#TheList Robert Jason High, born 20/12/1996, and Damien Robert Beales, born 16/04/1998, both currently of 17 James Street, Barrow-in-Furness LA14 1EH – neglected and starved a large number of cats; desperate animals resorted to cannibalism.
Robert High and his partner Damien Beales left cats to starve at a property in Northgate Road, Stoneycroft, Liverpool L13
RSPCA officers discovered starving cats eating the decomposing remains of others when they visited the house on 25 April 2019.
They found up to ten cats who were so desperate and hungry that they had shockingly resorted to cannibalism.
Five dead cats were in the process of being eaten.
The grim remains were discovered by the property’s landlord who was so disturbed that he contacted the police who next alerted the RSPCA.
Beales and High both pleaded guilty to one charge of cruelty.
The prosecution has been previously adjourned after both men, Beales and High repeatedly failed to turn up.
Sentencing: 16-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months. Each ordered to pay £500 costs and a £115 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping animals for life.
High and Beales move around frequently. They only lived in Stoneycroft for five months. Prior to living there, they lived in Kirkdale, Liverpool. Neighbours of the Kirkdale property allege they overheard the couple accusing each other of raping cats.
High is said to have serious mental health issues, including self-harming. He has a YouTube channel called My Borderline LIfe on which he discusses his borderline personality disorder and also ‘sings’.
#TheList Andrew Alexander, born 26/07/1984, originally from Dundee and as at September 2019 of Malvern Drive, Ilford, London IG3 9DR – stole a pug named Pixie who is believed to have died
Eleven-month-old pug Pixie went missing on July 16, 2018 from a flat in Stobswell, Dundee, while in the care of Andrew Alexander.
Following her disappearance, eye-witnesses reported seeing a dog matching Pixie’s description being hit in the face at Baxter Park and then being carried lifeless by a man through the streets of Dundee towards a bridge over the River Tay.
Now construction worker Andrew Alexander has been fined £250 after being convicted of stealing the dog. As there was no admissible evidence that he had killed or mistreated the animal, he faced no charges in relation to this.
To date, it is not known what exactly happened to Pixie but it is believed that Alexander dumped her broken body in the River Tay.
Alexander was represented in court by dodgy lawyer Ian James Houston of Bruce Short Solicitors, Rattray Street, Dundee. Houston tried to get his client off with the theft charge on the grounds that the “property”, i.e. a much-loved family pet, no longer existed because she was dead. Houston insisted on proving to the court that the dog had died by showing the CCTV footage of Alexander carrying Pixie’s body through the streets despite the anguish of the dog’s distraught owner, who was present in court. How do these people sleep at night?
==== Background: We originally published this article in August 2018 but had to withhold certain details at the time, so as not to jeopardise the prosecution case against Andrew Alexander. This is an edited version of that article. to reflect the latest developments.
Sometime after 3pm on Monday 16 July 2018 an 11-month-old pug named Pixie went missing from an address in Park Avenue, Baxter Park, Dundee. Pixie’s owner, Kelly, had gone out to do some shopping, leaving the tiny dog alone in the company of her flatmate, Andrew Alexander. Kelly had known this man for several years and he had given her no reason to distrust him.
When Kelly left, Pixie was sleeping and she told Alexander not to take her out. She was alarmed on her return a short while later, therefore, to find the flat empty and Pixie gone. As time passed with no word from Alexander, Kelly became increasingly anxious. As she didn’t have Alexander’s new mobile number she asked a friend to call him. The friend spoke briefly with Alexander who was described as angry, screaming down the phone that he would “speak to Kelly later”.
In a state of panic Kelly rushed over to the nearby park and asked dog walkers if they’d seen Alexander or Pixie but no one had. She returned to the flat and waited anxiously.
When Alexander finally returned home at 7:30 pm he was alone and there was no sign of Pixie. When Kelly asked him where the dog was, Alexander shouted “lost!” in a manner that was more irritated than concerned. He said that Pixie had run off in Baxter Park at 4pm and he’d been unable to find her. He then told Kelly, somewhat bizarrely, that he was “away to jail” but didn’t elaborate on what he meant and left in a taxi to go to a girlfriend’s house.
Kelly texted Alexander the following morning to tell him he was no longer welcome at the flat. His response: “I’ve already moved out lol”
Alexander returned two days later while Kelly was out to collect his things and left for good.
In the following days Kelly posted a number of desperate appeals on Facebook. Her posts were shared extensively in the local area, the charity DogLost got involved, and multiple reports of sightings from pedestrians and motorists started to come in. The news wasn’t encouraging, however, with witnesses reporting seeing a man resembling Alexander carrying a pug-type dog that appeared to be lifeless.
One pedestrian recalled seeing the man holding a dog in his arms.
