#TheList Sharon Hayes (also known as Sharon Micklewright), born 16/09/1966, of Coronation Drive, Frodsham WA6 7HS – prosecuted for animal cruelty after her pet dog’s emaciated remains were found buried in her garden
Sharon Hayes, who is a grandmother, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to her Staffordshire bull terrier, known as Lily.
The court heard how the RSPCA were called to investigate after a member of the public reported their concerns about Lily’s welfare.
Inspector Leanne Cragg was sent to the property on September 17, 2019, and when Hayes answered the door she asked to see her dog to which Hayes replied ‘she’s dead’.
Hayes explained that Lily had died days earlier on September 12 and she had buried her body in the garden.
She admitted Lily was underweight and that she vomited blood and had diarrhoea the night before she died, but she failed to seek veterinary treatment for her.
Suspecting the dog had been neglected, an application to exhume Lily’s body was made. Hayes showed the RSPCA where Lily was buried and her body was found wrapped in a patterned curtain.
Her body was taken for a post mortem examination where tests proved she was emaciated and she had chronic kidney failure which caused her death.
Inspector Cragg said: “It is terrible to think of the suffering Lily must have endured leading up to her death. The emaciation led to sickness and diarrhoea but the owner still did not seek veterinary treatment.
“There is never an excuse not to feed a pet or seek veterinary treatment – if people are in need of help there are also plenty of animal charities that can help.”
Sentencing: ordered to pay a total of £1,332. Banned from keeping animals for ten years with a right of appeal after five years.
#TheList Violet Johnston, born 31/01/1971, of Knocklea, Biggar ML12 6EG – for starving her Boxer dog and failing to treat her painful ear infection; dog put to sleep
Johnston was charged with failing to provide an adequate diet for the eight-year-old dog named Picco and for failing to seek veterinary treatment for her.
The court heard how a Scottish SPCA inspector found Picco and another Boxer named Boe in a large dog crate in the kitchen. Picco was in a very poor condition, weighing just 13.54kg, which is almost half the recommended weight for a dog of her breed. She was very thin and her spine was visibly protruding.
The dogs and two cats were removed from Johnston’s address and taken into the SSPCA’s care. A third cat was outside at the time.
Scottish SPCA inspector Sian Robertson said, “It was clear that Picco needed immediate veterinary treatment. Her frame was incredibly lean. When she was offered food, she gobbled it up as if she was starving.
“This shows that there was no health issue interfering with Picco’s ability to put on weight. When she received regular food in our care, she gained weight easily.
“On veterinary examination, Picco’s body score was given as 1/5 where five is top condition.
“She was found to have a mammary mass and an ear infection that was causing inflammation and infection, causing pain and discharge from her ears. The smell was obvious and pungent.
“It was clear to our team that Picco needed urgent care and treatment. The fact the health issues and starved frame were not picked up by Johnston shows how incapable she was of providing Picco with the care she needed.
“The saddest thing about this case is that Picco had to be euthanised for an unrelated health issue. She had marked spondylosis at several points along her spine which was having an effect on her quality of life, as well as having several other chronic degenerative conditions.
“Sadly, the vets made the decision that the kindest thing to do was to put her to sleep to end further suffering.”
Sentencing: six-month community payback supervision order. two-year-ban on keeping animals.
Lahey had provided a foster home for the dog, after completing a charity’s home checks. But months later charity volunteers discovered Rex’s starved body in a black bag.
The chef told RSPCA investigators that he had not buried the rescue dog because he could not afford a spade.
North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard Lahey took Rex home on December 1, 2018. For the first few months, Lahey sent the charity regular updates, including photographs and videos of Rex’s progress. But the charity was later unable to contact the defendant and then received a call from a relative to collect Rex’s body on April 2, 2010.
Vets discovered that the rescue dog was emaciated – weighing just 12.35 kilograms. A post-mortem examination gave the cause of death as emaciation.
The vet’s report stated: “There is a strong possibility that he was left without food for a few days. During this time he would be hungry, potentially cold at night as he was confined to a shed, and possibly psychologically distressed as scratch marks were found in the shed along with soiling.”
