Category Archives: Dogs

Cruelty to dogs

Hartlepool, County Durham: Michaela Durkin

#TheList Michaela Alison Durkin, born c. 1995, of Jesmond Gardens, Hartlepool TS24 – allowed her dog to suffer with a broken leg for a month, eventually forcing vets to amputate it.

Whippet Lola was left to suffer with a broken leg for four weeks by her callous owner Michaela Durkin
Whippet Lola was left to suffer with a broken leg for four weeks by her callous owner Michaela Durkin

Durkin pleaded guilty one count of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal between March and April 2019.

The mother-of-two lied to RSPCA inspectors claiming her whippet, Lola, had fallen down the stairs and injured her right hind leg, but appeared to “brighten up” after a couple of days.

A member of the public contacted the animal welfare charity after noticing the family pet had an “obvious and noticeable injury”. Lola was unable to put any weight on the leg and it appeared visibly swollen.

The court heardhow Durkin denied witnessing Lola falling down the stairs, but had heard a yelp. However, she claimed she could not remember the date that the dog first began holding up one leg.

Dave Dedman, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said: “Lola was taken to see a vet who stated she was incapable of putting any weight on the leg and it was clear there was a fracture to the femur, muscle contractures and shortening of the limb.

“She said that had occurred over a prolonged period of time. She was hospitalised on April 5, 2019, but very sadly, because of the break and because the muscle had contracted, Lola had her right hind leg amputated on April 8.”

Whippet Lola was left to suffer with a broken leg for four weeks by her callous owner Michaela Durkin

Durkin, was interviewed four days later and said she thought Lola had not been herself for a couple of days, but had perked back up and she had no reason to think Lola’s leg was broken.

Vets caring for the whippet confirmed it was impossible for the dog to have sustained the injury by falling down the stairs and said the fracture had happened at least four weeks prior to the RSPCA investigation.

Whippet Lola was left to suffer with a broken leg for four weeks by her callous owner Michaela Durkin

They instead suggested Lola’s leg had been subjected to “substantial lateral force”. The court heard allegations that the father of Durkin’s children had kicked the dog, however no charges were brought against him.

Mr Dedman concluded there had been “prolonged neglect”, adding: “It’s a very sad and there’s a high level of suffering caused to the dog, to the point where her leg had to be amputated.”

A probation report stated Durkin had significant personal and financial problems and could not afford veterinary bills.

Durkin’s solicitor, Gavin Musgrave, conceded the family pet had sustained a “horrific injury” and told the court that Lola had been signed over into the care of the RSPCA.

Mr Musgrave said: “She was a responsible dog owner and she’s had animals in the past. She’s very remorseful for the incident and she’s fearful of the consequences.”

Sentencing: 12-month community order; total of £485 fine and charges. Disqualified from owning or being in control of any animal for ten years.

Northern Echo
Teesside Live

Lurgan, Co Armagh: Kyle Keegan

#TheList Kyle Keegan, born c. 1994, of 7 Gilpins Manor, Lurgan BT66 8AG – filmed himself bludgeoning a 12-week-old puppy to death with a hammer; broadcast the killing on social media

Puppy killer Kyle Keegan of Gilpins Manor, Lurgan, Northern Ireland
Kyle Keegan pictured outside court and his victim, 12-week-old crossbreed puppy Sparky

In a case that dragged on for several months evil puppy killer Kyle Keegan finally confessed to his evil crime on 4 June 2019.

Puppy killer Kyle Keegan of Gilpins Manor, Lurgan, Northern Ireland

Sparky’s body was found in a bin in Ailsbury Park, Lurgan in February 2018.

A post-mortem examination confirmed the dog sustained fractures as well as severe brain trauma.

Prosecuting counsel Nicola Auret outlined how Sparky’s body lay undiscovered in a bin, wrapped in a plastic bag, for two days before owner Ellen Hoy found him having been sent a tip off that “the dog was dead.”

