Category Archives: Birds

Cruelty to domestic and wild birds – budgies, parrots, songbirds, pigeons, seagulls

Aberchirder, Aberdeenshire: Michelle Smith

#TheList hoarder Michelle Smith, born c. 1982, of Wester Culvie, Aberchirder, Huntly, Aberdeenshire AB54 7RB – failed to provide adequate diet, environment and veterinary attention to multiple animals in her care

Hoarder Michelle Smith of Aberchirder, Aberdeenshire, kept dozens of animals in atrocious conditions and allowed some to starve to death
Evidence showed that Michelle Smith hadn’t fed some of her animals for six weeks. Clearly the tubby hoarder didn’t deprive herself of any food.

In a case involving 63 animals including 19 dogs and 21 cats as well as ducks and chickens, Smith was summoned to Aberdeen Sheriff Court to face charges of neglect.

Smith pleaded guilty to five charges, including failure to provide veterinary attention, failure to ensure animals’ needs were met by being deprived of food and fresh water, by being kept in an unsuitable environment, failure to protect the animals from suffering/injury and disease and failure to provide an adequate nutritional diet which ultimately led to animals being caused unnecessary suffering.

Hoarder Michelle Smith of Aberchirder, Aberdeenshire, kept dozens of animals in atrocious conditions and allowed some to starve to death
Kittens starved to death by hoarder Michelle Smith of Aberchirder, near Huntly, Aberdeenshire

Commenting on the investigation and court case, senior Scottish SPCA inspector Alison Simpson said, “After receiving a call to our animal helpline regarding welfare concerns I arrived at the locus and was met by three dogs. I noticed a residential caravan which was not used as a residence but rather had cats in pens at the rear interior.

“Opposite the house I saw a rabbit hutch where kittens could be heard.

“I first asked Smith if I could look in the rabbit hutch where I heard the kittens, it was a two-storey hutch and stank of faeces and urine. The kittens were clawing and climbing at the mesh front. Within the hutch there were eight small kittens alive, around four/five weeks old, all were extremely thin, dirty and wet. There were also three dead kittens which appeared to be emaciated.

Hoarder Michelle Smith of Aberchirder, Aberdeenshire, kept dozens of animals in atrocious conditions and allowed some to starve to death
Hoarder Michelle Smith kept animals in atrocious conditions

“After removing the kittens from the hutch and placing them in my van we then entered the caravan and the stench and presence of cat urine and faeces was overwhelming. On initial inspection I noted one kitten running loose and two areas within the caravan which were pens with mesh doors. I also noticed one dead kitten within one of the pens.

“Venturing back outside I noticed four runs containing poultry, in total seven ducks and eight hens, along with two dead ducks. Smith then stated one of the dogs had got into the run that morning which may account for the deaths. The dead ducks appeared extremely thin.

“Upon veterinary examination it was noted that the caravan contained a considerable amount of faeces, both in the litter tray and on the floor which had built up over a period of a minimum of three weeks with little ventilation. There was no food or water available to the cats inside.

“On an initial inspection of the first caravan room and the seven cats inside they were all noted as being underweight, some severely, and there was evidence of chronic eye issues, gingivitis, ear mites and varying degrees of matting/build-up of faeces. The deceased kitten was in an extremely emaciated state.

“Within the second room of the caravan there was another deceased kitten. This room was in a similar state to the first room in the caravan, with faecal matter covering the room and cats. The six kittens in this room were underweight and the deceased kitten was in an extremely thin/emaciated state.

“Once the vet had examined the kittens which had been removed from the rabbit hutch they were found to be in poor body condition and covered faeces and urine. The kittens all had dirty ears and ear mites.

“All poultry examined at the locus were significantly underweight with two being deceased. Two of the hens were quiet, and hunched over, indicating illness. The vet believed the birds had not had their nutritional requirements met for a minimum of seven days. The ducks were in the same condition, two were kept in a pen by themselves as Smith stated they had been injured by a dog earlier on that day. There was a wound on one of the ducks which had scabbed over. We requested food to aid us examining the birds and when we gave this to them, they were ravenous.

