#TheList breeder and kennel owner Wilfried Frederik Anna Vangenechten, born September 1959, of Avon Bridge Lodge, Old Avon Road, Ferniegair, Hamilton ML3 7UH – neglected dogs so badly they had to be put down
Wilfried Vangenechten’s kennels business was raided by the Scottish SPCA responding to a tip-off about distressed animals being kept there. Officers discovered a total of 17 dogs including Cairn terriers, West Highland terriers, Lhasa Apsos, Miniature Schnauzers and Shih Tzus being kept in horrific conditions.
Some of the dogs were underweight with matted fur and suffering skin complaints. Sadly four of the dogs were so poorly they had to be put to sleep.
Belgian national Vangenechten admitted causing the dogs unnecessary suffering between February and March 2019.
It also emerged that he was operating the business without an appropriate licence.
The sheriff banned him for five years and acknowledged that her decision would shut his business down but allowed him to keep a pet dog and a flock of chickens.
She added: “As I had indicated previously, I have considered all of the matters and information before the court and I have no option but to impose a disqualification order for a period of five years.
“The order will prohibit you keeping any animals apart from your pet dog and the six poultry birds, but you cannot deal, work with or take possession of animals over that period.
“I have given careful consideration to whether any other disposal would be appropriate but after considering all before me I’m not going to impose anything further.
“I acknowledge that the sentence of the court today will shut down your business and livelihood”.
Sentencing: banned from keeping animals for five years.
#TheList for multiple cruelty charges Jodie Annabel Fairbrother (aka Jodie Lewis), born 30/09/1978, and husband Paul Jack Fairbrother, born 10/07/1969, formerly of Immingham, Lincolnshire, but now said to be living in Nar Fokak, Cyprus, with daughter Libby-Jo Fairbrother who was also initially charged.
Mother-of-four Jodie Fairbrother, whose last known UK address was Aberdovey Drive, Eaglescliffe, Stockton-on-Tees TS16 9EZ admitted 10 offences of animal cruelty at 4Paws veterinary clinic – six which related to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
Her husband, Paul Fairbrother, admitted three offences of animal cruelty, including one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a British bulldog and two charges relating to animal welfare.
The charges were brought by the RSPCA after it conducted one of its largest raids in March 2018 at 4Paws in Killingholme, North Lincolnshire.
More than 60 staff from multiple agencies worked throughout the day to remove 160 animals.
4Paws, which imported 4,600 dogs from overseas over a 15-month period, operated an unlicensed boarding kennels and veterinary clinic after their licence expired.
The animals were found in “abhorrent” conditions.
Some animals were left unattended in baskets and cages for up to 95 hours. Many were kept in cramped kennels with no access to food or water.
They also had untreated health conditions such as respiratory problems or ear infections and untreated wounds.
The body of a deceased dog was found at the clinic and it was later discovered the dog had distemper, a lethal viral disease.
One dog was kept in a cage for four days without food and water and then ‘euthanised’ by Fairbrother, who had no veterinary qualifications.
Three dogs had to be put to sleep and two had Brucella canisa, a serious contagious disease that can be passed onto humans. Another tested positive for distemper.
A total of 144 dogs and 16 cats were then taken in by the RSPCA and Dogs Trust.
Other charges against the Fairbrothers were dropped at an earlier hearing and all 17 charges were dropped against daughter Libby-Jo Fairbrother.
The volunteer also said that the animals had been “living in their own filth” as the kennels were never cleaned properly, and the animals were never looked after, with around 80 new dogs arriving at the kennel every week.
They said: “I used to help out at the clinic and some of the things that I have seen were just disgusting.
“There were 10 to 15 dogs all into one pen, and just roaming about. There was not one bed for a dog.
“Thursday is delivery day, when they get usually around three vans full of dogs from Romania brought to the site. But the most horrible thing is to see them left outside the clinic, sometimes for over a day, just sitting in those vans howling.
“The animals are always getting out and running loose about the place.”
Other local residents hit out at the treatment of horses at the centre, saying they had been left in a field during the heat of the summer without food or water. Residents said they had intervened to feed the animals themselves claiming that clinic staff had informed them they were “too busy”.