Lahey told the RSPCA that Rex had struggled to put on weight and that he had left the dog with someone else when he went away for a few weeks last March. He said he returned to find Rex dead.
Following the case, RSPCA inspector Charlotte Melvin said: “It is horrendous to think of the suffering which poor Rex went through during the period leading up to his death.
“The vet’s report states he had been left in the shed for a number of days at least as scratch marks could be found near the door as Rex had desperately tried to get out.
“There is never an excuse not to feed a pet or seek veterinary treatment – if people are in need of help there are also plenty of animal charities that can help or in this case the animal rescue centre where Rex had come from would have taken him back.”
A spokesman for Pebbles Legacy, which placed Rex with Lahey, said: “We are so upset about what has happened to Rex and the suffering he must have endured. He was fostered by Lahey so he could have allowed us to take him back at any time if he was struggling but there was no indication of this at all.
“We carried out a number of home checks on Lahey which he passed and he sent us weekly updates, including videos and photographs, showing how well Rex was doing. There was even one of him looking so happy playing in the snow.
“We have no idea why this changed and it was awful to go the property and find a dog who we had cared for dead in such awful circumstances.
“It has been terribly upsetting for all our volunteers.”
Sentencing: ordered to pay a total of £850. Banned from keeping animals for life.
#The List Eleanor (Ellie) Rose Marsh, born c. 1992, and Amy Elizabeth Youll, born 17/02/1992, both of Todmorden Road, Bacup OL3 – both pleaded guilty to not taking reasonable steps to ensure the needs of the eight dogs and three cats were met.
Sentencing: Both women were ordered to pay a total of £180 and banned from keeping animals for just 12 months. Deprivation order on all of the animals.
#TheList Joseph Thomas, born 19/11/1973, of 28A Crouch Hill, Haringey, London N4 4AU: battered his Staffordshire Bull Terrier on multiple occasions, leaving him with two detached retina and partially sighted
Thomas was found guilty of one count of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, and to a second charge of failing in his duty as person responsible for animal welfare.
The court heard how Thomas terrorised the dog, Marley, who is two or three years old, over a two-year period, with attacks that included punching the dog, whipping him with a steel lead and beating him with a branch.
The court heard how, on January 15, 2019, a woman and her friend were walking on the Parkland Walk, near Ashmount School, when they witnessed Thomas “forcefully hitting the dog with a heavy branch” about 20 times.
Prosecutor Mark Jones explained that soon after Thomas got Marley in 2017, a neighbour reported witnessing him “pulling the dog off the ground” by his lead about five times so that he was “being caused to choke and thrashing around in the air”.
The court heard Thomas then hit Marley about 15 times with the lead, and that the neighbour would hear “harrowing screaming from the dog” coming from inside his flat.
On another occasion a Tesco employee saw Thomas punching the animal in the ribs. Separately, a further witness saw him strike the dog four times in the ribs area.
They remonstrated with him and he said: “It’s nothing to do with you,” to which they replied: “It’s got something to do with me, we’re in a public space.”
Officer seized Marley off Thomas on April 26, 2019
Sentencing Thomas, Dr Joan Scanlon cited his “absence of remorse”, ongoing denial of guilt and the “severe distress” his attacks caused for witnesses, as reasons for sending him to prison.
Sentencing: a total of 26 weeks in jail. Victim surcharge of £115. Indefinite disqualification on owning animals with no right of appeal for five years.
#TheList lifelong loser Niall Martin, born c. 1990, previously of Speedwell Road, Colchester and now the Strand in Ipswich – threw a police dog against a car, tried to choke her and wrenched her jaw open
Police were called after a row broke out between Niall Martin and his partner in Colchester and officers attended along with police dog, Ivy.
Martin was hiding and when the highly trained German Shepherd bit him. He reacted by hurling her against the car, choking her and pulling apart her jaws.
In a statement read out in court, Ivy’s dog handler said she genuinely feared for the animal’s life.