“After being removed, the animals were thoroughly examined by a vet and later taken to one of our rehoming centres.

“Smith fully cooperated with our investigation and signed the animals which were removed over to the Society. This meant we were able to rehome them once they had made full recoveries and did not have to wait for sentencing before doing so.

Sheriff Sukhwinder Gill rejected the procurator fiscal’s call for Smith to be prevented from keeping all animals and instead let her keep her eight dogs. She cannot keep any other pets for 10 years.

Sentencing: ten-year ban on owning and keeping animals, excluding dogs, with a further sentence deferred for six months.

Scottish SPCA
The Sun

Jaywick, Essex: Monshur Alom

#TheList company director Monshur Alom, born 28/11/1981, of 169 Golf Green Road, Jaywick, Clacton-on-Sea CO15 2RL – exposed his Bengal cats to 31 degree heat and left ducks outside without fresh food or water for more than a week

Convicted animal abuser Monshur Alom of Stepney, London, and with links to Jaywick, Essex

Chelmsford magistrates were shown graphic images of the animals’ living conditions during an eight-day period in June 2018, before RSPCA inspectors were able to contact owner Monshur Alom.

Alom, a furniture dealer trading as Royal London Antiques and director of a company named Cheque Bid Ltd, admitted to three breaches of the Animal Welfare Act.

The animals were being kept at the address in Golf Green Road, Jaywick, so the new dad could renovate his other home in Sidney Street, Stepney, London to accommodate the animals and his growing family.

Lauren Bond, prosecuting, called him “clearly unfit” to look after animals.

The ducks, and exotic cats, which he had no licence to keep, are now with the RSPCA.

Ms Bond said: “The inspector was overwhelmed by the heat in the conservatory and the ammonia smell burnt his nose.

“There was blood over the floor as though the cats had dragged raw meat but there was no sign of a carcass. There was a trough of water which was bright green, and large litter trays that appeared very full.

“Outside the ducks were confined to a one metre by three metre alleyway. There was liquid faeces on the floor and it smelt disgusting.”

It was his first time before the court in relation to animal welfare.

Mrs Scoot, mitigating, explained life had got on top of him and he had also been unwell.

Convicted animal abuser Monshur Alom of Stepney, London, and with links to Jaywick, Essex

However, he did accept his actions were a “form of neglect”.

She said: “He’s had the cats for two years and there’s never been any concern or need for the RSPCA to address him or the family.

“Unfortunately, the cats weren’t litter trained so he had them in the property for a short time and renovations were being made to their current property to give them appropriate living conditions.

“He’d had the ducks for significantly less time. A friend was going to kill them so he took the ducks and was going to find another home for them.

“He didn’t plan to keep them long term.”

Sentencing:
180 hours of unpaid work; £685 costs. Banned from keeping animals for ten years.

Southend Standard

Washford, Somerset: Heather Stanton

#TheList hoarder Heather Stanton, born c. 1958, of Barn End, Williton Road, Washford, Somerset TA23 0NU – left several animals to suffer in squalor with untreated health conditions

Some of the pets rescued from animal abuser Heather Stanton from Washford, Somerset
Some of the pets who suffered appalling neglect at the hands of their negligent owner Heather Stanton

Stanton was found guilty of the mistreatment of 11 dogs, including a sheepdog, a Jack Russell Terrier, Chinese Crested type dogs and Pomeranian type dogs.

Some of the pets rescued from animal abuser Heather Stanton from Washford, Somerset

The animals had a number of conditions including eye and skin infections which were not treated.

Stanton was also found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a white lionhead rabbit by confining the animal to the detriment of his wellbeing, to which she had pleaded not guilty.

Stanton pleaded not guilty to causing suffering to a white domestic cat but was again found to be guilty.

She also admitted to the mistreatment of a tortoise and six birds in her care.

Speaking about the case RSPCA inspector Jo Daniel said: “This was an upsetting case of extreme neglect for which there can be no excuse.

