for life.
#TheList Martin Jones, born 23/08/1958, of Hillsway, Shirebrook, Mansfield NG20 8DZ – allowed his deceased mother’s run-down home to become overrun with 30 inter-bred feral cats and a ferret.
Thirty cats and a ferret were rescued from a bungalow which was ‘waist-high’ in animal faeces.
The owner of the animals, Martin Jones, was banned from keeping animals for life after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering.
The court heard that an RSPCA inspector visited a property in Hillsway, Shirebrook, in March 2017 after a member of the public contacted the animal welfare charity with concerns.
RSPCA inspector Deborah Scotcher said: “Initially I looked through the window and saw what looked like an extremely messy room cluttered with furniture and general rubbish. But once we got inside, I realised that what I saw through the window was not the full story.
“There were 30 cats and a ferret living in this bungalow and they were all feral, just left to fend for themselves. It had, quite simply, become overrun with the animals. The conditions in the house were horrific – there was so much animal faeces which in some parts of the bungalow were waist-high and completely embedded in surfaces.
“There was literally nowhere else for the animals to relieve themselves and they had resorted to defecating on the tops of wardrobes and kitchen surfaces. The property was dark, damp and not fit for humans or animals to live in. It felt unreal.”
The court heard the house had belonged to Jones’s late mother and that initially Jones had put two cats in the house, but that over time they had interbred.
Inspector Scotcher said: “Jones was visiting the house and throwing food down, but he had no way of knowing whether all the animals were eating properly.
“Some of the cats were so feral that the only way we could handle them was with thick gauntlet gloves.”
The animals were removed from the house over the following three weeks. Cat traps were set and checked daily.
Each cat was examined by a vet, who had attended the property and viewed the conditions first hand. Sadly, however, some of the cats were put to sleep on veterinary advice as they were suffering from feline AIDS and a variety of other health problems. Many could not be handled and had had no human interaction or contact for the whole of their lives.
The ferret and a number of cats have since been rehomed.
Sentencing: 18-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months; ordered to pay £400 costs and a £115 victim surcharge. Lifetime disqualification order on keeping animals.
#TheList Thomas McLaughlin, born ca. 1963, of West Campbell Street, Paisley, Renfrewshire PA2 – left a poorly 7yo Golden Retriever named Prince to suffer with multiple ailments including arthritis and a skin condition
McLaughlin pleaded guilty to charges of causing golden retriever Prince unnecessary suffering by omitting to take the dog to the vet between October 2016 and January 2017 for treatment.
Cruel Thomas McLaughlin deliberately ignored the plight of Prince, even though the 7yo dog had lost most of his coat, was covered in sores, his paws were badly swollen, and he was constantly scratching patches of its hairless skin.
Fiscal depute Margaret McCallum told the court that an SSPCA inspector had attended McLaughlin’s property after an anonymous complaint about a neglected dog not receiving veterinary attention in respect of its ailments.
She said: “When admitted to the property, the inspector went into the living room where there was a golden retriever dog, normally called Prince, and he could clearly see it had a severe skin condition.
“His entire body was inflamed and red in colour. He was sparsely covered in hair. He had small spots and sores over his body.”
The court was told the room smelt “musky” and the animal could “barely stand” on his swollen paws. He limped slowly along and struggled to move his hind legs and fore legs. Prince also scratched incessantly at his skin.
A veterinary examination showed the dog weighed around 29 kilos and had body condition scale of 1.5/5, where a scale of one is emaciated and five is obese.
McLaughlin admitted he hadn’t been to the vets for two-and-a-half years and the dog did not have any medication.
The inspector summoned another SSPCA officer to help him deal with Prince’s rescue in January 2017. Sadly he had to be euthanised due to the extent of his ailments which included osteoarthritis and dysplasia.
Sheriff James Spy told the accused he had caused “considerable distress” to the animal requiring the dog to be put down.
Sentencing: Fined £1,000. Banned from keeping dogs for 10 years (expires August 2027).
#TheList Gussie Lee, born c. 1956, of Woodland Way, Ipswich IP1 5PE – caused suffering to a large group of horses based in Paper Mill Lane in north Ipswich
Gussie Lee was banned from keeping animals after horses he owned were found hungry, dehydrated and diseased.
Lee pleaded guilty to failing to meet the needs of 10 horses and causing unnecessary suffering to six of them.
RSPCA inspectors visited the horses in Paper Mill Lane, north Ipswich, after concerns were raised about their condition.
Prosecuting, Hugh Rowland, said that on January 5, 2017, five horses were found “very underweight” and Lee was issued with a warning notice, requiring him to ensure the animals were fed and wormed and to call a vet if their condition deteriorated further.
Returning on January 12 with a vet, Mr Rowlnad said the horses’ condition was found to have worsened. Blood tests found some of the horses were suffering liver disease from eating a toxic plant.