Numerous other residents alleged that after speaking out about the conditions at 4Paws, they received threats.
Sentencing: Jodie Fairbrother – jailed for 18 weeks, suspended for 12 months. Paul Fairbrother – jailed for 12 weeks, suspended for 12 months. Both were ordered to pay £500 costs and a £115 victim surcharge each. Both were banned from keeping or trading in animals for five years.
#TheList breeder/hoarder Lynn Stoker, born c. 1957, of Raw Farm House, Byrness Village, Newcastle upon Tyne NE19 1TR – jailed for cruelty to more than 100 dogs and puppies
Stoker was found guilty of 11 charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and four counts of failing to ensure an animal’s welfare needs were met. Her conviction came after 107 dogs and six puppies were found living in cramped cages and with no fresh drinking water.
She had denied all charges but was found guilty after a four-day trial.
Stoker was breeding dogs but struggled to sell them on and ended up with a house full of animals. She initially asked for help re-homing the pets but began behaving ‘evasively’ and ‘aggressively’ so a search warrant was issued in May 2018.
The RSPCA told the court that “not a single dog was in a healthy condition” when they were discovered locked up in cramped cages at Stoker’s home in May 2018.
The animals were suffering from a range of untreated health problems including chronic dental disease, eye infections and hip injuries. Stoker also failed to provide them with sufficient water.
Three dogs had a level of dental disease so high it resulted in a fractured jaw, and one of them only had three teeth as all the rest had fallen out because of severe disease.
Some animals were in such a bad state they needed to be put down.
The dog breeder claimed that her pets were never neglected and she had been doing the job for 25 years.
The pets at her home also included two cats and a tortoise.
Sentencing Stoker, district judge Bernard Begley said: “This is a particularly serious type of offence. Significant costs have been incurred.
“I really can’t find any redeeming features. This was a high level of suffering – some animals were euthanised.
“You have not shown a shred of remorse or contrition.”
Sentencing: jailed for 21 weeks; ordered to pay £50,000. Disqualified from keeping or breeding animals for at least 15 years.
#TheList Stacy Humphrys (aka Boogile Lee), born c. 1987, of West Meadows Travellers Site, Ipswich IP1 5NU – kept 17 dogs, 23 poultry and a young pony in terrible conditions
Humphrys admitted seven offences under the Animal Welfare Act. These included four counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a filly and seven dogs, and three of failing to meet the welfare needs of 17 dogs, 23 poultry and the filly pony.
The RSPCA were called to Humphrys’ home at the West Meadows travellers encampment in April 2019, following reports of an underweight whippet.
When Inspector Jason Finch arrived he discovered another dog with fur loss and two dogs in a room covered in old and fresh faeces.
After being shown around the rest of the location, Inspector Finch was concerned and alarmed for a number of animals he saw. He then contacted police, a vet and other RSPCA offers for assistance.
Speaking after the case, Inspector Finch said: “It was extremely disturbing to see so many animals living in such terrible conditions.
“As we proceeded round the property more and more dogs were found in runs that were too small. All were filthy with faeces, and had little or no water.
“Some of the dogs, particularly those with long coats, were also filthy with faeces, some dogs had fur loss, and live fleas could be seen on many of the dogs. Two dogs which were extremely thin, nervous and covered in faeces frantically drank a bowl dry when they were given fresh water at the vets.
“We and other organisations have tried to work with this defendant in the past in a bid to help him improve the welfare of all his animals.
“But despite the help and advice he has been given in the past, he failed to do what was right for these animals which led them to suffer.”
All the animals taken from the property were signed over by the defendant and have made a good recovery with many already in loving new homes.
Julie Harding, senior field officer of horse sanctuary Redwings, said: “We were hugely shocked and appalled to discover the unnecessary suffering of the little black filly, as we have previously worked with the owner in a bid to help him improve the welfare of his horses.
“When the young filly arrived at the sanctuary she was so weak and underweight that she couldn’t stand up without our help. Luckily, thanks to the dedication of our vets and care team, she has gone on to make a full recovery and she is guaranteed a safe home in Redwings’ care for the rest of her life.”
