#TheList Sarah ‘Marie’ McGahan, born 11/11/1967 of 2 Belvedere Manor, Lurgan, Craigavon BT67 9NW – failed to ensure the welfare of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and her puppies.
In a case brought by Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council, Marie McGahan pleaded guilty to animal welfare offences relating to a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and her pups.
This followed an investigation in 2018 as a result of information from the public.
McGahan had failed to make the necessary improvements to the cleanliness of the area in which dogs were kept and a litter of pups were found in squalid conditions at her home.
McGahan was deemed to be in breach of a notice requiring her to maintain a clean environment for the animals in her care.
A council spokesperson said: “The judge in this case saw fit to impose a five-year ban from keeping animals because the defendant persistently neglected the needs of her dogs and flagrantly disregarded animal welfare legislation.
“This case serves as a reminder that the council will investigate complaints and bring forward legal proceedings against those who do not take reasonable steps to ensure the welfare of their animals.”
Sentencing: fined £150 and ordered to pay council costs of £226. Five-year Disqualification Order in respect of all animals.
#TheList John Benjamin Cook, born 13/11/1993, and his brother William Cook, born 11/07/1989, both of Little Acres, Longfield Avenue, New Barn, Longfield, Dartford DA3 7LA – ran a puppy farm and a cock-fighting ring
Gypsy travellers John and William Cook were convicted of a number of animal welfare offences.
In July 2018 RSPCA officers executed a warrant at the sprawling property in New Barn the brothers share with their extended family, including wives, children and parents, after a member of the public who had bought puppies from them raised concerns.
In total, 18 dogs, including spaniels and beagles were removed along with two cockerels.
Officers also seized a number of mobile phones from the site and a suspecting cock-fighting pit was uncovered. Analysis of the mobiles showed the brothers were involved with fighting and later forensics tests found the blood of at least four cockerels on the pit.
During the four-day trial the court heard how John Cook was accused of causing suffering to a number of dogs, failing to provide them with vet care for stomach and teeth problems and keeping them in unsuitable conditions.
William Cook was accused of a number of offences relating to cockerel fighting.
John Cook pleaded guilty to the offences, while William Cook was convicted of the offences under the Animal Welfare Act.
RSPCA inspector Carroll Lamport, from the charity’s special operations unit, said: “Many of the dogs being kept at the site had health and welfare problems, including untreated gastrointestinal and dental issues.
“We also had serious concerns over the conditions they were being kept in. The dogs and puppies were being kept in dirty, wet conditions with no bedding.”
Sentencing: William Cook – 120-day prison term – suspended for two years. Ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work. Disqualified from keeping any animals for three years.
John Cook – 90 days in prison – also suspended for two years; 160 hours of unpaid work. He was disqualified from keeping dogs for three years.
Both men were ordered to pay £1,000 in costs plus a £115 victim surcharge.
#TheList Daniel Brockhill, born 21/02/1968, of 16 Robin Crescent, Heysham LA3 2WG – for cruelty to two ponies
Brockhill, a Romany gypsy and alleged backyard breeder of diseased Staffordshire bull terriers, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to two ponies
The first animal, a dark brown cob mare, was left with a ‘stinking open wound’ caused by the tight bridle rubbing her, as well as a small cut to her nose, and areas of fur missing on the face.
The second animal, a black and white piebald cob mare, was spotted wandering in the field “aimlessly” in a dull and depressed state.
The weak and malnourished pony was not very responsive and had an elevated heartbeat and temperature. She was riddled with lice and eggs that had been present for at least 10 days, and had fecal staining on her hind legs indicating serious diarrhea.
The court was told Brockhill had only bought this pony three weeks earlier.
Prosecuting, Paul Ridehalgh told the court that a worker from World Horse Welfare had attended a field in the Twemlow Parade area of Heysham where 13 horses were kept. Most were in good body condition, but one had a bridle that was “clearly too tight” around her nose.
Mr Ridehalgh described how the worker went to loosen the bridle and discovered “a red raw open wound” under the pony’s chin. The collar had become embedded within the hair and skin and a bad smell was emanating from the wound.
