Joyce Davies, Adam and Kyley Davies each pleaded guilty to four offences in relation to their dogs Snowdrop, Scooter, Prince and Lucky.
The dogs died after they had been shut away in a room for weeks without food and water, it is thought that as they tried to scavenge and search for food they may have consumed something toxic.
Prosecutor Janita Patel told the court that a report by a vet in the case stated that toxicity is likely to have been the cause of death, but the cause was immaterial to the offences charged, as they related to a prolonged period during which the dogs lost weight and hence found the need to scavenge.
The family took the seriously ill four dogs to an out of hours vet, but when they arrived Snowdrop was already dead, and Scooter had to be put to sleep on welfare grounds as he was too poorly.
Prince was kept in the vets, but sadly died overnight and the family were allowed to take Lucky home as long as they returned to the vet should his condition deteriorate.
The vet contacted the RSPCA as they were concerned by the emaciated condition of all four dogs and their filthy state, and for the welfare of Lucky who had been taken back by the Davies.
RSPCA Deputy Chief Inspector Mel Fisher and the police attended the family home to check on the welfare of Lucky, but when they arrived he was collapsed, non-responsive and fitting. They took him to the veterinary practice and he too sadly had to be put to sleep because nothing further could be done to save him.
Inspector Fisher said: “Over the years this family have been given advice by the RSPCA and their own vet, regarding the level of care they have been providing for their dogs and we have tried time and time again to work with them.
“But it was all in vain, as they chose to ignore this advice and ignore the welfare of their dogs. They simply just didn’t care enough and shut the poor dogs away in a room and ignored them. Even though they took the dogs for veterinary attention it was too little, too late, and also when they were allowed to take Lucky home with instructions to return if his condition worsened, they didn’t do so.
“I have known all these dogs for a number of years and I was in tears when they had to be put to sleep, yet the family seemed unmoved. I am just heart-broken that these poor dogs suffered. There was even tins of dog food in the house, but the dogs were so emaciated it was clear they had not been fed for a very long while”.
Sentencing: 14 weeks in prison for each offence to run concurrently; ordered to pay £300 costs and a victim surcharge of £115 each. Lifetime ban on keeping all animals.
#TheList John Ware, born c. 1977, of Blakemere Crescent, Portsmouth PO6 3SH – caught breeding dogs without a licence
John Ware who has links to the travelling community, pleaded guilty at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court after the case was brought forward by Winchester City Council.
The court heard the council’s environmental protection team investigated after being notified by Havant Borough Council of puppies being bred in the village of Denmead, Hampshire.
Officers obtained a search warrant and when they inspected Ware’s property of Mill Farm, on Widley Walk in Waterlooville, they found a large number of dogs and four litters of puppies in outhouses.
Further evidence revealed at least three other litters had been bred by Ware or born to dogs owned by his relatives and kept at an address in Denmead.
Under current legislation it is an offence for anyone who keeps a breeding establishment for dogs to allow female dogs to give birth to five or more litters within a year.
Jan Warwick, portfolio holder for environmental health and licensing at Winchester City Council, said: ‘We take breeding dogs without a licence seriously and I am pleased to see the council’s legal team achieve another successful prosecution.
‘If we are presented with clear evidence of wrong-doing we as a council will not shy away from taking matters before the courts.’
Sentencing: Ware was disqualified from obtaining a dog breeding licence for just 12 months and ordered to pay costs of £4,375.
#TheList illegal puppy trader Christopher Gorman, born May 1963, of 51 Killearn Crescent, Plains, near Airdrie ML6 7UN – imported puppies from Lithuanian puppy farms before selling them on as ‘home-bred’; kept dogs and puppies in appalling conditions; left puppies to suffer from parvo-virus; caught on camera beating dogs with a stick
In two separate prosecution cases, millionaire landlord Christopher Gorman was convicted of a catalogue of dog cruelty charges. Gorman, who alongside wife Karen Gorman and son Christopher Gorman junior, had faced a drugs investigation (outcome unknown), had been on the Scottish SPCA’s radar for years for his antics.
