Prosecutions: Latvian nationals Inga Ozola, aged 43, and partner Arunas Venslovas, 50, both of 12 Seven Stars Road, Leyland PR25 1AL – charged with animal cruelty after a severely injured puppy is found buried alive in a field
Spencer, a nine-week-old Pomeranian puppy, had suffered two fractured limbs before he was buried, and later had to be put to sleep, Preston Magistrates’ Court was told.
Inga Ozola denies causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal between April 24 and 27, 2019, by burying the animal while he was still alive.
Ozola and her partner, Arunas Venslovas both deny failing to ensure Spencer received appropriate veterinary care for his injuries.
The trial of the Latvian couple, who were assisted by interpreters throughout the proceedings, was due to start on Thursday 23 January 2020, but Venslovas applied to delay the case as he had attended without representation.
He has since obtained legal aid but further arrangements need to be made.
Prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, Carmel Wilde accepted it was potentially an imprisonable matter, but indicated he should have done something about it sooner.
However the bench agreed to the adjournment and the case will now take place on April 27 and 28, 2020. A case management hearing will take place on February 25, 2020.
#TheList Louise Lawford, born c. 1970, of Eastern Road, Sutton Coldfield B73 5NU – for animal welfare offences relating to her pet-sitting business Pawford Paws
In June 2019 five dogs, who became known as the ‘Tamworth Five’, went missing while in the care of Birmingham-based pet-sitting Louise Lawford. Lawford claimed that the dogs – Ralph, Charlie, Pablo, Maggie and Jack – had run off in Hopwas Woods near Tamworth, but no trace of them has ever been found.
In court, prosecutors rejected Lawford’s version of events but were unable to prove what had happened that day. Charges relating to the pets’ disappearance therefore had to be dropped.
Lawford was called a “dog killer” by someone in the public gallery, which the judge described as “outrageous”.
The court heard that Lawford had been placed in a position of trust and left customers anguished.
The fate of the Tamworth Five remains a mystery.
Some of the pets’ owners were in court to witness Lawford being sentenced.
“The dogs were never found, despite being chipped and there being extensive searches,” said Jonathan Barker, prosecuting, adding he did not accept Lawford’s account that the dogs got lost in the woods, but could not prove otherwise.
Speaking after the hearing, the dogs’ owners – who say they “know” their pets are dead – said they would take civil action against Lawford.
“It’s a positive outcome because the court just did not believe the dogs were lost,” one owner Becky Parsons said. “It just doesn’t make sense.”
She said the past six months had been “an emotional rollercoaster” and that she was so upset at losing her dogs, Pablo and Maggie, that she “couldn’t face going back” to her house and has had to move.
The case, brought by Birmingham City Council, has attracted much attention on social media, and Lawford was called a “dog killer” when she left court briefly before sentencing.
The former dog walker, who has already had her licence revoked by Birmingham City Council, admitted breaching conditions including limits on the number of dogs she boarded at any one time, boarding dogs from different homes, as well as failing to seek treatment for the dog with a skin condition.
Lawford’s defence said she expressed “extreme and continuing remorse for what happened to the dogs”.
“This is well-intentioned but incompetent care,” her legal representative Tom Walking said.
Lawford apologised for the pain owners of the missing dogs have suffered
Birmingham City Council welcomed the sentence, calling the case “unusual and upsetting”.
“Only Mrs Lawford knows the truth of what happened to the five beloved pets placed in her care,” said Vicky Allwood, the council’s senior animal welfare officer.
Her sentence means she will have to give up her elderly pet labrador.
Sentencing: fined £800 and ordered to pay costs of £2,616 and a victim surcharge of £80. Banned from owning dogs for five years.
#TheList commercial breeder Simon Davis, born c. 1985, of Acacia Crescent, Bedworth CV12 – cropped American bulldog puppies’ ears with razor blades before selling them for thousands of pounds to celebrity clients
Davis, who trades under the name Lions Lair Kennels, admitted to cropping the ears of seven puppies. He was arrested on 30 January 2019, after the RSPCA and Warwickshire Police carried out a joint raid at his home address.
During the raid, they found seven kennels, in a converted garage building in his back garden, containing eight American Bulldogs.
The RSPCA gathered a range of evidence, including before and after photographs and medical appliances such as syringes, razor blades and forceps were seized from both properties.
A further nine American Bulldogs were found at Mr Davis’s mother’s house nearby on Chelsey Road, including two pregnant dogs and six with cropped ears.
The RSPCA urge people to never buy a dog with cropped ears, and have taken seven of the dogs into care to be re-homed.
Sentencing: 18 weeks in jail suspended for 12 months. Ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid work and pay £10,973 in costs. A 15-year ban on keeping and dealing in dogs.