The charity worker alerted the RSPCA, and when another inspector attended they became concerned about the other horse who looked too thin.
Mr Ridehalgh added: “It was displaying extremely worrying behaviour and clearly was extremely unwell.
A veterinary surgeon who examined the animals concluded both had been caused suffering by Brockhill’s failure to act.
Despite her painful injury, the first horse was bright, alert and responsive But the second was scored just one out of five on her body condition – zero being emaciated.
Brockhill agreed to sign over both horses to the RSPCA.
The thin horse gained 8kg in the four weeks she boarded with the charity
During an interview, Brockhill admitted he owned both ponies but claimed he had only owned the malnourished one for three weeks.
He said he had when he arranged transport to a field in Skipton the horse was weak and could barely walk, and that he was “appalled” by her condition.
When it was pointed out that she should have been referred to a vet, Brockhill said he was experienced in keeping horses and it was his opinion the horse just needed a ‘good feed’.
The court heard Brockhill had a conviction for animal cruelty from 2002, but of dissimilar nature.
District Judge Paul Clarke said there had been a “high level of suffering”, but recognised Brockhill had co-operated with the RSPCA.
He remarked it wasn’t “deliberate cruelty”, adding: “It comes down to competence and horse husbandry.”
Sentencing: curfew; a total of £690 costs and charges. No ban.
#TheList Sean Ronald Burns, born 15/08/1970, of Rosehill Lodge, Ferry Lane, Pembroke SA71 4RG, Kenneth Darren Evans, born 09/10/1975, of 28 Llys Caermedi, Carmarthen SA31 1GX, and John A Clayton (dob tbc) of 17 Rhos Las, Carmarthen SA31 2DY – convicted on charges relating to cruelty to animals at Bramble Hall Farm in Pembroke Dock and operation of an illegal slaughterhouse
Sean Burns was convicted of multiple cruelty charges in relation to 215 animals at Bramble Hall Farm, Ferry Lane, Pembroke Dock SA71 4RG.
The charges included the unlicensed breeding of dogs, welfare and animal-keeping regulation charges relating to sheep, horses, dogs, pigs, and goats.
A total of 53 pigs, 80 sheep, three goats, 58 dogs, 20 horses and one donkey were removed from the smallholding after being found living in squalor and without adequate space, food or water.
District Judge Christopher James told Burns he had “deliberately” inflicted suffering over a “significant period of time”.
He told Burns the condition of the animals was “extremely poor”, and that some dogs and puppies had “died due to the neglect suffered at your hands”.
One horse was found with a pipe stuck in its hoof and two horses were found with no access to food or water.
They also found 10 newborn puppies in a plastic food bowl, two of which were dead.
Prosecutor Alexander Greenwood said the dogs were kept in a “hazardous environment”, with no bedding, and the floor wet with urine and faeces.
The court was told the animals displayed signs of “bullying behaviour” as food was so scarce and the bigger animals were keeping the smaller animals away from food.
The prosecution said this case of animal neglect was “one of the worst examples of its kind.”
The court heard Burns failed to provide documentation for any of the animals.
Defending, Aled Owen told the court Burns “has not got the skills to manage this farm efficiently”.
“Quite frankly, my client is illiterate,” he said.
The prosecution followed an investigation by public protection officers from Pembrokeshire Council, supported by Dyfed-Powys Police’s rural crime team.
Sean Burns’ mother Pamela Burns (born 12/08/1945) had faced 24 charges but the case against her ultimately did not proceed because she is said to be suffering from dementia.
Sean Burns was also convicted alongside associates John Clayton and Kenneth Evans on a string of charges relating to food hygiene, operating an illegal slaughterhouse and being involved in the illegal slaughter of sheep to produce ‘smokies’ – a West African delicacy where meat is cooked using a blow torch.
The illegal slaughterhouse operated in one of the agricultural outbuildings, with Clayton and Evans caught in the act by horrified inspectors.
The unit had been set up as a makeshift slaughter hall with six slaughtered sheep at various stages of preparation and further penned sheep awaiting the same fate.