Gorman’s first conviction came on 31 May 2017 following a Scottish SPCA raid on his property in the village of Plains, near Airdrie.
Animal welfare officers found dozens of puppies and dogs with open wounds living in their own faeces and suffering from health problems such as vomiting, diarrhoea and cherry eye.
One dog was so ill vets had to put it down almost immediately.
The court heard that Gorman bought puppies from farms in Lithuania and England before selling them on to unsuspecting buyers. He was caught after complaints about the conditions of the animals triggered the Scottish SPCA investigation.
Welfare officers made repeated visits to Gorman’s home and removed dogs from the premises but the court heard how he continued to buy and sell of his own accord.
In May 2017 he was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to 45 dogs, trading without a license, exposing the same animals to unsatisfactory conditions and failing to provide necessary nutrition for them.
The businessman, who owns a raft of properties valued at a total of £1.2m, had denied 11 charges of failing to properly care for the animals, mainly French bulldogs, between June 2015 and January 2016.
Despite his denial those dogs will be the last to live under his roof until at least 2027, after Sheriff Derek O’Carroll ruled Gorman is “an unsuitable person to look after any animal whatsoever.”
Defence advocate Lewis Kennedy said in mitigation: “His marriage broke down in 2015 and relations were still strained on his wife’s return in January 2016.
“That distraction led to a loss of focus from Mr Gorman.
“This was not callous behaviour but may be categorised as reckless conduct by someone who ended up well out of his depth.
“He is able to pay a significant monetary penalty and a fine is a realistic sentence given the economic background of his extensive property portfolio.”
Commenting on the investigation, an undercover Scottish SPCA officer said, “Gorman has clearly shown he has no remorse for what he’s done. He did not have a licence to sell dogs but continued to do so over a long period of time.
“The conditions were not appropriate for the number of dogs being kept and bred, and posed serious hygiene concerns, specifically the ability to disinfect and prevent the spread of infection and disease.
“There were faeces all over the yard and inside the house and this would have increased the risk of spread of disease, worms and infection.
“It’s clear from his disregard that his priority was money making, not the welfare of the dogs in his care.”
Sentencing Gorman, Sheriff O’Carroll told him: “You acquired a large number of dogs and puppies and used your home and garden to keep these dogs in an entirely unsuitable and unhygienic environment.
“You persisted in keeping them in such conditions ignoring expert advice from the SSPCA and a vet.
“You are poorly qualified to give treatment to the dogs and as a result many were caused unnecessary suffering.
“Throughout these lengthy proceedings you have denied any wrongdoing and responsibility despite expert evidence to the contrary.
“You blamed everybody but yourself for the conditions of the dogs and the puppies.”
Gorman now faces a proceeds of crime probe by prosecutors who believe he has profited from dealing in animal misery.
He also reportedly faces a six-figure tax demand from HMRC.
Sentencing: For the first conviction Gorman was fined £500 and banned from keeping animals for 10 years for his actions. He also received a six-month tagging order.
In September 2017 Gorman was back in court to face charges of keeping puppies and dogs in appalling conditions and beating them with wooden sticks. The latest charges related to 11 mastiff dogs whom he had kept in filthy conditions in the back garden of his house.
Gorman was found guilty of allowing the death of a puppy in his care and repeatedly striking dogs with a large piece of wood.
The offences happened in June 2016, at Gorman’s home.
Airdrie Sheriff Court heard that on 3 June 2016, a witness heard a large pack of dogs barking aggressively in the rear garden of his home.
The witness filmed Gorman repeatedly striking the dogs on the body with a piece of wood and then contacted the Scottish SPCA, which was granted permission to carry out a search of the premises.
A large number of dogs were found in the garden with no form of segregation. The conditions were described as filthy, with large quantities of faecal matter over a significant area of the rear garden.
During the search, two mastiff puppies were found lying beneath a radiator in a room next to the kitchen.
One of the puppies was dead and the other had to be put down. A post-mortem examination concluded that one of them had died from canine parvovirus.
Sara Shaw, head of the wildlife and environmental crime unit, said: “This was a case of widespread and indiscriminate neglect and the dogs in Gorman’s care were caused terrible and unnecessary suffering with Gorman failing to provide them with a suitable environment or adequate care.
