#TheList Scott Bruce, born c. 1972, of 8 Anchor Close, Penrith CA11 9HQ -failed to treat his pet dog’s chronic skin condition and deteriorating physical health
Bruce, whose family won £727,000 on the National Lottery in 2015, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Mia. The court heard how he failed to seek appropriate veterinary care for Mia’s chronic skin condition and deteriorating physical health.
Sentencing: 12-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months. Ordered to carry out unpaid work for 80 hours within the next 12 months. £503.20 in court cost. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years with right of appeal after five years.
#TheList Wilfred Francis, born c. 1981, and his brother Ian Martin Francis, born c. 1983, both of Yr Ackery Farm, Dark Lane, Burton, Rossett, Wrexham LL12 0AE – for the mistreatment of cattle on their farm
Wilfred and Ian Francis pleaded guilty to a number of offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
On February 5, 2019, an unannounced visit by Wrexham Council was made to the farm after receiving a complaint of a dog eating a dead calf.
On arrival at the farm officers of the Food and Farming team accompanied by an Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) Vet found dead cattle and calves, animals with none or insufficient bedding. Some were without food and water and had access to hazardous object around the premises.
Ian Dillon, acting on behalf of the council, told the court: “Two dead cattle were being picked at by chickens. One had been unlawfully killed by Wilfred Francis by injecting it with anaesthetic.
“One cow had to be put to sleep after because it was left without medication after breaking its hip calfing two weeks previously.”
Mr Dillon said: “There were other cows with no access to water or food, some kept near to scrap metal which could have caused them harm and a general failure to clean and disinfect to keep away flies and disease.
“Waste food products had been left on the farm. Mince pies, cup cakes and ice cream was fed to the cattle. Some animals were left lying in slurry.”
Photographs taken by animal welfare officers showed animals living in squalid conditions. The officers made subsequent visits to the farm.
Mr Dillon said: “One calf was drowning in slurry. Another had been born the previous evening and had little bedding that was filled with slurry. The cow that had given birth was exhausted and had been given no food or water.
“Another newborn calf seen on March 5 was only just able to keep its nose above the slurry.”
Conditions did improve said Mr Dillon but eventually, the council applied to seize animals in May 2019 to stop unnecessary suffering. The herd reduced from 140 down to 40 head of cattle.
Sentencing: 16-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months. Ordered to pay £3,000 costs each to Wrexham County Council – at a minimum rate of £50 per month. There was no order against the brothers keeping animals in the future.
#TheList Nathan Sinnitt, born 17/03/1989, of 26 Victoria Avenue, Wallsend NE28 8SD – masked his pet dog’s extreme pain with second-hand cannabis smoke inhalation instead of taking her to the vets.
Mastiff-type dog Misty was seized after police raided Sinnitt’s home in relation to a suspected drugs farm. Officers found the pet calm but unable to stand or walk properly.
When questioned, Sinnitt and his partner admitted Misty hadn’t been walked or left the house in over eight months because of her mobility issues.
RSPCA officers were called and the dog was taken to a vet but, less than 12 hours later, she was in such extreme pain that she had to be put to sleep.
The vet confirmed that Misty had first appeared calm because of the effects of cannabis inhalation but those effects soon wore off.
Sinnitt failed to show up for his original court appearance but handed himself in to police and appeared for sentencing.
Stewart Haywood, prosecuting, told magistrates that police raided Sinnitt’s home on August 12, 2019, before calling in the RSPCA on discovering Misty.
“Inspectors attended and saw Misty,” he said. “Misty was sitting and, at the time she went to get up, she was very unsteady and struggling to put weight on her front legs and her back legs were uncoordinated. She fell a number of times when trying to get up.”
Misty was taken to the vet, who noted she was also struggling with pressure sores and that her skin showed areas of excessive licking.
Mr Haywood added: “The following day, Misty was seen and had clearly deteriorated. She was in pain.
“It’s the opinion of the vet that, being in the presence of cannabis would have masked the level of Misty’s pain after inhalation, which is why she didn’t feel the extent of the pain until the following day.”
The vet determined that there had been “significant, prolonged suffering” for Misty over a number of months.
Sadly, Misty’s condition was so bad, it was deemed that the most humane action was to put her to sleep.
It was also revealed that Sinnitt was entitled to PDSA treatment and lived just 200 yards from a vet.
Mr Haywood said: “It appears in this case that the defendant couldn’t be bothered to walk the short distance to take Misty to a vet and, instead, decided to take on a criminal lifestyle and grow and smoke cannabis.”
The court heard Sinnitt’s partner also failed to attend a court hearing last week and the case was also proved in absence against her.
A warrant was also issued for her arrest and is still outstanding.
Mark Harrison, defending, said Sinnitt hadn’t deliberately been cruel to Misty but had failed to get her the necessary medical treatment.
He told the court: “These are always emotive cases. The defendant has not been prosecuted for any cannabis recovered from his home address.
“I also don’t consider it to be a particularly helpful point that he should be given any credit for lowering or suppressing Misty’s harm by cannabis.
“I don’t mitigate on the basis Misty’s harm was lowered because of her inhalation of second-hand cannabis smoke. In fact, I’m not even sure of the science to argue it anyway.”
Mr Harrison said Sinnitt was thoroughly ashamed, embarrassed and upset as the dog was initially bought for him to help with his mental health.
Sentencing: 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months. Banned from keeping animals for five years.
#TheList Daniel Ashleigh Williams, born c. 1989, of Garden Suburbs, Trimsaran, Wales SA17 – threw a pet dog 30 feet out of a window, causing him to suffer serious leg and hip injuries.
Williams threw four-year-old chihuahua/Jack Russell crossbreed Dobbie out of a two-storey high window after breaking into his owner’s flat. The tiny dog fell 30 feet onto the ground below and suffered injuries to his legs and hip.
