Category Archives: donkeys

Rhuallt, Denbighshire: Michael Stephen Walsh

#TheList Michael Stephen Walsh, born 15/04/1964, of Bryntirion, Rhuallt, St Asaph, Denbighshire LL17 0TG – caused suffering to two little donkeys by leaving their severely overgrown hooves unkempt

Michael Walsh's donkeys' hooves were so overgrown, they struggled to walk
Michael Walsh’s donkeys’ hooves were so overgrown, they struggled to walk

Millionaire Michael Stephen Walsh changed his earlier plea to admit the Animal Welfare Act offence and was sentenced at Mold Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, November 20, 2018.

Another individual [most likely his wife, Judith Walsh] accepted a caution for their involvement in the poor care of the donkeys.

The RSPCA was notified of the case after members of the public saw the male donkeys with the severely overgrown hooves, causing them difficulty to walk. Veterinary examination discovered the hooves were in such poor condition that the donkeys endured suffering.

Michael Walsh's donkeys' hooves were so overgrown, they struggled to walk

Donkeys thrive in semi-arid parts of the world, where the ground is dry and stony. Their hooves are much more efficient than horses at absorbing water, but this means the wet pasture of the UK can make their feet soft and cause foot diseases.

Most donkeys’ hooves require a trim every six to 10 weeks.

RSPCA inspector Jenny Anderton said: “The failure to provide adequate care for these donkeys’ overgrown hooves caused them to suffer.

“It is really sad how such basic action could have prevented this. A simple phone call to a farrier could have stopped these poor donkeys suffering.

“Fortunately, both donkeys will come into the care of the RSPCA and have a second chance of happiness. But this case reminds us how important proper appropriate care of hooves is for donkeys, and other equines.”

Walsh was fined £650 and ordered to pay £500 in costs and a £50 victim surcharge. He agreed to sign the animals into the care of the RSPCA.

Michael Stephen Walsh, with his brother Sean, set up lucrative business Anglia insurance repairs, which they sold for £37m in 2007.

Michael Walsh's donkeys' hooves were so overgrown, they struggled to walk

The brothers later bankrolled their local football club Prestatyn Town but severed ties in 2012.

The business man, who is also a former soldier, now runs Walsh Investment Properties as well as carrying out charity work for ex-servicemen.

He has ploughed much of his fortune into renovating his massive farm house home in Rhuallt.

Daily Post
Denbighshire Free Press

Yate, Gloucestershire: Stephen D Bowes

#TheList Stephen D Bowes, born 1971, of 48 Cranleigh Court Road, Yate, Bristol BS37 5DJ – possessed images showing human intercourse with reptiles, horses, goats, donkeys and dogs

Between 8/12/16 and 3/11/17 made category A, B and C images of children and possessed a pornographic image which portrayed, in an explicit and realistic way, persons performing an act of intercourse with live animals or reptiles namely snakes, horses, goats, donkeys and dogs.

Sentencing: Bowes was due to be sentenced on 29/08/18 but the outcome was not reported.

Bristol Live

Ashbourne, Derbyshire: Mark Barber

#TheList Mark Barber, born 08/06/1977, of The Waterings Farm, Blore, Ashbourne DE6 2BT – for leaving two donkeys to suffer in agony with overgrown hooves

Mark Barber and abused donkeys Jessica and Jasmine.

Farmer Mark Barber pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the two jennys, at Derby Magistrates’ Court on 15 February 2018. He admitted failing to seek vital treatment for the pair.

The RSPCA and the Donkey Sanctuary found the animals, Jessica and Jasmine, with hooves so overgrown they were unable to walk normally.

Close-up of one of the donkey's overgrown hooves.

“These two beautiful donkeys were left to suffer because Mr Barber failed to arrange veterinary or farrier treatment,” said RSPCA inspector Charlotte Melvin,

“After a concerned member of the public called us about the state of two donkeys they’d seen on the Barbers’ farm, I called Hannah Bryer, head of welfare at the Donkey Sanctuary, to help and when we arrived we were shocked at what we saw.

“Both donkeys, Jessica and Jasmine, were out in a field and their hooves were so long we could barely coax them to take a few steps – they were in agony.

“Mr Barber had left Jessica and Jasmine without any farriery or veterinary care for a really long time, even though it was clear that they were suffering.

“Thankfully, after we called a vet who certified their suffering immediately, Mr Barber signed the donkeys into our care and after carefully loading them into the horsebox, they were taken straight to the Donkey Sanctuary to receive the expert care they so desperately needed.”

The pair were taken to the Donkey Sanctuary in Buxton, where Jessica was found to have severe sarcoids on her legs and belly.

Mr Barber was not charged with any offence relating to the sarcoids, but her condition was so serious, a veterinary specialist advised that she would not recover and she was put to sleep.

Jasmine has recovered and is still with the sanctuary in Devon.