“We expect the highest standards of commercial dog breeders and are committed to working with the Scottish SPCA and the police to ensure that those who do not meet these standards are held to account.”
An undercover Scottish SPCA Inspector said Gorman had a “long history” of maltreating dogs in his care.
“This case has highlighted his ongoing cruelty and we’re delighted that he has been dealt with by the courts”, he said.
“The mastiff-type puppies were suffering from parvo virus which is an excruciatingly debilitating illness which can, in some cases, result in death.
“To not seek veterinary treatment for these pups despite their obvious distress shows Gorman’s priorities lay entirely in the profit that could be gained from selling on puppies to naive new owners, rather than in the welfare of the dogs.”
Sentencing (October 2017): fined £2600. Banned from keeping animals for life.
#TheList Kenneth Kieron Wade, born 22/08/1995, of 10 Coalbank Road, Hetton-le-Hole, Houghton-le-Spring DH5 0EG – for cruelty involving four so-called ‘working’ dogs
Kenneth Kieron Wade, who goes by the name Kieron Wade, admitted causing suffering and failing to meet the needs of two terrier-type dogs and two lurcher-type dogs.
The dogs were discovered when a warrant was executed at Wade’s home on Coalbank Road in April 2017.
One of the dogs – terrier ‘Musto’ – had severe injuries to his face and jaw consistent with having been used for hunting and the dogs were all living in ‘disgusting’ conditions.
RSPCA chief inspector Mark Gent said: “These dogs were living in absolute filth. Three of them were confined to a pen which was covered in diarrhoea, some of which had gone mouldy, and was swimming in urine. It smelled horrendous.
“One of these was Musto whose injuries were terrible. Most of his lower jaw was missing and he was struggling to eat as a result. He has had to have an operation but happily has since put on weight and is showing no signs of pain.
“The fourth dog had a kennel in the yard where there was evidence he was tethered some of the time. Again, there was faeces everywhere and the dog had recently been sick. It was disgusting.”
The two terrier-type dogs were signed over to the RSPCA and have been happily rehomed. The two lurcher type dogs will now pass into RSPCA care and efforts will be made to find new homes.
Sentencing: 12 weeks in jail, suspended for 12 months. 15 days of rehabilitation activity. 150 hours of unpaid work; total costs and charges of £415. Disqualified from keeping animals for 10 years.
#TheList Carol Baird, born c. 1964, and husband Samuel Allan Baird (aka Samuel Hutchinson) both of Knock Street, Banff AB45 2NW – for neglect of their elderly pet cat who was ultimately put to sleep
Carol and Samuel Baird were banned from keeping pets for five years, following a Scottish SPCA investigation.
The pair pleaded guilty to failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the cat’s needs were met, allowing the cat’s fur to become so matted he was unable to move properly, and failing to provide veterinary treatment thereby causing him unnecessary pain and suffering.
Scottish SPCA Inspector Alison Simpson said, “This was one of the worst cases of cat neglect I’ve dealt with and I’ve worked with the Scottish SPCA for more than 20 years.
“Austin, the cat, was so badly matted that the vet needed to sedate him to be able to remove the matted fur.
“The extent of the matting caused Austin to be unable to exhibit normal behaviours and inhibited his movement. He was also suffering from dental issues that would have caused him considerable pain.
“It took over one and a half hours to remove the matted hair, and Austin’s weight dropped from 2.9kgs to 2.65kgs. It’s believed that matting this severe would have taken at least a year, and could have easily been prevented with regular brushing.
“Once his hair was removed it was clear how thin he was, with his spine and bones easily seen and felt. A cat of Austin’s build should have weighed around 4-5kg.
“Due to Austin’s advanced age and extremely ill health, a good quality of life could not have been achieved. Following extensive examination a vet decided that the kindest thing to do was put Austin to sleep and end his on-going suffering.
“I’m happy the courts have dealt with this case, however it further highlights our push for tougher and more consistent sentencing. This level of neglect didn’t happen overnight and could have easily been avoided. I hope the pair seriously consider their ability to look after animals once the 5 year ban has passed.”