Williams pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage and a further count of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
A victim impact statement was read out in court on behalf of Dobbie’s owner Jordanna Davies, which revealed that since the incident, Dobbie had been taken to the vets for an operation on his leg and hip.
Ms Davies had paid immediate emergency vet fees amassing £2,222.21, and was told if she could not raise the funds required, Dobbie would have to be put to sleep.
Dobbie is still to undergo further leg surgery which will cost £3,000, and a hip operation. Until then, he is currently in plaster.
“It caused me great stress and anxiety,” the statement read.
“I don’t feel safe living there anymore after knowing he was able to smash the window and get in. I was settled before the incident took place. I had to live with my window boarded up for a while.
“Dobbie is a small, defenceless pup who would not hurt anyone.”
Williams’ lawyer, Rebecca Carter told the court that her client had “substantial mental health difficulties and suffers from borderline personality disorder, depression and anxiety.”
Sentencing: Jailed for 18 weeks and ordered to pay £1,587.61 compensation to Dobbie’s owner. Banned from keeping animals for two years
#TheList Natasha J Brown, born 03/11/1993, of 6 Lumsden Terrace, Stanley DH9 8EQ – killed a dog by punching her four times to the head
The court heard how Brown, accompanied by her female terrier dog, had met up with her ex-partner to discuss the return of some items and the pair had gone to the home of her great uncle in Washington.
Oriana Frame, prosecuting, said everything was fine at first, but after Brown had consumed lager and a bottle of wine, she tried to kiss and cuddle her ex, who said no and asked her to leave.
However, she wouldn’t and the situation escalated with Brown becoming aggressive.
Reading from a statement by Brown’s former partner, Ms Frame said they were in the sitting room trying to calm her down and Brown was threatening to smash the great uncle’s phone if he called the police.
The statement went on: “Her dog was sitting on the sofa, she picked up her dog and punched it four times to the head with force. It was screaming. It went limp and lifeless.”
She said Brown then grabbed her ex by the throat and hit her head against the wall. She also bit her finger.
The statement said: “I was trying to comfort the dog and [my great uncle] was telling her to get out and she clenched her fist and told said ‘shut up or I will hit you as well’. Natasha pushed him in the chest causing him to fall back.”
Ms Frame said Brown’s former partner managed to phone the police and when they arrived the dog appeared to be having a fit and was shaking uncontrollably. She was taken to the PDSA where vets said she had a bleed on her brain and an injured leg and they couldn’t save her.
Ms Frame said Brown told police: “I punched the dog because I couldn’t punch my ex – I’m sorry I didn’t mean to hurt her.”
In his statement, the elderly man said at 82-years-old he couldn’t stop the defendant and was frightened at what she would do next, during the incident on October 1, 2019.
#TheList Dennis Thorne, born c. 1976, of Kington Magna, Gillingham, Dorset SP9 – failed to care for goats, ferrets and poultry on his smallholding
Thorne, who is a Romany gypsy, pleaded guilty to six offences under animal health and welfare legislation following an investigation by Dorset Council Trading Standards. This included four offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 of causing unnecessary suffering to a flock of 30-40 poultry, two goats and two ferrets, by failing to provide them with appropriate care and one offence of failing to inspect his animals at regular intervals.
He also pleaded guilty to an offence of failing to tag his two goats, which is legally required to prevent animal disease spread.
In March 2019, trading standards officers visited land Thorne rented at Okeford Fitzpaine, near Sturminster Newton. They discovered the carcasses of around 20 ducks, chicken and geese littering the animal enclosure. The few surviving poultry were emaciated and in filthy conditions.
Two emaciated goats were also found in a small pen with no clean water or dry lying area.
In a nearby barn were cages containing the carcasses of two ferrets. The cages were filthy and all of the drinking containers were empty. Despite having received previous advice from the team, the goats were not tagged.
All the animals remaining in Thorne’s possession were seized by Trading Standards under the Animal Health Act and then cared for by the RSPCA. Thorne later agreed to give up his ownership of them.
The court was advised that Thorne had received a formal caution from the RSPCA in 2009 for causing unnecessary suffering to a horse.
Sentencing: 14 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months. Community Order of 200 hours of unpaid work and 20 days of rehabilitation. Ordered to pay £715. Banned from keeping all animals for 10 years.
#TheList Yvonne Mairs, born 04/12/1967, of Sinclair Avenue, Orford, Warrington WA2 9QY – failed to take her desperately ill dog to the vet for treatment
Mairs’ dog, known as Sasha, was found with discharge and blood dripping from her ears and many missing and loose teeth.
Anna McDonald, prosecuting, said on June 4, 2019, Mairs rang the RSPCA saying her dog was ill.
Inspectors arrived at her home and were shown Sasha who was quiet, lethargic, underweight and had infections.
Ms McDonald explained that as well as a chronic ear infection and dental disease, Sasha’s skin was scabbed over and there was a strong smell coming from her infection sites.
The court was told that upon inspection by a vet, Sasha was clearly in pain and would yelp when the vet tried to touch her face.
Sasha was euthanised, as the vet deemed surgery would have been too much for her and carried too many risks.
Ms McDonald said the dog would have been suffering for a minimum of six weeks but possibly many months, although Mairs said she only noticed the extent of Sasha’s illnesses the week before calling the RSPCA.
The court heard how, due to suffering from anxiety, Mairs struggled leaving the house and did not have a way to transport the dog to a vet, but she had been trying to clean Sasha’s head with a cloth.
Mairs’ lawyer told the court her client had owned the dog for her whole life and there was no suggestion to say that she had been neglected before.
Sentencing: 12-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months. Banned from keeping all animals for life.