#TheList Cherie Samantha Moore (born 11/04/1988), wife Robyn Melissa Moore born 03/01/1987) and their friend Aaron Cummings (born 02/10/1987) all of 37 Cables Wynd House, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6DF – kept nine cats, one dog and a rabbit in cramped and filthy conditions in a flat
A Scottish SPCA investigation found that the majority of the cats were kept inside two rooms, and they were eating food so hungrily it was causing them to choke.
The dog was in lean condition and had a visible skin issue. She was also very anxious and mentally highly strung. They found her pacing around a room and scratching excessively.
The rabbit had overgrown nails which were affecting his mobility. He has since had to be put to sleep due to severe dental issues.
The trio admitted failing to provide the basic needs for the animals, including a suitable environment, veterinary treatment and diet.
Scottish SPCA chief inspector Paul Anderson said, “The living environment for these animals was cramped and filthy.
“The majority of the cats were contained in two rooms.
“Upon entering the rooms, our inspectors were overwhelmed with the smell of ammonia.
“Four cats were in one room, eating food so hungrily, it was causing them to choke. They were clearly starving.
“No food or water was provided in the other room where three other cats were kept.
“The dog, Honey, was in a lean condition and had a visible skin condition that had caused hair loss along her back and down her legs.
“She appeared very anxious and mentally highly strung. She was pacing around the room and was scratching excessively.
“The male rabbit, Snowy, was found to have very overgrown nails which were affecting his mobility but was otherwise in good condition.”
He added: “Police Scotland were called to assist with the seizure of the animals.
“On veterinary examination, the body condition of the cats was overall very poor. Their health issues ranged from emaciation and dehydration, to flea infestation and visible signs of stress, such as excessive itching.
“The cats and dog have since been successfully rehomed. Unfortunately, due to severe dental issues, Snowy the rabbit had to be put to sleep on veterinary advice.”
Sentencing: all three were banned from keeping animals for three years.
#TheList Gale Elizabeth Maitland, born 15/02/1967 of Carbarns West, Wishaw ML2 0DE – kept cats and a dog in fly- and faeces-infested conditions
Following a tip-off from a concerned postal worker, Scottish SPCA inspectors attended Gale Maitland’s home and were confronted with a scene of horror, with five cats and a dog living in the foulest of conditions.
Maitland admitted two charges of failing to admit the needs of the animals.
Depute fiscal Abby Seal said: “In March police received an anonymous call from a Royal Mail worker who had attended at the locus during her shift and noticed the door lying ajar.
“The caller believed the house had been trashed and wanted to make a report because the house was in a state of disarray and she could see a dog in a cage in a distressed state.
“The house was in an extremely unsanitary state and in complete disarray and there was an overpowering, pungent smell of urine being intensified by the central heating.
“Inspectors from the SPCA found the hall and stairway full of clothing, bin bags, rubbish and half-eaten takeaway boxes.
“Several cats were seen eating mouldy food from takeaway boxes.
“Throughout the property there was animal faeces and urine on the furniture.
“In the kitchen there was a tan crossbreed dog in a crate on the floor which was in a distressed state and the crate was described as being in a horrendous state and totally unsuitable for a dog to caged within it.
“The crate had a deep build-up of faeces and food which was several inches high.
“A downstairs toilet was being used as a large waste area with bin bags stacked on top of each other 6ft high.
“There was an overpowering smell of ammonia coming from three cat litter trays and it was described by inspectors as the worst litter trays they had seen.
“The master bedroom was in a similar state to the rest of the house and a small cat was observed eating from a partially eaten pizza box.
“Photographs were taken of each animal and they were taken to the Lanarkshire rehoming centre.”
Kauser Iqbal, defending, said: “There was no deliberate intent on her part relating to these offences.
“She was under an extreme amount of stress with the health of her father and long hours that she was working.
“The wake up call for her was when the animals were taken away by officers from the SPCA.
“She has taken significant steps in the property and has replaced every item of furniture and carpet inside.
“This wasn’t a deliberate or planned course of action and she has been extremely stressed over these proceedings.”
Two of the cats known as ‘Chance’ and ‘Loki’ will be returned to Maitland but the other three will be re-homed along with the dog.
Sentencing: 240 hours of unpaid work. Banned from keeping dogs for life.
#TheList Tiffany Guest, born 25/12/1989, previously of Winn Close in Kenilworth, Warwickshire and with links to Washbourne Road, Leamington Spa CV31 2LD – left her pets to starve to death after she moved out of her flat and locked them inside.
Guest cruelly abandoned her cats Reggie and Ronnie and dog Kray in a property before concerned neighbours alerted police 10 days later.
Officers forced entry into the flat in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, and discovered the emaciated Staffordshire bull terrier-type dog and the body of a starved cat on May 30, 2017.
Shockingly, a court heard how Kray had only survived by eating Ronnie after running out of contents scavenged from the bin.
The RSPCA were alerted and took Kray into care for treatment while an investigation was launched.