“Stanton had more animals than she could cope with and was unable to care for them adequately, as a result sadly many of the animals were suffering.

“All owners are responsible for meeting the needs of the animals in their care and we now look forward to finding these animals the loving homes they deserve.”

Sentencing:
Fined £5,000 and £85 costs. Community order of 80 hours of unpaid work. Disqualified from owning dogs, cats, birds and tortoises for five years under the Animal Welfare Act.

Somerset County Gazette
SomersetLive

Lancaster, Lancashire: Andrew John Rooney

#TheList Andrew John Rooney, born c. 1973, of 26 Mayfield Avenue, Lancaster LA1 2NY – found with two dogs, a cat, a budgie, a hamster and a guinea pig in breach of a 1997 ban on keeping animals.

Serial animal abuser Andrew John Rooney breached a previous ban.
Serial animal abuser Andrew John Rooney breached a previous ban.

Serial animal abuser Andrew John Rooney admitted breaching the lifelong disqualification between January 17, 2016, and July 17, 2018, by keeping two dogs, known as Shadow and Max, a cat known as Magic, alongside a bird, hamster and guinea pig.

Serial animal abuser Andrew John Rooney breached a previous ban.

Rooney pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to one of the dogs, a Labrador, by failing to seek adequate veterinary treatment for her skin condition between February and April 27, 2018.

Sentencing:
14 -week jail term, suspended for two years; rehabilitation activity requirement; 150 hours of unpaid work. Total of £615 costs and charges.

Lancashire Post

Carluke, North Lanarkshire: Margaret Thomson Forsyth

#TheList Margaret Thomson Forsyth, born 1962, of 9x Unitas Crescent, Carluke, North Lanarkshire ML8 5AP – breached a 15-year ban on keeping animals imposed in 2006 following a case of appalling pet neglect

Margaret Forsyth from Carluke breached a 15-year ban on keeping animals imposed on her in 2006
Margaret Forsyth from Carluke breached a 15-year ban on keeping animals imposed on her in 2006

In August 2006 Margaret Forsyth was banned from keeping animals for 15 years after admitting to causing suffering to three toy poodle dogs, two of whom had to be destroyed.

Forsyth kept the dogs locked in her kitchen and refused to walk, groom or clip them. The poodles were described as being “in a terrible state” when found living in squalor. All of them had advanced dental problems: their teeth were loose, one poodle’s jaw had disintegrated and another had a hole in the roof of hear mouth. Two of the dogs had to be euthanised to end their suffering.

Forsyth pleaded guilty to causing the dogs unnecessary suffering by failing to provide grooming and veterinary treatment.

Twelve years on and Forsyth was found to have breached her ban after Scottish SPCA officers discovered a 12-year-old Jack Russell dog, a 15-year-old female domestic short haired cat and a budgie at her property.

In December 2018 she was ordered to pay a £360 fine. An additional 21 month disqualification order was add on to her existing 15 year ban, which will now expire around May 2023.

Scottish SPCA news

Liskeard, Cornwall: Briony Coster

#TheList Briony Coster, born c. 1976, of no fixed above but with links to Liskeard, Cornwall, and Paignton in Devon – abandoned her pet parrots in an empty property

Briony Coster was banned from keeping birds after abandoning parrots
Briony Coster was banned from keeping birds after abandoning parrots

Coster admitted leaving an African grey parrot, who was found in a dirty cage with stale water, and a blue and gold macaw, who was discovered in a cluttered room on a stand with some food and stale water, alone in a property in Liskeard for six days in July 2018.

Both birds – which were underweight when they were rescued – were removed with the authority of the landlord, who had repossessed the property, and taken to a vets for examination.

RSPCA deputy chief inspector Suzy Hannaby, who investigated for the animal welfare charity, said: “There is never an excuse for simply walking away and leaving an animal to potentially face a long slow death from starvation.

“There is help available for those who, for whatever reason, find themselves unable to provide for their animals and we encourage people to seek out this help, rather than abandoning an animal.”