Ms Hoy had a party at her home that weekend and she fed Sparky that Saturday morning before going to her father’s house later on, leaving Sparky in his crate in the front hallway.

A “really drunk” Keegan and a “number of other young people” had been at the party, said Ms Auret, adding that when Ms Hoy came home, Sparky was gone.

“She was told that he had got out,” the lawyer told the court, leading her to search the area and put out an appeal on Facebook.

Ms Hoy again searched for Sparky the following day, Sunday 4 February, but received text messages that evening “that the dog was dead and in the bin.”

The following morning, she found her dog in a bin wrapped in a plastic bag.

Puppy killer Kyle Keegan of Gilpins Manor, Lurgan, Northern Ireland

Ms Auret told the court a hammer and a t-shirt, both spattered with blood, were found beside the washing machine in Ms Hoy’s home and there was also spots of blood in the hallway where Sparky’s crate was.

When Ms Hoy asked Keegan if he had killed Sparky he claimed he was “drunk” and couldn’t remember.

She showed Keegan his blood-spattered top but he told her “he didn’t know how the blood got on it.”

Swabs from the hammer, the top and from the blood spattered wall were sent for forensic analysis and the results provided “extremely strong support that the DNA had come from the dog.

Puppy killer Kyle Keegan of Gilpins Manor, Lurgan, Northern Ireland

Arrested and interviewed, Keegan admitted the top was his but claimed he had “no memory of anything which occurred over the weekend.”

At one stage there had also been allegations that Sparky’s body had been put into a microwave and tissue samples were sent to Scotland for expert analysis but to date, no evidence of that has been forthcoming.

Defence counsel Barry McKenna conceded at the very start of his plea in mitigation that “it is difficult to say that this case is anything other than appalling.”

“It is difficult to rationalise the defendant’s conduct…it is completely inexplicable when one considers that the defendant himself describes himself as an animal lover.

“He is deeply sorry – it’s completely out of character,” declared Mr McKenna.

Puppy killer Kyle Keegan of Gilpins Manor, Lurgan, Northern Ireland

Jailing Keegan, Judge Rafferty said the fact that he had no memory of the incident, coupled with his lack of criminal convictions for violence caused him “very grave concerns” given the lack of explanation for the attack.

“Quite frankly, your actions towards this pup were vile, disgusting and savage,” declared the judge, telling Keegan it would be “absolutely patently clear to anyone such an animal would be entirely defenceless.”

Previous courts have also heard how police conducted enquiries with social media outlets after the incident was broadcast online.

Sentencing: 15 months in jail; banned from owning any animal for 30 years.

Irish News

Wallsend, Tyne and Wear: Clare Joyce

#TheList Clare Joyce, born 1993, of Station Road, Wallsend NE28 – left her husky puppy to fend for herself when she went into hospital

Irresponsible Clare Joyce from Wallsend told no one about her puppy when she went into hospital. The dog was left to fend for herself.
Irresponsible Clare Joyce left puppy Mishka to fend for herself when she went into hospital

Mother-of-two Clare-Louise Joyce was banned from keeping animals for just three years after puppy Mishka had to be rescued from her filthy home by the RSPCA

Joyce hadn’t told anyone about the dog but thankfully vigilant neighbours raised the alarm.

In court Joyce admitted failing to ensure the welfare of an animal.

Stewart Haywood, prosecuting, said: “The conditions inside were filthy.

“There were faeces strewn around and some of these faeces were mouldy.”

The court heard Mishka was “lean” when RSPCA inspectors found her and ate and drank ravenously.

Mr Haywood said: “It could have been much worse if Mishka had been left for longer.”

It was claimed the defendant had been battling with both her physical and mental health when the dog was left.

Mitigating, Mark Styles claimed a “perfect storm” of events unfolded in her personal life which led to the incident.

He said: “She’s utterly, utterly devastated Mishka was left,” claimed the solicitor, who said his client’s circumstances had resulted in her leaving her part-time job and moving onto Universal Credit.