Guest was traced to near her work, which was only a mile away from the flat where she abandoned the pets.
But she left the country in a bid to evade justice after being told she faced animal welfare offences and was later traced to Malta.
Guest returned to the UK 13 months ago and was arrested by border control for the outstanding warrant.
She was brought before magistrates in relation to the animal cruelty charges and was bailed to re-appear at another date – but again fled to Malta.
On October 10, 2019, Guest was again arrested after she re-entered the country and was remanded in custody until her case at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court.
Pictures released by the RSPCA show the emaciated body of poor pooch Kray and the remains of Reggie strewn across the untidy flat.
Other heartbreaking images show how the animals had trawled leftover food from the bin in a desperate bid to survive.
RSPCA Inspector Boris Lasserre said after the case: “It is incomprehensible to think the suffering these pets must have endured and how terrified they must have been for such a long period of time before the cats died of starvation.
“It must have been terrible for Kray to watch as the cats died in front of him.
“There was evidence the pets had scavenged to try and feed themselves as the bin contents were all over the kitchen floor.
“Just 14 days later, by being fed properly in RSPCA care he made an amazing recovery with a significant increase in weight.
“Warwickshire Police officers did an amazing job in finding Kray, who they renamed Bobby, just in time as he would not have survived much longer.
“He is a lovely gentle dog and made a remarkable recovery in RSPCA care and has now been re-homed.”
In mitigation, the court was told she suffered from depression at the time of the incident.
Sentencing: 18 weeks in jail. Ordered to pay £372 costs and charges. Banned from keeping all animals for 15 years.
#TheList Thomas J Keenan, born 1972, of Hamsterly Park, Northampton NN3 5DX – failed to get treatment for his pet cat’s serious leg injury; leg amputated
Keenan pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to his cat, Beauty, when he appeared before magistrates.
The court heard how the RSPCA were called in after receiving reports from a concerned member of the public who said Beauty had a serious leg injury that had not been treated.
RSPCA Inspector Michelle Hare visited on July 13, 2019, and could see that there was a problem with Beauty’s back left leg.
The leg was twisted inwards and looked floppy, the cat was unable to put any weight on it so, with Keenan’s permission, she took Beauty for veterinary treatment.
The vet said that Beauty had a broken femur and the bone had rubbed on her skin causing an abscess that had become infected.
He added that he estimated the pet had suffered for about three weeks.
Beauty had her leg amputated but has made a great recovery and has now been rehomed by the RSPCA.
Inspector Hare said: “We still are not sure how Beauty came to be injured but believed she may have been involved in a car accident.
“She had a nasty injury and she was struggling to walk so should have been taken to the vets straight away. Many vets will offer a payment plan to help spread the cost and there are charities who can help with vet bills.”.”
His other two cats will also be rehomed by the RSPCA.
In mitigation, the court was told that Keenan was aware of the injury but could not afford veterinary treatment.
Sentencing: 120 hours of unpaid work; £385 costs. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
#TheList Harry Thompson, born 19/09/2001, of Burton Road, Woodville, Swadlincote DE11 – put a cat inside a washing machine overnight until she suffocated; laughed about what he had done
Thompson appeared at the youth court at North Staffordshire Justice Centre where he admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the cat, known as Squeak.
The court was told the next day when the cat was found dead there was “hilarity and mocking” from Thompson.
The court heard that between November 12 and November 14, 2018, at a house in Jennings Way, Burton, Thompson caused unnecessary suffering to Squeak by throwing her and placing her in a washing machine.
Magistrates noted that Thompson’s actions would have caused the cat prolonged suffering.
Sentencing: four-month detention training order – half to be spent in custody and the other under supervision. Ordered to pay £230 compensation and charges. Banned from owning animals for five years.
#TheList Maria Warren, born 15/04/1966, of Parc An Tansys, Tansys, Camborne TR14 7PH – kept a dog and two cats in squalid conditions
Maria Warren was found guilty, in her absence, at an earlier hearing and was brought back to the court on warrant for sentencing.
The RSPCA had issued a warning notice to Warren on 3 May 2019, explaining that her pets were not living in a suitable environment. Warren failed to follow the charity’s advice and later denied access to them, causing concern for the welfare of the animals inside.
On June 7, 2019, a warrant was executed by the police where two cats, known as Midge and Smudge, and a dog, known as Finlay, were rescued.
Subsequent examination by a veterinary surgeon concluded that Midge was suffering as he was underweight, with extensive fur loss, scabbing and live fleas.
RSPCA Inspector Paul Kempson said: “The ground floor living room and kitchen were extremely messy with what appeared to be bags of general rubbish covering all of the floor area to a depth of about two feet.
“This rubbish was also covered in what appeared to be cat and dog faeces in various places. The kitchen was in a state of complete disarray with rubbish all over the floor, every work surface and the sink was piled high with unwashed dishes.
“Throughout the ground floor there were many hazards for the dog and cats inside the property, including empty dog and cat food tins all over the place.