The two birds, which have since recovered in foster care, will be found new homes.

Sentencing:
12-month conditional discharge. Fines and charges of £470. Banned from keeping all avian species for two years.

CornwallLive

 

Rowan West travellers site, Darlington: William Henry Welch and William Chates

#TheList William (‘Billy’) Henry Welch, born c. 1989, and William Chates, born c. 1965, both of Rowan West caravan site, Levisham Lane, Darlington DL2 1QZ – for “horrific and abhorrent” cockfighting offences

Travellers Billy Welsh (top left) and William Chates organised and participated in cruel cockfights
Travellers Billy Welsh (top left) and William Chates organised and participated in cruel cockfights

North Yorkshire Police officers described footage of the cockfights, recorded on a mobile phone, as one of the worst examples of animal cruelty they had ever seen – and hailed the “landmark” custodial sentence.

On 13 January 2018, acting on an anonymous call to the police control room, officers from North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce and the RSPCA attended premises at Skutterskelf, near Stokesley, North Yorkshire.

A number of men were located there. Officers searched buildings and vehicles, and seized a total of 27 live birds, some of which were bleeding from fresh cuts to the body and head. Inside a stable block, officers located bird feathers, and dried and fresh bloodstains on the floor and carpet.

During the enquiry, an examination was carried out on a mobile phone recovered from Welch, which revealed he was present at a number of other cockfights, on 19 December 2017 and 4 January 2018.

Investigators described the extremely graphic video footage on the phone as “sickening”.

The RSPCA provided expert evidence about the condition of the birds, and arranged for their safe storage and ongoing care.

Billy Welch pleaded guilty to charges of causing an animal fight to take place, keeping animals for fighting, and being present at an animal fight on three occasions in December 2017 and January 2018.

Travellers Billy Welsh (top left) and William Chates organised and participated in cruel cockfights
William Henry Welch

Jailing Welch, magistrates told him: “You put your own recreational needs before the welfare of your animals, in the most horrific and abhorrent circumstances.”

William Chates pleaded guilty to being present at an animal fight.

Two further defendants were found not guilty.

Sentencing:
Billy Welch was sentenced to 20 weeks in jail, disqualified from keeping all animals for 20 years, and ordered to pay a total of £2,000 costs.

William Chates was sentenced to 120 hours of unpaid work, disqualified from keeping all animals for 10 years, and ordered to pay £170 costs.

North Yorkshire Police
Northern Echo

Marylebone, London: Sebastian Conceicao

#TheList Sebastian Conceicao, born c. 1965, whose address was given in court as Dorset Street, Marylebone, London W1U – caused unnecessary suffering to a goose by leaving it tethered by twine.

The incident took place in Worthing, West Sussex. The goose suffered an injury to its leg.

Sentencing:
Total costs and charges of £514.03. Disqualified from keeping any animal for 12 months (expires November 2019).

Worthing Herald court round-up

Gravesend, Kent: Julius Gadzor

 #TheList Julius Gadzor, born c.  1979, of Wellington Street, Gravesend, Kent  DA12 – trapped and kept wild birds by putting rat glue on feeders in his garden

Julius Gadzor from Gravesend is originally from Slovakia
Julius Gadzor from Gravesend is originally from Slovakia

Slovakian Gadzor admitted possessing wild birds and trapping them.

Officers from the Rural Task Force for Kent joined forced with the RSPCA on Thursday, June 14, 2018, to conduct a search of Gadzor’s home following a tip off they received from the RSPB.

A number of caged wild birds were seized as well as rat glue and other bird trapping equipment.

Some of the cages in which Julius Gadzor kept the wild birds he'd trapped

Gadzor was interviewed four days later where he admitted that he was trying to catch them illegally in his garden.

Sergeant Darren Walshaw, who co-ordinated the search, said: “This is an excellent example of partnership working. The intelligence received from the RSPB allowed us to gain enough information to request a search warrant and the case built by the RSPCA resulted in the man having to admit his guilt.