#TheList Stephen Carr, born 11/11/1986, of 10 Munroe Avenue, Millom LA18 5AL – failed to get veterinary care when two of his dogs suffered facial injuries consistent with wild animal fighting
Married father-of-two Carr pleaded guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering.
The court heard Cumbria Police executed a warrant at Carr’s home on August 14, 2019, accompanied by RSPCA officers.
Three dogs were found in kennels at the bottom of the garden, and two of them were found to have facial injuries
A vet who examined Toby, a bull lurcher, found a lower lip laceration which was about a month old which was still healing and there was no sign of an attempt to repair it.
Boots, a Patterdale Terrier, was found to have an old ‘degloving injury’ on her jaw which was caused by ‘traumatic tearing forces’.
The vet report said ‘these injuries are incredibly painful,’ and there was no evidence it had been treated and had instead been ‘left to heal’.
RSPCA Inspector Ian Briggs, said: “As a dog owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure your pet gets vet treatment when they need it so they do not suffer.
“We are pleased that Boots, Toby and Blaze, will be looking for loving new homes soon.”
Copeland Neighbourhood Police Officer Marie Carter said: “This is a welcome result which enforces the message that mistreatment or abuse of animals will not be tolerated and will result in robust action being taken. We continue to work with our partners in the RSPCA in order to bring these offenders to justice.
“Anyone with any information in relation to this type of offence is asked to contact Cumbria Constabulary on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
Sentencing: 12-week suspended prison; ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and to pay £622. Disqualified from keeping dogs for 10 years. Boots, Toby and a third dog Blaze are in RSPCA care and will be looking for new homes soon.
#TheList Helen Burt, born 04/01/1992, previously of Elder Place, Rosyth, and now Cairns Street East, Kirkcaldy KY1 – kept three Staffordshire bull terriers in squalid conditions
Burt let the dogs, Codi, Mali and Shakira, live in a filthy home surrounded by their own excrement and failed to take them outside to do the toilet.
At Dunfermline Sheriff Court she pled guilty to a charge under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006, after failing to provide the dogs with a suitable environment or to meet their needs, between January 11 and 25, 2018.
The charge detailed how her treatment of the dogs would have caused them psychological suffering and put them at risk of injury and disease.
They were exposed to urine, faeces and household debris including open tin cans and broken furniture.
Burt failed to provide adequate water and ventilation for the animals, left them in an unhygienic environment and failed to allow them to exhibit normal behaviour.
She also neglected to take the dogs outside to defecate or urinate.
Animal welfare charity Scottish SPCA investigated the case.
Scottish SPCA inspector Sarah Gregory said: “The living environment for these animals was cramped and filthy.
“The entire property was uninhabitable and appeared to have been used as a kennel rather than a home.
“The smell was an overwhelming stench of ammonia, dirt and faeces that made your eyes water. Faeces were trodden into the floor with fresh matter on top.
“There was litter and broken furniture throughout the property.”
She said the female dogs, Shakira and Mali, were found in a cage in the living room, with no bedding or resting area.
All of the dogs appeared in good body condition, despite the living environment and high risk of disease due to the contamination in the house.
“Not allowing the dogs adequate opportunities to toilet outside the house meant the dogs would be caused stress and potential mental suffering by having to toilet in the same area as they were confined to for sleeping and eating,” she added.
“Burt did not sign the dogs over into our care which meant that we’ve been caring for them for almost two years. As they are part of a case, we’ve been unable to rehome them until this conclusion. It has cost the society almost £30,000 to care for Codi, Mali and Shakira.
“We welcome the outcome of this case. It was clear that Burt was not able to provide these animals with even the most basic of care.”
Sentencing: community payback order with supervision and a requirement to do 100 hours of unpaid work within six months. Five-year ban on keeping dogs.
#TheList unscrupulous puppy dealer Carol Louise Willis, born 10/07/1970, currently of Kings Court, Ayr KA8 0AD – kept ‘production line’ puppies in stacked cages at her squalid Barrhill farmhouse; sold diseased and genetically damaged dogs online to unsuspecting buyers
Willis then tried to persuade Lisa Lochhead to sell on pups for her, making them look like they came from a loving family home – a favourite tactic of puppy farmers to mask the fact that they are churning out pups from a production line.
Lisa fell in love with the poorly pup, Buddy, after seeing an advert online and felt she had to rescue him from hellish living conditions. She was so desperate to save him that she borrowed cash to pay for him.
But Buddy was so over-run with mites that all his fur had fallen off. A vet confirmed he was suffering from demodectic mange as well as giardia, an intestinal problem associated with dirty, cramped conditions. This made his stool bloody and full of worms.
Buddy later lost his second eye after it burst in front of Lisa’s horrified children.
Lisa managed to talk the price down from £550 to £100 after Willis asked her to sell on dogs from her house.