However, thankfully, the court heard Mishka is now a “healthy” dog.

Chairman of the bench Paddy Watters assured Joyce: “She will go to a nice home.”

Sentencing: total of £630 costs, fines and charges. Banned from keeping animals for three years.

Chronicle Live

Bedworth, Warwickshire: Katy Liggins and James Johnson

#TheList Katy Liggins and James Johnson, ages unknown, both of Smercote Close, Bedworth CV12 0EB – left their dogs suffering from chronic skin conditions for months.

Convicted dog abusers Katy Liggins and James Johnson
Katy Liggins and James Johnson

Katy Liggins and partner James Johnson pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to Staffies Diesel and Roxy by failing to explore and address their chronic skin condition.

RSPCA inspectors were called to the couple’s home having been tipped off by a member of the public.

Before and after pictures of neglected dogs Diesel and Roxy
Before and after pictures of neglected dogs Diesel and Roxy

Investigating Inspector Helen Smith said: “When I first saw Diesel it was obvious he was in dire need of veterinary attention. He was constantly trying to scratch himself and his skin was so thick it was like that of an elephant.

“He has red sores which were weeping and it was clear he was suffering. Roxy was displaying similar symptoms.

“In my 20 years as an RSPCA inspector Diesel had one of the worst skin conditions caused by a flea infestation I have seen.

“Both pets must have been endlessly suffering trying to relieve their itchy skin. “

The RSPCA inspector went on: “The vet said they would have been suffering like this for months – which is so unnecessary as fleas are easily preventable with routine treatment.

“If pets do get fleas, veterinary treatment should be sought immediately so they don’t have to suffer needlessly for such a long period of time.”

In mitigation, the court heard the couple were suffering from financial difficulties.

The court ordered both Diesel and Roxy should be placed in the care of the RSPCA where they will be rehabilitated and re-homed.

Sentencing: 12-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months; 100 hours of unpaid work and 40-day rehabilitation activity requirement. Total of £250 costs and charges each. Five-year ban on keeping animals.

Coventry Telegraph
ITV News

Wallasey, Merseyside: Thomas Bennett

#TheList Thomas Anthony Bennett, born 08/01/1987 of 54 Rice Lane, Wallasey, Wirral CH44 0DQ – abandoned a dog, a snake and a bearded dragon without food or water for several days

Tom Bennett left three pets, including Rottweiler Bruno, without food and water in his filthy home.
Tom Bennett left three pets, including Rottweiler Bruno, without food and water in his filthy home.

Father-of-two Thomas Bennett pleaded guilty to three animal welfare charges after neglecting three pets, including a snake that was found dead at his property.

Tom Bennett left three pets, including Rottweiler Bruno, without food and water in his filthy home.
Bruno is recovering in the care of the RSPCA

The dog, a nine-year-old Rottweiler called Bruno, was found barricaded in a squalid kitchen which was full of faeces.

Neighbours allegedly heard a dog ‘barking for days’ on the street – with one resident fearing the house was empty for ‘at least a week’.

Tom Bennett left three pets, including Rottweiler Bruno, without food and water in his filthy home.
Conditions inside the property where Tom Bennett left three animals without food or water

RSPCA Inspector Anthony Joynes, who investigated, said none of the animals had food or water.

He said the python was found in a vivarium and had been dead for some time. The bearded dragon was in such a bad state of health that police officers initially thought he was also dead.

Anthony said: “Bruno was locked in a filthy kitchen which had been barricaded shut with furniture. He had no food or water and was surrounded by faeces.

“There were some empty dog food cans in the kitchen and because he was so hungry he had started chewing them.

“He was clearly underweight but since he has been the care of the RSPCA he has done really well and it is hoped he will be rehomed soon.”

