#TheList Samuel Jake Kirkham, born 03/01/1997, of St Nicholas Close, North Bradley, Trowbridge BA14 0TH – killed a three-month-old puppy in a fit of rage
Kirkham said the puppy – a Cavachon known as Murphy – had bitten him so he lashed out and sent the tiny dog flying across the bathroom. Murphy was taken to an emergency vet in a comatose state but died three hours later.
A post mortem examination revealed the puppy had suffered a traumatic injury which had caused extensive internal damage to his skull, mouth, abdominal cavity, kidney, lung, and intestine.
Pleading guilty, Kirkham claimed that the puppy had defecated on the floor so he’d put him in the bath. He told the court Murphy had bitten him so he struck him, which caused the dog to fly across the bathroom, hitting either the wall or the toilet.
Kirkham’s girlfriend, Alisha Marsh, with whom he currently shares another dog known as Lucky, is standing by him and told a friend not to believe what was reported in the newspaper.
RSPCA inspector Miranda Albinson, who investigated for the animal welfare charity, said: “This was a horribly sad case where poor Murphy lost his life.
“There is no excuse for an innocent animal to be subjected to violence”
Sentencing: 270 hours of community service and 20 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days; fines and charges totalling £835 Banned from keeping any animal for 10 years with the right of appeal after five years.
#TheList illegal dog breeder and trader Kevin Bramwell, born 21/02/1957, of John Street, Cannock WS12 2RL
Kevin Bramwell, who gave his address in court as Leathermill Road, Rugeley but actually lives in John Street, Cannock, with his partner, admitted 11 charges – eight of causing unnecessary suffering to animals, one running a breeding establishment without licence, one of having an unlicensed pet shop and one of fraud by false representation
Officers from Cannock Chase Council found 27 dogs and two raccoons inside vehicles and sheds at the premises of KV Plant & Machinery on Power Station Road, Rugeley, Staffordshire, which is operated by Bramwell.
They say the animals were overcrowded, surrounded by faeces and flies, and showing signs of disease.
A local vet was engaged to assess them, and they were taken into the Council’s possession.
The authority cared for the animals, some of which required treatment, whilst the Dogs Trust volunteered to find permanent homes for them.
The subsequent investigation showed that Bramwell was breeding dogs and selling them through several websites.
Adverts were traced back to 2014 and totalled almost £50,000.
By not having the required licences Bramwell was able to operate under the radar.
The Council say Bramwell preyed on unsuspecting members of the public who were unwittingly buying from this illegal puppy farm, in the mistaken belief that he was a legitimate vendor.
Councillor John Preece, Environment Portfolio Leader said “To anyone looking to have a puppy, please consider rehoming a rescue dog from one of the recognised charities that specialise in caring for stray or abandoned dogs.
“If you do decide to buy privately or from a breeder, please make reasonable enquiries about the vendor, ensure you see the mother and puppies together at the place where they were born and raised.
“Check for proof of vaccinations, microchipping and worming.
“If it’s a breeder, check they have the appropriate licence from the Council for breeding dogs or selling pets.
”The best outcome from this case is that the 29 animals were successfully rehomed.
“I must thank the Dogs Trust for their support in achieving this.
“To anyone considering operating an illegal puppy farm within the District, this case shows you will be found and you will be prosecuted as demonstrated today.”
Sentencing: 18-week prison sentence for animal welfare and licensing offences and a further 52 weeks for fraud. A minimum 35 weeks of the sentence to be served in custody with the remainder on licence. Disqualified from keeping any animal for 10 years with no review for five years.
Update 15/02/2020: following an appeal Sunman’s suspended prison sentence was reduced from 12 weeks to 10. All other conditions, including the year’s suspension – which expires in August 2020 – and the 10-year disqualification order remain the same.
Additional information 16/02/2020: Trevor Sunman is now back living with his father and other family members in Fremantle Avenue. Worryingly, two Staffies live at the property and we hear they’re not being looked after properly, are verbally abused, rarely fed and never walked. There have been two drug raids on the property in recent months and Trevor Sunman himself is said to be a known drug dealer. Neighbours in the area are said to be in fear of self-styled gangster Sunman and his family.