The horses were found with matted hair, ingrown hooves, lice infestations and some were suffering from anaemia or dehydration. They were seized by police, handed over to the RSPCA and taken to a horse sanctuary.
Mr Rowland said the vet “was of the view” it would have taken more than four weeks for the worst affected to reach that state.
In mitigation, David Allan, defending, said Lee had expressed “genuine shame” about what had happened. He said Lee was in ill health, having suffered several heart attacks. Most significantly, Mr Allan said, he had been affected by the “extremely fraught” situation that followed two killings on West Meadows travellers’ site.
Chairman of the magistrates’ bench, Anne Tyler, said the offences fell into the category of “high culpability”. “It’s so serious that only custodial options are appropriate,” she added.
The RSPCA said the horses had since undergone an “amazing transformation” thanks to the RSPCA and Redwings Horse Sanctuary.
Sentencing: 16-week custodial sentence suspended for 24 months for causing unnecessary suffering to six horses and 12 weeks suspended for two years for failing to meet the needs of 10 horses, to run concurrently. He was ordered to pay £500 costs and £115 victim surcharge to be taken from his benefits. He was also banned from keeping animals and told he could not appeal for 10 years.
#The List Amanda ‘Mandy’ Hunter and Anthony ‘Tony’ Paton both of 89 Macbeth Road, Dunfermline KY11 4EE – left their dog Rocco to suffer with multiple ailments including a hole on the side of his face caused by infection
Hunter and Paton admitted causing their pet unnecessary suffering between July 15 and September 2, 2016.
Depute fiscal Azrah Yousaf told the court the Scottish SPCA received a report about the condition of Rocco.
The dog was being neglected and had an ear infection which was not being treated, leading to the skin opening up so the jaw was visible.
Paton told them the dog had been taken to a vet at end August 2016. They had been told by the vet that the dog should be put down but this was not done.
“It had a gaping and weeping hole on the side of its face,” said the depute.
The dog was removed from the house and the pair were told they were going to be charged.
Rocco’s weight was 24.8 kg when it should have been 30 to 35 kg. He also had a flea infestation and was suffering from hair loss.
Rocco was euthanised because of its condition. The SSPCA had noted that there were other animals in the house including a dog, rabbits and frogs.
Sentence: not reported but a motion to ban the couple from keeping animals for two years was denied by the court after opposition from their solicitors.
#TheList Eric Gwilym Symmons, born c. 1954, of Station Road, Letterston, Haverfordwest SA62 – for his shocking neglect of three Shetland ponies
Symmons admitted that his failure to act caused the ponies to suffer unnecessarily.
The weight of one of the ponies was judged to be 141kg – more than 100kg below the average expected weight for a Shetland of her height.
All three animals were subsequently taken into RSPCA Cymru care, before being successfully re-homed by the charity.
“We found three Shetlands at this property seriously impeded by overgrown hooves and hidden from view,” said RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben.
“The suffering they endured is likely to have lasted many months.
Put simply – there’s no excuse for this sort of shocking neglect.
“A straightforward five-minute phone call to a farrier could have prevented these Shetland ponies from experiencing the pain and suffering of such dangerously overgrown hooves.
“This was long-term and completely unnecessary neglect, with one of the ponies also lame with a very poor physical body condition and the RSPCA is steadfast in its commitment to acting against such animal cruelty”.
Sentencing: ordered to pay a total of £888. No ban.
#TheList James Silvers, born c. 1996, formerly of Hickinwood Crescent, Clowne, Chesterfield S43 4AQ, and possibly now living in Nottingham – left his dogs locked in crates for several days while he went away
James Silver pleaded guilty to two offences of failing to meet the needs of bull terriers Lola and Blue, whom he had kept locked in “prison cells” without food or water.
The RSPCA was alerted to the dogs by a concerned member of the public and an inspector went to the property in New Street, Pilsley, with the police.
Inspector Rachel Leafe said: “There were two crates, one on top of the other, with one dog in each. These weren’t big crates either – they were big enough for them to stand up, but that was all. There was no food or water in the crates, just empty bowls which were bone dry, and they just had rags sodden with urine to lie on. There was also faeces around the edges of the crates.
“It is horrific to think that they had to live in these conditions. It was as though both dogs were living in their own little prison cells.”
After being rescued, both dogs were cared for by the RSPCA. Staffordshire bull terrier Lola was rehomed but Blue wasn’t so lucky. A police dog legislation officer identified him as a banned breed under Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act and, as a result, he was put to sleep.
Inspector Leafe said: “This is a very sad ending as we were hoping to see Blue into a new home. The RSPCA do not make these decisions. We do not agree with Breed Specific Legislation and have been campaigning for changes for some time.”
Sentencing: nine-month community order; total of £205 fine and charges. Five-year ban on keeping animals (expires August 2023).