Sentencing: 22 weeks jail, suspended for two years due to Fabb’s age and infirmity. Ordered to pay £12,731 in costs within a month. Disqualified from keeping and breeding animals until further notice .
#TheList Teresa Wade, born 04/05/1959 of Ship Lane Travellers Site, Aveley, South Ockendon, Essex RM15 4HQ, and Victoria Montgomery, born 05/12/1961 of Marne Road, Dagenham (previously Melford Avenue, Barking, London IG11) – kept dogs and puppies in dire conditions at a puppy farm in Essex.
Wade and Montgomery, who are Irish travellers and part of a notorious gang of puppy dealers with previous convictions, both pleaded guilty partway through a trial for a string of animal welfare offences. The pair admitted keeping dogs and puppies in dirty, unsuitable conditions following an RSPCA investigation.
The animal charity launched an initiative called Operation Excel to investigate the breeding and selling of puppies in Essex in 2014 after receiving numerous calls from members of the public who had bought puppies that had become extremely sick or, in some cases, even died.
When the RSPCA and police executed a warrant at the Ship Lane travellers site in Essex – and two other residential addresses, one in Essex and one in London – officers found 76 dogs and puppies, including poodles, cocker spaniels and some of the popular designer crossbreed types such as cavachons, cockerpoos and golden doodles.
The dogs were seized and placed into the RSPCA’s care and a number of pregnant bitches went on to have 27 puppies in the charity’s centres. Of the 103 dogs in total, four sadly died, but courts ordered for the remaining 99 dogs to be rehomed ahead of the court hearing.
RSPCA inspector Carroll Lamport, who led the investigation, said: “After a number of calls from people who had bought puppies that had fallen ill we became suspicious of a gang who appeared to be selling a large number of puppies.
“The dogs were being bred on an industrial scale at a site in Aveley and were kept in disgusting conditions in makeshift kennels and pens in outbuildings.
“When it was time to sell the puppies – for hundreds of pounds each – they would be moved to two houses being used as front addresses to sell the puppies from. The staged houses to gave the impression that the dogs were much-loved family pets. The reality was far from that.
“These dogs were kept in dark, damp pens covered in filth. They were in terrible conditions, riddled with worms and fleas, with matted, dirty coats. Many of them were extremely poorly with campylobacter and giardia – both serious and potentially deadly parasitic illnesses.”
RSPCA investigations determined that while many of the dogs were being bred on-site, a number of puppies were also being imported from abroad.
“These dogs were being kept in horrendous conditions, it must have been hell for them,” inspector Lamport added.
“Sadly, we lost a few of the pups but, thanks to the wonderful dedication of our animal centre staff and fosterers, the rest have all flourished and are now happy, healthy dogs in loving homes.
“Many of them still carry the scars – both mental and physical – from this part of their life, though. Some have ongoing health problems caused by the conditions they were kept in while others have developed behavioural issues because they were not properly socialised as pups.”
“It’s clear that this gang didn’t have a care in the world for the welfare of these dogs. All they saw when they looked into their dark, sad eyes was a way to make thousands and thousands of pounds.”
Sentencing: Teresa Wade pleaded guilty to three animal welfare offences and was given a five-month prison term, suspended for 11 months. She was also ordered to pay £500 in costs and a £115 victim surcharge. She was disqualified from keeping dogs for 10 years.
Victoria Montgomery admitted one animal welfare offence and was given a three-month jail term, suspended for 11 months, and was also ordered to pay £500 in costs and a £115 victim surcharge. No ban on keeping animals was imposed by the court.
#TheList David Arfon Davies, born c. 1959, of Brookhill Hall Farm, Brookhill Lane, Pinxton, Nottingham NG16 6JU – neglected the welfare of animals on his farm
Davies had denied causing unnecessary suffering at the farm but failed to turn up for his trial and was found guilty at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court in February 2018.
The enquiry began when Davies took a horse, named Tommy, to be castrated, only for experts to decide he was too weak to withstand a general anaesthetic.
Tommy’s ribs and spine were easily seen, he was infected with lice, and was not used to being handled.
The RSPCA was told and visited the farm. Inspector Teresa Potter said a rottweiler was tied to a gate and “hunched over a bucket, adding that the dog’s “demeanour was very dull, you could see all his bones and he was scruffy.”
