#TheList alleged dog killer Klaudiusz Maria Grzesiak, born c. 1973, of Ballacannell Estate, Laxey, Isle of Man IM4 – walked free from court after the sole witness, his wife, refused to testify against him
The case against Polish national Klaudiusz Maria Grzesiak, who was accused of stranging a cocker spaniel named Milka to death, collapsed after his wife, Marta Adamczewska-Grzesiak, withdrew her evidence.
IOM Today previously reported that the dog had been found dead in a children’s shed in the garden of the family’s home in Ballacannell, Laxey on Tuesday November 19, 2019. The court heard she was wrapped in clear plastic and a black bag.
A post mortem examination carried out on Milka confirmed the cause of death was strangulation to the front of the neck.
They were also injuries consistent with trauma to the dog’s back.
Mrs Grzesiak had advertised the dog as missing on Facebook before her body was discovered.
Prosecutor Roger Kane told the court during an initial hearing that Mrs Grzesiak had received text messages about the dog following a verbal altercation with her husband the previous day.
Grzesiak had denied causing unnecessary suffering to the dog and damaging property. But just days before a pre-trial review hearing on Christmas Eve 2019, his wife retracted a statement she’d made to police.
Prosecution advocate Rebecca Cubbon said by law she was prevented from compelling Mrs Grzesiak to give evidence against her husband.
She said under the circumstances, all the prosecution could do was offer no evidence on both counts.
Mrs Hughes told Grzesiak no further action would be taken against him, and formally dismissed the charges.
She also said the prosecution wasn’t to blame for the trial’s collapse, and didn’t order defence costs to be paid.
Evans and Roberts were found guilty of theft after a trial. The pair had denied stealing Bruce, a black French bulldog belonging to Catrin Tudor, at Pwllheli in August 2019. Both maintained their innocence and showed no remorse, said a probation officer.
Diane Williams, prosecuting, said Bruce was in the garden of his owner’s home in Pwllheli at about 2.30pm on August 25, 2019. She was in the house with the front door open and Bruce was running in and out. The court heard that she found the garden gate slightly open and said Bruce could not have opened it.
Realising the dog was missing, she began a search and later reported the matter to police.
Family members posted messages about the dog’s disappearance on social media and there were sightings of Bruce in the company of two men and a woman in the street and on a beach. The following morning, Roberts was seen waiting for a bus with the dog and was arrested in Porthmadog .
Evans was arrested at his brother’s home the same morning.
A police officer said the two-year-old dog, who was valued at £1,500, was in a distressed state and very thirsty.
When Ms Tudor arrived at the police station, Bruce’s demeanour changed completely and he greeted her excitedly, said Ms Williams.
During the trial, Evans said he had been for a walk in the Abersoch area with Roberts and his brother Ben.
Passing Ms Tudor’s house, they had seen a dog which began following them, he said.
Evans said he had ignored the dog at first but had asked an elderly couple if they knew who owned him.
He said they had also knocked on several doors in the area but got no reply. They had taken the dog with them to his brother’s flat and later went to the beach with the animal, he said.
Ben Evans told the court he had recognised the animal and told the others who owned it and to return it.
Both Evans and Roberts denied intending to sell the dog for £1,000
Sentencing Evans – 26-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months; 180 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay Bruce’s owner £50 compensation and £712 costs; 35-day probation service course. The court heard the offence took place just days after Evans was made the subject of a community order.
Roberts – 12-month community order; 150 hours of unpaid work; 10-day rehabilitation activity requirement. Ordered to pay £50 compensation and £680 costs.
#TheList Carolyn Ashton, born 14/03/1971, of 40 Otley Walk, Sheffield S6 3PX – kicked and dragged a terrified dog leaving him frightened and crying
Ashton admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a dog after she was caught kicking and dragging him in the street.
Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard how Ashton was seen mistreating the dog near McDonald’s restaurant, on Penistone Road, Sheffield.
Rob Coyne, prosecuting, said: “On July 20, in the early hours of the morning, police were called to an incident at McDonald’s on Penistone Road, Sheffield, to assist security with an aggressive female who was this defendant.
“The defendant was seen by others repeatedly kicking a dog which was with her and she was described as drunk and behaving in a disorderly manner.