She said: “She bit him on the arm and then Martin threw Ivy against a parked car.
“I heard Ivy yelp with pain, he was trying to choke her.
“I punched him to the back of the head with all my force to try to get her free.
“I have never heard her make a noise like that before.
“I genuinely believe he was trying to kill or seriously injure her.”
Martin was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal following a trial. He admitted a charge of possessing cannabis.
Katie Armstrong-Mason, mitigating said: “On this particular day he had consumed alcohol and had an argument with his partner.
“The dog runs after him and bites him on the leg.
“The only reason he grabs the dog’s mouth is because he had been bitten and was in a lot of pain.
“He didn’t want to be arrested – the last time he was he got a four-week prison sentence.
“He has a borderline personality disorder and alcohol exacerbates his mental health problems – he gets in trouble when he drinks.”
Police dog Ivy retired from active duty earlier in January 2020. She was not badly hurt in the incident with Martin.
Chairman of the bench Don Wicks said: “This is a crossroads for you.
“It is a last chance scenario to change your life for the better.”
Sentencing: ten-week prison term suspended for a year. He must attend an accredited programme and 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days. Ordered to pay £300 costs, and £50 to the dog handler who suffered back pain during the incident.
The ten-year-old dog, whom Henry had owned since she was a puppy, was found by the RSPCA in a “dreadful condition”, weighing just 16kg and having no body fat.
Police were called to Henry’s previous address in Eaglescliffe, Stockton, after an RSPCA inspector saw Shadow looking starved in the garden through slots in the fence. The inspector found two empty dog bowls.
Stuart Bennett, prosecuting, told the court the dog would have been “in pain and suffering weakness” due to malnutrition.
Mr Bennett estimated that this suffering would have lasted around four weeks but “only occurred due to neglect which had obviously been far longer”.
Henry claimed she had fed Shadow but admitted it “probably wasn’t enough”.
Shadow was also found to have cataracts, which Henry had dismissed as “glazed eyes” due to her age. Henry agreed that she should have taken the dog to the vet and said she hadn’t done so as she “didn’t want to look like a bad person”.
The prosecution said that Henry had bought two kittens whom she had taken to the vet regularly, adding that this was “difficult to comprehend”.
The court was shown a series of photographs as evidence of Henry’s neglect. These included photos of Shadow with a protruding rib cage and spine.
A probation service report described how Henry’s personal circumstances had changed after the collapse of her marriage. They said that her neglect of Shadow was “a result of her burying her head in the sand with everything else going on in her life”.
Henry expressed remorse for her actions and agreed that she could have cared for Shadow “a lot better”.
Danielle Hewitt, defending, said that Henry’s two children would “suffer if a custodial sentence were to be imposed”.
Sentencing: 12 weeks in custody suspended for 12 months. 25 days of rehabilitation activity. Ordered to pay £522 costs. Banned from keeping animals for five years. Deprivation order on Shadow and her two kittens.
Prosecution: Stephen R Bouquet, born 05/01/1967, of 31B Rose Hill Terrace, Brighton BN1 4JJ – accused of killing and injuring 16 cats
Steve Bouquet, who is originally from Chelmsford in Essex, has denied killing and injuring cats in Brighton.
He faces 16 counts of criminal damage, relating to the deaths of nine cats, and injuries to seven others.
The 53-year-old was brought into court as the first case before District Judge Tessa Szagun at Brighton Magistrates’ Court today.
He wore a black leather jacket, white polo shirt, and black trousers as he appeared in the dock.
Bouquet spoke to confirm his name, address and nationality. He was represented by Kirsty Craghill, while David Holman prosecuted.
Mr Holman said the total cost of the criminal damage in the charges was £32,000.
Judge Szagun said the offences are either way offences and released Bouquet on bail.
He was ordered not to enter York Road at the junction with Queen’s Road and North Gardens, not to enter Church Street at the junction of Queen’s Road and Dyke Road, and not to enter Crown Gardens at the junction with Kew Street.
Bouquet will next appear before the Crown Court at either Lewes, Hove, or Brighton on February 20, 2020.