#TheList Dominic O’Connor (DoB 18/10/1989) previously known as William Mocsari and also William Stevens, previously of Roden Street, Kircubbin, Co Down – convicted of cooking and killing a dog
O’Connor strangled his four-year-old collie, Jess, with a lead before cooking her, using “a few onions and an Oxo cube” in December 2016. He then fed the stew to his other dog. He put Jess’s remains on the fire and later dumped the ashes into Portavogie harbour.
O’Connor was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog and banned for life from owning another animal.
Prior to being sent to prison for two years in November 2017 O’Connor was seen at a property in Dundela Avenue, Belast BT4 3BT. His family are based in Bangor, Co Down and he also has links to Hammersmith in London and Surrey.
The court heard that O’Connor bought Jess on the internet classifieds site Gumtree.
The incident was uncovered when he told hospital health professionals what he had done.
Police then visited his house, where they found burned dog hair and a liquid on the grate of the fire.
Sentencing O’Connor, the judge said this was a “particularly disgraceful and heinous offence”.
He said O’Connor had misled the people from whom he got the dog, leading them to believe she would be nurtured and protected.
Instead, he said that it was clear that O’Connor was going to kill this dog and “inflict serious cruelty”.
He said O’Connor’s behaviour was “barbaric and calculated”.
The judge added that O’Connor had raised questions about his mental health, but did not provide any medical evidence on which the court could rely.
He said he had displayed “no real remorse” and despite not giving evidence on his own behalf, O’Connor seemed to challenge the evidence against him.
The court heard that O’Connor had 23 previous convictions.
Sentence: He was sentenced to two years in prison and a further two on licence. He was banned from owning any animal for life.
#TheList Peter Neville Tellett (DoB 22/11/1959) of 8 East Green, Sealand Deeside, Flintshire CH5 2SG – neglected Jack Russell terrier SpongeBob and failed to take him to the vet even when he chewed off his own back foot and lower leg
Tellett admitted a cruelty charge between July 4 and July 18, 2017.
Solicitor Glen Murphy, prosecuting for the RSPCA, told Flintshire Magistrates Court that RSPCA Inspector Fred Armstrong called at the Tellett’s home and spoke to his partner, Angela Maguire.
Inspector Armstrong was shown a male Jack Russell dog and part of his rear right leg was missing.
The injury appeared to be fairly recent but Maguire said she did not know how it happened.
It had been noticed some two weeks earlier but she said they did not have the money to take him to the vet.
She agreed to sign over the dog, together with two others, to the RSPCA.
At the time there were three adult dogs and five puppies in the property.
Tellett was interviewed and said he had SpongeBob for nine years and became aware of the injury some two weeks before. It was not bleeding and he assumed it was alright.
Tellett said he believed the dog had done it himself, did not howl or cry, and he did not consider it to be in pain.
He agreed it was his fault that nothing had been done about it. “I should have done more,” he said.
Vet David Harlow found the dog to be “quiet and miserable” and was missing his rear, right lower leg below the hock.
The wound was swollen and painful, the vet suspected it was infected, and the degree of healing was consistent with “traumatic amputation” some two weeks before.
It was also consistent with the claim that the dog might have chewed off his own foot.
SpongeBob was given pain relief and antibiotics.
He also had teeth missing and may have had teeth knocked out, said the vet.
His nails on the remaining three feet were long, suggesting a lack of reasonable exercise.
The leg injury would have extremely painful and the vet said that the dog would have been in chronic and acute pain since it happened.
He had undergone unnecessary suffering by failure to seek veterinary attention.
Mr Murphy said a lack of money was no reason not to seek veterinary attention for an animal.
All vets were under a duty to provide pain relief to prevent suffering, whether payment was made or not. The RSPCA was always available to give advice.
District judge Gwyn Jones told Tellett he would have to make urgent arrangements to have any remaining dogs rehoused.
Earlier the judge questioned why, if there was no money available, there were five dogs in the house in the first place.
The court was told Tellett, who had no previous convictions, could not do unpaid work because of a heart condition.
Sentence: 12-week tagged curfew; £300 costs and £85 surcharge; 10-year ban on keeping dogs (expires November 2027).