Sentencing: Carol Baird was fined £1,000. Samuel Baird received a £200 fine. Both were banned from keeping animals for five years.
#TheList farmer Edmund Draper Kane, born c. 1973, of North End Farm, 1 Harbridge Green, Ringwood BH24 3PT – left his cattle in ‘squalid and filthy’ conditions, leaving three dead.
Southampton magistrates heard how Kane left his cattle in a state of filth for months, lying in their own faeces, unable to stand and without water and bedding.
Kane, who has been farming for 20 years, pleaded guilty to 13 charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, not meeting the suitable environments for an animal and failing to comply with bovine responsibilities.
Presiding, District Judge Peter Greenfield told Kane how his actions had caused the cattle ‘enormous suffering’ in a ‘vision of hell’.
Prosecuting on behalf of Hampshire County Council’s Trading Standards, John Pullen told the court how over several visits to the Ringwood farm in March 2017, inspectors found the cows without water and bedding and lacking enough energy to stand up.
He said: “After a complaint on March 2, a visit was made the next day by inspectors and a vet as to the conditions to these animals.
“What they found were emaciated animals in squalid, filthy conditions, causing unnecessary suffering.
“One cow had died and another had to be put down. Before another scheduled visit on March 7, another calf died. When inspectors went back on March 30, some four weeks later, the conditions had not improved.
“Forty-five cows were left with instruments that could injure them and in some cases, even without water.”
More than 100 cows were also left with no dry line, which is where the udder tissue recovers in between milking.
Mitigating, defence solicitor Neil Hinton said that ‘all dairy farms lose animals’ and that Kane was burdened by his finances.
He said: “He has to care for his 85-year-old mother and look after the farm almost by himself. A report dated in May shows improvements had been made. This was a blip and not the long-standing state of things.”
District Judge Greenfield said: “Every day you knew what condition these cows were left in and you didn’t change anything in at least four weeks.
“Leaving them without water is inexcusable.
“The last evidence of your farm being suitable is autumn 2016, so this lasted at least three months.
Sentencing: 12 weeks in jail. Ordered to pay £5,655 costs. Disqualified from farming, keeping or transporting animals for three years (expires October 2020).
#TheList Donovan Spencer Rowland, born 17/07/1994, of 19 Chester House, Chester Street, Chesterfield S40 1DW – shot his Akita dog in the head with a crossbow bolt
Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard how Rowland had injured the dog so badly that any attempt to save her life would have been too costly so she had to be put down.
Prosecuting solicitor Sarah Haslam said: “A call was made to a local Pets at Home and the defendant said he had shot his dog in the head with a crossbow at home.
“He said it is in his head and he called the police.”
A police officer attended the address, according to Mrs Haslam, and saw the dog with a crossbow bolt sticking out of her forehead.
Mrs Haslam added that the bolt was a foot long with the tip embedded in the dog’s skull.
She added: “The dog must have been suffering quite badly and was close to death.”
Rowland pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal by shooting the Japanese Akita dog between the eyes with a crossbow after the incident on August 13, 2017.
Defence solicitor James Riley said the defendant has mental health difficulties.
Mr Riley added: “The defendant called Pets at Home and he was described as being upset and crying and he didn’t know why he had done it.”
Rowland had suffered some form of breakdown, according to Mr Riley, at the time of the offence.
Mr Riley added: “This was a cherished pet and it is not your archetypal animal cruelty case. It was a lapse of thought affecting a dog he loved.”
The dog had to be put down due to a lack of funds, according to Mr Riley, not because the injury could not have been remedied.
Sentencing: 12 weeks of custody suspended for 12 months with a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement. Ordered to pay £200 costs and charges. Banned from keeping animals for three years (expires October 2020).
#TheList puppy farmer Robert George Fishwick, born 23/10/1972, of D’Urton Lane, Broughton, near Preston PR3
Fishwick admitted five offences under the Animal Welfare Act of causing unnecessary suffering and failing to provide a suitable environment for the animals.
The RSPCA launched an investigation into the puppy dealer after a number of complaints about sick puppies from his customers.
