#TheList cat hoarder Pamela J Coombes, born c. 1967, of 114 Gatcombe Road, Bristol BS13 9RG – neglected dozens of cats in her care and kept them in foul conditions
In August 2018 police raided Pamela Coombes’ house after her neighbours called the RSPCA and she repeatedly refused to let them in to look around.
Inside, police officers and RSPCA inspectors found what they described as unhygienic and unsuitable for the number of cats.
Many of the cats were found to be suffering from cat flu, dental disease and flea infestations.
An RSPCA spokeswoman said: “Cats were immediately removed from the premises because of the conditions they were being kept, with some found to have discharge from their eyes and nose, some in poor body condition, and several sneezing.
“Vets who assessed the cats found many to be suffering from cat flu, dental disease and flea infestations.
“Conditions in Coombes’ home were described as being unhygienic and unsuitable for animals, with a lack of provision for the number of cats confined in the space,” she added.
District Judge Anthony Callaway said there was no evidence that Coombes had been “deliberately cruel” to the cats and her actions were borne out of “a desire to help too many animals to the extent that the care of others may be jeopardized by further additions and cruelty, not inflicted deliberately, but on the contrary, cruelty borne of kindness.”
Sentencing: Coombes was found guilty of five separate animal welfare offences and given a two-year conditional discharge. She was banned from keeping cats for just three years. All of her cats were handed over into the care of the RSPCA.
#TheList hoarders Cherie Samantha Moore (born 11/04/88), wife Robyn Melissa Moore, née Daniels (born 03/01/87) and their friend Aaron Cummings (born 02/10/87) all of 37 Cables Wynd House, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6DF – kept nine cats, one dog and a rabbit in cramped and filthy conditions in a flat
A Scottish SPCA investigation found that the majority of the cats were kept inside two rooms, and they were eating food so hungrily it was causing them to choke.
The dog was in lean condition and had a visible skin issue. She was also very anxious and mentally highly strung. They found her pacing around a room and scratching excessively.
The rabbit had overgrown nails which were affecting his mobility. He has since had to be put to sleep due to severe dental issues.
The trio admitted failing to provide the basic needs for the animals, including a suitable environment, veterinary treatment and diet.
Scottish SPCA chief inspector Paul Anderson said, “The living environment for these animals was cramped and filthy.
“The majority of the cats were contained in two rooms.
“Upon entering the rooms, our inspectors were overwhelmed with the smell of ammonia.
“Four cats were in one room, eating food so hungrily, it was causing them to choke. They were clearly starving.
“No food or water was provided in the other room where three other cats were kept.
“The dog, Honey, was in a lean condition and had a visible skin condition that had caused hair loss along her back and down her legs.
“She appeared very anxious and mentally highly strung. She was pacing around the room and was scratching excessively.
“The male rabbit, Snowy, was found to have very overgrown nails which were affecting his mobility but was otherwise in good condition.”
He added: “Police Scotland were called to assist with the seizure of the animals.
“On veterinary examination, the body condition of the cats was overall very poor. Their health issues ranged from emaciation and dehydration, to flea infestation and visible signs of stress, such as excessive itching.
“The cats and dog have since been successfully rehomed. Unfortunately, due to severe dental issues, Snowy the rabbit had to be put to sleep on veterinary advice.”
Sentencing: all three were banned from keeping animals for three years.
#TheList hoarder/breeder Kilmany Jane O’Connor (aka Kim O’Connor), born c. 1962, of Morecambe in Lancashire – banned from keeping animals for life after 54 dogs were found locked in tiny filthy cages at her home
Kilmany O’Connor pleaded guilty to five offences under the Animal Welfare Act – four of causing unnecessary suffering to 36 of her 54 dogs, and one of failing to meet all 54 dogs’ needs.
O’Connor’s home was raided by the RSPCA and police officers, after concerns were raised about the welfare of a number of dogs at the address.
RSPCA Inspector Sam Morris described the scene.