“Bird trapping is not only illegal, it is incredibly cruel. We are committed to working with our partner agencies to put these criminals, who illegally trap birds for their own financial gain, before the court.”

A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “To take a wild bird from its natural habitat and shut it inside a tiny cage is so cruel. They suffer greatly in captivity, are not used to being in cages and, sadly, often die.

“All wild birds in England and Wales, their nests and their eggs are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and actions may only be taken under specific licences.’

“It is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to trap wild birds.”

Sentencing:
28-day curfew; total of £385 costs and charges. 

Metro
KentOnline

 

Meir, Stoke-on-Trent: Natalie Keenan and David Knight

#TheList Natalie Keenan, born c. 1989, and David Knight, born c. 1977, both of Sandon Old Road, Meir, Stoke-on-Trent ST3 – kept 23 pets – including a barn owl, a fox and a raccoon dog – inside a smelly and flea-ridden house of horrors

David Knight and Natalie Keenan of Meir, Stoke kept 23 pets - including owl, fox and raccoon dog - inside 'smelly and flea-ridden' house of horrors

David Knight pleaded guilty to five charges related to animal cruelty, while Natalie Keenan admitted four offences under the Animal Welfare Act.

The pair’s mini-zoo was discovered by chance when a utility company official went round to the Meir home to execute a warrant as they hadn’t paid their gas bill.

He alerted the RSPCA, who were confronted by the stench of neglect, with piles of dog poo in the kitchen, rotting chickens in a snake tank and animals covered in fleas.

David Knight and Natalie Keenan of Meir, Stoke kept 23 pets - including owl, fox and raccoon dog - inside 'smelly and flea-ridden' house of horrors

Other creatures – from pets to exotics to wild animals – were being kept in tiny filthy cages, with barely enough room to move and without ready access to water.

A raccoon dog kept in a foul cage by Natalie Keenan and David Knight from Meir, Stoke

One terrier-type dog, called Lexi, was in such a poor condition that she had to be put to sleep.

Hazel Stevens, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said Lexi was experiencing ‘significant suffering’. She was virtually blind, emaciated with protruding bones, had little fur and an infected tumour that was hidden underneath a ‘foul-smelling mess’.

The dog was found curled up on a pile of dirty nappies and had to be carried out of the house as she couldn’t walk.

The couple also had:

  • another dog, Mocha the French bulldog
  • a cat called Gizzy, who both had skin and flea problems;
  • a barn owl caged up in a bedroom
  • a fox living in a cage in another room;
  • a racoon dog
  • a rat
  • a bearded dragon
  • five snakes
  • eight degus;
  • and an African grey parrot called Charlie.

David Knight and Natalie Keenan of Meir, Stoke kept 23 pets - including owl, fox and raccoon dog - inside 'smelly and flea-ridden' house of horrors
Lexi was in such poor condition she had to be put to sleep

RSPCA Inspector Charlotte Melvin said: “When I arrived at the property the couple wouldn’t let me inside so I waited outside for over two hours until police arrived.

“During that time the family carried bin bag after bin bag of rubbish out of the house.

“When I finally went inside it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Even though they’d been clearing out for two hours it was still absolutely filthy and the animals were being kept in horrifying conditions.

“There was cage after cage and animal after animal. The rooms were strewn with rubbish, all of the animals’ accommodation was filthy and their welfare needs were clearly not being met.

“It was disgusting and it was mass-scale neglect.”

The other animals remain in RSPCA care and can now be rehomed or moved to suitable keepers.

“Many of these animals simply shouldn’t be kept as pets let alone kept like this,” Inspector Melvin added.

“To see these poor animals living in such squalor was heartbreaking. I’m just glad they can all now have a second chance at find loving new homes where their needs will be properly catered to.”

Sentencing: 12-month community order including a 30-hour rehabilitation requirement. Total of £235 each in costs and charges.  Both were disqualified from keeping animals for three years.

Stoke Sentinel
Signal1