The court was told that conditions in the slaughter hall were insanitary and the floor awash with blood from the slaughtered animals as well as by-products from the slaughter process.
A herd of pigs was seen wandering among suspended sheep carcasses, feeding on the remains of the slaughtered animals.
Approximately six further carcasses of smoked sheep were found bagged in the boot of Evans’ car, ready for onward supply.
Evidence was gathered by officers and the carcasses were seized for condemnation.
A number of sheep were subsequently euthanized for humane reasons and restrictions were placed on the herd of pigs, preventing their movement off-site to address the potential disease risk and to protect the human food chain.
Clayton was convicted in 2002 for the same offence alongside David Jones of Moelfre Farm in Llanwnnen, John Beddows of Tregaron, Ceredigion, Trefor Williams of Llandysul, Ceredigion, Alun Evans and his brother Richard Evans both of Abernewrig, Lampeter, Malcolm Taylor of Oldbury, in the West Midlands, and Alun Lloyd of Llanfrynach, Pembrokeshire
Sentencing for these offences is to follow.
Magistrates in Court in Llanelli formalised that order for the removal of the animals owned by Pamela and Sean Burns of Bramble Hall.
Sentencing: Sean Burns was given 20 weeks in prison for illegal dog breeding, animal welfare charges and other summary matters. Although Pembrokeshire Council have incurred thousands of pounds in costs, Burns was only ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge at this stage. He was handed an indefinite ban from keeping animals, including having any involvement or influence over the care or welfare of animals.
#TheList puppy farm dealer Marco Tondo, born 18/10/1987, currently of 18 Shawfield Court, Annan, Dumfries-shire DG12 6JB but with links to the Shettleston area of Glasgow, and partner Nadine Campbell, born 07/12/1988, of 39 Colston Avenue, Bishopbriggs G64 1SL – sold sick puppies and ran an illegal ‘pet shop’
Wannabe gangster and alleged drug dealer Marco Tondo kept several dogs in cramped conditions at partner Campbell’s address in Bishopbriggs in October 2018.
The Scottish SPCA said the puppies were suffering from a number of serious health problems, including worm and flea infestations, parvovirus and coccidiosis – a parasitic infestation.
Investigating officers determined they had come from “suspected puppy dealers”.
Five puppies were sold at the “pet shop” where eight other young dogs were kept.
Two dogs had to be put down, one of which had suffered organ damage. Other dogs there were also poorly and underweight.
Tondo, who shares a baby daughter with co-accused Nadine Campbell, was set to face trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court but pleaded guilty to a charge of causing “unnecessary suffering” to the puppies.
Tondo and Campbell both admitted to operating a pet shop without proper authority involving the selling of five puppies and having eight other young dogs.
The court heard Tondo put Jack Russell and Chihuahua puppies up for sale on Gumtree.
Two buyers came to the property in Bishopbriggs, where Campbell was living.
Tondo told them not to feed the puppy on the journey as it would be “sick due to travel.”
He claimed one dog had been wormed but failed to forward the paperwork to the buyers. It was later discovered that the puppy had not been wormed or microchipped.
The buyers paid £350 and Tondo did acknowledge that the puppy was “unwell” – it later vomited in the buyers’ car and its health deteriorated.
The puppy was taken to the vet for dehydration where its breathing became “laboured” and died.
Tondo could not be contacted and his phone appeared “out of service.”
The court heard of another incident when a vet and her daughter bought a dog from Tondo.
The vet noted that the dogs didn’t show typical puppy behaviour and were underweight – she also noted there was no food, beds or blankets for the animals.
The vet later bought the dog after discussing it with her daughter and was told by Tondo that the puppy had been vaccinated and microchipped.
The dog’s health deteriorated as it became dehydrated and was passing clear watery fluids.
The puppy was taken for veterinary treatment but did not respond to its medication.
A third puppy was then bought on October 21, 2018, at an address in Larbert, Stirlingshire.
Prosecutors said the dog – who also had fleas – then “collapsed, was pale and had a fever”.
