#TheList hoarders Simon Hallgarth, born c. 1971, and partner Paul Walker, born c. 1976, both of 2 Holland Close Villas, Woodhouse, Belton, Doncaster DN9 1QJ – for cruelty towards 52 dogs and three goats
Simon Hallgarth and Paul Walker pleaded guilty to 11 offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
The RSPCA were alerted to the plight of the pair’s animals after receiving a call to its cruelty line about three abandoned goats, who were found living in a poor environment with no access to water.
As RSPCA Inspector Tamsin Drysdale spoke to Walker, a number of dogs could be heard barking from inside a garage nearby so she asked if she could see them.
She said: ““As the garage door was opened the smell of faeces and urine was overwhelming. There were four pens with various breeds of dogs living in them.
“Their food and water bowls were filthy and empty and the dogs were pungent, their coats in various stages of matting.
“The three dogs in the last pen were in such a poor condition I wasn’t sure what breed they were. Two of the dogs were moving, albeit very slowly, but the third dog, a Bichon Frise called Peggy, appeared to be dead.
“I went into the pen and gently shook her and I was shocked when she moved slightly.
“At the vets she was found to be very thin, in respiratory distress and hypothermic. She was initially unable to be examined because of the extent of the matting, which had to be cut away.
“She had a fractured wrist and wounds on her back legs so badly infected that they were down to the bone. The damage was irreparable and she was put to sleep on humane grounds.
“A large number of dogs were also living in the house, and though these were in better condition than those in the garage, many of these were also suffering.”
Three other dogs were also put to sleep on veterinary advice, including a 17-year-old Shih Tzu called Daisy who was in severe respiratory distress and had two blind shrunken eyes that were discharging green pus and her ears were also discharging pus.
Another dog, Cookie, had to have a leg amputated.
Seven of the 52 dogs removed from the property were suffering with severe dental disease, four of them with ear infections, two of them with eye infections and one with overgrown nails that had penetrated the pads of the dog’s feet.
Thirteen of the dogs and the three goats did not have their needs met due to the environment they were living in and/or a lack of fresh clean drinking water.
In mitigation, the court heard that Hallgarth had bought the dogs as a way of coping after the death of his mother in 2013, with whom he had bought the property, lived and owned dogs previously.
He accepted that he had caused very high suffering and was remorseful.
In respect of Walker, the court heard that the offences had been borne out of concern and care for his husband.
The court heard that both defendants were overwhelmed financially and by the level of care the animals needed. They were of previous good character and had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
Sentencing: 14 weeks in prison; post-sentence supervision orders of 12 months, less the time served in prison. Lifetime ban on keeping animals.
#TheList Mark Phillip Mathias, born November 1978, of Chapel Hill, Camrose, Haverfordwest SA62 6JN – left dozens of cows to suffer on his farm
Four cows belonging to Mark Mathias had to be put down to prevent further suffering.
Distressing images from the farm show cows lying on their sides in field, and a pile of carcasses left in a farmyard area
The ruling follows a prosecution by Pembrokeshire County Council.
The court heard that between March 20 and July 12, 2018, 14 visits were made to the farm by animal health and welfare inspectors.
The first visit followed a report of a calf being on its side in the farm yard which was thought to be suffering with no bedding or care provided.Cow carcasses were also discovered by officers on a yard near baled feed for the herd and inside a large trailer.
Other welfare concerns were noted within the herd and notices were issued to dispose of the carcasses correctly, to address welfare concerns and to improve conditions on the farm.
The court was told that throughout the ensuing visits, additional notices and further advice was given to Mathias by officers and vets.
These related to conditions on the farm in which the cattle were being kept, welfare concerns, including for specific animals which required veterinary attention and for removal of animal by-products.
The court was told that four animals had suffered unnecessarily which resulted in them being destroyed.
A large number of cattle had also been moved onto the site while a TB restriction notice was in place, prohibiting moves on or off site without a licence.
Mathias pleaded guilty to failing to observe the terms of the notice.
As part of mitigation for Mathias, reference was made to the mental, physical and financial issues involved in the farming business.
Sentencing: 200-hour community service order; costs and charges totalling £585. Disqualified from keeping, owning, participating in, or influencing the keeping of bovine animals for a period of 12 months.
#TheList Margarette Cooper, born c.1938, and son Norman Cooper, born c. 1963, both of Gilfach Chwith, Bangor Teifi, Llandysul, Ceredigion SA44 4JE – convicted of animal cruelty after dozens of cows died in ‘nightmare scenes’ at their farm
An investigation by Ceredigion Council found a total of 84 cattle had died or had been seriously neglected at the farm run by Margarette and Norman Cooper.