Sentencing: 16 weeks in prison. Total costs and charges of £989. Banned for an indefinite period from keeping all animals – with a condition of not being able to apply for the disqualification to be removed for five years.
#TheList Andrew McAuley, born c. 1961, of 127 Braepark Road, Ballyclare BT39 9SX – kept several dogs in filthy, freezing conditions with no access to food or water
In a case brought by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, McAuley was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering and failure to ensure the welfare of four dogs that were in his care.
Two dogs were found inside a car that was covered in snow in sub-zero conditions, steeped in urine, soiled with dog faeces and contained bird carcasses. Council’s animal welfare officer described the smell as “unbearable”.
A beagle that was tied up in a confined outhouse alongside dead bird and pig carcasses was also removed. Another dog was found roaming on site. All the dogs had no access to fresh water, food and were living in poor conditions.
An application for a Disposal Order in respect of a second case involving McAuley was also heard. This order was granted in respect of 17 dogs being held in the care of the council, for which new homes have now been identified with assistance of local charities.
Sentencing: eight-month jail sentence suspended for three years; costs of £217. Banned from keeping animals for 15 years.
#TheList illegal dog breeder and trader Kevin Bramwell, born 21/02/1957, of John Street, Cannock WS12 2RL
Kevin Bramwell, who gave his address in court as Leathermill Road, Rugeley but actually lives in John Street, Cannock, with his partner, admitted 11 charges – eight of causing unnecessary suffering to animals, one running a breeding establishment without licence, one of having an unlicensed pet shop and one of fraud by false representation
Officers from Cannock Chase Council found 27 dogs and two raccoons inside vehicles and sheds at the premises of KV Plant & Machinery on Power Station Road, Rugeley, Staffordshire, which is operated by Bramwell.
They say the animals were overcrowded, surrounded by faeces and flies, and showing signs of disease.
A local vet was engaged to assess them, and they were taken into the Council’s possession.
The authority cared for the animals, some of which required treatment, whilst the Dogs Trust volunteered to find permanent homes for them.
The subsequent investigation showed that Bramwell was breeding dogs and selling them through several websites.
Adverts were traced back to 2014 and totalled almost £50,000.
By not having the required licences Bramwell was able to operate under the radar.
The Council say Bramwell preyed on unsuspecting members of the public who were unwittingly buying from this illegal puppy farm, in the mistaken belief that he was a legitimate vendor.
Councillor John Preece, Environment Portfolio Leader said “To anyone looking to have a puppy, please consider rehoming a rescue dog from one of the recognised charities that specialise in caring for stray or abandoned dogs.
“If you do decide to buy privately or from a breeder, please make reasonable enquiries about the vendor, ensure you see the mother and puppies together at the place where they were born and raised.
“Check for proof of vaccinations, microchipping and worming.
“If it’s a breeder, check they have the appropriate licence from the Council for breeding dogs or selling pets.
”The best outcome from this case is that the 29 animals were successfully rehomed.
“I must thank the Dogs Trust for their support in achieving this.
“To anyone considering operating an illegal puppy farm within the District, this case shows you will be found and you will be prosecuted as demonstrated today.”
Sentencing: 18-week prison sentence for animal welfare and licensing offences and a further 52 weeks for fraud. A minimum 35 weeks of the sentence to be served in custody with the remainder on licence. Disqualified from keeping any animal for 10 years with no review for five years.
#TheList husband and wife Jason Coates, born c. 1975, and Cherylea Coates born c. 1979, and their nephew Albert ‘Alby’ Coates, born 11/09/1988, all of 72 Moreland Avenue, Colnbrook, Slough SL3 0LR
The Coates family, who are from the settled travelling community and run a skip-hire business, kept five dogs and two puppies in unsuitable conditions. The trio were prosecuted following a warrant executed at their home by Slough Borough Council’s resilience and enforcement team.
Neighbours had raised the alarm after hearing continuous barking and noticing the dogs were never taken out for exercise.
Officers visited the family’s home in Moreland Avenue in December 2018 and found a shed in the front garden and two cages in the back garden.