#TheList Danielle Elizabeth Brown (also known as Danielle Davidson), born 08/04/1986, of 32 Dunlop Street, Linwood, Paisley PA3 3AL – starved pet dogs Shasta and Skylar and refused to take them to the vet.
Brown’s cruelty left seven-year-old Shasta in such a “terrible state” that a concerned vet felt there was no option but to put the animal to sleep.
The dogs were taken to the vet by investigators from the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) following an anonymous tip-off that they were being neglected.
Investigators arrived at Brown’s home and took the animals away to have them examined.
Shasta’s ribs, hips and spine could clearly be seen through his coat. He also had a fever and tests revealed he had become blind in one eye due to glaucoma.
Vets who examined two-year-old Skylar could also clearly see her ribs, hips and spine.
Single mother Brown pleaded guilty to neglecting both pets between February 27 and March 27, 2017, in breach of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.
Sentencing: Community Payback Order of 75 hours of unpaid work over the next three months. Banned from owning animals for just 5 years (expires November 2022). Deprivation order on the surviving dog, Skylar.
#TheList licensed commercial dog breeder and seller Morag Jackson, born c. 1962, of Mid Lanrigg, Stonehouse, Larkhall ML9 3PD – convicted of keeping dozens of terrier dogs in cramped pens and failing to properly feed or clean them
Jackson, who is originally from Turriff, Aberdeenshire and has a past conviction for running an ILLEGAL dog breeding operation, was found guilty of four offences under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 between July and September 2015.
Following a call from a concerned member of the public about the conditions of the puppies being kept at Jackson’s premises at West Town Farm, Stonehouse, inspectors from the Scottish SPCA attended and found a number of dogs housed in pens between two wooden sheds and a garage. The conditions were cramped, dirty and unhygienic. There was little bedding and a a lack of food and water. Water that was present appeared discoloured and littered with debris.
The only food which the Scottish SPCA saw during their search was a mouldy tub of food teeming with maggots which had been left out for a Yorkshire Terrier and her newborn pups.
During a search of the garage area, a West Highland Terrier type bitch named Abbey was found in a small pink carrier on a shelf.
The carrier was covered with cloth, the carrier had no bedding, food or water and was too small for the dog to even turn around. There was very little light entering the box due to the cloth and rubbish surrounding it. Abbey was underweight with a severe skin disease and almost total hair loss.
A total of 36 dogs were removed from the premises and taken into the care of Scottish SPCA centres across the country.
Most made a full recovery but some required ongoing treatment.
Gary Aitken, Procurator Fiscal, Wildlife and Environment described the case as “one of the worst cases of gross, widespread and indiscriminate neglect which the Crown has dealt with in recent times”.
Mr Aitken added: “These dogs were caused terrible and unnecessary suffering and Jackson failed to provide them with a suitable environment.
“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.”
Sentencing: 200 hours of unpaid work, banned from keeping dogs for 15 years; forfeiture of the dogs in her care (expires August 2041).
In January 2017 police and Scottish SPCA went to Jackson’s home to investigate reports that she was breaching her ban on keeping animals. Although Jackson attempted to obstruct their search and even kicked a police officer in the chest, four dogs were recovered and taken into the care of the SSPCA.
For this latest offence she was sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work.
#TheList James Mark Alexander Cooper, born 02/03/1994, of 79 Severn Avenue, Swindon SN25 3LL – killed a dog through multiple vicious attacks and injured another
James Cooper admitted two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to whippets Millie and Tinkerbelle.
Cooper pleaded guilty to inflicting a torrent of violence on six-year-old Millie, who suffered fatal blunt force trauma. Months earlier he had repeatedly attacked three-year-old Tinkerbelle.
The court heard how Cooper and his girlfriend Katie Gardiner were looking after three-year-old Tinkerbelle for her step-mum, Carley Young, when the attacks happened.
When external injuries prompted a vet visit, Cooper had told vets that Tinkerbelle’s injuries, including multiple skin abrasions, were caused by her falling down the stairs.
Just days later, the dog was taken back to the vets with new fractures and an ulcer-type injury to her left eye.
In the weeks that followed Tinkerbelle suffered a human bite wound as well as injuries to her tail, which had to be amputated.