Tom Bennett left three pets, including Rottweiler Bruno, without food and water in his filthy home.
Animal abuser Thomas Anthony Bennett from Wallasey, Wirral, Merseyside

Anthony said: “From the state of decomposition it was clear the snake had been dead sometime.

“The bearded dragon looked close to death but was given specialist medical care – including having a feeding tube inserted into his stomach – and made a full recovery.

“Sadly, recently he developed a tumour in his mouth and a vet decided the kindest thing to do would be to put him to sleep but I am grateful he enjoyed a few months of life being properly cared for.”

“Bennett didn’t even have the right equipment for keeping a bearded dragon – there was no UV light for him and without this they develop bone problems and will be unable to live a healthy life.

“Reptiles and other exotic pets are completely reliant on their owners to meet their welfare needs including requiring the correct levels of heat, light and humidity, plus an appropriate diet.

“People may buy them with little idea of how difficult they can be to keep and the animals are sometimes neglected when the novelty wears off and the commitment hits home.

“This is why the RSPCA would encourage anyone thinking of getting an exotic pet to find out as much as possible about the animal’s needs and whether they’re the right pet for them.”

Tom Bennett left three pets, including Rottweiler Bruno, without food and water in his filthy home.

Bennett admitted he had not fed the bearded dragon and snake for at least six weeks and said this was because he was struggling financially.

Sentencing: 12-month jail term suspended for 12 months; 20-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement; total of £515 costs and charges. Five year ban on keeping animals.

Liverpool Echo
Wirral Globe

Wallsend, Tyne and Wear: Melvyn Hall

#TheList Melvyn Hall, born 02/04/1948, of Ashfield Mews, Wallsend NE28 7RG – hit German Shepherd rescue dog over the head with a hammer and strangled her with a piece of washing line, before dumping her body in the River Tyne

Dog killer Melvyn Hall from Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, is banned for life after brutally killing a rescue dog
Dog killer Melvyn Hall from Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, is banned for life after brutally killing a rescue dog named Molly
Twisted Melvyn Hall from Wallsend killed rescue dog Molly by hitting her over the head with a hammer and strangling her.
Hall killed six -year-old German Shepherd Molly by hitting her over the head with a hammer and strangling her.

Melvyn Hall struck six-year-old German Shepherd Molly on the head before strangling her with a piece of washing line.

He then dumped her into the River Tyne. She was found washed up on December 6 2018 and the RSPCA were alerted.

RSPCA inspector Rowena Proctor said: “When the rescue called Hall he told them that Molly had died of a ruptured aneurysm and had been seen by a local vet but he couldn’t remember the name, which he re-iterated when I visited him the next day.

“However, in the interview that followed he said he had gone to the shop and come home to find her dead before going on to admit hitting Holly on the head with a hammer, strangling her with the washing line that was around her neck when her body was found and dumping her in the River Tyne.

“He said he did it because she was following him around and getting on his nerves and he lashed out.

“He showed me where he had done it, in his garden shed, and gave me the hammer he had used.”

Hall admitted two offences of causing unnecessary suffering to Molly under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Inspector Proctor said: “A post-mortem found that Molly had several fractures to skull and evidence of haemorrhaging however it was unlikely these injuries would have caused immediate death.

“The vet said that the attack on Molly from the person who cared for her would have caused immediate distress, which would have quickly passed into suffering when she received the blow from the hammer.

“The pain of a fracturing skull would be intense but the period of suffering wasn’t possible to establish from the post-mortem due to the decomposition of her body.

“They went on to say that the presence of the washing line and injuries to her neck, which were consistent with having been strangled, indicate that the owner was uncertain of the state of consciousness of Molly after she had been hit with the hammer.”

Sentencing: 18 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months; £1,000 costs. Lifetime disqualification on all animals.

ITV News
Mirror

Ballysillan, Belfast: Harry Todd

#TheList Harry Todd, born 10/04/1957, of 49 Joanmount Park, Belfast BT14 6PF – for abandonment of 150 pigeons; dog also found dead at his property

Todd was convicted of four animal welfare offences after causing a dog unnecessary suffering and abandoning more than 150 pigeons at an address on the Ballysillan Road.