One cage was home to two Jack Russell puppies and their mother who belonged to 30-year-old Albert Coates.
It was believed three puppies had already died and the surviving young dogs had to make do with unsuitable bedding and a lack of blankets in wintry conditions.
Their food and water was also found to be contaminated.
A Jack Russell cross Chihuahua, a Chihuahua and two Cocker Spaniels belonging to Jason and Cherylea Coates were also discovered.
The couple, aged 44 and 40, contested surrendering the animals and a court order had to be obtained while their nephew voluntarily surrendered his dogs to the care of the council.
All the dogs have since been rehomed and nursed back to health.
The trio appeared for sentencing at Reading Magistrates Court on Friday, August 9, 2019, after each admitted a charge of neglect under Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
Albert Coates admitted an additional charge of causing unnecessary suffering under section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
All offences took place on December 18, 2018.
Sentencing: all were ordered to pay a total of £400 in fines, costs and charges and were disqualified from owning or keeping an animal for a minimum of two years.
#TheList Steffan Lee Harris, born 17/12/93, and Barbara Ray Howell, born 21/08/93, of Gorwyn, Tenby Road, St Clears, Carmarthen SA33 4JN – kept dozens of dogs in shocking conditions at illegal puppy farm
Steffan Lee Harris and partner Barbara Ray Howell pleaded guilty to animal welfare offences, running a dog breeding business without a licence, and consumer offences relating to the advertising of dogs online.
Animal inspectors found starving and sick dogs being held in sheds and barns at premises operated by the couple who sold puppies online while pretending to be private sellers.
Paul Hobson, prosecuting, told the court how the couple advertised on a website called, ironically, he said, preloved.co.uk.
One buyer paid £225 for a puppy from a caravan the pair rented at Waun Dwni farm, Tanygroes. The animal became ill before the buyer got back home to Cardiff and they ended up paying £700 in vet’s bills.
Mr Hobson said the puppy had not been microchipped, vaccinated or treated for fleas as the couple had claimed in their advertisement.
A major investigation followed, first by Ceredigion County Council and then by the RSPCA.
Inspectors found 82 dogs being kept in poor conditions – 49 breeding females, 12 males and 21 puppies ready for sale.
Many of the dogs were kept in small enclosures with little light or access to fresh air with poor or muddy bedding and sharp corners and low-hanging electrical cables across the pens.
A lurcher could hardly move, a terrier was tied to a breeze block and a collie had a body score of one out of nine and was close to death.
Another dog was kept in a sealed container and it appeared impossible for anyone to get in to feed or water her, said Mr Hobson.
Inspectors also found pigs squealing through lack of food and water, and chickens that appeared not to have been fed or given access to water. One chicken collapsed in front of them.
The court heard Harris, who was present during the inspection, was “less than cooperative” during the process.
Harris and Howell both admitted cruelty offences in relation to the pigs and Harris to the chickens.
Mr Hobson said further investigation showed that Harris had a flock of 110 sheep on nearby land, which he rented.
The owner became concerned because he did not seem to be there to look after them and inspectors found sheep carcasses that should have been disposed of properly.
After Harris was made aware of their concerns the sheep disappeared, apart from 19 which he seemed to have simply abandoned.
Mr Hobson said an initial financial investigation suggested the couple had banked £150,000 between 2013 and 2018 through the sale of puppies.
A Proceeds of Crime Act investigation is underway to determine how much money could been confiscated from them. That matter will be settled at a court hearing on 15 November, 2019.
After his arrest Harris said he wanted to get the puppy farm up and running before applying for a licence.
Howell said she only looked after the paperwork.
For Harris and Howell James Hartson said he accepted that anyone seeing the photographs of the dogs could not fail to be mortified.
“They had ambitions for a business but lost control. It is likely the financial consequences will be punitive,” he added.
Mr Hartson urged the judge not to impose banning orders preventing the defendants from owning or being concerned in the care of dogs as that would effectively stop Harris from carrying out his work as a herdsman.
Judge Peter Heywood said animals were defenceless and Harris and Howell had housed them in totally inappropriate surroundings.