On the farm, the carcasses of dead cows were found decaying alongside surviving cattle. Among those that had survived, some had to be put down following examination due to the seriousness of their health and their suffering.
“The animal health officers involved with this case have never experienced such appalling conditions at any farm in their careers,” said Alun Williams, corporate lead officer for policy and performance at Ceredigion Council.
“Most of the staff are from farming backgrounds, but they faced horrific circumstances in investigating and retrieving the live animals and the carcasses.”
Sentencing: both were given six months in jail, suspended for two years and ordered to pay costs and charges totalling £2615 each. Norman Cooper was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work. Both were disqualified from keeping any animals for 10 years, other than their existing four elderly dogs.
Jonathan Eales, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said a housekeeper was employed to look after the property and the fallow deer but he did not have money for animal feed.
He said the animal welfare charity visited the hall after it was contacted by walkers concerned at the condition of the deer.
Inspectors found the animals were emaciated, while their pen was bare of any grass and infested with molehills.
RSPCA workers began visiting to feed the animals, but three more died.
Mr Eales said post mortem examinations revealed the deer were severely underweight and emaciated.
He said: ‘These deer died as a result of neglect. They were malnourished, dehydrated, they were incapable of surviving in an enclosure where there was insufficient food and no shelter.’
Speaking after the hearing, a spokesman for the RSPCA recalled the state of the deer when they first arrived at the estate.
He said: ‘The deer were very skinny – you could clearly see their ribs and their hip bones were protruding.
‘We hoped to remove the animals but expert vets said they were too weak to be moved at that stage. Vets advised us to feed them and our officers, who had launched an investigation, visited them daily to monitor their condition.
‘Ongoing tests established that, in addition to underfeeding, there were problems with worms and poisonous ragwort in the field so the herd needed to be moved to new pastures before ragwort started to come through in spring.
‘The owners failed to move the herd so vets felt they needed to be taken into our care.’
The spokesperson added: ‘The deer have recovered well and are now living with a private deer keeper.
Sentencing: deprivation order to pass ownership of the surviving deer to the RSPCA. Banned from keeping deer for two years. No costs were awarded and no further penalties were ordered against the couple.
#TheList persistent hoarder Edwin Harris, born c. 1939, of Murthering Lane, Stapleford Abbotts, Romford RM4 – kept 13 dogs, six pigs, six cockerels, two ducks, four cats, a pigeon and a rook in foul conditions; breached previous ban
Harris was banned from keeping animals for life for a second time after he admitted breaching a previous ban when he was found to be keeping a large number of animals in appalling conditions.
He also admitted failing to provide the animals with a suitable environment and causing unnecessary suffering to Bella, a Shar Pei-type dog, by failing to adequately investigate and address the cause of her ear and skin conditions.
The RSPCA attended the address in May 2018 with the police and found a large number of animals being kept in appalling conditions.
Dogs were found in small cages covered in mess and faeces with little or no water, and one was even found locked inside a cupboard which had been turned into a makeshift cage.
The cockerels, pigeon and rook were also kept in small cages covered in faeces, and the pigs were kept in a small narrow space within an outbuilding with hardly any room to turn round or exercise.
RSPCA Inspector Adam Jones said: “The conditions were appalling, most of the small animals and dogs were kept in cages and probably had not known any other life. They had obviously never been socialised and were scared.
“The cages had not been cleaned out and the animals were surrounded in their own faeces and dirt. If they did have water it was usually filthy. I was horrified to find one small Jack Russell being kept in a cupboard that the defendant had converted into some kind of makeshift cage.
“By his own admission the defendant had claimed he had a compulsion to keep animals because he loved them and he couldn’t stop taking them in. Had we not removed these animals it’s likely the numbers would have only increased – one of the pigs we removed had later had a litter of piglets.
“I hope that now he has been sentenced by the court the defendant will learn his lesson and not get animals which he clearly is unable to look after properly.”
Although the matter had crossed a custody threshold the bench said they had taken into account the defendant’s age and vulnerability and the fact that he has never been to prison before, but were keen for him to have some rehabilitation
In 2014 Harris was disqualified from keeping animals for life following a prosecution by the RSPCA.
Sentencing: Two-year community order with the requirement to carry out 135 hours of unpaid work and 60 days of Rehabilitation Activity Requirement; costs of £1,300 and a £85 victim surcharge. Lifetime ban on keeping animals.
