Selby, North Yorkshire: John Michael Humphrey

#TheList John Michael Humphrey, born 15/11/1985, of Sandway Drive, Thorpe Willoughby, Selby YO8 9NF – caused suffering to 33 horses and donkeys

Animal abuser John Michael Humphrey from Selby

Humphrey pleaded guilty to 25 offences under the Animal Welfare Act. The offences related to 33 animals which were being kept at fields in Gowdall, Gateforth and near the A63 Selby bypass.

Two of the horses had to be put to sleep on welfare grounds and one died while giving birth.

Horse abuser John Michael Humphrey from Selby

RSPCA inspector Alice Cooper, who investigated with colleague Claire Mitchell, said: “This was a complicated case involving a large number of equines being kept at three different locations.

Horse abuser John Michael Humphrey from Selby

“Many of them were suffering and needed urgent attention, and some of them had to be immediately hospitalised.

“Those who weren’t suffering were likely to if their circumstances didn’t change, due to the dirty or hazardous environments they were living in.”

The animals had no access to clean, fresh drinking water and no suitable food source. Many were in an extremely poor physical condition

Inspector Cooper said: “Many were very nervous and seemingly hadn’t had much handling.”

In mitigation, the court heard that the horses kept at Gowdall Ponds had only been there for a short time because of localised flooding and that the animals at Gateforth had come to him from a dying farmer and had arrived in poor condition.

Horse abuser John Michael Humphrey from Selby

Of the horses at the third site, Humphrey said that there was a stream and the water troughs were filled daily, with supplementary feed provided. He said he had had horses all his life and never had any problems.

He signed all the horses over to the RSPCA, for rehoming when they are ready, and the donkeys were signed over to The Donkey Sanctuary.

Inspector Cooper said: “We are, as always, extremely grateful to all those who helped with this difficult case, including World Horse Welfare and The Donkey Sanctuary, who sent officers to the scene and took on some of the animals, who are doing great and are going up for rehoming soon.”

Sentencing: Humphrey was sentenced to 17 weeks in prison and ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping animals for life. 

York Press
Daily Mail

Ballingry, Lochgelly, Fife: Paul Kyle

#TheList Paul Kyle, born c. 1993, of Martin Crescent, Ballingry, Lochgelly, Fife KY5 – admitted five charges of appalling neglect of a dog named Mercury, who was found dead with an unexplained injury, and cats Mars and Jupiter

Three pets suffered appalling cruelty and neglect at the hands of this man Paul Kyle from Ballingry, Fife
Three pets, including kitten Mars, suffered appalling cruelty and neglect at the hands of this man Paul Kyle from Ballingry, Fife

The court heard how Kyle had caused his three pets  unnecessary suffering at his home, although it emerged Kyle himself had telephoned the Scottish SPCA on the evening of May 1, 2018, “very upset” after finding the dog lying dead with blood coming out of his mouth.

Depute fiscal Jamie Hilland revealed a woman had contacted the Scottish SPCA days previously to share her concerns about the animals within Kyle’s property and, on gaining access, officers found the flat very untidy with an “extremely bad” smell and cat faeces in many locations.

Mr Hilland said Kyle later told the Scottish SPCA he had been away from home from April 23 to May 1, 2018, and had left the dog with a neighbour.

Both cats were said to be in a very poor condition, while a post-mortem on Mercury the dog established he had been hit with an object on the left side of his neck, resulting in trauma, pain and suffering.

“I’ve heard some pretty appalling details about this case and the state of these animals,” Sheriff Thornton told Kyle.

“The neglect seems to be quite extreme and the suffering of these animals, two of which are at least still alive, must have been very great indeed.”

Kyle admitted causing unnecessary suffering to Mercury between March 1 and May 2, 2018, by failing to provide adequate care and treatment and failing to obtain advice or treatment from a vet over the dog’s poor body and health conditions, including injuries to the dog’s face and neck, weight loss and malnutrition.

