#TheList Roma gypsies from Hungary Norbert Farkas, born 25/09/1989, and Leila Katalin Horvath, born c. 18/02/1991, previously of Parkside Road, Birkenhead CH42 – struck a mother dog with a metal bar, fed her sausages laced with anti-freeze, left her to suffer for three days in agony and finally stabbed her to death.
Wirral Magistrates’ Court heard how on April 5, 2019 RSPCA inspector Anthony Joynes was contacted by environmental health officers to attend an alleyway off Parkside Road in Birkenhead.
Chris Murphy, prosecuting, told the court how Inspector Joynes found a dead American bulldog wrapped in bin bags and a paddling pool.
Mr Murphy said that the dog’s body was covered with live maggots.
The court heard how Inspector Joynes then went to question Norbert Farkas about the dead dog as his home overlooked the alleyway.
Farkas initially said that that the dog was not his, but then admitted ownership.
He said that the dog, an American bulldog named Luna, who had recently given birth to 12 puppies, had attacked him. He said he hit the dog with a metal bar in self-defence and to protect his partner Leila Horvath.
When Inspector Joynes later questioned Horvath, she admitted that she fed the dog anti-freeze and then stabbed her.
Farkas pleaded guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
Horvath pleaded guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, one count of poisoning and failing to see that the dog received proper medical attention.
Mr Murphy later provided graphic details of the events that led up to the dog’s death.
He explained how Farkas struck the dog with a weights bar.
After going online to research how to kill a dog, Horvath fed the animal chicken land sausages aced with anti-freeze.
The court heard that Horvath thought the dog would die quickly but the animal lay in the alleyway lingering to life.
On the third day Horvath took a large knife and later stabbed the animal in the throat.
Mr Murphy made it clear that the couple would have been able to see the dog as it lay whimpering in the alleyway over a three day period.
District Judge Nicholas Sanders told the court that the case was one of “unimaginable cruelty”.
Horvath told probation officers that Luna’s behavior began to deteriorate after she gave birth to puppies.
She said that she bought anti-freeze from a nearby garage and laced it on sausages, which were fed to the dog.
Horvath said that she thought the dog would die quickly but she did not.
She said that the dog was making “strange noises” and she was concerned that neighbours might call the police. She then decided to grab a large kitchen knife and stab the dog to death.
She told probation officers that they had been reviled by the local community after the incident and had to move to a new address.
Farkas said he had been advised by health professionals to buy a large dog to help treat his mental health problems and stress.
Farkas also claimed that Luna became aggressive toward them after she gave birth to puppies. He claimed that this aggressive behaviour led up to the attack on him.
He claimed to have suffered a panic attack after the dog attacked him and said that was why his partner decided to kill her.
Thomas Hanlon, defending, said that Horvath took full responsibility for her actions.
He said that the couple arrived in the UK from Hungary in 2010 and had both worked full time since arriving, contributing to society.
Mr Hanlon said that the couple had been targeted after their animals were seized by the RSPCA, and that a petrol bomb was thrown at their home.
He said the couple were forced to leave their home in the night after the attack.
Mr Murphy said that a vets report found that if the dog had attacked Farkas in the way he claimed he would have suffered serious injuries which he did not have.
District Judge Sanders told the couple: “You struck the dog with a metal bar, and then you poisoned it with anti-freeze before stabbing it.
“It is hard to imagine a more cruel way of dealing with an animal.”
Speaking after the case, RSPCA inspector Joynes told the ECHO: “Farkas said that Luna had ‘gone for’ his foot and that although there was no injury, it hurt and he felt fear for his and his partner’s life. He described using a metal weightlifting bar to forcefully strike Luna two to three times on the head.
“Farkas stated that Luna had been alive in the garden for around an hour. Horvarth admitted that she had then gone outside and given Luna antifreeze in sausages.”
“Horvath said she had researched the cost of getting a dog euthanised and had also researched poisoning dogs and what chemical to use. Over the next few days, Luna was in the garden slowly dying from poisoning until she was stabbed to death three days later.
“It is absolutely horrific to think what Luna went through. Luna was caused suffering on multiple levels over several days, which was unnecessary and cruel.
“Horvath and Farkas knew Luna could have been put to sleep humanely by a vet but evidence shows that she was killed in her own way over a period of several days, leaving her to suffer greatly.”
A male American bulldog and 12 puppies were seized from Horvath’s and Farkas’ address by police while an investigation was carried out.
Vet examinations of the puppies showed that they were suffering from respiratory illnesses.
All 12 puppies have now been rehomed. The male dog is now in RSPCA care and will be re-homed.
Sentencing: jailed for 10 weeks. Banned from keeping animals for life with minimum of 10 years.
Update 16/08/19 Horvath and Farkas are believed to have moved to a flat on Kingsland Road, Birkenhead CH42 9NN.