Matthew Knight, prosecuting, told the court: “The defendant still hasn’t provided an explanation of what happened or why these offences occurred.
“In regard to Millie, the defendant said she had jumped over a six-foot fence and fell on some brambles, which is how she sustained the injury.”
Other excuses given to vets included that she had run into a patio door.
Mr Knight continued: “Millie suffered multiple fractured ribs and was killed by the defendant.
“However when asked he said the further injuries were caused by the fact he gave CPR.
“She suffered a number of blunt force trauma injuries and I am in no doubt that she was killed by the defendant. Her injuries were extensive, widespread and severe. In my opinion, they were sustained on more than one occasion.
“There are striking similarities in the way both Millie and Tinkerbelle were assaulted front on, sustained multiple fractured ribs and swelling to the left side of her face.”
A post-mortem examination found Millie had emphysema and bruising – some that had been inflicted just 24 hours before she died.
Following Cooper’s conviction, the RSPCA dropped the charges against his girlfriend Katie Gardiner, DoB 27/07/1994, who denied the allegations.
Richard Williams, defending, said his client had suffered with a number of mental health issues, including anxiety and depression, and was bullied at school, often finding it difficult to stand up for himself.
“In relation to the offences, there is not much I can add to make them any less distasteful,” said Mr Williams.
“James Cooper has struggled in articulating and expressing exactly what happened.
“There is quite a lot that can shed some light on what has happened in James Cooper’s life. He had moved in with Katie Gardiner last year and it was his first serious relationship and the first time he moved away from home. He struggled and he accepts he lashed out at the dogs.
“He has dabbled in drink and drugs and has since abstained from those substances.”
District Judge Simon Cooper said: “Tinkerbelle made at least five visits to the vet for treatment while in your care and from that, examinations revealed that she had been severely beaten, suffering fractured ribs and a human bite wound and the effect on her was akin, in my judgement, to torture. Nonetheless, she recovered, even if she had to have her tail amputated.
“Millie was taken back on the third examination while she had been in your care and you had been under investigation. They found her covered with wounds to the mouth and multiple fractured ribs which ultimately led to her death.
“I agree with the RSPCA that it is a difficult and disturbing case. You gave a variety of explanations for these offences but, in fact, you finally accepted your responsibility.
“This case has rumbled on for nine months due to your inability to accept your responsibility.
“I have come to the decision that an immediate prison sentence would utterly destroy you. What you did was vicious and savage but little would be achieved in the long run by sending you into custody.
“It has been an agonising and hard decision to come to. The most difficult decision of today is not to send this young man into immediate prison but it is one, in my long experience, that would completely destroy his life.”
Sentencing: 12-week consecutive prison sentence for each offence to be suspended for two years. 150 hours of unpaid work. Total of £1,115 costs and charges. Lifetime ban on keeping animals.
#TheList Alexander Kyle Grice, born c. 1966, and Victoria Louisa Kyle Grice, born c. 1968, of Llwyncelyn, Glanarthan, Llandysul SA44 6PL – for cruelty towards dogs, a rabbit and a guinea pig
Brother and sister Alexander and Victoria Grice were both convicted on 12 counts of animal cruelty following a two-day trial in September 2017.
The case was brought by the RSPCA and both defendants had denied all the charges.
Among the offences of which they were jointly convicted were failing to protect a basset hound named Bertie from pain, suffering or disease. Bertie was underweight, in poor condition and not living in a suitable environment.
The pair were also found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a bichon frise dog named Bella, who was underweight, suffering from severe dental disease, skin disease, mammary tumours and an ear infection.
The pair were also found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering by failing to treat flea infestations, skin, eye and ear infections for various dogs and to causing unnecessary suffering to a rabbit and a guinea pig.
#TheList Martin O’Donnell, born 23/04/1982, previously of Mottingham Road, Edmonton, Enfield, London – jailed and disqualified from keeping dogs for life for a number of fraud and animal welfare offences in connection with puppy dealing.
O’Donnell pleaded guilty to five offences of fraud by false representation and one offence of failing to meet the needs of dogs.
The RSPCA had been gathering intelligence and evidence on puppy dealing in the London area for more than a year, sparking a number of warrants at addresses including this one.