She said: “The dog was very still and I thought that was strange as a dog wouldn’t usually allow itself to be held like that without moving at all.
“He avoided passing close to me on his way towards the city centre – probably because I watching him. It was very clearly a pug and in retrospect, it seemed utterly lifeless.
“The man appeared red and flustered. I wish I had stopped him and asked if the dog was okay.”
Another witness – a young girl – said she had seen a man in Baxter Park pick up a pug by the neck and punch her in the face. The girl had been too afraid to challenge him.
These sightings took place as late as 7pm on the evening of Monday 16 July 2018 – three hours after Alexander said that Pixie had disappeared.
“There have been numerous sightings of what appeared to be a man carrying a small dog resembling Pixie in the Stobswell and Waterfront areas in the following few hours.
“The dog appeared to be lifeless or ill, and the man was described as in his mid 30s-40, tall, large build, and wearing a red t-shirt and blue shorts, possibly with stripes down the side.
“He was last seen shortly before 6pm near the bottom of Crichton Street. These sightings have been confirmed on CCTV.
“We have already received a large amount of relevant information from the public regarding this incident and are currently following a positive line of enquiry.
“We have also attempted to contact a number of witnesses who have been identified to us, but have not been able to get in touch with them.
“We would therefore like to ask anyone who has information about this incident who we have not already spoken to, to contact us – in particular if you saw the described man in the area of Baxter Park, Arbroath Road, Blackscroft, Dock Street, the Tay Bridge, Slessor Gardens or Crichton Street, between 3pm and 7pm on Monday 16th.
“We are also very interested in a report given to us regarding a man being seen possibly mistreating a dog in Baxter Park around that time.
“Anyone with any information should contact Police Scotland on 101, quoting CR/17475/18 or speak to any police officers”.
In the meantime, Kelly and her friends formed the Facebook group Justice for Pixie with the aim of spreading awareness about the case and campaigning for justice. Sadly that justice never came when Alexander walked free from court with a nominal fine for dog theft.
#TheList Aaron Hobby, born 09/07/1999, of 29 Grove Park, Hillsborough BT26 6JF – failed to ensure the welfare of several reptiles in his care
A milk snake, a gecko and a bearded dragon were among the reptiles found in poor conditions when Animal Welfare Officers from Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council visited Hobby’s property in August 2017.
The reptiles were taken into the care of council after a veterinary surgeon assessed them as being likely to suffer.
In particular, the bearded dragon – a cold-blooded reptile which originates from warmer climates and requires artificial heating to remain healthy when kept in captivity – was being warmed by a red bulb, exposing it to serious risk of injury.
A council spokesperson said: “The Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011 gives us the powers to prosecute anyone who neglects the needs of exotic as well as domestic animals.
“The substantial financial penalty imposed in this case is a positive outcome as it goes much further in sending out a clear message that those who fail to properly look after animals in their care may face more severe punishments.
“The conditions, in which these reptiles were kept, fell far short of what is acceptable.”
Sentencing: ordered to pay just under £2,100 in legal fees and care costs in addition to a £100 fine and a £15 offender’s levy. Five-year disqualification from keeping and owning animals.
#TheList Jamie Chapman Cole, born 27/09/1996, of 4 Pond Farm Close, Saltburn-by-the-Sea TS13 5HJ – for the starvation and neglect of his cocker spaniel dog
Vets estimated that gamekeeper Jamie Cole had neglected and starved his 10-month-old dog, known as Blue, for three to four weeks.
On 4 February 2019 Cole, who at the time was based at a farm near Minsterley in Shropshire, took Blue to the Malthouse Veterinary Group in Shrewsbury complaining of diarrhoea.
Vets there found her to have sunken eyes, a low body temperature, weighing only 6kgs and unable to stand on her own for long.
RSPCA prosecutor Roger Price told the court that a healthy body temperature for dogs would be between 38 and 39.2 degrees and the vet who assessed Blue used a thermometer that would only go as low as 32, which indicated that her temperature was at or below that threshold.
Blue was taken in and placed on a bed with a heat lamp to try and raise her body temperature, and ate “ravenously” when fed, Mr Price said.
Blue’s condition improved and she was seen on February 6 by another vet at Taylor & Marshall.
That vet described Blue as “shockingly thin” and said she was likely to have been in her condition for three to four weeks.
She had been suffering with a “large amount” of roundworms as well, Mr Price said.
Her condition continued to improve in the vets’ care and she gained weight.
The court heard that Cole was an experienced handler of dogs, and that several other dogs he had responsibility for at the time were healthy and happy.
Cole’s representative Georgia Griffiths told the magistrates: “This is a man who’s incredibly upset with what’s happened. He feels terrible in himself for letting it happen, and letting the dog down and himself down.”