Vets found it had signs of “organ damage”. The dog died on October 25, 2018.
A fourth puppy later sold also needed vet treatment.
The charge stated a number of puppies at the address in Bishopbriggs were “confined in a small cage” and others in a garden were “underweight”.
Despite all of this neither Tondo nor Campbell were banned from keeping animals an outcome with the Scottish SPCA greeted with disappointment.
An undercover special investigation unit (SIU) inspector said: “Whilst we welcome and respect the court’s judgment, we would have liked to see Tondo given a ban on owning or keeping animals. His disregard for the welfare of numerous dogs led to several puppies becoming unwell and, in two sorry cases, passing away.
“We became aware of Tondo and Campbell following reports by concerned members of the public who had purchased puppies from them that had subsequently become very ill and, sadly in two instances, passed away.
“Working on intelligence we were able to determine that both of the accused were supplied puppies from an unidentified puppy dealer, but failed to keep any form of register of sales carried out.
“Our investigation led us to the home of Campbell. With a warrant, we discovered evidence to support that they were selling puppies on behalf of a third party without the appropriate licence.
“The pups have come from suspected puppy dealers. These people are driven by profit and often have no regard for animal welfare.”
The inspector added: “The puppies were suffering from a number of serious health problems including worm and flea infestations, parvovirus and coccidiosis, a parasitic infestation. Tondo’s failure to provide veterinary care for these animals would have led to immeasurable suffering.
“Not only did they put the dogs in their care at risk but due to the contagious nature of the diseases the puppies had, they put domestic dogs in Scotland at great risk.
“This has been heart-breaking for the families who bought the puppies from the couple. Not only did it result in large veterinary bills, but also a lot of stress and heartache.
“Tondo has overlooked the most basic welfare standards in order that they can profit at the expense of these animals.
“This case shows that not only are we targeting puppy farmers but we are also taking on those buying puppies from dealers with successful results. This is a reminder that we will not overlook anyone involved in this barbaric trade.”
Sentencing: Marco Tondo was ordered to carry out 270 hours of unpaid work in the community while Nadine Campbell was tagged for three months for selling the pups from her home address without a licence. No ban on keeping animals was imposed on either of them.
#TheList puppy farmers Lucinda S Rolph, born 14/06/1966 and daughter Victoria J Rolph, born 22/03/1989, both of Woodward Farm, Alma Lane, Upham, near Southampton SO32 1HE
Lucinda Rolph has been ordered to pay £600,000 through a court confiscation order after pleading guilty to running an unlicensed dog breeding farm. Her daughter Victoria Rolph also pleaded guilty to same offence, with a lesser role, and has been ordered to pay almost £15,000.
Licensing officers from the local authority caught wind of the pair’s operation in May 2015 and carried out a warrant at their £600,000 farm in the village of Upham, near Southampton. There they found litters of puppies as well as adult dogs.
Despite being warned that they needed a licence for commercial breeding, the Rolphs continued to advertise dogs and puppies for sale, sometimes under different names, without one.
The pair came to the attention of licensing officers again after a miniature Dachshund they sold died weeks later of canine parvovirus.
Prosecutor Ethu Crorie told the court how the pair would advertise puppies and adult dogs for sale online via Pets4Homes and Preloved. They advertised 38 different breeds, with prices ranging from £500 to £1,500 per animal.
Mr Crorie added there was no record of sales or receipts and the pair did not have any tax records.
The pair had several accounts in their own names and 18 with other people’s names – some of whom they knew and were unaware that their name was being used.
Mr Crorie said that if every dog had sold as advertised and none of the adverts were duplicated, the pair could have been paid as much as £1.5 million pounds.
In sentencing the pair, Judge Henry, inset, said: “Lucinda Rolph was warned of the need for having a licence in 2015.
“She said at that stage she was thinking about giving everything up.
“She was well aware a licence was required.
“She kept no records of this lucrative business and they used fake names to hide the fact they were still selling adult and puppies during this period.”