Three pets suffered appalling cruelty and neglect at the hands of this man Paul Kyle from Ballingry, Fife

He also admitted, between April 23 and May 2, abandoning Mercury in such circumstances as were likely to cause the dog unnecessary suffering, failing to obtain vet advice or treatment for his face and neck injury and failing to provide adequate nutrition and hydration.

Between the same dates, he failed to take steps to ensure the dog’s needs were met, failing to provide adequate ventilation, lighting, comfortable and clean resting areas, adequate nutrition and hydration, failing to allow Mercury to exhibit normal behaviour whereby the dog was confined within the house, failing to provide adequate exercise and failing to provide hygienic living conditions.

Kyle further admitted abandoning, without reasonable excuse, Mars and Jupiter in circumstances likely to expose them to faeces and failed to provide ventilation, nutrition and hydration between April 28 and May 2.

The final charge, which was also admitted, stated that Kyle failed to take steps to ensure the needs of Mars and Jupiter were met in that he failed to provide ventilation, lighting, comfortable and clean resting areas, nutrition and hydration and appropriate facilities for the cats to urinate and defecate between April 23 and May 2.

Defence solicitor Martin McGuire said his client was a first offender who had “responded badly” to breaking up with his long-term partner in February, which in turn, had an effect on his finances.

Mr McGuire added Kyle had an arrangement in place during his absence for a friend to maintain regular checks on the property, and had co-operated fully with the investigation.

Sentencing: 270 hours of unpaid work. Banned from owning or keeping pets for life. 

The Courier
Scottish SPCA

Chesterfield, Derbyshire: Abbi Mann

#TheList Abbi Mann, born  24/01/1982, of Romford Way, Barrow Hill, Chesterfield  S43 2PU – drowned two of her three pet cats in a toilet

Cat killer Abbi Mann from Chesterfield, Derbyshire
Cat killer Abbi Mann from Chesterfield, Derbyshire

Single mother Abbi Mann, who has a previous conviction for drink driving, was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to two domestic cats, called Max and Bob, by killing them in an inhumane manner.  A third cat, Pebbles, was rescued and taken into the care of the RSPCA.

Andy Cash, for the RSPCA, told the court that on the evening of the incident a police officer and paramedics had attended Mann’s home in response to a report of a person with suicidal thoughts and noted the defendant seemed under the influence of alcohol.

Mann told the emergency services that one of her cats was struggling to breathe and that she had pushed him down into the water, adding that she had probably killed him. She claimed that the cats had been poisoned by neighbours, who had been bullying her.

A post-mortem examination revealed evidence  that Max and Bob had been drowned with an expert concluding they had been forcibly restrained. One cat had bruising to his neck consistent with being held around the back of the head and pushed under water.

Mr Cash said: “This is a lady, who, for whatever reason, in moments of stress has responded entirely inappropriately and we have to be concerned for the welfare of animals in the future and that would be the overriding concern of the society.”

He added: “Two animals have died at the hands of this defendant and they must have suffered considerably.”

Mann denied causing unnecessary suffering to the two cats by killing them after the incident in July, 2017, but she was later found guilty at a trial.

The court heard she had also committed the offence while she was subject to a suspended prison sentence imposed for a motoring offence.

Defence solicitor Shirley Fitton said her client has suffered with depression, mental health and alcohol issues and she had been as upset as everybody else because she dearly loved the cats.

District Judge Andrew Davison told Mann: “It was a dreadful offence on two poor innocent, little cats. It is a sickening and cruel offence and they were drowned not by being tied in a sack and thrown in a river but they have died in your hands which is most sinister.”

26 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months with a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement. Total of £1,365 in costs and charges.  Disqualified from keeping animals for life but can apply to have the ban lifted after eight years. 

Source: Derbyshire Times (article removed)

Wallasey, Merseyside: Kelly Smyth

#TheList Kelly Smyth, born c.  1978, of Poulton Road, Wallasey CH44 – killed her pet lizard by throwing it from a first- floor window towards police officers

Smyth was found guilty in her absence of two animal cruelty offences at Wirral Magistrates Court in relation to the death of the native Australian lizard, known as a blue-tongued skink.

The court heard how Merseyside Police had attended her first floor flat on June 25, 2018.