Being a gamekeeper was a “lifelong dream” and he had always had a good relationship with dogs, she said, but after his failure to care for Blue he has given up his other dogs and his job voluntarily and moved to be with his family in Yorkshire.
“His dream has been squashed by his own actions but he wasn’t malicious, and he didn’t do it on purpose.”
Chair of the bench Lesley Thirlwell said: “You were proactive in giving up your job, your animals and changing your lifestyle completely.
“We feel that that was punishment over and above the punishment the courts were going to make.
“You have shown remorse and already changed your lifestyle, and that has convinced us you will not be acquiring any dog in the near future.”
Sentencing: community order including 80 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay £485. Deprivation order on Blue but no ban on keeping animals was imposed by the court.
#TheList Neil Patrick Souter, born 29/11/1960, of Blakey Walk, Middlesbrough TS6 8BB – exposed his three dogs to extreme suffering
Souter denied his pet terriers Boyo, Vino and Baby veterinary treatment over a five-year period and allowed them to suffer severely, leaving one with an “oozing” tumour, and others with growths, blackened skin, and teeth problems.
Stewart Haywood, prosecuting, described the scene to the court: “There was an unpleasant smell in the house and all three dogs were in poor condition.
“On arrival, Baby was asleep, but the inspector saw that she had fur loss.”
Baby also had tumorous masses on her bottom and right foot, leaving her unable to walk and suffering for “no less than two weeks”.
Mr Haywood added that Souter said he was “aware of the lump” and said Baby had had it for about “five years”.
“The defendant had an open bottle of alcohol and was seen to be under the influence”, he said.
“He then walked out of the house holding Vino shouting that the RSPCA were going to take the dog to put her to sleep.”
Souter eventually “calmed down” and let the inspector remove the dogs.
All three of the dogs had “black, thickened and flaky” skin from untreated disease likely caused by fleas, while Boyo and Vino had dental disease that caused suffering for “no less than six months”.
All three dogs were later euthanised or passed away from their catalogue of ailments.
Souter said he accepted ownership and “did what he could” when it came to the dogs’ health.
A probation officer told the court that Souter was “resistant” to questions and alleged photos of the neglect had been “tampered with” by the RSPCA.
His solicitor Paul McGee said his client, who had no previous convictions, is paranoid and believes “people are out to get him”.
He also submitted a string of other factors in mitigation, including that Souter was blind in one eye, had a fear of leaving home and was struggling after a string of family bereavements.
But district judge Natalie Wortley dismissed pleas for leniency: “This is a case that involved prolonged neglect and a high level of suffering.
“I have heard you were extremely loyal to those dogs and loved those dogs but you neglected them severely.”
Sentencing: 12 weeks in prison; ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge. Disqualified from owning animals for five years.
#TheList Daniel Mark Bowd, born 12/10/1991, of Old Stores Cottage, School Lane, Lower Leigh, Stoke On Trent ST10 4SS – kept starving dogs, cows and pigs in atrocious conditions on a smallholding
Daniel Bowd. former managing director of recently failed waste management company DM Bowd Environmental Services Ltd, kept dogs, pigs and cattle on a smallholding on Raddle Lane, Leigh, near Uttoxeter, but abandoned the animals to starve.
Staffordshire County Council raided the smallholding in January 2019 following a tip-off.
Five dogs in pens covered in faeces and urine
Pigs and cattle with no food or water
Pig skulls and smaller animal skulls in a field
A blood-covered pig which had been eating a dead pig
Prosecutor Khalid Mahmood told North Staffordshire Justice Centre: “A small pig had a blood-covered face as it had been eating the dead pig that was inside the pen. The officers then went looking in the pen and found skulls of dead pigs.
“The officers also saw cattle with no food or water and there was no dry lying area for them. Similarly, there was no dry lying area for any other animals.”
RSPCA officers inspected the dogs. They had wood in their rectum, their abdomens and guts felt empty, and they had scratches and damaged ears as if they had been fighting.
Bowd told the probation service that he was £60,000 in debt. He was working 14 hours every day just to ‘keep his head above water’ on a self-employed basis.
Lucy Taylor-Grimes, mitigating, said: “He just couldn’t keep up with the volume of food that the animals needed.”
Bowd admitted a catalogue of animal welfare offences against pigs and dogs. He also admitted failing to dispose of animal bones correctly, failing to maintain a register of the cattle on his holding, and not maintaining a proper veterinary medicine record for his livestock.
Sentencing: 18-week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months; ordered to pay £1,615 in court costs. Lifetime ban on keeping pigs, cattle and dogs with the possibility of review after five years.
#TheList puppy farmer Mark Burgess, born 22/05/1980, of Paddock View, Brenzett, Romney Marsh TN29 0BE – for multiple animal welfare offences.