#TheList Gavin Hardy , born 29/09/79, of 18 Greengate Lane, Immingham DN40 3EZ, Troy Wagstaff, born 06/03/88, of Willow Close, Ulceby DN39 6UR , and Arturs Grigorjevs, born c. 1986, of Oak Avenue, Goole DN14 – relentlessly abused pigs by kicking them in the face and jabbing them with pitchforks; caught on camera slamming a gate into an animal’s head
Hardy, Wagstaff and Grigorjevs, former employees of Goxhill’s Fir Tree Farm, which is operated by Elsham Linc, all admitted causing unnecessary suffering to pigs.
The case was brought by the RSPCA following an undercover investigation by animal rights group Animal Equality.
Hidden cameras were put inside the farm and these uncovered horrific footage of abuse.
The main culprit was Troy Wagstaff, a supervisor who, ironically, was actually the farm’s designated animal welfare manager responsible for animal welfare practice.
Wagstaff admitted abusing numerous pigs between April 2 and April 27, 2018, by causing unnecessary suffering through inflicting blunt force trauma and physical violence.
He denied a second charge of abusing a pig by spraying paint into its nose. The prosecution offered no evidence on that matter.
Gavin Hardy admitted causing unnecessary suffering to two pigs at the farm through inflicting blunt force trauma, physical violence and the inappropriate use of a pitchfork between April 25 and 27, 2018.
Latvian national Arturs Grigorjevs admitted causing unnecessary suffering to four pigs through inflicting blunt force trauma, physical violence and the inappropriate use of a pitchfork,when knowing that the act was likely to have this effect.
Cameras were planted in Fir Tree Farm after suspicions that pigs were being ill-treated and these revealed pigs being subjected to horrific abuse.
The pigs’ squeals can be heard as they try to escape from the men around the pens.
Gordon Holt, prosecuting for the RSPCA, told Grimsby Magistrates’ Court that there was “repeated abuse and cruelty” to “multiple pigs”.
Wagstaff was the unit’s supervisor for nine months and had worked there since 2006.
He was the designated animal welfare manager and had monthly meetings with others about animal welfare practice.
Hardy was a stockman and had worked at the farm for about 20 years.
Grigorjevs had worked with pigs for about nine years.
Elsham Linc, which is owned by the Godfrey family, sacked the men after an investigation, saying the actions were “abhorrent behaviour that does not represent our business”.
Gavin Hardy had shown “no remorse”, his legal team said. His lawyers claimed he was ”desensitised” to the rearing and slaughtering of pigs after working at the farm for 20 years.
Wagstaff was described by his lawyers as “weak and foolish” but “full of remorse”.
The court heard Artis Grigorjevs recognised that his behaviour was unacceptable.
Sentencing: The three were given an eight-week suspended prison sentence, 100 hours’ unpaid work and were banned from working with or transporting commercial livestock indefinitely. They must each pay £500 costs and a Government-imposed £115 victims’ surcharge.
#TheList Marshall Hay, born c. 1940, of Castlehill, Methlick, Aberdeenshire AB41 – left three steer bovines to suffer in agony with ingrowing horns that had penetrated their skin; all three euthanised
Hay pled guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering under section 19 of the Animal Health & Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 to a black and white male steer, and consecutively two red male cattle.
Senior Scottish SPCA inspector Alison Simpson said, “This charge was dealt as Hay failed to seek standard veterinary treatment for his cattle, predominantly three males.
“The first of the three was a black and white castrated male, who, upon veterinary examination was discovered to have an ingrown right horn, protruding four inches into the sinus, creating a seven centimetre wide hole in his head. After removing the ingrown horn, dressing the wound and injecting antibiotics it was noticed he had a broken right tibia. The decision was immediately made to euthanise the cow to prevent further suffering.
“The second of the cattle in question, a red castrated male, was found to have both horns growing into the side of his head. The horn on the right hand side of his head was embedded into the soft tissue. The ingrown horn on the right side had punctured the skin 5 centimetres, leaving a hole in which you could insert a finger. The horn on the left hand side was also overgrown although not to such a bad extent.
“The last was also a red coloured castrated male. His right horn had also grown into his head and the left side round the front of his eye. The horn on the right hand side was embedded into the soft tissue and once removed, was also found to be piercing five centimetres into his head. The horn on the left hand side was obscuring the animal’s eye and starting to penetrate the skin.
“The decision was made to put both red males to sleep to prevent further suffering.
“We are happy that Hay pled guilty and this sentence handed down.
“Prosecution is always a last resort for the Scottish SPCA and every effort was made to work with Hay prior to this, however the disregard for his animal’s welfare led us to having no choice.
“The remaining cattle at that time were moved from the premises, however we are aware that after these cattle were moved, more have since arrived at Hay’s property.
“Hay has two months before the ban is enforced.”