When they arrived Smyth told them she no longer wanted her pet dog and they were concerned she would harm it so they led the pet away to their van.

As they took the dog outside, officers said they saw Smyth at her first floor window and heard what they described as a “loud slapping noise.”

They went to the area where the noise came from and found the skink frothing at the mouth and dying on the pavement.

Officers took the seriously injured reptile to a nearby veterinary practice but he had died on arrival and the police referred the case to the RSPCA.

RSPCA inspector Anthony Joynes, who investigated the case, said: “A post mortem revealed this poor skink had suffered a multitude of injuries after being thrown from the window including a broken back, haemorrhage to the brain and blood on the lungs.

“From the point of impact it took minutes to die and must have suffered terribly. It is awful that this pet was left to die in agony on the cold, dark concrete of a pavement for no reason.

“The RSPCA take all cruelty cases involving all animals very seriously and we treat this act involving a small reptile the same as if it was a cat or a dog – as the pain and suffering would be the same.

“This case also acts as a reminder that exotic animals need specialist care and many people are unaware of how much of a commitment these animals are when they take them on as pets.”

Smyth was also given a 12-month community order, a fine of £50, and ordered to pay £150 costs and a £85 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping animals for just three years (expires October 2021).

Liverpool Echo

Tamworth, Staffordshire: Nigel and Janine Fletcher plus Jennifer Clay

#TheList Nigel Fletcher, born 1958, Janine Fletcher, born 1961, and Jennifer Clay, born c. 1958, all of Bourne Avenue, Fazeley, Tamworth B78 3TB – kept emaciated and sickly dogs in cages and never exercised them

Cruel and ignorant pet owners Jennifer Clay, Janine Fletcher and Nigel Fletcher, all of Fazeley, Tamworth
Cruel and ignorant pet owners Jennifer Clay, Janine Fletcher and Nigel Fletcher, all of Fazeley, Tamworth

“Ignorant” pet owners Nigel Fletcher, Janine Fletcher and Jennifer Clay each pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to dogs at the home they shared in Bourne Avenue, Fazeley.

RSPCA inspector Nicola Johnson said she was called to the property amid reports that there were two emaciated dogs living at the flat.

She had previously attended the address six months before and had given advice on how to care for the dogs.

But when she returned in January 2018 she found the condition of the two Staffordshire bull-terrier type dogs, called Skye and Diesel had deteriorated.

Cruel and ignorant pet owners Jennifer Clay, Janine Fletcher and Nigel Fletcher, all of Fazeley, Tamworth
Skye and Diesel were in an emaciated condition

They were severely underweight and their ribs were clearly showing.

She also found two other dogs, Crystal and Gnasher, with bad skin conditions, and another called Diamond who had a flea infestation.

Dog abusers Janine and Nigel Fletcher and Jennifer Clay from Fazeley, Tamworth
Dogs were kept in cramped conditions

“There was a real issue that two of the dogs were emaciated, others had skin conditions or fleas and in general they were kept in crates and not walked,” said Inspector Johnson.

“The people supposed to be looking after the dogs appeared to be completely ignorant in the needs of caring for animals.”

Two of the dogs were immediately signed over to the RSPCA and have since been rehabilitated and re-homed by the Leicester branch while following the outcome of the court case the three other dogs, Crystal, Skye and Diamond, are now in the animal welfare charity’s care.

Sentencing:  Janine and Nigel Fletcher were fined £240 each and Clay was fined £290. Three-year ban on keeping all animals (expires October 2021).



Larne, County Antrim: Marlene McDonagh and David Moore

#TheList Marlene McDonagh, born 12/07/1962, and David Moore, aged 56, from Loughdoo Road, Larne – pleaded guilty to animal cruelty involving 12 dogs, four cats and two guinea pigs

Marlene McDonagh and David Moore received suspended prison sentences despite their cruelty towards 12 dogs, four cats and two guinea pigs
Marlene McDonagh and David Moore received suspended prison sentences despite their cruelty towards 12 dogs, four cats and two guinea pigs

Hypocrites McDonagh and partner Moore claimed to be animal welfare campaigners.  McDonagh is also well known in German Shepherd show and breeding circles.