“The dog was seized from the defendant and appeared in poor condition and was frightened and crying.”
Mr Coyne added the dog was examined by a veterinary surgeon and the dog was found to be in a poor condition covered in fleas and the vet stated the dog’s condition was among the worst cases for fleas he had ever seen.
Ashton pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal by kicking and dragging the dog by his lead and admitted a further count of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog by failing to obtain veterinary care and treatment.
She also pleaded guilty to being drunk-and-disorderly in a pubic place outside McDonald’s.
Sentencing: community order to last until September 2020, with a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement. Fined £25 and ordered to pay £90 victim surcharge and £85 costs. It is not known if she was banned from keeping animals or if the dog was returned to her.
#TheList Nigel Stubbins, born 25/01/1972, of 84 Main Street, Newton, Alfreton DE55 5TE – for brutal handling of a collapsed cow in an abattoir
Nigel Stubbins was found guilty of two counts of unlawful handling of a dairy cow, in addition to an earlier guilty plea for inappropriately transporting a horned bull in the same compartment as other cattle.
Stubbins was caught on CCTV at Foyle Abattoir in Cinderford, using an electrical goad and excessive pulling to attempt to move a Holstein Fresian cow for about 45 minutes.
The incident occurred on November 13, 2018, when Stubbins arrived at the abattoir at 9pm outside normal operational hours.
He proceeded to unload cattle from a compartment. The CCTV footage showed that when he opened the lorry’s top rear compartment, one of the cows was down and slid down the ramp.
Stubbins then spent 45 minutes trying to get the cow to stand and walk into a pen when it was evident from the footage the cow couldn’t get up and remain on her feet.
Stubbins tried various methods to get the cow to stand up, including pulling her by the nose, using ropes to drag her round, and excessive use of an electric goad over a half-hour period.
There are strict rules in place for the use of electric goads. They should not be used repeatedly when animals fail to respond and when the cattle are unable to get up.
It is also specifically prohibited to lift or drag animals by the head, ears, horns, legs, tail or fleece, or handle them in such a way as to cause them unnecessary pain or suffering.
Sentencing: fined £1,055 and ordered to pay £2,000 towards prosecution costs and a £155 victim surcharge.
#TheList Susan Hume, born 26/02/1974, of 77 Rosebank, Sauchie, near Alloa FK10 3NR – kept a dog and cat in foul conditions.
Susan Hume kept border collie Jake and ginger tabby Simba in a squalid flat coated in animal waste and broken furniture.
Shocking photographs showed faeces caked onto the wooden floorboards, which were soaked in urine – so much so the dogs’ paws were burnt.
Rubbish could be seen piled up in the flat, where the animals were exposed to sharp objects and medication as well as cigarette smoke.
The Scottish SPCA launched an investigation and Hume was taken to court accused of failing to meet the needs of the animals in her care under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.
The court imposed a disqualification order on Hume keeping dogs but suspended this for 12 months. No charges were brought for the cat. Both animals were, therefore, returned to Hume – a decision slated by the Scottish SPCA.
Scottish SPCA inspector Nicola Liddell said: “This case gives out a confusing message.
“To be banned from owning dogs and not the cat, along with being able to get her animals back, highlights the inconsistency among sentencing.
“The living conditions of both Jake and Simba were absolutely horrendous.
“The house was so dirty that Jake’s coat was matted with faeces and his feet were badly scalded due to prolonged contact with the damp, urine soaked floor.
“Simba the cat had regular access to the outdoors so was not affected in the same way.
“Both animals smelled strongly of cigarette smoke and urine.
“As a result of our enquiries, we removed Jake and Simba from the premises.
“While we respect the decision of the court we are disappointed by this sentence.
“Due to this, the animals will be returned to her.
“We hope that Hume now fully ensures the welfare of both Jake and Simba and will seriously consider whether she can adequately provide for any animal in the future.”
Sentencing: 12-month community payback order. Disqualified from keeping dogs but the order was suspended for 12 months.
#TheList Janice Clow, born 30/08/1967, of Mersey Road, Gateshead NE8 3SR – failed to treat her elderly German Shepherd’s arthritis and painful skin and eye problems
Mother-of-four Janice Clow pleaded guilty to one offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to causing unnecessary suffering to her German Shepherd called Rocky.
