#TheList Diane ‘Di’ Johnson, born 16/04/1980, of Dormston Drive, Weoley Castle, Birmingham B29 5XD – starved her pet chihuahua to death
Diane Johnson has been banned from keeping animals for life after her pet chihuahua was found starved to death. Two other chihuahuas were discovered in an emaciated condition at her home.
Following a tip-off RSPCA Inspector Herchy Boal went to Johnson’s home, where she found a carrier bag containing the body of ‘Princess’ dumped in a rabbit hutch in her garden. It is believed the underweight dog had been dead for around two weeks.
Inspector Boal also found two other severely underweight chihuahua-type dogs inside the home – ‘Belle’, a tan dog, and ‘Minnie’, a white dog.
The surviving dogs were signed over to the RSPCA, along with Minnie’s ten-week-old puppy. They were nursed back to health and have since been rehomed.
Johnson pleaded guilty to one offence of causing unnecessary suffering to Princess and one offence of failing to meet the needs of Minnie and Belle.
In mitigation, the court heard Johnson had family difficulties at the time of the offences.
Inspector Boal said: “Poor Princess died of starvation and must have suffered terribly over a long period. It is awful to think of the suffering she must have gone through.
“There is never an excuse to leave any animal starving in this day and age, then after Princess died she was dumped like rubbish in a carrier bag and left in a rabbit hutch outside.”
She added: “The other two dogs could have suffered a similar fate had it not been reported to us.
“This enabled us to take the other dogs away from this situation and in RSPCA care, where they were able to get back to a healthy weight and I am delighted that they have now been re-homed.”
Sentencing: 18-month community order – including a 40 day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement. Costs and charges totalling £285. Lifetime ban on keeping any animals.
#TheList Doris Nartey, born c. 1965, of Capel Crescent, Newport NP20 – for a catalogue of cruelty towards two dogs
Ghanaian national Doris Nartey pleaded guilty to four animal welfare offences involving a starving Staffy named Rosie, who was described by an RSPCA inspector as a “bag of bones”, and a neglected French bulldog called Boss.
In January 2019 RSPCA inspectors found Rosie tied to the stairs of a property in an emaciated body condition and Boss in a dog crate in the property with no food, water or bedding. Boss was also below normal body condition.
In an interview with the RSPCA the defendant said Rosie had not been to the vets as the weather has been bad and was tied to the stairs as she jumps up at her. Both dogs were in the care of Nartey.
RSPCA inspector Emma Smith said: “It is clear that both of these dogs had been neglected and their needs were not being met. I was just completely shocked when I saw Rosie in such an emaciated condition and tied to the stairs. She was just skin and bones – it was heartbreaking to see.
“When Rosie was taken out of the house, she drank eagerly from a pool of rainwater – she clearly was extremely thirsty. The dogs were immediately taken to a vets and following an examination Rosie was found to be dehydrated, had sores on her feet and was emaciated.
“The vet said she would have been suffering for four weeks due to her poor bodily condition. Boss’s needs were also not met due to his poor bodily condition.”
Rosie and Boss were placed on a specialised veterinary diet in RSPCA care for weight gain and were successfully rehomed from RSPCA Newport Animal Centre to a forever home together.
Nartey, who has an adult daughter named Cintia Nartey and an adult son Rio Nartey, (it’s not known whether they still live with her but Cintia has photos of Boss on her Facebook), was said to be remorseful for her actions.
Sentencing: fine, costs and charges totalling £610. Banned from keeping any animal for five years.
#TheList hoarders Simon Hallgarth, born c. 1971, and partner Paul Walker, born c. 1976, both of 2 Holland Close Villas, Woodhouse, Belton, Doncaster DN9 1QJ – for cruelty towards 52 dogs and three goats
Simon Hallgarth and Paul Walker pleaded guilty to 11 offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
The RSPCA were alerted to the plight of the pair’s animals after receiving a call to its cruelty line about three abandoned goats, who were found living in a poor environment with no access to water.
As RSPCA Inspector Tamsin Drysdale spoke to Walker, a number of dogs could be heard barking from inside a garage nearby so she asked if she could see them.
She said: ““As the garage door was opened the smell of faeces and urine was overwhelming. There were four pens with various breeds of dogs living in them.
“Their food and water bowls were filthy and empty and the dogs were pungent, their coats in various stages of matting.
“The three dogs in the last pen were in such a poor condition I wasn’t sure what breed they were. Two of the dogs were moving, albeit very slowly, but the third dog, a Bichon Frise called Peggy, appeared to be dead.
“I went into the pen and gently shook her and I was shocked when she moved slightly.
“At the vets she was found to be very thin, in respiratory distress and hypothermic. She was initially unable to be examined because of the extent of the matting, which had to be cut away.
“She had a fractured wrist and wounds on her back legs so badly infected that they were down to the bone. The damage was irreparable and she was put to sleep on humane grounds.
“A large number of dogs were also living in the house, and though these were in better condition than those in the garage, many of these were also suffering.”