Convicted animal abuser Marlene McDonagh from Larne
Marlene McDonagh claimed to be an animal welfare campaigner and was also well known in German Shepherd breeding and showing circles

Charges were brought against the pair following an investigation by council Animal Welfare Officers.

The officers at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council took the case under the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011.

Officers reported that :

  • A number of animals were severely matted with faeces stuck to their coats.
  • A number of dogs living inside the home were living in dirty conditions.
  • Several of the internal rooms had litter trays overflowing and with faeces also present on the floor.
  • The main bedroom housed seven chihuahuas and a Jack Russell terrier.
  • The floor was covered in puppy pads, urine and faeces.
  • Two guinea pigs found at the property had grossly overgrown nails.
  • A German Shepherd found at the property had faeces stuck to his severely matted coat and had a bilateral ear infection which was causing pain.
  • The German Shepherd also had proprioceptive deficits in the hind legs and remains unable to walk properly.
  • Five dogs and one cat had to be shaved as their coats were so matted.

McDonagh and Moore pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the welfare of the animals contrary to section 9 of the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011.

Animal abusers Marlene McDonagh and David Moore from Larne, Co Antrim
German Shepherd Gus was discovered in very poor condition but is recovering thanks to the efforts of rescue group German Shepherd RRR
Animal abusers Marlene McDonagh and David Moore from Larne, Co Antrim
Ovegrown nails on a guinea pig neglected by so-called animal welfare campaigners Marlene McDonagh and David Moore.

A spokesperson for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council said: “The Council gives a high priority to the welfare of domestic pets and operates a rigorous enforcement policy to ensure full compliance of regulatory requirements.

“Officers have a number of enforcement options available to them and will try to work with those responsible for animals. However where there is unsatisfactory improvement, such as in this case significant enforcement powers are available to Council Officers to ensure matters are fully investigated and anyone who does not take appropriate care of animals will be brought before the courts.”

Speaking about the paltry sentencing of the couple, a spokesman for German Shepherd RRR which is one of the sanctuaries that took in the animals, said: “We appreciate all the hard work by the welfare officers at the council to expose this disgusting situation but we are deeply disappointed at the sentencing of McDonagh and Moore.

“We continue our call for strict controls on people who are responsible for the welfare of animals, tougher sentences for convicts, an offenders’ register so there is more of a deterrent for people who feel it is acceptable to treat animals in such an appalling manner.

“At least we can name and shame these two. We can only continue to hope for lifetime bans for people convicted of animal cruelty.”

Four-month custodial sentence, suspended for three years. Moore was ordered to pay costs including kennelling, veterinary and legal fees totalling £4,300. 

McDonagh and Moore were both and disqualified from keeping animals for at least five years except for two dogs and a fish.


Update 20/12/2018:  it was reported that Marlene McDonagh had her ban from keeping animals lifted on appeal.

Great Torrington, Devon: Jodi Christine Griffiths

#TheList Jodi Christine Griffiths, born c. 1978, of Morton Drive, Torrington EX38 7AS – left her pet cat to fend for himself in freezing conditions

Jodi Christine Griffiths from Torrington, Devon and Tigger, the cat she left without food or shelter
Jodi Christine Griffiths and Tigger, the cat she left without food or shelter

Jodi Christine Griffiths was found guilty of failing to meet the needs of her cat, Tigger, during a cold snap in April 2018.

RSPCA deputy chief inspector Suzy Hannaby, who investigated the case, said: “As night temperatures dropped to near freezing, Tigger was outside day and night without any sort of provision and was spotted waiting pitifully by the door.

Jodi Christine Griffiths from Torrington, Devon and Tigger, the cat she left without food or shelter

“Simply leaving pets outside before going away should never be seen as an option. I find it hard to believe that anyone could ever just abandon an animal who is completely reliant on them to fend for itself, but especially during cold weather.

“Cats should have constant access to the house or to a warm, inside area such as an outbuilding or barn with appropriate heating. Owners should also ensure the cat’s bedding or sleeping area is warm, dry and away from any draughts.