Sentencing: Lucinda Rolph was ordered to pay £601,700 within a three-month period or face a five-year prison sentence in default. She was also told to pay costs of £20,000 and to complete 60 hours of unpaid work.
Victoria Rolph was ordered to pay £14,950 within a three-month period or face six months in prison in default. She was also told to complete 60 hours of unpaid work.
Both Rolphs were also given a dog breeding banning order for six 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 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 backyard breeder Robert Milliken, born 25/05/1986, of 81 Rathkyle, Antrim BT41 1LQ – for the wilful neglect of four dogs
Father-of-three Robert Milliken was charged with causing unnecessary suffering to four dogs – two hounds and two Patterdale terriers kept in pens at a property in Ballyutoag Hill in Crumlin.
Lawyers for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, who brought the case, confirmed that a complaint had been received about dogfighting and living conditions relating to the animals.
When a visit was made to the property, 13 dogs were found across three pens.
In one pen, there was a terrier-type dog with a wound to his lip while a second pen containing seven dogs was riddled with faeces.
In the third pen, there was a terrier and four underweight hounds. One dog had a swollen muzzle which was bloody.
The court heard that a vet attended and determined that the two terriers and two of the hounds were suffering and should be seized.
On a subsequent visit to the premises inspectors were met with a strong smell of urine. Two dogs were running loose. One of them was described as pot-bellied with swollen glands while the other was underweight.
No water or food was available to the dogs and when offered water one of the dogs drank so much she vomited.
These dogs were also seized.
Milliken’s lawyer told the court that his client was an animal lover who had kept dogs for many years. He had, however, lost stability in his life after the breakdown of his marriage and had been “bingeing on drugs”.
He told the court that his client – a trained butcher who had struggled to find work – had been sentenced on three years in prison in 2009 for an unrelated, unspecified crime and was terrified of going back to jail.
He urged the judge to consider his client’s circumstances when arriving at her judgement.
District Judge Oonagh Mullan was unconvinced, however, describing photos of the animals as ‘horrendous’ before she lamented the ‘suffering they must have undergone and the conditions they were living with’. She added that Milliken’s treatment of his dogs amounted to “willful neglect”.
After rising to consider her options, District Judge Mullan suspended the operation of the four-month sentences for three years and imposed the ban and order for costs.
Sentencing: four-month suspended prison sentence. Costs of £349. Banned from keeping animals for ten years.
#TheList Roma gypsy Gusztav ‘Guszti’ Petrovics, born 04/08/1988, originally from Pécs in Hungary and currently of 20 Abingdon Close, Rochdale OL11 – kept 27 dogs stacked up in their own faeces and urine with no food or water.
Petrovics was found guilty in his absence of two animal welfare offences at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on November 18, 2019.
The court heard the RSPCA were called to Petrovics’ home on January 24, 2019, following concerned calls from members of the public.
When they visited the home, Petrovics confirmed he owned a large number of dogs, and allowed RSPCA inspector Danni Jennings to see them.
She was shown inside a closed metal shed in the back garden, where there were seven dog crates full of dogs and puppies piled on top of each other.
In total there were 10 female adult dogs, one male and 15 puppies – all Dachshunds – with one female terrier-cross.
An expert vet who joined police and the RSPCA on the raid confirmed that the dogs were not being looked after properly. They were seized by police, the court heard.
Petrovics said during his interview that he had imported the dogs from Hungary, where he grew up, and planned to give the puppies to friends.
Inspector Jennings said: “The smell from the shed was apparent as soon as we were in the back garden. These dogs were kept in cramped conditions in cages which were stacked on top of each other.
“They were lying in their own faeces and urine – and the smell from the shed was evident as soon as we went onto the back garden. There was also no water or food in the cages for the dogs. The conditions were absolutely appalling.
“The puppies were immediately signed over into RSPCA care and have been rehomed. Following the conclusion of the case the RSPCA has taken the adult dogs into our care and they too will be rehomed.”
Sentencing: 12-month community order. Ordered to pay £1,000 costs and an £85 victim surcharge. Five-year ban on keeping animals.