The prosecution case was brought by Belfast City Council after a report from a member of the public who was concerned for the welfare of the birds. The person also informed staff of a dog carcass which was in an upstairs room of the property.

Animal welfare officers visited the address on 02 November 2017 and found the partially skeletonised remains of a dog, a number of dead pigeons and 153 pigeons deemed to be suffering.

Sentencing: five month suspended sentence for each offence. Costs of £79. Banned from keeping animals for 15 years.

Belfast City Council news
Belfast Telegraph

Fairfield, Liverpool L6: Christina Carney

#TheList Christina Carney, born c. 1981, of Ottley Street, Liverpool L6 3AL – starved and neglected a young puppy who had to be put to sleep

Tank was brought to the vet in an emaciated state due to the neglect of his callous owner Christina Carney
Tank was brought to the vet in an emaciated state due to the neglect of his callous owner Christina Carney

A six-month-old British bulldog named Tank had to be put down after horrific neglect by his owner, Christina Carney, left him with “every bone in his body” sticking out.

Neglected puppy Tank had a severe wound on his right ear
Tank had a severe wound on his right ear

Shocking pictures show the dog also suffered bite wounds to his right leg which was swollen and had scarring over his face and neck. Behind his left ear were visible wounds but behind his right ear was a severe wound which had ripped through the ear flap

Sadly, Tank was unable to recover and three separate vets decided he should be put to sleep to end his suffering.

Another of Carney’s pets – 18-month-old pug Bear – died while in her care and was said to be in a “very thin” state when she brought his body to experts to be disposed of.

Vets got in touch with the RSPCA with worries about the welfare of Carney’s other animals.

Inspector Claire Fisher was sent to investigate and went to see Tank at the vets where she found “every bone in his body” was protruding.

British bulldog puppy Tank was in an emaciated condition due to the neglect of his cruel owner Christina Carney from Liverpool
The dog’s condition was so poor that vets felt they had no option but to put him to sleep

Claire said: “Tank was in a very sorry state when I saw him, he was so thin with every bone visible he did not resemble a British bulldog at all – he was like a walking skeleton.

“He had numerous injuries of various ages caused by being attacked by other dogs in Carney’s care and he appeared depressed, not like I would expect a puppy to act.

“The vet felt that returning Tank to his home would put him in danger of attack again.

“The body of Bear was also analysed and it was clear the dog was also very thin and had numerous ulcers in her eyes. Carney offered no explanation how or when the dog had died but for her young age she seemed in poor condition

“It was known that Carney also had two more dogs at her home and we were concerned there was also a risk of injury of life to those so Merseyside Police were contacted and were able to seize the dogs and place them into the care of the RSPCA.”

The police took two British bulldogs called Teddy and Roxy from Carney’s home and they are now in the care of the RSPCA where they have been rehabilitated and will be available for adoption soon.

Carney pleaded guilty to four animal welfare offences .

In mitigation the court was told Carney had “difficult personal circumstances”.

Sentencing: 12-month community order; ordered to pay £300 costs, a £100 fine and a £85 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping dogs and cats for just five years.

Liverpool Echo

Ashbrooke, Sunderland: Daniel Churchill

#TheList Daniel Churchill, born c. 1994, of Riversdale Terrace, Sunderland SR2 – forced his lurcher, Drift, to attack wild animals and then failed to treat the dog’s painful injuries.

Convicted animal abuser Daniel Churchill from Sunderland and his victim, Drift. Churchill used his dog to hunt wild animals.
Daniel Churchill from Sunderland used lurcher Drift to hunt wild animals and failed to treat the dog’s injuries sustained in fights.

Gypsy traveller Churchill was facing a potential jail sentence for causing unnecessary suffering to a lurcher known as Drift after failing to treat injuries the dog sustained in forced fights with wild animals.

