#TheList Mark Haron, born c. 1987, and Anne-Marie Haron, born c. 1991, both of 4 Oatleys Terrace, Ledbury HR8 2BX – allowed their pet dog to become emaciated
Mark and Anne-Marie Haron, who are parents to five kids, both pleaded guilty to animal cruelty offences relating to a two-year-old Staffy named Zeus.
The court heard that Zeus was handed in to a vet by a family member of the couple, who claimed he had found the dog as a stray.
The RSPCA launched a social media appeal to track down Zeus’s owners and witnesses came forward to identify the vile Harons.
Speaking about the case, RSPCA inspector Suzi Smith said: “When Zeus was handed in, he was found to be underweight but has made an excellent recovery with just the provision of an adequate and suitable diet.
“As you can see from photographs, there is a huge difference in his condition. He’s thriving under the care of Hereford and Worcester Animal Rescue”.
Edmund Middleton, defending, said the vet in the case stated that, aside from poor body condition, ‘the dog was clinically well.’
“No evidence was served that suggested the dog was in any pain or subject to any suffering as a result of poor body condition,” added Mr Middleton.
Sentencing: £50 each towards costs. Five-year disqualification order on all animals.
#TheList pet sitter Claire Langford (aka Claire Curtis), born c. 1972, of The Orchard, Plemstall Lane, Mickle Trafford, Chester CH2 4EN – failed to take a badly injured Shih Tzu to the vet after he had been attacked by another dog
Claire Langford was paid to look after four-year-old Shih-Tzu Blu while his owners went on holiday – despite not having a licence for boarding facilities.
Then when Blu was seriously injured after being attacked by a boxer dog, Langford failed to contact a vet until after he had died.
Langford, who previously owned a kennels business and claimed to have been a judge at Crufts, pleaded guilty to keeping an animal boarding establishment without a licence. She was also found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal following a trial.
The court heard that Blu’s owner dropped off the dog the day before she was heading on her holiday as the family member she usually left the pet with was unwell.
It was later that same day that Blu died.
Langford had given four varying accounts of events surrounding the incident, which happened when she was out with her own dogs and Blu at Delamere Forest.
A vet pathologist said in court that Blu had numerous injuries and bit marks which included a severe 13cm lesion around the neck.
The pathologist concluded Blu would have died about an hour after the attack but it was clear veterinary assistance should have been sought as the injuries could clearly be seen.
In a victim impact statement, Blu’s devastated owner said: “This was the first time I had ever left Blu and I was very nervous.
“Blu was my baby boy; after 13 years of trying to start a family we agreed to put that heartache behind us. Blu gave us the most amazing four years but it should have been so much more. He brought me so much joy into my life. Blu was my world and meant everything to me.
“I feel lost without him; it kills me every day knowing I left him with those people.”
A probation report said Langford, who had no previous convictions, had received a visit from the RSPCA who said they had no issues.
She had a diploma in animal care and had looked after dogs her whole life, and had volunteered with the RSPCA.
She “thought the world of Blu” and the attack “broke her heart”.
Langford had a number of health issues, both physical and mental, including complications caused by having type two diabetes since the age of six.
Defending, Peter Barnett said Langford had run a kennels business until about 10 years ago due to her health, but would look after her own six dogs and friends’ dogs.
She was on universal credit and personal independent payments, while being cared for by her 18-year-old daughter.
Sentencing: ordered to pay £1,000 compensation to Blu’s owners and £1,500 in costs to the council. Six-month curfew. Banned from applying for an animal boarding premises licence for 10 years.
Update 30/05/19: Following sentencing on April 30, 2019, Langford submitted an appeal against both her conviction and sentence – but withdrew her appeal against conviction two days before the hearing.
Appealing against her sentence, Langford claimed that the event was a one-off and that she was not operating a commercial enterprise, but this was rejected by the appeal judge.
During the appeal the judge said: “It must have been transparent this dog was poorly, you had received training. This dog suffered on any view serious and fatal injuries, and would have been displaying signs of ill health and distress.”
And referring to a recording of a phone conversation with a veterinary receptionist heard in court, he added: “It’s not simply a case of you not noticing the injury. This is a bad case. We heard the calm tone with which you spoke to the receptionist. She was far more upset than you were, for a dog you’d been paid to look after.”