“This case highlights how pet owners must follow advice, or seek help and support if they are struggling to cope with a situation they find themselves in.
“By failing to do this, and by displaying incompetent care, these animals were found in these awful conditions.”
In mitigation, the court heard that this was well intended but incompetent care and that the neglect of the animals was not deliberate.
Sentencing: ordered to pay £300 Banned from keeping animals for life with right of appeal after three years.
#TheList Mark Cuthbert, born 07/03/1977, of 82 Thornyflat Place, Ayr KA8 0NE – set his dogs on wildlife including badgers; bought cats online to use as live bait for his dogs; failed to get vet treatment for his dogs’ fighting injuries
Mark Cuthbert pleaded guilty to keeping dogs for the purpose of an animal fight and killing a cat at home and at another premises.
Cuthbert used the selling website Gumtree to purchase the cats – with many owners believing their animals were going to a safe home.
The Scottish SPCA’s special investigations unit (SIU) received intelligence in March 2018 that Cuthbert had dogs for animal fighting. The SIU obtained a warrant to search Cuthbert’s address and, upon inspection, found his pets had injuries consistent with animal fighting.
They also suspected he had been self-medicating his dogs to avoid drawing attention to his illegal activities.
Investigators seized an electronic device that contained video and images of animal fights. The clips included Cuthbert’s dogs killing badgers and domestic cats.
Objects in the footage matched animal fighting paraphernalia discovered at his home. Among the items seized were tracking collars, nets, live animal traps, syringes, superglue, and pet carriers.
DNA analysis of these supported the case that many of the items were used for animal fighting.
The dogs involved in the case were black and white Patterdale terrier, Billy, and two brown female Patterdale terriers known as Digger and Tally.
Cuthbert pleaded guilty to keeping dogs, cats and a rat for an animal fight contrary to the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 under Section 23 (1) (a), for procuring cats for the purpose of animal fighting and arranging, participating and causing animal fights to take place under Section 23 (2) of the Act.
Commenting on the investigation and court case, a Scottish SPCA undercover special investigation unit (SIU) officer said, “This is a truly horrific case of animal cruelty, where we suspect dozens of animals have suffered mentally and physically at the hands of Mark Cuthbert. His inhumane treatment of animals is completely unacceptable.”
“We investigate reports of animal fights every week and the imagery and videos we discovered on his phone are some of the most depraved and upsetting we have seen. One harrowing video shows the three dogs attacking a domestic cat in a field which is fighting for its life. It’s clear the cat was caused horrendous suffering and many of the cats he purchased will have suffered long, torturous deaths.
“Cuthbert had been picking up the cats for his dogs to attack from the online selling site, Gumtree.
“After contacting Gumtree, we found correspondence between Cuthbert and people who had listed their cats on the site which led us to believe large numbers of cats were uplifted from pet owners who trusted their cats were going to a good, safe home.
“As well as the cats he purchased under false pretence, his own dogs have been treated appallingly. When we visited Cuthbert, two of his dogs had very obvious facial injuries and scars to the face, nose and jaw. Digger had a healed injury to the lower lip which had caused a v-shaped deformity and Billy was very aggressive when approached.
“If you are using an online service to find a new home for, or sell, your pet, please be vigilant and ensure your pet is going to a safe environment. If you are suspicious, do not continue with the sale and notify the Scottish SPCA as soon as possible.”
The Scottish SPCA’s special investigations unit are experts in investigating animal fighting offences and rely on information from the public to continue to put a stop to this horrific activity. All information shared with the Scottish SPCA can be treated with confidentiality and can be reported to the animal helpline on 03000 999 999.
Sentencing: ten months’ imprisonment. Ten-year ban on owning or keeping any animal.
#TheList Robert Jason High, born 20/12/1996, and Damien Robert Beales, born 16/04/1998, both currently of 17 James Street, Barrow-in-Furness LA14 1EH – neglected and starved a large number of cats; desperate animals resorted to cannibalism.
Robert High and his partner Damien Beales left cats to starve at a property in Northgate Road, Stoneycroft, Liverpool L13
RSPCA officers discovered starving cats eating the decomposing remains of others when they visited the house on 25 April 2019.
They found up to ten cats who were so desperate and hungry that they had shockingly resorted to cannibalism.
Five dead cats were in the process of being eaten.
The grim remains were discovered by the property’s landlord who was so disturbed that he contacted the police who next alerted the RSPCA.
Beales and High both pleaded guilty to one charge of cruelty.
The prosecution has been previously adjourned after both men, Beales and High repeatedly failed to turn up.
Sentencing: 16-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months. Each ordered to pay £500 costs and a £115 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping animals for life.
High and Beales move around frequently. They only lived in Stoneycroft for five months. Prior to living there, they lived in Kirkdale, Liverpool. Neighbours of the Kirkdale property allege they overheard the couple accusing each other of raping cats.
High is said to have serious mental health issues, including self-harming. He has a YouTube channel called My Borderline LIfe on which he discusses his borderline personality disorder and also ‘sings’.