Lisa has since spent hundreds of pounds on vet bills. She has also been contacted by the buyer of Buddy’s sister, who also suffered from dire skin problems.
Lisa said: “I would say that the moment I saw Buddy, I felt I had to save him from this woman. He is such a loveable wee character and the fact he lost an eye hasn’t stopped him have a big personality.
“Carol Willis told me that Buddy lost an eye after being attacked by a French bulldog she was selling, then almost lost the other eye after being scratched by his sister.
“That’s what happens when all these dogs are bred in cramped conditions. She shouldn’t be doing it.”
Lisa had hoped to see the pup with his mother before taking him but Willis repeatedly insisted on meeting at Asda car park in Girvan, Ayrshire, where she turned up with a van full of dogs in cages.
She said: “She didn’t want me anywhere near her home. I couldn’t believe that she was wanting £550 for a dog in that shape but I was determined to rescue him. Willis was really keen for me to take dogs from her and sell them as though I had bred them from my home.
“When she found out I was from Cairnryan, she started asking if I knew anyone who did ferry trips to Ireland, so I presumed she was thinking about bringing in pups that way too.”
A few days after the SIU’s raid, Willis offered to sell a Daily Record reporter a pug pup for £850, claiming she could get the dog microchipped the same day.
Willis denied her dogs were being kept in poor conditions. and told the reporter: “The SSPCA said there were too many dogs, they didn’t say they were being badly looked after.”
Willis has since moved from Lochend Farm in Barrhill, Girvan, to a flat near the Wallacetown area of Ayr
While the Daily Record said that their expose had made it impossible for Willis to continue trading, we have been sent screenshots of two recent Gumtree adverts that are believed to have been placed by Willis:
Sadly, the public have short memories and we have also heard that Willis does not operate alone. She almost certainly has a network of people around her that will allow her to continue to ply her barbaric trade.
#TheList Hayley Langton, born 18/12/1996, and Derek Yeomans, born c. 1950, both of Willowcroft Road, Spondon, Derby DE21 7FR – left their Akita to suffer in “unimaginable pain” over several months
Hayley Langton and Derek Yeomans pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the dog, known as Keeta, between August and September 2019.
Keeta was found with no fur and her eyes were covered in a green discharge.
The dog was rescued by RSPCA workers and immediately rushed to a veterinary centre.
Southern Derbyshire Magistrate’s Court heard how the vet said they had never seen a dog with dry eyes so severe, causing her extreme pain and distress.
Andrew Cash, prosecuting, said the last time Keeta was seen by a vet was in September 2013.
The dog was owned by single mother Langton, but was kept at the house of Yeomans.
When testing the dryness on her eyes, both readings came back as zero – something the vet said they had never seen before.
Mr Cash said Langton believed Keeta had a cold which had lasted around a month. However she failed to notice how serious her condition had become as she was out a lot and described her life as “chaotic”.
The dog has recovered, despite still showing signs of hair loss.
She has since been fostered by a veterinary nurse.
John Haye, mitigating, said Yeomans had not been fully aware of the severity of the situation the dog was in.
He said it was “fair to say” they had both taken their eye off the ball in terms of caring for the animal.
He revealed how Yeomans has ill health, suffers from high blood pressure and cares for his wife full-time.
He said Langton also suffers a range of mental health problems and struggles to care for herself, “never mind a dog”.
He said: “They both express remorse and sorrow for what happened.”
District Judge Jonathan Taaffe said: “Keeta is now properly looked after and responding to love and care that any domestic animal needs.
“This is not a matter that Keeta suddenly became ill, developed skin conditions and eye problems.
“It’s a situation where Keeta has clearly been in great distress over a significant period of time.
“The pain and distress that the dog must have been in could not be imagined.
“When people have pets, they have responsibilities to look after them.
“I accept this is not a case of sadistic ill treatment of Keeta. This is more a case of neglect based on issues in your life.”
Sentencing: three-month curfew of 7pm to 7am; 12-month community order; ordered to pay £490 each in costs. Both were disqualified from keeping dogs for a period without limit.
#TheList David Morton, born c. 1992, of Jane Street, Stanley DH9 7BH – left his husky dog to suffer with a broken leg for more than four weeks.
Serial headcase David Morton was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal for failing to get veterinary treatment for his pet husky’s broken leg. The cause of the dog’s injury was unexplained.
Kevin Campbell, prosecuting on behalf of RSPCA, said the charity became involved after a veterinary surgeon contacted them to raise concerns about Morton’s dog, a female husky named Sendi.
He said: “On the 22nd July  the dog was seen by a vet who conceded that the dog had a fracture to her leg and the injury was four to six weeks old. The dog had either been untreated or treated inadequately.
“She concluded that the dog was clearly suffering as a result of the failure to give it any proper treatment.”
The dog had a broken femur and was unable to walk when she was seen by a vet.