Sentencing: two-year ban on keeping or owning cattle, suspended by two months.
#TheList Keith Lewis, born c. 1948, of York Road, Barlby, North Yorkshire YO8 – a serial abuser with three separate convictions for neglect involving dozens of animals including dogs, rabbits, ferrets and birds
In the latest prosecution case against him serial abuser Keith Lewis admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a collie dog named Meg
The RSPCA attended Lewis’s property on 13 December 2018, along with police after a call from a member of the public and found Meg tethered to a pipe with a chain inside a dark and muddy shed.
RSPCA inspector Claire Mitchell said: “The chain and tether were absolutely filthy, caked in mud and faeces.
“You could see that whatever Meg had around her neck was really tight and there was an obvious smell of infection coming from her.
“On closer inspection it became clear that it was in fact bailer twine and she needed urgent veterinary attention.”
Meg was seized by police and taken to a vets who found the area around her neck was matted with pus.
The twine – which had been wrapped around her neck multiple times – was embedded in her skin and muscle and infected, and when the vet cut it off she found a wound all the way around her neck.
Meg’s temperature was high – most likely as a result of the infection – and her lower body was matted with dirt and faeces.
She was operated on to clip and clean the wound and stitch it up and hospitalised for five days.
Veterinary evidence suggested that Meg had suffered for at least two weeks.
Inspector Mitchell said: “This is the worst tethering injury I’ve ever seen in a dog. It was absolutely terrible and she suffered a great deal.
“The RSPCA does not agree with tethering dogs for long periods as it can cause distress and restrict natural behaviours but this in itself is not illegal providing that their needs are being met.”
Meg was signed over shortly afterward coming into RSPCA care and has been rehomed.
In mitigation the court heard that Lewis had pleaded guilty, that Meg had been moved to the shed following complaints about her continuously howling where she had been previously tethered near to a public footpath, that he had animals all his life and a disqualification would have a real impact on him.
However, the court remarked that he had previous animal cruelty convictions which were an aggravating factor.
Lewis was first prosecuted in 2016 when York magistrates heard how he kept 60 animals living in filthy, squalid and cramped conditions in former agricultural buildings in Barlby.
On that occasion he admitted neglect offences in relations to about 30 of the animals, mostly poultry and rabbits, and was banned from keeping caged animals for 10 years and ordered to do a 12-week curfew.
Lewis was again taken to court and this time admitted breaching the 10-year animal ban, and failure to care for animals.
He received a second 10-year animal ban, preventing him having animals kept in cages.
But in December 2018, the RSPCA found Meg with the untreated wound round her neck.
At each of his three hearings, he claimed through his solicitors that the animals belonged to his son, claims that are not accepted by the RSPCA.
Sentencing (February 2019): 24-week prison sentence, suspended for two years; total of £415 costs and charges. Banned indefinitely from owning or having any part in the care of any animal of any species. A deprivation order was placed on any other animals in his care, including a number of dogs, cats, poultry, sheep, cows and pigs.
#TheList farmers David Davies , born 1956, and brother Evan Meirion Davies, born 1969, both of Penffynnon Farm, Bangor Teifi, Llandysul SA44 4HX – for a catalogue of appalling cruelty to cattle
Brothers David Davies, and Evan Meirion Davies admitted 13 charges of animal cruelty.
The prosecution follows a visit by animal health officers and a Animal and Plant Health Agency vet to the farm in April 2018.
Officers found 58 cattle carcasses in various states of decay in the cattle sheds and surrounding fields. The remaining cattle were housed in terrible conditions, with no food, water or dry lying area.
The vet confirmed that the cattle were being caused unnecessary suffering, and also formed the opinion that the dead cattle had also succumbed to the horrendous conditions found in the sheds, and died of neglect. The vet had to euthanise two cattle to stop further suffering during visits to the premises.
This was the worst case of animal welfare neglect seen to date by the animal health team of Ceredigion County Council, they said.
In sentencing, the magistrates acknowledged the evidence of horrendous suffering, inadequate care and poor animal husbandry displayed by both defendants to the animals.
The Cabinet member responsible for public protection, Cllr Gareth Lloyd said: “This was a truly shocking case of neglect that caused terrible suffering to so many animals. We will not hesitate to act decisively whenever we need to protect animal welfare.”
“This was an extreme case, and in no way reflects on the dedication of the overwhelming majority of Ceredigion farmers in maintaining the highest standards of care for their animals.”
Sentencing: 16 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for 12 months. Ordered to pay costs to the council of £1,500 each. Disqualified from keeping any animals of any description for five years. The pair were allowed 28 days in which to make the necessary arrangements.