Convicted animal abuser Daniel Churchill from Sunderland. Churchill used his dog to hunt wild animals.
Daniel Churchill pictured outside court.

The offences came to light after Drift was found wandering the streets in November 2018 and was taken to a vet.

He had cuts on his face, neck, legs and body, and his injuries were consistent with a fight with another animal, such as a fox.

Convicted animal abuser Daniel Churchill from Sunderland. Churchill used his dog to hunt wild animals.

Churchill pleaded guilty to two offences at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

RSPCA prosecutor Stewart Haywood said Churchill rang the vet to claim ownership of the dog but was told Drift had been seized by police and an investigation had been launched.

He claimed Drift had escaped from his kennel the night before he was found in the streets.

Convicted animal abuser Daniel Churchill from Sunderland forced his lurcher-type dog Drift to attack wild animals and then failed to treat his injuries.

Mr Haywood said a vet examined the pet and found scratch wounds to the shoulder, legs and face. Some scratches were three to four days old, while other injuries were up to 48 hours old.

He added: “Some were consistent with injuries you would expect to see on animals that had a fight with another animal, such as a fox.”

Convicted animal abuser Daniel Churchill from Sunderland. Churchill used his dog to hunt wild animals.

During the investigation, it was found the defendant’s Facebook account had references and pictures glorifying the hunting of animals with dogs. One photo was of a dog chasing a fox, another of a dog with a fox biting it and one image showed a dead fox.

My Haywood said: “The defendant was clearly glorifying the hunting of animals with dogs on there.

“This is a case where there’s clearly high culpability. The defendant is clearly deliberately causing suffering to his dog by using him in the hunting of animals.

“The injuries were consistent with it being attacked by another animal.”

The court was told that Drift had now been rehomed.

Tom Morgan, defending Churchill, said: “The pictures from the Facebook account – the defendant says they were in fact from a disused Facebook account.

“He did not and does not accept that those pictures depict the animal in this case.

“The defendant’s only concern throughout these proceedings, whether you can believe this or not, has been the animal.

“He has made efforts to try and retrieve the dog. He accepts by way of guilty plea that he has not been caring for the animal as he should be. He has to accept he will not get that animal back.”

Mr Morgan further said his client was “capable of being rehabilitated”.

“I do believe that he has learnt his lesson”, he added.

Sentencing: 18-week prison sentence, suspended for two years; completion of a rehabilitation programme. Costs of £500. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

ChronicleLive

Cwmbran, South Wales: Lisa Maria Rayner

#TheList Lisa Maria Rayner, born 29/01/1982, of Pontnewydd Walk, Cwmbran NP44 -allowed her pet shih-tzu to become emaciated

Shih-Tzu Buster was starved and neglected by his owner Lisa Maria Rayner of Cwmbran, South Wales, UK

Rayner pleaded guilty to one animal welfare offence in relation to a shih-tzu type dog named Buster, who was found to be in an emaciated condition.

RSPCA inspector Izzi Hignell said: “When I found this poor little guy he was in an emaciated condition. He looked thin but as he is really fluffy you can’t really tell how bad his condition was. But when I felt him he was skeletal to touch. He weighed just 4.85 kilos. There was just no excuse for leaving him in this poor condition.

“Since he has been fed appropriately and has been wormed he has put on weight and is now around double the size and is looking really healthy. He is such a lovely little dog and now following this outcome of this case, he will soon be made available for rehoming. He now weighs a healthy 8.950 kilos.

Shih-Tzu Buster was starved and neglected by his owner Lisa Maria Rayner of Cwmbran, South Wales, UK

Buster is currently at RSPCA Newport Animal Centre and once he is ready for rehoming his details will be uploaded to Find A Pet.

Sentencing: ordered to pay £600. Deprivation order for Buster. Banned from keeping animals for just three years.

RSPCA News
South Wales Argus