She went into a barn with a vet where they found two cows lying amid straw. A Swiss red cow was under a rug and had “a horrendous wound to her hip.”
Inspector Potter added: “There was a horrible smell as you lifted the rug. I would describe it as a rotting flesh sort of smell.”
Vet Christine Jamieson said the cow had ulcers the size of “dinner plates and right down to the bone.”
She said: “I think it had been dragged over a concrete surface.”
They only found a sick Friesian cow because it was covered with builder’s bags which began to move.
“It was trying to raise its head when it heard us talking,” said Miss Jamieson.
She believed both had been unable to stand since the previous December and that would have caused internal damage.
“We went down to the house and he said ‘they’re alive’, and carried on and didn’t seem to understand it was inhumane to keep cows like that,” added Miss Jamieson.
The RSPCA’s prosecutor Mr Wright called for the farmer to be banned from owning and keeping any animals. This request was granted by the courts, with the farmer receiving a life ban.
Tommy and Modlin were taken into the care of the RSPCA and made full recoveries. Sadly the two ill cows found on the farm were euthanised immediately.
Sentencing: David Davies was also given a 26-week prison term, suspended for two years, and must pay £750 towards the costs of the RSPCA. Banned for life from keeping livestock.
#TheList Neil Forrest, born 26/06/1974, of Meadow View, Aspenden, Buntingford SG9 9PB – ran an abhorrent dog fighting yard at his home
Former heroin addict Forrest trained dogs to fight and had images of dog fighting on his phone. He admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a Staffordshire bull terrier and for possessing three pit bull terrier-type dogs which he used to fight.
District Judge Derek French told Forrest: “You have shown little or no remorse about what these dogs have gone through. These dogs were used by you as fighting dogs.
“This was clearly done with a view of commercial gain.”
On 5 March 2017 a badly injured young female Staffordshire bull terrier was found cowering in a garden by a member of the public in Aspenden, after she managed to escape from Forrest’s home.
Prosecuting, Mark Jones, said: “She was found cowering in a garden with numerous open wounds and scars to her body. There were numerous bite injuries to the muzzle, the mouth, her legs, and near the left eye of the dog.
“The vet who looked at the dog said that the wounds were between three and four days old.”
RSPCA inspector Cliff Harrison said: “This poor dog was absolutely covered in wounds – both fresh and historic – with bite marks, scratches and puncture wounds predominantly around her muzzle, ears and legs.
“These sorts of injuries are exactly the sort of thing we see when dogs are forced to fight another dog and the vet agreed that the injuries were consistent with dog fighting.”
A number of calls were made by Forrest to vets and dog wardens, including from Forrest’s mobile, while they tried to find the missing bull terrier that was being treated at a Buntingford vets.
After concluding that the dog belonged to Forrest, who admitted having a 20-year addiction to heroin, the police and RSPCA launched a raid in Aspenden on 19 May 2017, finding books on pit bulls and dog fighting as well as three bull pit type dogs. Two of the dogs were extremely athletic and there were weighing scales and a treadmill to run dogs on in a garage next to the kennels.
Mr Harrison said: “It appears he has tried to run his own dog fighting yard – called Neil’s Yard – but it’s unclear whether he’s had much if any success with that.
“What is clear is that his dogs have significant injuries consistent with dog fighting and have clearly been caused suffering due to his pastime.
“We believe he has been involved in this abhorrent, secretive bloodsport for years.” Judge French said: “These dogs were being used and kept as a livelihood for you. These dogs were going to suffer seriously.”
Forrest was due to stand trial but pleaded guilty just before it was about to start to one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, keeping or training animals for use in dog fights and possessing dogs which were banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
Sentencing: 24 weeks in prison; costs of £750. Banned from owning animals for life. The three pit bull type dogs were ordered to be destroyed.
#TheList Paul Hands, 38; Darren Barnfather, 51; John McCarthy, 52; and Darren Bagnall, 51, all of Ashton-under-Lyne – brutally battered a dog and her owner
The 46-year-old victim and his dog were set upon by four men – armed with a golf club, a pool cue and electrical wire – after they objected to him using one of their wheelie bins to dispose of bagged dog waste.
The horrific attack, which took place on Holebottom in Ashton-under-Lyne, Tameside , in July 2016, left the man with a fractured skull, a bleed on his brain and a fractured collar bone.
Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard that the victim disposed of the bag in a bin outside an address where Paul Hands was staying.