Ms Bryer, head of welfare at the Donkey Sanctuary, said: “Cases like this are incredibly sad as they can be so easily avoided.

“We are grateful for the combined efforts of the RSPCA, Derbyshire Police and all involved in investigating this case. The disqualification order serves to protect the welfare of donkeys in the future, but of course the most important outcome is that Jasmine is now fit and well, with a safe and secure future ahead of her.”

Sentencing:  Barber was fined £383 and ordered to pay £500 costs and a £38 victim surcharge. He was also disqualified from keeping donkeys for life.

Horse and Hound

Antrim, County Antrim: Robert and Conor Mcaleenan

#TheList Robert James Mcaleenan, born c. 1959, and son Conor Mcaleenan, born c. 1986, of 210 Lisnevenagh Road, Antrim BT41 2JT – jailed for a catalogue of animal cruelty offences against dozens of horses, ponies and donkeys

Robert and Conor Mcaleenan were jailed for allowing horses and ponies to suffer horrifically
Robert and Conor Mcaleenan were jailed for allowing horses and ponies to suffer horrifically

Travellers Robert and Conor Mcaleenan were  jailed after police  discovered a ‘scene of horror’ at their farm, with decomposing dead horses among those still alive.

The case was triggered by a tip-off from a member of the public. The scene that confronted vets and PSNI officers on November 22, 2011, was one of horror.

Robert and Conor Mcaleenan were jailed for allowing horses and ponies to suffer horrifically
Conor Mcaleenan

Cruel horse traders Robert and Conor Mcaleenan from Antrim

They were faced with an overpowering stench of dead animals which had been dumped in a heap on the farm, with numerous other standing around in filth, starving and left to fend for themselves.

One vet said: “The scale of what I saw was unbelievably large. The father and son had fundamentally failed to protect the animals, failed to address the most basic health and husbandry requirements.

“Some of the animals were in such a pitiful state of suffering that they had to be euthanised on humane grounds.”

Judge Desmond Marrinan told the Mcaleenans: “This is one of the worst cases of animal cruelty that I have encountered and you should be thoroughly ashamed of your callous behaviour.”

The judge said he was unimpressed by the men’s defence and found no substance in claims the pair had not set out to deliberately cause suffering or distress to the animals.

He told the court the case photographs were “horrific… almost unbelievable”, and said: “The evidence bore testimony to the fact they treated these poor animals in a pitiless manner without the slightest regard for their welfare. In my view they are unfit to be carers for any animal.”

Conor Mcaleenan, who had owned the animals, was jailed for 14 months.

Robert James Mcaleenan, who owns the farm between Antrim and Ballymena, was given nine months.

The pair were banned from keeping animals for 25 years.

Belfast Telegraph
Irish Mirror

In January 2018 the pair reappeared in court accused of breaching their ban on keeping animals. The outcome of their latest court case is unknown, however.



Glenavy, Crumlin, Co Antrim: James Steele

#TheList James Steele, born c. 1969, of 15 Gobrana Road, Glenavy, Crumlin BT29 4LQ – for multiple cruelty offences to donkeys, sheep and cattle

Cruel farmer James Steele from Glenavy is banned from having livestock for 25 years
Serial animal abuser James Steele has caused suffering to countless animals

Steele entered guilty pleas to a total of 16 charges including ten counts of causing unnecessary suffering to cows, sheep, calves and a bull on dates between 17 September 2015 and 10 January 2016.

The charges arose as a result of a series of inspections by the Dept of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) at land Steele was renting in Crumlin, Dundrod and Glenavy.

Over the course of the numerous visits, DAERA officials found:

  • Lame animals being kept in unsuitable slatted sheds
  • A cow with overgrown cleats
  • A calf which had to be euthanised due to an infected hoof and leg
  • A “distressed” sheep which was found to be suffering from “cerebrocortical necrosis,” a disease of the central nervous system, later euthanised by the vet
  • A young Charlois bull was weak and dehydrated suffering from pneumonia so given the poor prognosis and “poor body condition,” it was also euthanised

At a yard on the Lisnataylor Road in Dundrod, inspectors found a cubicle house with 18 feeding spaces that was being used to feed 97 beasts, 49 cows, a bull and 47 calves. This meant it was inadequate for the number of animals to allow them to have sufficient access to food.

In addition passageways were knee deep in slurry and there was no bedding for the calves. There was also a dead calf in an area where other calves had access to.

Animals suffering on James Steele's farm
Some of the animals found had not had feed or water for days

As a result of the inspections, DAERA officials were granted a seizure/deprivation order and seized the 153 cattle but when they were examined it was decided that 13 animals were not fit to travel and were euthanised.

The court heard that Steele had previous convictions for causing animal suffering.

In that case, also dealt with by way of suspended jail sentences, Steele was found guilty of two charges under the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011 in that he had caused suffering to a number of donkeys which he kept in fields in the Dundrod area in June 2015.