#TheList Liam Patterson, born c. 1993, of Eastfield Road, Dumfries DG1 – trained three dogs for animal fighting
Liam Patterson was found in possession of videos on his personal devices showing his dogs fighting and being trained to fight. Dog fighting paraphernalia and photos were also found at his home.
Patterson pleaded guilty to training dogs for, causing and taking part in animal fighting. This is contrary to the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 under Section 23 (1) (a) (2) (e).
He also admitted to being in possession of an American pit bull terrier which is a banned breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
Two of the dogs involved in the case were Staffordshire bull terriers named Zeus and Gucci and the American pit bull was called Bubba. All three were signed in to the care of the Scottish SPCA. Sadly Bubba had to be put to sleep because he was a banned breed.
An undercover Scottish SPCA special investigations unit inspector said, “We received information from the League Against Cruel Sports that Patterson was keeping and training dogs for the purposes of dog fighting and currently had fighting dogs at his home address.
“The intelligence we received also stated there was dog fighting equipment, books and gear at his home address.
“Due to immediate concerns for the welfare of the dogs, we obtained a search warrant and gained entry to the property where we found the three dogs. All appeared to be in good body condition.
“At the location, we found numerous items relating to dog fighting including weighted collars which are used as a training aid to strengthen and build endurance.
“Multiple videos of his own dogs fighting were found on Patterson’s personal devices. In many, he can be heard shouting encouragement in the background. Other footage discovered included other, unknown, dogs fighting and dogs with injuries consistent with fighting.
“Other videos showed Gucci, Zeus and Bubba being put through a vigorous training regime in line with dog fighting practice.
“Messages were found between Patterson and an unknown individual discussing plans to attend and enter in dog fights and their dogs’ ability to fight to the death. Communication was also discovered outlining Patterson’s desire to buy and sell American pit bulls.
“Over the course of this investigation, it became clear that Patterson had a fascination, verging on obsession, with dog fighting and breeds relating to the American pit bull. How he could hold these dogs in such high regard and let them fight each other with little regard for their welfare is very difficult to comprehend.
“We are very pleased with the sentence that has been handed to Patterson and we hope this is seen as a deterrent to other, active dog fighters.
“Dog fighting is such a well-guarded and underground crime, it’s extremely difficult to detect and investigate. We are proud to be leading the way using intelligence and expertise to bring these people to justice.
“The Scottish SPCA Special Investigation Unit is dedicated to combatting animal fighting. If anyone has any information pertaining to individuals who are involved in this activity, we would urge them to contact our confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.”
Martin Sims, director of investigations for the League Against Cruel Sports said: “We’re very proud that it was our intelligence work that has been the basis for this conviction, but what this case serves to show to the public is how abhorrent the world of dog fighting is and why the courts need to have more sentencing powers to properly punish those involved.
“In England and Wales legislation is moving through parliament to see maximum custodial sentences for animal cruelty increased from six months to five years, but we are today calling on the Scottish Parliament to stop consulting on increasing sentences for animal cruelty and get on with passing the legislation that will be a proper deterrent to people like Liam Patterson who inflict pain on animals just to make money.”
Sentencing: 300-hour community payback order; 162-day restriction of liberty order. Banned from owning a dog for 15 years.
Additional info: we understand that Smyth may have moved out of Larkhall in May 2019 and may be living in Burnbank, Hamilton. He is said to be a bit of a drifter who moves around constantly. He has apparently been in and out of jail for years, for all different offences. He has a lengthy criminal record, much of it involving violence against women. He also has drug and alcohol issues.
#TheList Lindsey ‘Lyn’ Stoneham, born 28 April 1962, of 10 Llwyncelyn, Bettws, Bridgend CF32 8RU – battered his Jack Russell terrier Tom over the head causing blunt force trauma; Tom put to sleep to end his immense suffering
Lindsey Stoneham, who has a previous conviction for VAT fraud for which he was jailed for three-and-a-half years, was found guilty of animal cruelty following a trial.
The offence concerned subjecting Tom to unnecessary suffering through blunt force trauma.
Stoneham had phoned a veterinary practice on 14 March 2018 in Bridgend asking for them to put Tom to sleep. He claimed the dog had behavioural problems, but refused to pay the £130 quoted, and instead said he would “take the dog to the farmer”.