Hands flew into a rage and started hurling abuse at the man and threatening him.
The man walked away, but the next day the group spotted him while he was out walking his dog.
They armed themselves before surrounding him on a footpath and attacking him.
John McCarthy was seen swinging the crossbreed dog around by her lead at shoulder height before Barnfather smashed a piece of wood over her back.
The badly injured victim managed to make his way home before collapsing and being rushed to hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery.
The dog survived the attack but the extent of her injuries has not been reported.
Sentencing: Darren Barnfather (born ca. 1966) of 7 Holebottom, Ashton-under-Lyne OL6 8SJ was jailed for 11 years for section 18 assaults
Paul Hands (born ca. 1979), of number 3 Holebottom, who in 2008 was imprisoned alongside brother Andrew Hands for viciously beating a priest, was convicted alongside was jailed for 13 years for section 18 assault.
John McCarthy (born ca. 1965) of Holebottom, and Darren Bagnall (born ca. 1966) of Hindley Close were both jailed for two-and-a- half years for a section 20 assault.
#TheList Laurence Michael Skelson, born February 1954, of 7 Faygate Close, Bexhill-on-Sea TN39 5EE – filmed battering his friend’s bulldog with a plank of wood, mop and shovel as the dog cowered in fear
Company director Skelson used wood, a mop and a shovel to whack and intimidate adorable Boston, whom he was looking after for a friend.
A horrified neighbour filmed Skelson holding a mop and a plank of wood high above the bulldog before jabbing and hitting Boston, who was cowering on the floor.
Skelson pleaded guilty to failing to meet the needs of an American bulldog but not ensuring his need to exhibit normal behaviour patterns by the use of inappropriate chastisement methods.
Thankfully Boston did not suffer any lasting physical injuries and is now in the care of his owner.
Sentencing: Total of £470 fines, costs and charges. Banned from keeping dogs for life.
#TheList David Greenhill, approx YoB 1976, of 15 Sneyd Place, Goldenhill, Stoke-on-Trent ST6 5PU – hit his 16yo border collie ‘Missy’ over the head repeatedly with a wooden weapon – because he didn’t want to look after her anymore.
Greenhill attempted to kill Missy as she no longer had control of her bowels before dumping her near-lifeless body in the garden of his Goldenhill home.
But a neighbour heard whining and barking and then watched in horror as Greenhill came out the back door and clubbed Missy twice more.
Greenhill was arrested and Missy had to be put to sleep.
Tree surgeon Greenhill, who runs a business named Sunset Landscapes Limited, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and failing to ensure an animal’s welfare.
Roger Price, prosecuting, said a neighbour was woken by a dog barking and whimpering in the early hours of June 9, 2017.
He added: “His neighbour looked to see if the dog had been let in and she noticed the defendant coming out of his back door holding a wooden object. She saw him bring it down twice in a downward motion and heard the two most pitiful whines each time he made contact.
“She then saw him go inside the house with the piece of wood. She went and banged on his door and he leaned out of the window and said ‘the dog is dead, she’s gone off her back legs, it’s shitting everywhere and it’s gone back where it came from’. The neighbour called the police.
“The police arrived shortly after. She was surprised that the dog was alive when it was carried away by police as she was hit with such force.”
The court heard that the defendant showed ‘no emotion’ before being arrested and confessing his actions.
Mr Price added: “Officers entered the yard and saw the dog was alive but was breathing erratically and they noticed a pool of blood on the floor below its head. The defendant said that he had never taken the dog for treatment and expressed in hindsight that he should have done.
“Police took the dog to the out-of-hours Vets Now in Longton and a vet examined the dog. The dog was unresponsive, was short of breath and was bleeding from its nostrils and its mouth.
“Deep pain was present. Brain injury was expected due to the trauma so the vet euthanized the dog to prevent further suffering.”
Greenhill admitted causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and failing to ensure an animal’s welfare.
Sentence: 12-week custodial sentence suspended for 12 months; 25 day rehabilitation activity requirement with 120 hours unpaid work; £415 costs. Lifetime ban on keeping animals.
#TheList Emma Miles (aka Emma Forber), born c. 1989, of Lawrence Grove, Dursley, Gloucestershire GL11 4EY – left dog alone to starve to death
Mother-of-two Emma Miles left Staffy Yolo locked in the kitchen of her flat when she moved out, leaving him to starve to death. Only fur and faeces were found in his stomach and his internal organs had decomposed.
