Cosham, Portsmouth: John Ware

#TheList John Ware, born c. 1977, of 1XX Blakemere Crescent, Portsmouth PO6 3SH – caught breeding dogs without a licence

John Ware from Portsmouth admitted illegally breeding dogs
John Ware from Portsmouth admitted illegally breeding dogs

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.’

Ware was disqualified from obtaining a dog breeding licence for 12 months and ordered to pay costs of £4,375. 

The News

Plains, near Airdrie, North Lanarkshire: Christopher Gorman

#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

Cruel Airdrie puppy farmer, Christopher Gorman, who beat dogs with wooden sticks

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.

First conviction

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.

Cruel Airdrie puppy farmer, Christopher Gorman, who beat dogs with wooden sticks

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.

Cruel Airdrie puppy farmer, Christopher Gorman, who beat dogs with wooden sticks

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.

Cruel Airdrie puppy farmer, Christopher Gorman, who beat dogs with wooden sticks

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.

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. 

Daily Record 24/07/2017
Court Judgement

Second conviction

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 and banned from keeping animals for life.

Daily Record 25/10/2017

Rock Ferry, Birkenhead, Wirral: Michelle Woods

#TheList Michelle Woods, born 08/12/1986, of Woodward Road, Rock Ferry, Birkenhead, Wirral, Merseyside CH42 – left her pet dog to suffer with an untreated tumour the size of a child’s football

Convicted dog abuser Michelle Woods and her helpless victim Sasha
Convicted dog abuser Michelle Woods and her helpless victim Sasha

Woods pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to Staffordshire bull terrier Sasha and failing to meet the dog’s needs.

The RSPCA was contacted by a member of the public concerned that Sasha had not received treatment for tumours on her body.

An inspector visited Woods’ home in Woodward Road and, looking through the window, saw Sasha lying on the sofa.

But the full extent of her suffering was initially hidden.

Sadly, she was later put to sleep to end her suffering.

Michelle Woods of Birkenhead failed to get treatment for dog's football-sized tumour

RSPCA inspector Naomi Norris said: “Sasha’s tumours were so large that it is no surprise that she couldn’t move off the sofa.

“The largest tumour on the underside of her body was the size of a child’s football, and she had another two by her genitals which were the size of golf balls – both of which had become ulcerated.

“She was clearly in a lot of pain and very uncomfortable.

“We took her to a vet and they believed she had been suffering with these tumours for months.

“This was clearly a case of prolonged neglect.

“Sadly, as she was so poorly, the vet made the decision that the kindest thing to do was to put her to sleep to end her suffering.”

Michelle Woods of Birkenhead failed to get treatment for dog's football-sized tumour

In court, it was said that Woods did not get Sasha the treatment she needed because of financial reasons.

Insp Norris added: “Pet-owners have a legal responsibility to seek veterinary treatment for their animals when they require it.

“There are many organisations out there who can help if there are financial issues.

“It simply isn’t acceptable to leave an animal to suffer.”

18-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months; 120 hours of unpaid work; costs and charges of £1135.  Five-year ban on keeping animals.

Wirral Globe

Great Yarmouth, Norfolk: Robert J Loombe

#TheList Robert J Loombe, aged 46 at date of offence, of 66A New College Close, Great Yarmouth NR31 7DF – captured on camera dragging a 5wo puppy along the pavement when she was too tired to walk

Dog abuser Robert Loombe of Great Yarmouth

Backyard breeder Loombe was caught on camera pulling the tiny dog named Fatsy on her lead as her stomach rubbed along the ground.

Eye-witness Jade Barker was so upset that she filmed Loombe as he walked past with his two other dogs in Gorleston near Great Yarmouth. She claimed that he reacted angrily and swore at passers-by who urged him to stop dragging along his pet.

Miss Barker later handed the distressing footage to police who tracked down heavily tattooed Loombe at his nearby home and charged him with cruelty.

Speaking to the Metro, Miss Barker said: ‘I saw him dragging this poor little puppy behind him. I said that he needed to pick the puppy up and he told me to fuck off.

‘So I just carried on walking and then saw him still dragging it across the road so its face collided with the high kerb.

‘I just thought it was disgusting so I stood at the side of the Co-op and filmed him for 11 seconds. I was so upset that I was crying my eyes out.

‘He must have been dragging it on the lead for more than 60 yards. It was the cruellest thing I had ever seen.

‘The puppy was shaking and grunting and obviously very distressed. You could see that it didn’t like it and was getting hurt.

‘Five other people came up to him, saying he needed to pick the dog up and he responded with a load of abuse.

‘He must have known he was doing something wrong, but he was shouting at people.

‘He even said that he that he had been pulling it along since he left his house. He said, “You have got to teach it. You have to be cruel to be kind”.

‘The puppy was so young that it should not even have been out of the house, let alone dragged along the ground.’

Miss Barker said she was outraged that Loombe had not been banned by magistrates from keeping any dogs. She said: ‘He had two other dogs with him and it turned out that the puppy came from a litter of seven which he had at his house.

‘His sentencing is a joke. He should have been banned from having any animal. How can any dog be safe with him?

‘I am disgusted with his penalty. The justice system has let him off really lightly. I was told that the police took all his other dogs away – but now it looks like he might get them back.’

Loombe responded to the case on Facebook in this post:

Image may contain: text

£300 fine; deprivation order in relation to the puppy.


Accrington, Lancashire: Jamie Birtwistle

#TheList Jamie Birtwistle, born 31/05/1986, of Nuttall Street, Accrington BB5 2HL – left a dog and cat to starve to death and hid their bodies in a cupboard in his home.

Jamie Birtwistle from Accrington allowed his dog and cat to starve to deathBirtwistle pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the welfare of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Bella (pictured) and a cat called Storm by providing them with adequate food.

When new tenants arrived at the property as Birtwistle was moving out, he told them not to go in the cupboard. The tenants ignored the warning and contacted the RSPCA and police after finding the dead animals

Birtwistle admitted to not feeding the animals enough and only doing it ‘every other day’. Although he was aware they were losing weight he did nothing to address this.

The new tenants found 30 portions of cat food and a tin of dog food in the property.

Laura Haywood, defending, said it was a ‘very sad set of circumstances’.

She told the court: “The defendant never set out to intentionally cause harm to these animals.

“The issue seems to be when his girlfriend moved out of the premises.

“He does have mental health issues and has been to his doctor who has referred him to The Mount in Accrington.

“He is also on medication. He describes himself as hearing voices.

“He does understand the reason why they died and that’s due to him failing to feed them. He understands that he should have sought help.”

Miss Haywood said Birtwistle ‘had monetary issues at the time’ and is in receipt of benefits.

Career criminal Birtwistle has multiple previous convictions including for violence against women.

Jailed for 12 weeks. Banned from keeping any animal for five years (expires October 2022).

Lancashire Telegraph

Previous conviction:
Accrington Observer