Mr Campbell added: “When inspectors attended the address they could see the dog was unable to stand on its hind leg.
“A male answered the door and said he was the defendant, the inspector asked him about the dog in question and he was uncooperative – referring to him as a donkey.
“The defendant told him to f*** off, he was not allowed to enter the property and police had to be called to help him.”
Paul Donohue, mitigating, said the 28-year-old had not set out to harm his own dog.
He said: “The actual injury has not been caused on purpose. It was caused accidentally and the complaint is that the dog did not have the proper treatment. He accepts that the dog did not have an operation but that wasn’t for lack of trying.
“Like many people he does not have insurance so if anything happens it would fall to him to pay for it.
“If he had £5,000 there and then he would have spent it on the dog.
“He didn’t want the dog to suffer but he just has not got the money.”
Sendi was treated by the RSPCA and remains in their care.
Sentencing: ordered to pay £480 costs. Banned from keeping animals for five years. Morton is already serving a community order for a previous offence.
#TheList Ieuan Batten, born 23/10/1996, of Forest Avenue, Cefn Hengoed, near Ystrad Mynach CF82 – beat up his mother after she intervened to stop his savage attack on a dog
Prosecutor Leah Pollard told the court that 23-year-old Batten had a history of violence against his mother, with previous assault convictions recorded against him.
She said this latest attack happened just before Christmas 2019 when Batten came home “under the influence and in an aggressive mood”.
Judge Daniel Williams was told of how Batten’s mother and two women, one of whom was pregnant with his child, were in her house when he went “completely mad”.
After two dogs began fighting, he took one of them into the kitchen and repeatedly punched and kicked him.
Batten’s mother covered the animal to protect him before her son turned his attention to her.
Miss Pollard said: “He was in a complete rage. He grabbed her by the hair and dragged her into the living room.
“He started punching her and stamping on her all over her body.”
One of the women told police: “It lasted for about half an hour. I have never seen such violence in my life and I was shocked – especially when it was carried out by someone against their own mother.”
The victim was taken to hospital with her face “totally swollen and black and her body covered in bruises”.
Batten pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
The court was told he had 20 previous convictions for 49 offences.
Nik Strobl, mitigating, said: “The defendant wishes to express his remorse and he can’t believe what he has done to his own mother.
“He has little recollection of what happened.”
Judge Williams told Batten, who was high on alcohol and drugs during the attack, that: “This was a savage assault. You used dreadful violence.”
Sentencing: jailed for two years and given a five-year restraining order preventing him from contacting his mother. He must pay a victim surcharge upon his release from custody. He was not banned from keeping animals.
#TheList Gary David Bell, born 09/09/1969, of 54 Coronation Way, Keighley BD22 6HH – forced his pet dog to have a bath in bleach, rubbed it into her eyes and battered her over the head repeatedly
Gary Bell battered and abused nine-year-old American bulldog Smiler, leaving her bloodied and barely conscious in the bathroom
RSPCA inspectors were called to Bell’s home over concerns for the dog’s welfare.
They attended the property with police and could hear heavy breathing through the ground-floor bathroom window.
RSPCA inspector Sarah Bagley said: “I was horrified to see Smiler in the bath with a bloodied tea towel on her head.
“A friend of Bell’s let us into the property and we found Smiler barely conscious. She and the bath were wet and there was a bottle of human shampoo and Flash household cleaner which appeared to have been used on her.
“Between us we were able to get her out of the flat and I rushed her straight to a local vet practice.
“By the time I got her there her eyes were swollen shut. She was found to have multiple injuries including two large wounds to the top of her head which needed to be stitched, bruising to the head and a loose tooth that needed to be removed. Her eyes were flushed to get rid of any cleaning product.”
A veterinary examination ruled that the injuries were not accidental and attempts to clean Smiler afterwards would have caused pain and suffering.
Smiler spent a week under treatment and supervision at the vets during which time she slowly started to physically recover.
Bell, who has previous convictions for assault and heroin possession, was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to the dog by inflicting trauma on her, failing to provide veterinary attention for her injuries and applying cleaning products to her head and eyes.
He was due to attend Bradford Magistrates Court on January 7, but failed to appear and was arrested on warrant.
Inspector Bagley said: “Bell didn’t offer any plausible explanation for Smiler’s predicament – in interview he said that she had probably cut her head on barbed wire during a walk in the woods.
“She is recovering well, gaining weight, her skin and coat are improving and she seems to be a much brighter, happier dog. The cherry eye is being monitored on vet advice at the moment.
“Smiler is currently being cared for by the great staff at RSPCA Sheffield where everyone absolutely loves her and she will be put up for adoption soon.
“She is a very sweet dog who loves people and I can’t wait to hear that she’s thriving in a loving new home.”
Sentencing: 16 weeks in prison. Disqualified from keeping animals for life.