Following her formal eviction from Oak Drive, Dursley, council workers clearing the property discovered that the kitchen floor was covered in faeces and a brown sludge, and subsequently discovered the emaciated corpse of a dog wrapped in a plastic bin bag, which had been placed in a cupboard.
When Stroud District Council’s animal welfare officers were called in to investigate the case Miles claimed that she had given Yolo to a former boyfriend.
However rigorous investigations by SDC animal welfare officer Alex Myrie demonstrated that was not the case, and that Miles had left Yolo alone in the flat without food, water or human company over a period of weeks, which resulted in him starving to death.
A wound was discovered that was consistent with a pressure sore arising from an inability to move prior to his death. The brown sludge found on the kitchen floor was consistent with the advanced decomposition of internal organs.
A vet appointed by the council reported that Yolo ‘suffered a great deal in the slow, cruel and unnecessary process of starvation.’
Miles was found guilty of causing Yolo unnecessary suffering which resulted in his death.
Mrs Myrie, who led the investigation, said: “In my 16 years in this role, this is the worst case of animal cruelty I have had to deal with.
“The last days and weeks of Yolo’s life must have been the stuff of nightmares. Staffies thrive on human company and the thought of Yolo spending his last week’s not only starving and thirsty but also lonely, breaks my heart.
“It seems a cruel irony that Yolo’s name stands for ‘You Only Live Once’ when his life ended so cruelly and needlessly.
“There are no winners in cases of this nature but we are very grateful to the courts for bringing Miss Miles to account for her actions, in particular banning her from having any responsibility for any animal for the next 10 years.”
Sentencing: 18 weeks in jail, suspended for 12 months and ordered to complete 180 hours of unpaid work in the community within 12 months. Total of £1,115 costs and charges. Disqualified from owning or having responsibility for any animal for 10 years (expires February 2028).
#TheList convicted badger baiters David Thomas, born 21/03/1966, of Cwm Bowydd Farm, Blaenau Ffestiniog LL41 3EL, Marc Wynn Morris, born 19/05/1991, of Jones Street, Blaenau Ffestiniog LL41 3YF, Jordan Houlston, born 04/08/1993, of Alexandra Road, Llandudno LL30 2DQ and an unnamed 17-year-old
The four men were convicted following an RSPCA probe into badger baiting and animal fighting at Cwm Bowydd Farm, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, North Wales. David Thomas, sole master of the Dwyrd hunt since 1994, is joint-owner of the farm.
The court heard how artificial badger setts were found at the farm along with seven skulls, possibly those of foxes or badgers.
Pipes were used to hold captive animals and dogs brought to a copse to fight.
Video footage showed badger baiting, which has been illegal since the 19th century.
A badger had been brought to the area in advance and arrangements made for dogs to chase and injure the animal.
The presiding judge Gwyn Jones said: “Fortunately, we didn’t see how the badger was ultimately killed, but it’s quite clear the death would have been slow and no doubt extremely painful.
“That activity would also have had an adverse impact on the dogs.
“This was a deliberate and planned venture to cause suffering to an animal,”
“Mr Thomas and Mr Houlston played a leading role.”
Thomas was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a badger by causing it to fight with dogs. He was also found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to two foxes by keeping them caged close to dogs, causing the foxes to be terrified, and other animal welfare allegations.
Houlston, the hunt terrier man, was convicted of ill-treating a badger, and unnecessary suffering by causing a badger to fight with dogs at Cwm Bowydd Farm in February 2017. He was also found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to four dogs and failing to meet the welfare needs of seven dogs.
Morris pleaded guilty to wilfully injuring a badger, being present at an animal fight and causing unnecessary suffering to a badger by causing it to fight with a dog.
Sentencing: David Thomas – imprisoned for 22 weeks, and placed under close supervision for a 12-month period; costs of £5,000. Disqualified from keeping dogs for eight years.
Houlston – imprisoned for 20 weeks, and also placed under close supervision for a 12-month period; total of £750 costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping dogs for eight years.
Morris – 10-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months; 150 hours of unpaid work; total of £650 costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping dogs for four years.
The unnamed 17-year-old who had pleaded guilty to being present at an animal fight was ordered to pay a total of £220 in costs and banned from keeping dogs for four years.