RSPCA inspector Carl Larsson, who led the investigation, said: “We had a number of complaints about this individual and address in 2016 and began gathering evidence.
“Then, when more complaints came through in March, we were able to go to police and request a warrant.”
RSPCA officers joined Lancashire Police as they executed a warrant at the address in Broughton, Preston, on 30 March 2017. While there were no puppies present on the day, they found 13 adult dogs being kept in unsuitable conditions.
“There weren’t any puppies there on the day we went in but we found 13 dogs of different ages and genders being kept at the site. We suspect these are the dogs he used for breeding,” inspector Larsson added.
“All the dogs were being kept in filthy, damp conditions – some in makeshift, muddy outside runs and others in cold, concrete pens inside outbuildings.
“Several of the dogs were considerably underweight with their ribs clearly visible while others had serious health problems such as skin conditions and ear infections.
“We also found paperwork at the property which showed the scale of Mr Fishwick’s puppy-selling operation. Just one receipt book which was seized detailed sales covering a period of four months and totalling more than £50,000 meaning he was making around £12,000 a month from selling dogs.”
Two French bulldogs, one beagle, three Alsatians, one Doberman and several miniature-type dogs were all removed on welfare grounds.
Sadly a three-year-old French bulldog, adult French bulldog and an Alsatian were put to sleep due to having dislocated kneecaps and serious skin complaints.
in court RSPCA prosecutor Paul Ridehalgh described the property as being in a “horrendous” condition, with a sharp tin can found in one kennel.
He added: ” Many of the dogs had little or no access to water and there was little evidence of food. It appeared to the officer that all the dogs encountered appeared hungry and were in various conditions of ill health. Enclosures were unclean and littered with dog excrement, one enclosure was too small for the dog and the animals had no access to food or water.
“There were a large number of dogs present with one small puppy inside a room off the kitchen area with the remaining dogs in a small makeshift kennel at the entrance to the site.
“It appeared all the rooms had been used at one time as the building smelt heavily of urine and dog faeces with dog faeces scattered around various rooms.
“There was evidence of chewed wooden doors and skirting boards throughout. It was also noted there were large piles of wet sawdust shavings in and around all the doors as if they had been swept out of the building.
Fishwick claimed he had taken rescue dogs on and denied breeding for profit.
Sentencing: 17-week jail term, suspended for a year, with 12 months of supervision and £160 costs. Banned from owning or keeping animals for five years (expires October 2022).
#TheList Lee S Roberts, born c. 1972, and wife Sarah Roberts, born 23/11/1978, both of Huntington Terrace Road, Cannock WS11 5HA – starved their horse and attempted to hide her suffering
Following an RSPCA investigation, Lee and Sarah Roberts pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the bay mare, named Lady.
The animal welfare charity were tipped off to Lady’s situation after she was found collapsed by a member of the public at a stables off Stafford Road.
Lady was discovered to be in an emaciated state, having been starved for weeks, and had to be put down to end her suffering.
The seriousness of Lady’s starvation was not immediately apparent to the RSPCA inspector, Rob Crutchley, as she was wearing a rug.
Inspector Crutchley, who investigated, said: “We were called by a concerned member of the public after they saw the horse had collapsed at stables in Stafford Road, in Cannock.
“When I got there, she was wearing a rug so it wasn’t immediately obvious how emaciated she was. When I lifted the rug up I could tell that she had been starved – she was in such a state.
“A vet came out and they were very concerned as Lady was clearly very weak. She was given a body score of just 0.5 out of five and was very emaciated.
“Sadly, the vet made the decision that the kindest thing to do was to put her to sleep to end her suffering. Lady had been starved so much that by the time someone raised the alarm, she was beyond help.”
Lady’s body was sent away for a post-mortem examination, which showed that she had poor nutrition in her gut.
“There was no grazing for her in the field at all,” added Inspector Crutchley. “The vet believed Lady had been starved for weeks.
“If it hadn’t been for her wearing the rug, we might have been called earlier – the rug was essentially hiding her suffering.”
Sentencing: ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work each and to each pay costs of £250. Banned from keeping equines for 10 years (expires October 2027).