“If pet owners are going away, they must make sure their pets are cared for and have all their needs met.”

Total fines, costs and charges of £230. Five-year disqualification from owning animals. 

North Devon Gazette

Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire: Alexander Phillips

#TheList Alexander Phillips, aged 18, of Barrells Down Road, Bishop’s Stortford CM23 – kicked, strangled and suffocated a family’s pet cat to “teach it a lesson”

Phillips, then a sixth-form boarder at Old Swinford Hospital School, Stourbridge, West Midlands,  abducted and tortured a school friend’s 10-year-old cat Mollie after she had scratched him.

Phillips repeatedly kicked Mollie, tried to strangle and drown her, before finally suffocating her and hiding her body behind a sofa.

The prosecutor said the sinister attack had ‘overtones of a Stephen King novel’, while District Judge Steven Jonas described Phillips’ actions as ‘one of the worst cases of animal cruelty I have ever come across’.

Mr Stephen Blower, prosecuting, said it was thought Phillips provoked the 10-year-old rescue cat into scratching him.

Phillips returned to the house in Stourbridge a few days later and sneaked Mollie out in a bag.

Back at his school accommodation, he ‘kicked the cat as hard as he could until he saw blood coming from her mouth’ said Mr Blower.

Then he grabbed the animal by the neck and tried to strangle her.

Half dead, the cat was put in a drawer so she would not be found while he went to play on his Xbox with the owner’s son.

Phillips later told police he also placed the animal under a tap of running water.

The court heard that when he returned to his room, the cat was dead in the drawer, either from her injuries or having suffocated.

“But the unsavoury aspects of this case don’t end there as he took the cat back to the house and placed it behind the sofa in the living room,” said Mr Blower.

Expert opinions were sought from two vets. One said the animal had suffered ‘intolerable and extreme pain and suffering’ while the other described the cat’s fate as a ‘prolonged, sadistic attack amounting to torture.’

Phillips, who continued to visit his friend’s home in Stourbridge while the cat was missing, finally confessed what he had done to the school matron who informed the family.

He claimed to love the cat but told police he ‘felt rejected’ by her after she scratched him.

Mr Patrick Currie, defending, said Phillips suffered from mental health problems, including Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD.

His father’s death from suicide had had a ‘substantial’ impact on him, leading to anger issues. Phillips had killed the cat on an ‘impulse’, he claimed.

Phillips pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering and to criminal damage by destroying the animal.

17 weeks in a young offenders institution.

Express & Star

Holywell, Flintshire: Joy and Phillipa Edwards

#TheList Joy Veronica Edwards, aged 61, and daughter Phillipa Edwards, aged 26, both of Cherrywood,  Gwespyr, Holywell CH8 9LT – kept dogs, cats and horses in ‘eighteenth century conditions’ on their smallholding

Joy and Phillipa Edwards said animals were their lives, but failed to properly look after them

Joy and Phillipa Edwards were banned from keeping dogs, cats and horses after the discovery of appalling animal neglect at their smallholding.

The RSPCA seized ten horses, three dogs and 15 cats from the property having been alerted to the conditions by a  council pest controller.

One horse named Binka and a dog named Ben had to be put down and two cats were also later put down.

The animals were said to have been found in “18th or 19th century conditions”.

Horses in poor bodily condition were in a paddock which was wet and muddy and more like a pond. Outbuildings were dirty and had clearly not been cleaned for some time.

Cats were kept in cages in cluttered rooms.

Joy Edwards admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a Palamino mare known as Binka by failing to provide adequate veterinary care for a problem to her mouth, and for a problem with her fetlocks.

She also admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a collie dog known as Ben by failing to provide adequate veterinary care for his poor body condition and ulcerated skin.

She also failed to protect four cats by not providing veterinary care for ear mites and failing to provide adequate diet, especially ready access to fresh water.

Phillipa Edwards admitted failing to provide a Jack Russell terrier type dog known as Raven with a suitable environment and causing unnecessary suffering to one horse named Duckie

The court heard that the environment in which the animals were kept was not suitable and there was concern the defendants did not have the financial means or the physical ability to care for their animals.