Little over two weeks later – on 31 March – Stoneham attended the same veterinary practice with the dog, claiming Tom had been hit by several cars. However, the Jack Russell Terrier was found to be in immaculate condition apart from a single hole in his head, arousing suspicion and prompting an RSPCA investigation.
Tom was smothered in blood from the wound and his eyes were flickering.
Sadly, the extent of the dog’s open head wound meant he had to be put to sleep immediately to prevent further suffering. Vets later confirmed that the injuries were completely inconsistent with a road traffic accident.
A post-mortem revealed that the dog had been struck by a blunt force instrument which was likely to have caused significant trauma. Bruising was also evident to Tom’s head, where fingers were used to hold the head still.
RSPCA inspector Gemma Cooper said: “The treatment of poor Tom and the horrific treatment and immense suffering he endured is so upsetting.
“It was claimed that Tom had been involved in a car accident – but the injuries were found to be wholly inconsistent with such a chain of events.
“Tom, instead, was found to have been subjected to blunt force trauma to the head.
“Sadly, the dog was clearly in immense pain when taken to a veterinary practice with blood all over his body – and he had to be put to sleep immediately.
“This was a lengthy and complex case, but at least we were able to ensure some justice for Tom, who sadly paid such a high price for the mistreatment he faced.”
Sentencing: 12-week prison sentence suspended for one year; total of £2,150 costs and charges. Four-year ban on keeping any animals Deprivation order on two shire horses.
#TheList Justin Thomas Williams, born c.1992, of 31 Lon Ogwen, Bangor LL57 2UD – filmed a vicious fatal attack by his dog on a ginger cat
Justin Thomas Williams admitted allowing his greyhound-type dog to bite, drag and shake the cat in the South Stack area of Holyhead, Anglesey, in March 2018.
Prosecutor Diane Williams told a district judge at Caernarfon court that police seized a mobile phone at Williams’s home and a 24 second video clip showed the “vicious and cruel” attack on the distressed cat.
In December 2018 the defendant received a suspended sentence for disclosing private sexual snaps.
A probation officer said the jobless cannabis smoker was hunting rabbits on a farm that night and Williams claimed the dog went into a bush. The defendant maintained there was no intention to set the dog on the cat and he “accidentally” filmed the savaging.
Defence solicitor Bethan Williams said her client denied encouraging the attack. “The video shows Mr Williams. He’s deliberately filming, he can’t deny that he’s filming the dog attack the cat.
“There’s no evidence he deliberately set the dog on the cat but he certainly doesn’t intervene,” the lawyer said. “It appears the cat passed away.”
District judge Gerallt Jones told Williams: “This is a serious incident. It looks to me as you having pleasure from the distress and cruelty that was going on.
“You did nothing at all to help. Rather than try and assist the cat you took pleasure in filming it and encouraging the dog to do what it did.”
Sentencing: 15-week suspended jail term; 150 hours of unpaid work; £615 costs. Banned from having any animal for five years.
#TheList farrier Michael Francis McNamara, born c. 1979, of Island Gate Stables, Saltash PL12 6RJ – violently attacked a horse to make the animal show him respect
An experienced farrier kicked and punched a horse and jabbed him several times with a metal object because he wanted the animal to “show him some respect”.
McNamara pleaded guilty to one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
Prosecutor Lindi Meyer, on behalf of the RSPCA, said the incident happened in the presence of a child at some stables in the south east Cornwall area on the afternoon of January 4, 2019.
McNamara is a fourth generation farrier with 24 years of experience. He was clipping a Bay Gelding horse’s hooves when he “lost his temper” and began beating the animal.
In CCTV shown to the court, McNamara could be seen harshly picking up the horse’s legs, kicking and punching him and also jabbing him with a metal tool several times, all while shouting angrily at the terrified animal.
The horse attempted several times to swing away from McNamara, but was unable to as he was being held by a rope.
A vet concluded that the attack caused the horse pain lasting several days, with injuries including bruising and inflammation, as well as fear, anxiety and a future lack of trust.
“The horse was showing signs of fear and anxiety,” Ms Meyer said. “He offered the horse no reassurance. The horse was in fear and not understanding what was expected.”
In total McNamara punched the horse once, kicked him twice and struck him 18 times with the metal object, connecting each time.
In interview, McNamara admitted he was “heavy handed” and said the horse was “trying his patience”.