The first thing that struck me when I walked through the front door was how cluttered the hallway was, with household items everywhere. There were three cages stacked on top of another, and each had a cockerpoo or cocker spaniel-type dog inside. The cages were filthy, and the dogs’ fur was badly matted with faeces.
All the cages within the property appeared to be similar in size, which measured approximately 50cm high, 44cm wide and 60cm in length – the dogs were barely able to turn around and lie down, stretch out or stand on their hind limbs and of course they couldn’t escape.
The situation got worse in the living room. It was very cluttered and filthy, and the smell inside was awful. The ammonia was overpowering. The curtains were drawn and thick with cobwebs. The windows were closed and the room was quite dark. This room contained 13 dogs in cages – two of the cages had two dogs inside. One dog was tethered to a table leg and there were five loose dogs.
Two more dogs were caged in the kitchen. Two dogs were caged in the utility room and 14 were loose. Another 14 dogs were caged in an upstairs bedroom, which was very humid.
Some of the dogs had obvious veterinary issues. None of the dogs in the property had access to water.
The dogs were all signed over at the scene and taken into RSPCA care. One of the dogs – Mindy – lost one of her front paws as a result of her neglect and another of the dogs – Fifi, who was tethered in the living room – now uses wheels to get around after having lost the use of her back legs, but all have been happily re-homed.
Sentencing: 16-week custodial sentence suspended for two years. Ordered to pay court costs. Lifetime ban on keeping animals.
#TheList Robert Jason High, born 20/12/1996, and Damien Robert Beales, born 16/04/1998, both currently of 17 James Street, Barrow-in-Furness LA14 1EH – neglected and starved a large number of cats; desperate animals resorted to cannibalism.
Robert High and his partner Damien Beales left cats to starve at a property in Northgate Road, Stoneycroft, Liverpool L13
RSPCA officers discovered starving cats eating the decomposing remains of others when they visited the house on 25 April 2019.
They found up to ten cats who were so desperate and hungry that they had shockingly resorted to cannibalism.
Five dead cats were in the process of being eaten.
The grim remains were discovered by the property’s landlord who was so disturbed that he contacted the police who next alerted the RSPCA.
Beales and High both pleaded guilty to one charge of cruelty.
The prosecution has been previously adjourned after both men, Beales and High repeatedly failed to turn up.
Sentencing: 16-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months. Each ordered to pay £500 costs and a £115 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping animals for life.
High and Beales move around frequently. They only lived in Stoneycroft for five months. Prior to living there, they lived in Kirkdale, Liverpool. Neighbours of the Kirkdale property allege they overheard the couple accusing each other of raping cats.
High is said to have serious mental health issues, including self-harming. He has a YouTube channel called My Borderline LIfe on which he discusses his borderline personality disorder and also ‘sings’.
#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 hoarder Jennifer Ann Waddup, born 15/08/1969, of 11 Buckland Road, Somerset TA2 8EW for the neglect of multiple dogs and cats.
Waddup pleaded guilty to four charges brought against her by the RSPCA.
*failing to explore and address the cause of the poor bodily condition of nine domestic cats between March 20 and April 3 this year;
*causing unnecessary suffering to a border collie named Domino by failing to provide professional veterinary care for a chronic skin condition between the same dates;
*failing to ensure the needs of 14 domestic cats and Domino the dog were met by not ensuring their need for a suitable environment in which to live on or before April 3;
*and not taking reasonable steps to ensure the needs of 14 cats were met by not protecting them from pain, injury, suffering and disease as seen by a chronic and significant flea infestation on or before April 3.
Sentencing: 100 hours of unpaid work; total of £385 costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping cats and dogs but can appeal after two years.
#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 horse trader and kitten breeder Andrew David Colbert Hinde, born 07/01/1965, of Becca Farm, Aberford, Leeds LS25 3AH – flouted a ban and continued to abuse animals in his care
Former international horse show judge Hinde, who bred Dartmoor ponies at Pumphill Stud, immediately ignored a 12-year ban on keeping animals imposed in March 2015 and went on to neglect 50 horses and two foals.