However, taking into account Langford’s financial situation, the judge reduced the total amount payable by deleting the costs ordered.
The curfew was also reduced to one month and the curfew times altered.
#TheList Claire A Mason, born c. 1972, of Magnolia Close, Drakes Broughton, Worcester WR10 2AZ – banned from keeping equines for 20 years after neglecting her three part-bred Arab horses
Mason admitted causing unnecessary suffering by failing to provide appropriate veterinary treatment for part-bred Arabs Rosie, Enrica and Fern, who were kept on a livery yard in the Worcestershire village of Norton. All three animals were suffering from laminitis.
The mares were found to be “severely lame” when an RSPCA inspector attended following concerns raised about their wellbeing in May 2018.
Inspector Suzi Smith said: “The horses were suffering from laminitis brought about by failing to treat underlying pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, also known as Cushing’s.
“This can be managed successfully on medication alongside a well-managed diet. Sadly Mason failed to do this despite being made aware of the condition and being advised accordingly.”
The inspector said Mason was an experienced owner who should have known how to care for horses adding this made it “even more unacceptable” that she left the mares to suffer.
“The treatment plans and advice she’d been given were simply ignored. By banning her from keeping horses the court has recognised how important it is that no other animals are made to endure the same fate,” said Ms Smith.
All three mares were put down with the owner’s consent following veterinary advice owing to the severity of their condition.
The court heard Mason had mental health problems and further mitigation was advanced on the basis that the defendant had owned horses for years, had never had any previous issues, and had “won prizes at shows”.
Sentencing: 12 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and 100 hours of unpaid work. She was ordered to pay £1,000 costs and a £115 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping equines for 20 years
#TheList Andrew Cook, born 14 May 1990, of Grebe Close, Waterlooville PO8 – left his ex-girlfriend’s six-month-old puppy ‘lifeless’ with a fractured skull and hip after kicking him in a fit of rage
Bricklayer Cook admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal following a violent assault on the defenceless Staffy puppy named Bronson.
The court heard Cook attacked the dog, who belonged to his former partner Paige Bowden, after returning home to find the dog had pooed and urinated inside.
Bronson was kicked with such force by Cook he suffered multiple injuries. He suffered a brain injury, internal bleeding, at least two broken bones, severe bruising around his left eye and even in his mouth.
When Ms Bowden came home and questioned Cook about the injuries, he said Bronson was ‘just sulking’ after being hurt by another dog owner on a walk.
Prosecuting for the RSPCA, Sarah Huck said Cook’s temper flared and he later threatened to stamp on the dog’s head to ‘finish him off so there was no vets’ bills to pay’.
An estimated £5,000 has so far been spent on treating Bronson after he was assessed by staff at Vets 4 Pets, Sanctuary Vets and the RSPCA-owned Stubbington Ark in Fareham.
Bronson is now recovering back in the care of Ms Bowden, who dumped Cook – the father of her young son – after the dog attack.
Mitigating, lawyer Howard Barrington-Clark said Cook ‘couldn’t cope’ when he found the mess and kicked out in anger as if the puppy was an ‘inanimate object’, like a ‘door’.
‘We have probably all done it, or come perilously close to doing it,’ he said.
‘It’s as if that puppy, for a split-second, turned into an inanimate object.
‘The defendant wasn’t thinking straight and accepts it was completely wrong – he accepts complete guilt.’
He said Cook’s previous criminal record was a ‘lousy’ one but contained no similar incidents.
Speaking after the sentencing, RSPCA inspector Charlotte Coggins said ‘justice has been done’ – but the case was among the ‘worst the group has seen in a long time’.
‘The injuries are absolutely awful,’ she said.
‘Thankfully [the dog] is recovering absolutely fine and he is back with his owner where, undoubtedly, he will be getting all the love he needs.’
Sentencing: 12-week prison sentence suspended for 18 months;100 hours of unpaid work; rehabilitation activity requirement comprising 21 sessions geared at reducing violent behaviour and 20 hours of activities. Total of £515 costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping animals for life.