Three other dogs were also put to sleep on veterinary advice, including a 17-year-old Shih Tzu called Daisy who was in severe respiratory distress and had two blind shrunken eyes that were discharging green pus and her ears were also discharging pus.
Another dog, Cookie, had to have a leg amputated.
Seven of the 52 dogs removed from the property were suffering with severe dental disease, four of them with ear infections, two of them with eye infections and one with overgrown nails that had penetrated the pads of the dog’s feet.
Thirteen of the dogs and the three goats did not have their needs met due to the environment they were living in and/or a lack of fresh clean drinking water.
In mitigation, the court heard that Hallgarth had bought the dogs as a way of coping after the death of his mother in 2013, with whom he had bought the property, lived and owned dogs previously.
He accepted that he had caused very high suffering and was remorseful.
In respect of Walker, the court heard that the offences had been borne out of concern and care for his husband.
The court heard that both defendants were overwhelmed financially and by the level of care the animals needed. They were of previous good character and had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
Sentencing: 14 weeks in prison; post-sentence supervision orders of 12 months, less the time served in prison. Lifetime ban on keeping animals.
#TheList puppy farmer Kevin Knox, born c. 1959, of The Grove, Burnhope, Durham DH7 0AH – sold poorly puppies without a licence to unsuspecting buyers
Kevin Knox, who traded as Ivy Leaf Kennels, sold puppies which buyers complained were sick on three occasions, while not in possession of a pet shop licence.
Two of those sales were made to customers who had responded to adverts placed under the false name of Graham Thompson.
Knox has now been jailed for eight months and given a five year ban from operating a pet shop, following a prosecution by Durham County Council.
Newcastle Crown Court heard how Knox was a partner in Ivy Leaf at a premises elsewhere in the village, under a pet shop licence, until March 2018.
A judge was told that the council’s animal health team investigated beyond this date and concluded that the premises was still being run as a pet shop despite a licence no longer being in place.
Evidence was found of Knox advertising on the pet shop’s website and other online sales pages using a false name.
The court heard how in June 2018, the council received a complaint of a puppy, having been purchased via the Ivy Leaf website, becoming ill on the day of purchase.
Enquiries revealed that the purchasers contacted the business and spoke to Knox.
They then attended the Ivy Leaf site where Knox’s business partner showed them a selection of puppies and sold them one.
Further enquiries revealed that the defendant bought microchips and that he took 33 puppies in to vets between June and August 2018.
Knox pleaded guilty to two charges at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court in March – operating without a pet shop licence and giving false information as to his identity.
The sentencing hearing was told how Knox’s licence had been due for renewal in December 2017 and how he had taken until the February of the following year to seek this.
However the council refused the application in April 2018. The business had considered appealing but chose not to.
At the time, it had 30 dogs on the premises and the court heard Knox panicked and did not know what to do.
He accepted he could have called the council to ask but did not. Knox chose to sell the remaining puppies without a licence and used a neighbour’s name, although receipts were given in the name of Ivy Leaf.
The judge was told Knox had since lost his business, his house and his wife; broken his ankles and was in receipt of Universal Credit.
Sentencing: four months in prison for the offence of giving false information and one month for not having a pet shop licence, with these to be served at the same time. He was given a further four months in prison for breaching a suspended sentence. Five-year ban on operating a pet shop.
#TheList serial animal abuser Keeley M Boswell, born 18/09/1986, and partner Paul M Flemming, born c. 1991, both of Gerald Avenue, Chatham ME4 5TF – banned from keeping animals for 10 years after their dog’s broken leg had to be amputated
Keeley Boswell was already disqualified from keeping animals alongside previous partner James ‘Jimmy’ Moore for the severe neglect of an emaciated and flea-riddled Rottweiler named Bella and a Staffy, Rizla, with the latter having to be put to sleep.
In June 2018 RSPCA inspectors visited the home Boswell shares with latest partner Paul Flemming and discovered two flea-infested pets: 10-month-old Chihuahua Sandie and a cat called Princess Sandie also showed signs of a deformed forelimb.
Both animals were taken to a veterinary surgery, where Sandie was found to have suffered a painful leg fracture, which would have occurred at least three weeks earlier and been caused by “great force”.
The couple’s solicitor told the court that Boswell was aware she had been banned from keeping animals but she wasn’t sure if the ban was still in force.
She also admitted when asked by inspectors that Sandie’s leg did not look straight.
Flemming said he hadn’t noticed any issue with the dog’s leg but admitted that he ought to have taken her to the vets.
Their solicitor asked magistrates to give the couple community orders rather than a custodial sentence, as they had multiple children in their care and Flemming was named as the household’s only breadwinner.
In addition to the animal cruelty charges, Boswell was convicted of breaching a disqualification order, whilst Flemming was convicted of aiding and abetting this.
Sentencing: 18-week suspended sentence; ordered to take part in a total of 400 hours of unpaid work and supplementary rehabilitation sessions; £450 in costs. Banned from keeping animals for ten years.