Ms Meyer said: “He said his bad back was causing him pain that day, and that he was just trying to get the horse to show him some respect.
“He didn’t agree with the vet’s opinion that the horse was fearful, but agreed he overreacted and lost his rag.”
Defending McNamara, who has no previous convictions, Tracey Baker said: “Hindsight is a wonderful thing and looking back at what happened, this defendant shouldn’t have gone to work that day.
“He made his decision and he has to live with that. He made full and frank admissions and he has been nothing but very genuinely remorseful.
“His prime concern is for his family and the impact on his father’s reputation, his father is very well known in the industry.
“As I say he has no explanation for his behaviour. It is deplorable, he knows that, and he is thoroughly ashamed of himself. This court case and the consequences are going to stay with him for a very long time.”
A number of yards have withdrawn McNamara’s services, meaning he is no longer working full-time.
Sentencing McNamara, District Judge Diane Baker said it was “gratuitous violence” on his part.
Aggravating factors were the presence of a child, abuse of a position of trust and the length of the beating, she said.
Judge Baker told McNamara: “I’ve read a very moving letter from your partner talking about you as a man and not just a farrier.
“You also deserve credit for working 24 years following a profession that’s important to you, and satisfying a large number of clients for a long period of time.
“All your references talk about the caring way you dealt with horses, and I have no doubt you are very remorseful and had unusual things to deal with in your personal life [at the time].
“But you are a professional man with a professional responsibility and despite that, you didn’t treat that pony in the way you were supposed to. I have seen frankly quite gratuitous violence while you were in a professional position.
“You should have calmed that pony. You kicked, punched and jabbed it numerous times with a weapon. I’ve seen the CCTV and the pony is simply standing there, clearly extremely frightened and it can’t get away.”
Judge Baker said she was considering sending McNamara to prison but took several factors into account, including because his actions were “severely out of character”.
Sentencing: six-month community order, including a curfew barring him from leaving his home between the hours of 7pm and 5am. Total of £385 costs and charges. Disqualified from working with equines for a period of three years, unless under adult supervision with the right of appeal after two.
#TheList Lee Martin Boyle, born c. 1977, and partner Dawn Nixon, born c. 1980, both of 11 Pendower Way, Newcastle upon Tyne NE15 6SN – allowed their pet dog to become so malnourished he couldn’t stand
Lee Boyle was already banned from keeping animals for life following a conviction in 2006 alongside mother Alice Edgar and junkie brother David Boyle. That case involved the appalling neglect and starvation of a rottweiler named Bella, who had to be put to sleep due to her poor condition, and a crossbreed named Buster.
This time Boyle was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a Staffordshire bull terrier/American bulldog cross known as Troy along with his partner Dawn Nixon.
The RSPCA was called in to investigate after a witness spotted Troy looking so skeletal he was described as a “dead dog walking”.
The dog was emaciated and suffering from such bad malnutrition he was trembling and unable to stand, the court heard. He had wounds on his front paws, hip bones and on the back of his legs which were red raw and bleeding when he was found.
Boyle told RSPCA Inspector Kirsty Keogh-Laws Troy had not seen a vet for two years.
And after examining the evidence collected by the RSPCA, vets concluded that Troy had been suffering from malnutrition and emaciation for more than five weeks.
The case against them had been proved in their absence after they failed to attend an earlier hearing.
In mitigation the court heard Boyle had been forced to leave the family home and Troy’s condition had arisen whilst not in his care. Nixon stated she could not look after Troy to the extent she would have liked to due to work commitments.
Sentencing the pair, District Judge Begley called it an “appalling case of cruelty”.
Inspector Keogh-Laws said: “It was heartbreaking to see the photos of Troy in such an awful condition when he was found. There is no excuse to allow an animal to get into such an appalling condition and not seek help.
“There is always help available for those people who need it and we encourage people to seek out this help to prevent animals suffering.
“Owning an animal is a privilege – but this couple’s failure to address the causes of Troy’s poor bodily condition meant that was clearly not appreciated in this case.”
Sentencing: Boyle – 24-week jail sentence, total of £225 costs and charges. New disqualification for life from keeping animals.
Nixon – 18-month community order including 200 hours of unpaid work; total of £285 costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping animals for life.