A raid on a pet farm – during which inspectors found a puppy frozen in a freezer – led to a conviction for traveller Mark Burgess on eight animal welfare offences.
RSPCA inspectors descended on the Old Ashford Road in Brenzett, near Ashford, following complaints by four members of the public.
The complainants had purchased puppies from Burgess between December 2017 and February 2018, with all of the animals quickly falling ill and dying.
Footage captured during the early morning raid showed soaked bedding, shelters with bare, rotten floorboards and dogs chained to kennels.
In the bodycam video a range of concerns were highlighted, including a cat that was found shivering in a turned-off freezer.
RSPCA inspectors noted incidents of skin disease, claws growing into toepads and cat flu amongst the animals on the farm.
Among the more shocking discoveries caught on camera was the charred corpse of a small animal discovered in a “burner drum”.
Lead RSPCA Inspector Carroll Lamport said: “We found a mix of different breeds at the site including beagles, Dalmatians, spaniels and dachshund crosses.
“Some were pregnant, others had litters of tiny puppies while some had clear signs that they’d been used for breeding previously.
“Some of the dogs were extremely frightened and shut down. Some were living in almost complete darkness and others were huddled at the back of their runs.
“One beagle was sitting uncomfortably in a filthy, wet kennel. She looked so depressed.
“When we searched a freezer on-site we made a horrifying discovery; a small, four-week-old puppy.
“The body was frozen rigid and dumped in the bottom of a blood-soaked freezer.”
In total, 20 dogs were found living in unsuitable conditions and were seized by police and placed into RSPCA care – 12 adults and eight puppies.
Two cats and three kittens suffering from cat flu were also seized and later signed over.
An elderly German Shepherd – which it’s believed was Burgess’ personal pet – was showing signs of skin disease, muscle wastage and weak back legs after being found living outside, tethered to an old wooden kennel.
The German Shepherd was put to sleep but the remaining dogs were all signed over into RSPCA care and rehomed.
Eight infringements of the Animal Welfare Act were levelled at the 39-year-old, including causing unnecessary suffering to puppies by failing to investigate and address the cause of the animal’s ill health and by selling the animal in an unfit state.
Other convictions include failing to provide veterinary care in respect of a beagle’s eye condition and failing to provide a number of dogs with a suitable environment and diet.
At the sentencing hearing, Burgess’s lawyer Gordon Crow read a letter written by his client.
It said: “You’ve found me guilty of selling three puppies that I should have realised were ill and should’ve taken to the vet.
“I accept your decision and I apologise to all concerned.
“I’ve been brought up around animals and love being around them more than people.
“Since being found guilty it’s been a nightmare.
“I’ve even been shunned by my own traveller community.
“It’s my animals that have given me strength recently.
“I’ve always said I’ll pay the money back to the buyers and I’m sorry for what they’ve gone through.”
District Judge Justin Barron told Burgess: “I found your behaviour negligent in the sense that you sold these puppies and should have further investigated the cause of their illness, identified that illness and not going on to sell them.
“The animals should not have been sold in the condition that they were in.”
He said Mr Burgess’s “standards fell short”.
The RSPCA had requested Burgess should be banned from keeping dogs.
The judge responded: “From the latest evidence I have seen the dogs you are now keeping are well cared for and I do not see there is a need to ban you from keeping dogs.”
The judge described a press release issued after Burgess’s conviction at Canterbury Crown Court in August as being an “emotional statement not appropriately balanced”.
“It led to the impression he had been found guilty of deliberately and gratuitously causing suffering to animals which wasn’t my finding.”
He said the case had led him to consider “whether the RSPCA should continue to conduct its own prosecution”.
Sentencing: two-year community order, 30 days probation, a six-month curfew and a ban on the selling of dogs for two years.
#TheList Justine Arabella Peroni, born 10/09/1967, of The Coombe, Deviock Hill, Downderry, Torpoint, Cornwall PL11 3NA – cruelty to cattle on her smallholding
Justine Peroni admitted five charges of animal cruelty. These included a charge of “unnatural breeding” for allowing a bull to breed with his mother.
During a visit to Peroni’s smallholding Cornwall Council’s Animal Health team and vets from DEFRA found emaciated cattle, one cow with “pus dripping from its udder”, and fields covered in hazardous objects.
The four other charges Peroni admitted were:
Two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a cow by failing to provide prompt effective treatment
Failing to provide a suitable environment for cattle by allowing them access to items that had the potential to injure them
Failing to tag a calf within 20 days of its birth
Jane Tomlinson, the council’s Head of Trading Standards, said Peroni ignored the council’s advice, including the “most obvious cattle welfare needs”.
Sentencing: six-week curfew; ordered to pay £2,000 in council costs. Banned from keeping animals for five years.