#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
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.
#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
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.
#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
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.
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.
#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
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.
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.
#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 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.
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.
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 bearded dragon
and an African grey parrot called Charlie.
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.
#TheList Matthew Lowe, born 26/03/1979, previously of Newton, Sudbury, Suffolk and more recently 4 Gantry Close, Colchester CO1 2ZP – prosecuted for eight offences for neglect of poultry, pigs and rabbits on his smallholding.
Adam Pearson, prosecuting on behalf of Trading Standards at Suffolk County Council, said inspectors had attended Lowe’s smallholding at land off the Street in Assington, Suffolk, on December 19, 2017 after receiving a tip-off from a neighbour.
The pigs and poultry present on the site were found with no food and inadequate shelter. Piglets were in an unsuitable rearing environment, sows were underweight, and both pigs and poultry had parasites present. Lowe also failed to correctly register to keep pigs.
Mr Pearson described four rabbits which were in such poor health they had to be euthanised.
He said officers found a one large white rabbit lying on its side in an enclosure suffering from breathing problems.
A brown rabbit was discovered with swollen eyes and symptoms of myxomatosis while a second white rabbit was found with a badly injured back leg which had set at an angle, affecting the animal’s movement.
A fourth rabbit was discovered unresponsive with a sore ‘the size of a 50p piece’ on its back.
He added there were signs that rats had infested the rabbit enclosures and that officers also discovered a rubbish bin with four rabbit carcasses inside.
Following the prosecution, Suffolk Trading Standards are now working with Lowe to arrange the safe rehoming of the animals which he owns.
Sentencing: Lowe was given an eight week prison sentence suspended for 18 months, 25 day’s rehabilitation activity requirement; 100 hours of unpaid work, costs of £4,899 and a £115 victim surcharge. He was disqualified from keeping any farmed animal for five years (expires October 2023).
Jeremiah Smith, born July 1997, and his father Jason Smith, born ca 1972, both of 11 Burton Road, Branston, Burton On Trent, Staffordshire DE14 3DL for cruelty to rabbits, hens, owls and a kestrel
Gypsies Jeremiah and Jason Smith were both prosecuted under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
The RSPCA found up to 70 animals at their address at 11 Burton Road including chickens, rabbits and birds of prey, the latter kept in cages for parrots and being fed unsuitable foods. Chickens were also not being treating for a mite infestation.
Smith senior pleaded guilty to charges of failing to prevent the causing of unnecessary suffering to animals between August 10 and 15, 2017.
This included failing to treat 17 chickens for a mite infestation and failing to meet the need for a suitable living environment for 30 chickens. He also pleaded guilty for failing to meet the need for a suitable living environment for three goldfinches.
His son Jeremiah Smith – father to 3yo triplets – pleaded guilty to four charges of causing unnecessary suffering to protected animals.
This included failing to meet the need for a suitable living environment for five rabbits, a kestrel, two barn owls and 12 pigeons as well as failing to meet their need of a suitable diet and constant water supply for the rabbits.
The RSPCA praised the court for their ruling and warned people not to keep animals they cannot look after.
Sentencing: Jason Smith – total fines and charges of £1,055. Jeremiah Smith – total fines and charges of £1,455.Both were disqualified from keeping animals for two years.
Jason Smith’s lawyer said they would be appealing against the decision.
#TheList Edward Mosley, aged 19, of 25 St Annes Road, Newquay TR7 2SA – shot and killed two nesting seagulls with an air rifle
Mosley admitted shooting the two nesting herring gulls.
The RSPCA described the attack as “callous” and urged people to “be tolerant of the wildlife around them”.
RSPCA inspector Paul Kempson, who investigated the gull attacks for the charity, said: “Gulls have a particularly tough time of it and every year we see callous attacks like this, particularly in coastal areas.”
“We urge people to be tolerant of the wildlife living around them, and remember they are protected under law,” he said.
Gulls and their nests are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is illegal to intentionally kill, take or injure wild birds.
Sentence: Curfew, court costs of £385, weapon destroyed.
#TheList Janet Marlene Carter of Newton Moor Farm, Troon, Camborne TR14 9HW and Trevor Alven Hampton of 4 Chapel Court, Edward Street, Camborne TR14 8PA – failed to look after pigs, cattle, horses and birds on their farm
Carter and Hampton were convicted under the Animal Welfare Act after horses, pigs, poultry, sheep and cattle were found living in dirty pens without water and were left exposed to dangerous scrap metal that littered barns and fields.
A miniature Shetland pony was found with overgrown hooves so badly deformed that he had to be put down.
A sheep was so starved of food that he was close to death while ducks were kept locked in complete darkness.
Carter owns Newton Moor Farm and most of the animals, while Hampton stays in a caravan and is responsible for looking after the animals.
An RSPCA inspector was called to a paddock at the farm in March 2017, where a miniature Shetland pony belonging to Carter was found to have severely overgrown hooves.
The inspector described how the pony struggled to get to his feet and had long and misshapen hooves.
The court heard how Carter said at interview that the animal was known informally as ‘the rocking horse’ and said he had “always walked funny”.
Heartless Carter added: “If there’s a problem, we’ll just have it shot and that’s that.”
The pony was released to the RSPCA and a vet discovered the bones in his legs had rotated, causing him extreme pain. Sadly there was no alternative but to euthanise him.
Inspectors visited the farm in April 2017 after a complaint about pigs straying into the road.
New-born piglets were discovered in pig sties shivering without heat lamps. Feeding troughs designed to be hung on a fence were being used, exposing the pigs to sharp hooks, and some sties had no railings to stop the sows accidentally injuring the piglets.
Some of the sows were in dirty conditions while in another barn, the piglets were able to squeeze between railings and mix with the cattle.
Concerns were also raised about the number of cattle, the space provided in a large barn and the mixing of bulls, cows, calves and heifers, which was against good practice.
In another visit, in December 2017, inspectors found collapsed fences and trailing barbed wire, as well as metal panels with exposed sharp edges.
Some free range birds had access to water and fresh bedding while others did not. Four ducks were kept in complete darkness with no ability to swim or bathe their heads.
Inspectors also found a sheep which was so severely emaciated he was almost dead.
Sentencing: Both Carter and Hampton were banned from keeping horses and poultry for ten years. They must wait at least five years before they can apply to the court to have the ban reviewed.
The judge rejected a ban on pigs, sheep and cattle by acknowledging that the pair make their livelihoods from farming.
Carter was sentenced to 12 weeks in custody on each charge, to run concurrently, suspended for one year. She must also pay £7,000 court costs and £115 victim surcharge.
Hampton was jailed for 10 weeks on each charge, again concurrently, suspended for one year. He too must pay £3,000 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.