The 2015 conviction related to cruelty to horses and also cats after dozens of pedigree British short-haired cats being bred for sale were found at the property Hinde shared with parents Raymond and Cynthia. They were also convicted of animal cruelty at that time.
Now the serial animal abuser has finally been sent to jail and banned from keeping animals indefinitely with the crown court recorder Gavin Doig telling him it was “time to pay the price for your behaviour”.
The court heard heard Hinde kept 20 horses at his own farm with more than 50 other ponies kept in fields he rented at Westfield Farm at Kirk Smeaton near Pontefract.
The court heard in February 2017 RSPCA inspectors went to Westfield Farm and found some of the ponies were in poor condition with their her ribs, hips and spines. showing.
One of the ponies was emaciated and was suffering from hunger, was infected with lice and had overgrown feet.
Another pony, which was exhausted and suffering from hypothermia, was put to sleep.
The court heard that the pony was infested with worms and was infected with salmonella.
In July 2017 RSPCA inspectors went to Becca Farm at Aberford and seized 20 horses after finding that some were being kept in conditions that didn’t meet their needs.
Many of the animals had been left to fend for themselves with one suffering hypothermia
The horses and ponies were left without adequate food or shelter and were “skin and bone” with one so badly emaciated and infected with disease he had to be put down.
The judge told Hinde he had a “cavalier attitude towards the animals, a cavalier attitude to orders of the court; you showed complete disrespect”.
“Now you must face those consequences,” he added.
Shila Whitehead, defending, said Hinde had “issues on wanting to have animals”.
Sentencing: jailed for 11 months and banned from keeping animals indefinitely.
#TheList Melanie Jayne Melville (aka Melanie Mason), born 22/01/1980, of 107 Hawthorne Avenue, Hull HU3 3AW – for cruelty towards ten dogs
Melville pleaded guilty to three Animal Welfare Act offences of failing to meet the needs of terriers Smallie, Dimitri, Ruben, Spike, Rosie, Rhianne, Scar, Bella, Bethany, and Lucy. .
The RSPCA became involved when members of the public contacted police after Smallie was found with injuries caused by fighting with other dogs.
The dog was taken to a vet where sadly his injuries were so serious he was put to sleep. The police contacted the RSPCA after concerns were raised about the conditions the animals were living in.
When RSPCA Inspector Jilly Dickinson visited Melville’s home, she found nine dogs living in poor conditions inside the house and in the garden.
Inspector Dickinson said: “The environment was not at all suitable for these dogs, who were all very nervous. Overall there had been ten but sadly Smallie was put to sleep after his injuries.
“The living room, where half of them were living, was dirty and smelly as they were going to the toilet inside. The other half lived in an outbuilding in the garden which was also in poor condition.
“We initially tried to work with Melville to help her improve the conditions and offered neutering vouchers, as none of the dogs were neutered. We offered to visit again to check on the conditions and gave her advice on socialising the dogs.”
When Inspector Dickinson visited the following month, the conditions had not changed.
She said: “There was an overwhelming smell which had become ingrained into the carpet. During this visit I also witnessed the dogs urinating inside. We had given Melville a chance to improve the conditions but sadly none were made.”
As the dogs had had little socialisation, they did not know how to walk on a lead, which meant that when Inspector Dickinson removed the animals, all but two had to be carried into her van.
The court heard that when the nine dogs were examined by a vet, all but two of them had scars consistent with fighting one another.
“This is a sad situation where we tried to work with the owner to improve the dogs’ lives but sometimes we find that advice is not followed,” added Inspector Dickinson.
The nine dogs who were removed from Melville’s house have improved since going into the RSPCA’s care, in July 2018.
Inspector Dickinson said: “They have all improved massively. They were so nervous at first but they are now much better with people and other dogs.
“They have come on leaps and bounds, are much more friendly and confident and should do brilliantly in new, suitable homes.”
Sentencing: 200 hours of unpaid work; 15 days of rehabilitation activities; total of £435 costs and charges. 10-year ban on keeping animals.