The 11-year-old dog was in such a bad state when he was taken to the vet by the RSPCA that he had to be put down.
RSPCA inspector Rachael Hurst went to Clow’s home on August 21, 2019, following a complaint about a German Shepherd with a serious skin problem.
Inspector Hurst said: “Rocky was 11 and was in a really bad way. He was shaking and itching and stood in a hunched posture.
“He’d lost almost all of the fur across his body and his skin was thickened and sore.”
Inspector Hurst took Rocky to a vet who discovered he was suffering from a chronic skin condition. Vets said he’d been in this state for at least three to six months, but they suspected he could have been suffering for years.
“Rocky had fleas and open wounds on his body,” Inspector Hurst added.
“He had severe ear infections, an ulcerated bleeding mass on one paw, and two healed corneal ulcers in one eye.
“He was extremely itchy and uncomfortable.”
The vet found he was struggling particularly on his back legs and that he’d likely been suffering from stiffness and pain caused by his arthritis for six months to a year.
Rocky also had severely overgrown nails and a painful eye condition.
“The vet said the extent of his skin condition and severity of his arthritis, which had gone untreated for months, possibly years, had caused ‘irreversible damage’ and sadly Rocky had to be put to sleep,” Inspector Hurst added.
In court, Clow said she’d tried her best to help Rocky and had sought advice from the internet but that it had not been enough to help him. The court heard that she was remorseful.
Sentencing: 16 weeks in custody, suspended for 12 months; 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days; 150 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay £515 in costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping all animals for 10 years.
#TheList Matthew David Benjamin, born 18 May 1982, previously of Earlswood, Chepstow but currently (June 2020) of no fixed abode – kicked his pet dog repeatedly until he died in extreme pain and distress
The Staffordshire bull terrier, known as Diesel and estimated to be aged between one and two years old, was killed in the early hours of December 4, 2019 at the home builder Shepherd shared with housemate Phillip Moseley.
Prosecutor Paul Ricketts read the court a witness statement taken from Moseley in which he described how he had heard Benjamin walk into the property and call the dog “in a soft voice” three or four times.
The dog then ran out of the housemate’s bedroom.
“I heard Matthew and the dog go into the kitchen because I could hear two claws on the kitchen floor,” Moseley said.
“The kitchen door was closed and there was silence for a few minutes. Then suddenly I heard Matthew scream.”
He said he heard Benjamin shout “stop pissing on the f***ing floor” before the dog began to “scream and yelp”.
“I could hear every impact against the dog’s body,” he said.
Moseley said the noise was so distressing “I was sick in the bedroom because of the trauma”.
Mr Ricketts said Moseley went to the kitchen door but he was unable to push it open.
Moseley then said he heard Benjamin say: “This f***ing thing is going to die”.
“The attack felt like it lasted forever,” he said.
“I honestly believe Mathew kicked the dog more than one hundred times.”
Mr Ricketts said the police were called and Benjamin was arrested.
Moseley said: “It is so upsetting to think about the suffering the dog went through.
“It was a lovely dog and it was defenceless.”
Judge David Parsons heard how a vet recorded that Diesel suffered wounds to his head and shoulders and “lacerations to the face”.
The dog had died after sustaining blunt trauma to his abdomen and head.
Mr Ricketts said: “After the defendant was arrested, he told the police he had completely lost his head and that the red mist descended.”
Andrew Twomlow of Twomlows Solicitors, mitigating, said his client entered his guilty plea on the basis Diesel was kicked six or seven times, which was accepted by the court. In his probation report, the defendant said he was stressed at the time of the attack and was “gutted” adding that “the dog didn’t deserve to die”.
The court was told that the case had attracted considerable interest on social media.
Mr Twomlow told the judge: “The public outrage is understandable. The defendant has had his property and car damaged.
“He has been subject to a degree of vilification.”
The court heard Benjamin had only had Diesel for five weeks after being given the dog by a friend and didn’t know to train him. The defendant said his new pet had destroyed his house and his property but added that the dog could be “quite pleasant” and had taken it to work with him.