The Animal Welfare Service responded finding 11 donkeys, nine of which had severely overgrown hooves making it very painful and difficult for them to walk.

After a full examination the Council’s vet stated that the condition of nine of the 11 donkeys was such that they should, in their own interest, be humanely destroyed.

Sentencing: nine-month prison sentence suspended for four years. Banned from keeping farm animals for 25 years.

Belfast Telegraph

Harriseahead, Stoke-on-Trent: Jackie Johnson

#TheList horse dealer Jacquelyn S Johnson, Lower Stadmoreslow Farm, Stadmoreslow Lane, Stoke-on-Trent ST7 4SH – allowed horses and donkeys to be kept in squalid conditions

Horse dealer Jackie Johnson from Harriseahead, Stoke, UK, kept horses and donkeys in squalor.
Several horses had to be put down due to horse dealer Jackie Johnson’s neglect

Jackie Johnson, who is the mother of another convicted horse abuser Claire Machin, was charged under Section 9 and Section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 for animal cruelty and failing to provide a duty of care to the animals under her control.

The case was investigated by Staffordshire County Council’s Animal Health team following the execution of a warrant at the dealer’s yard, along with officers from Staffordshire Police, World Horse Welfare, the Donkey Sanctuary and the RSPCA.

Horse dealer Jackie Johnson from Harriseahead, Stoke, UK, kept horses and donkeys in squalor.

Visits to the farm by officers revealed horses kept in poor condition, in dirty stables with no dry lying area. Horses outside the stables had no shelter and were wet and dirty.

Horse dealer Jackie Johnson from Harriseahead, Stoke, UK, kept horses and donkeys in squalor.

One pony was found collapsed in a field, covered with rugs and tarpaulin. After being examined by a vet, it was put to sleep. A second pony was found on the site with injuries and also had to be euthanized.

Further visits were made to Stadmoreslow Farm, where another four horses were taken away and several put to sleep due to their condition.

Sentencing: 12 week sentence for each offence, suspended for 12 months; ordered to pay nearly £3,500 plus an £80 victim surcharge. Disqualified from having anything further to do with horses, donkeys and ponies indefinitely.

Staffordshire County Council Newsroom

2019 update: Lower Stadmoreslow Farm is now in the name of Johnson’s son Wayne Sallis who continues to trade horses from the premises.

Claire Machin, Johnson’s daughter and a convicted horse abuser in her own right, has now taken to calling herself Mandy Ding.

The Machins/Johnsons/Sallises are travellers.

Gomersal, West Yorkshire: Angela and MalcoLm Wood

#TheList Angela Wood and husband Malcolm Wood of Popeley Farm Cottage, Muffit Lane, Gomersal, near Cleckheaton BD19 4QS – pleaded guilty to terrible neglect of donkeys and miniature Shetland ponies.

Badly neglected donkeys found at the home of Malcolm and Angela Wood in Gomersal
Badly neglected donkeys and ponies found at the home of Malcolm and Angela Wood in Gomersal. The hooves were so long some couldn’t even walk. Bottom right image shows one of donkeys fully recovered from hi ordeal.

Malcolm and Angela Wood both pleaded guilty to a number of offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 when they appeared at Kirklees Magistrates Court in Huddersfield.

Malcolm Wood pleaded guilty to two section 9 offences relating to the poor body condition and lack of appropriate stabling for three Shetland ponies, to have taken place in June 2016, but five charges against him relating to the welfare of the five donkeys were dropped.

Angela Wood pleaded guilty to one section 4 offence relating to the extremely poor state of the donkeys’ hooves and three section 9 offences relating to the inadequate living environment, body condition and lack of worm control of the ponies and donkeys, to have taken place between January 2016 and June 2016.

After initial advice to help improve the conditions from World Horse Welfare, the RSPCA and The Donkey Sanctuary were called to the property in June 2016 over concerns for the welfare of four miniature Shetlands and it became apparent that there were also donkeys at the site.

Some had been neglected to the point that they couldn’t even walk. After a veterinary surgeon certified the five donkeys and three Shetlands to be suffering, a team from World Horse Welfare and the Donkey Sanctuary joined the RSPCA in removing the animals.

RSPCA inspector Samantha Weston said: “The state of the poor ponies was awful, but to then make the discovery of the donkeys was shocking – their hooves were some of the longest I’ve ever seen.

“One was in very poor body condition and several were riddled with worms. Another donkey had to be dug out of his stable because the combination of filthy bedding and faeces had built up so much he couldn’t even be led out of the door.

“I am delighted to hear that the ponies and donkeys that were removed are now doing well in the expert care of the Donkey Sanctuary and World Horse Welfare.”

Sentencing: six-month community order each. Total costs and charges of £185 each. Both were given an indefinite ban on owning all equines

Horse & Hound