“This was a significant commercial enterprise and Harris was the driving force,” he added.
“You were in it to make money and had no regard for the welfare of the animals.”
The judge said Harris, who cannot read or write, had been the “driving force” behind the enterprise while Howell had assisted him.
He said he would be failing in his public duty if he suspended Harris’ sentence, but took into account that Howell had a young child when sentencing her.
Sentencing: Harris was jailed for six months (half to be served on licence) while Howell was given a four-month suspended sentence and ordered to complete a rehabilitation activity requirement. Both were made the subject of banning orders preventing them from owning or being concerned in the care of dogs, chickens, and sheep for the next five years.
#TheList puppy farmer Frank James, born 05/04/1967, of 105 Coronation Way, Montrose, Angus DD10 9DW, and accomplice Michelle Wood, born c. 1989, of Berrymuir Road, Macduff AB44
Frank James and Michelle Wood caused dogs, ferrets and rabbits suffering at East Mains of Ardlogie Farm near Fyvie, Aberdeenshire AB53 8PH.
The Scottish SPCA and police raided the farm in November 2017, removing 105 animals including 87 dogs, the youngest being a few days old.
The animals were taken to Scottish SPCA animal rescue and rehoming centres for treatment and rehabilitation.
An undercover investigator for the Scottish SPCA described the conditions as “absolutely disgraceful”.
The investigator said: “We believe this was the largest scale puppy farming operation in Scotland.
“The conditions these dogs were being kept in were absolutely disgraceful. It fell far below the minimum standard in terms of animal welfare and, given the environment and sheer volume of puppies, it was immediately evident these were not being kept as pets and the premises was effectively a battery farm for pups.
“Our investigation revealed dogs on site were being intensively bred with little to no regard for their welfare.
“On site, we found a burnt out van which had dog carcasses within, suggesting this was a means of disposing dead pups.”
Frank James and his brother were banned from keeping more than two dogs for three years.
Sean James, who was 18 at the time, was ordered to carry out 50 hours of community service and banned from keeping more than two dogs for three years
In September 2016 a planning application in the name of Frank James’ daughter Elizabeth James (now Elizabeth Sutherland of Hillhead Caravan Park, Kintore, Inverurie AB51 0YX) with Sean James as the named agent was submitted to Aberdeen Council for the East Mains of Ardlogie farm to be used as breeding kennels. Following a huge wave of public objections the application was rejected at the eleventh hour.
Undeterred, the James family continued to operate their puppy farm illegally and Frank James flouted his ban on selling puppies.
Sentencing: James was jailed for nine months and banned from owning animals for life. Wood was given 300 hours of unpaid work and placed under supervision for two years. She was banned from keeping animals for ten years.
#TheList Akaash Mushtaq, born 21/06/1996, of 103 Morley Road, Birmingham B8 2HX – found with two dead dogs in his garden and three others seriously underweight
Mushtaq admitted two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to the deceased dogs and three counts of failing in his duty of care to the three live dogs when he appeared before Birmingham Magistrates’ Court.
On 19 January 2019, the council received a complaint about a dog straying into back gardens in Morley Road. Dog wardens found the dog and followed it into the defendant’s back garden.
There they found five kennels, with dogs in four of them – two German shepherds, a Rottweiler and a Staffordshire bull terrier.
Both the Rottweiler and Staffordshire bull terrier were dead, the latter seemingly having been dead for some time. The German shepherds were profoundly underweight but alive.
The dog found roaming, a cross breed, was also underweight, but it was reported that she was scavenging in neighbours’ gardens and bins.
The kennels were filthy and covered with dog faeces, while some also had car parts and car wheels inside them. There was no food or water available in any of the kennels.
Mushtaq was cautioned by officers and all dogs were removed under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
The three live dogs were signed over to Birmingham City Council by Mushtaq – all three subsequently gained weight simply from being fed a normal diet rather than requiring veterinary treatment. They have since been rehomed.
Sentencing: 24 weeks in jail, of which half will be served on licence; 12-month supervision order to run consecutively. Ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping any animals for 10 years.