#TheList Eiliscia Downie-Ntemo, born c. 1993, of The Chelsea, Tower Promenade, New Brighton, Wallasey CH45 2JY- left her puppy with ‘horrific and severe’ injuries to the ribs and jaw
Downie-Ntemo pleaded guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to her shih tzu type puppy called Darcey.
The court heard how Downie-Ntemo took Darcey to a local vets with three broken ribs down one side of her body and three dislocated ribs on her other side on October 24, 2018.
Darcey’s jaw was also broken in two places
Downie-Ntemo said that she had ‘thrown’ the puppy in the air and failed to catch her, with her landing on laminate flooring, claiming this is what caused the rib injuries.
She said that the jaw injuries happened a few hours later after she had found Darcey ‘frothing’ at the mouth and put her in the bath – she said the dog was ‘struggling’ in the bath and ‘fell’ causing the jaw to break in two places.
An expert witness disputed that the injuries could have been caused in this way – the RSPCA were later alerted and Inspector Naomi Morris went to investigate.
She said that Darcey was injured on October 23 but vet treatment had not been sought by Downie-Ntemo until the following day, so she was left suffering overnight.
In mitigation the court heard how Downie-Ntemo is being treated for depression.
Inspector Norris said: “It was heartbreaking to see this tiny puppy with such horrific and severe injuries.
“Darcey was admitted to the vets in a very severe condition she was clearly in a lot of pain and because of her rib injuries she was struggling to breathe.
“I cannot believe how she has coped with her injuries at such a young age but thankfully she has made great progress and is recovering well.
“It is always sad when animals have been injured and neglected but this particular puppy is a little miracle because she was so small and vulnerable.
“The RSPCA cannot investigate these situations without the support and generosity of the public and we are always grateful for this help.”
Darcey is now in a foster home where she is said to be making a remarkable recovery.
Sentencing: community order of 60 hours of unpaid work. Costs and charges totalling £685. Banned from keeping animals for five years.
#TheList Fern Amelia Thoms, born 06/12/1990 and Peter David Thoms, born 17/02/1989, both of Exeter Road, Dawlish, Devon – allowed their elderly collie to suffer with a painful skin condition and to become underweight.
The Thoms’ 12-year-old collie, Kizzy was underweight and missing fur when she was rescued by the RSPCA.
The charity first became aware of the neglect of the dog after an anonymous report from a member of the public.
A photograph was sent to the RSPCA and an inspector found Kizzy in a lamentable condition, with missing fur, scabs and pink inflamed skin covering her body. She was taken for veterinary treatment and subsequently seized by the police.
Fern and Peter Thoms were found guilty of one offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
Speaking about the case RSPCA inspector Marije Zwager said: “The photographs show just what an appalling state Kizzy was in at the time of her rescue. She must have been so uncomfortable and itchy all the time resulting in her nibbling and scratching herself raw.
“Kizzy’s terrible condition could have been avoided if she was promptly taken to a vet and the owners had followed veterinary advice to manage her chronic skin condition – it should never have got to this situation, and should never have simply been treated with ineffective home remedies by those responsible for her care.”
Kizzy has since recovered while in the care of the RSPCA at West Hatch in Somerset.
Sentencing: ordered to pay £200. Three-year ban on keeping dogs. They were also deprived of ownership of Kizzy.
#TheList Mark Phillip Mathias, born November 1978, of Chapel Hill, Camrose, Haverfordwest SA62 6JN – left dozens of cows to suffer on his farm
Four cows belonging to Mark Mathias had to be put down to prevent further suffering.
Distressing images from the farm show cows lying on their sides in field, and a pile of carcasses left in a farmyard area
The ruling follows a prosecution by Pembrokeshire County Council.
The court heard that between March 20 and July 12, 2018, 14 visits were made to the farm by animal health and welfare inspectors.
The first visit followed a report of a calf being on its side in the farm yard which was thought to be suffering with no bedding or care provided.Cow carcasses were also discovered by officers on a yard near baled feed for the herd and inside a large trailer.
Other welfare concerns were noted within the herd and notices were issued to dispose of the carcasses correctly, to address welfare concerns and to improve conditions on the farm.
The court was told that throughout the ensuing visits, additional notices and further advice was given to Mathias by officers and vets.
These related to conditions on the farm in which the cattle were being kept, welfare concerns, including for specific animals which required veterinary attention and for removal of animal by-products.
The court was told that four animals had suffered unnecessarily which resulted in them being destroyed.
A large number of cattle had also been moved onto the site while a TB restriction notice was in place, prohibiting moves on or off site without a licence.
Mathias pleaded guilty to failing to observe the terms of the notice.
As part of mitigation for Mathias, reference was made to the mental, physical and financial issues involved in the farming business.
Sentencing: 200-hour community service order; costs and charges totalling £585. Disqualified from keeping, owning, participating in, or influencing the keeping of bovine animals for a period of 12 months.