Bob Vickery, defending, said that Joy Edwards was in a state of distress that one of her horses had been shot and the carcass left for her to dispose of. That had caused a huge amount of hurt, he said.

She accepted she should have had the horse put down earlier.

Binka had a genetic problem with her fetlocks and had a problem walking but she had bred the horse and had her a long time which coloured her judgement over when she should be destroyed.

She had been reluctant to have Ben the dog put down and had been away and had not been fully aware of his worsening condition.

Mr Vickery said “The animals are their life. They live in an isolated rural location.”

Their difficulties had been made worse by one of the worst winters on record and they were unable to move them to other sites because there were none available.

He said they had indicated a huge degree of remorse and were anxious to co-operate with the RSPCA.

A probation officer said that Joy Edwards completely disputed the RSPCA case against her despite her guilty pleas and said that as a result of bad press following the previous appearance they had lost a lot of friends and respect in the community.

She did not drink or smoke and animals were her “main passion.”

Phillipa Edwards was said to live an isolated life. She had been bullied in school and suffered significant mental health problems.

The judge said that society demanded that people who had animals looked after them properly.

They had been kept in conditions more akin to the 18th or 19th century, he said.

The inescapable conclusion was that there had been prolonged neglect, he said.

Joy Edwards – 12-week prison sentence suspended for a year with rehabilitation and 120 hours unpaid work. £150 costs and a £115 surcharge.  Banned from owning horses, dogs and cats for eight years.

Phillipa Edwards – fined £300 with £150 costs and a £30 surcharge. Banned from keeping animals for three years.

Daily Post

Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire: Nicholas Foreman

#TheList Nicholas Foreman, aged 58, of Mill Close, Bridlington YO16 7AW – left his two Labradors locked inside his car during a heatwave.

Nicholas Foreman from Bridlington left his dogs locked in a sweltering car

 Nicholas Foreman has been banned from keeping dogs after leaving his two Labradors to roast

Foreman pleaded guilty to one offence, under Section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act, of causing unnecessary suffering to Labradors Zoe and Penny by confining them in an environment that was detrimental to their well being, on June 25, 2018, at York Hospital.

RSPCA Inspector Alice Cooper, who led the investigation, said: “We were contacted by concerned members of the public who spotted the two distressed dogs shut inside a red Kia hatchback during the hot weather this summer.

Nicholas Foreman from Bridlington left his dogs locked in a sweltering car

Nicholas Foreman from Bridlington left his dogs locked in a sweltering car

“When I got to the hospital car park the police had already arrived and officers had smashed a window and freed the hot dogs.

“Both the dogs were panting heavily and were extremely distressed. The car was parked in direct sunlight and, although a window was slightly open, it was incredibly uncomfortable inside the car.

“The temperature that day was 29C and the dogs were suffering the effects of heat exhaustion so we rushed them to the vets. Penny needed cool baths to bring her body temperature down as it had reached dangerously high levels.”

Both dogs recovered and Zoe, three, and two-year-old Penny were signed over into the RSPCA’s care and are now being looked after by staff at York Animal Home, run by RSPCA York, Harrogate & District Branch.

 Chocolate lab Penny was rushed for emergency treatment

The duo are described as “sweet” girls who are totally devoted to each other and enjoy playing and snoozing together. Staff would like them to find a home together where they will enjoy long walks and agility.

Zoe is very friendly and confident while Penny is a little nervous and relies on her friend. They’d like a new home with older children where someone will be around for much of the day.

“Penny and Zoe were incredibly lucky,” Inspector Cooper added. “Unfortunately, we’ve been called to many incidents of dogs being left in hot cars where the animals have succumbed to the heat.

“I really hope that cases like this will help to demonstrate the dangers of leaving pets in hot environments when the weather heats up.”

For more information about Penny and Zoe, phone 01904 654949 or email

150 hours of unpaid work; total of £385 costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping dogs for five years.

Gazette Herald
The Sun