Inspector Kirsty Withnall led the investigation. She said: “We were aware that there was a serious problem with the sale of poorly puppies in the capital and had been following leads for a number of months.
“Our investigations led us to puppy buyers who had purchased dogs from the address in Mottingham Road. We spoke with five people who had all bought Labrador pups from the defendant in November and December 2016 – all of which had fallen ill and one sadly died of parvovirus, a highly contagious virus. They had paid between £550 and £580 for each dog.
“These dogs were being imported – we suspect illegally from southern Ireland – and being advertised online as home-bred, socialised and healthy dogs. The reality was far from this. They were weak, poorly and terrified.”
RSPCA officers joined a team from the Metropolitan Police who executed a warrant at the address on 23 February, 2017, and found a female Labrador tethered in the garden and three puppies inside a plastic shed.
The chocolate-coloured bitch, called Lola, and the three puppies – later named Blossom, Hendrix and Marley – were all seized by police and placed in RSPCA care. They were cared for by staff at Southridge Animal Centre, in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, before being fostered by volunteers.
The bitch was not related to the pups, all three of which were microchipped with overseas chips and all of which were sick, suffering from isospora or coccidia and giarda – both types of parasites. Three vaccination cards were also found at the house, one of which matched one of the puppies – but they were all registered to a different name and address.
Inspector Withnall added: “Lola was tethered on a chain in the garden. In a padlocked plastic shed nearby were the pups. They were all quiet, withdrawn and, after being check over by a vet, it was clear they were very sick.
“We found text message conversations on phones at the property between the defendant and prospective buyers making arrangements as well as instructions on uploading adverts to websites.
“Prospective buyers were led to believe that the puppy they wished to purchase had been born and raised in a loving family home, the mother dog being a family pet.
“When visiting, buyers were usually met by a man and there were often children present, giving the impression of the ‘family home’ that the puppies were claimed to have been part of.
“But vaccination cards were registered to false names and under different addresses, the puppies had overseas microchips and the ‘mum’ wasn’t related to them at all. These are all tactics used by dealers to paint a certain picture and trick the prospective buyer.”
The court heard that O’Donnell had made at least £7,000 from the sale of puppies, although RSPCA inspectors suspect it was actually much more. The court heard he was organised with different phone numbers and email addresses in order to “deceive the public”.
Lola and the three puppies were cared for by staff at RSPCA Southridge Animal Centre, in Hertfordshire, until they were healthy enough to go into foster care. When the dogs were signed over a few months later, the dogs were all rehomed by their fosterers.
Sentencing: jailed for 32 months. Banned from having dogs for life.
#TheList Tonya Haughton (DOB 26/11/80) and daughter Carmen Lyth (DOB 21/6/99), both of Blakelow Road, Abbey Hulton, Stoke-on-Trent ST2 – kept dozens of guinea pigs and rabbits in shocking conditions
Carmen Lyth (pictured) and her mother Tonya Laughton pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to 11 guinea pigs and four rabbits.
The RSPCA was contacted by the Stoke-on-Trent City Council in April 2017 after a council employee became concerned about smells coming from a property in Trowbridge Crescent, Bentilee, where the pair were living at the time.
When an RSPCA inspector attended, she found 42 dead guinea pigs wrapped in puppy training pads in a hutch in the garden, and two bags of dead guinea pigs inside the house.
There were also emaciated rabbits in the garden, and the house was covered in faeces.
Overall, Haughton and Lyth had around 130 animals in the house.
RSPCA inspector Charlotte Melvin said: “There were four cages of guinea pigs in the living room and more guinea pigs kept outside in the garden. There were even more cages dotted around the house.
“We found a dead guinea pig inside the property and when we asked what happened, we were told that the guinea pig was dying that morning but that they hadn’t had time to deal with it.
“The conditions inside the house were shocking and the animals were in terrible states. The rabbits which we found in the garden were so thin that it was a surprise they were still alive.
“It really was such a shock to see animals being kept in this way. It is clear that the animals had been deteriorating for some time and it should never have got to this point.”
The RSPCA had 57 surviving animals signed over to them, who will be rehomed.
Haughton – 12-week suspended sentence. Disqualified from keeping animals for life.
Lyth – 18-month conditional discharge. Disqualified from keeping animals for just 5 years (expires November 2022).