Category Archives: Multiple Species

Oldham, Greater Manchester: Zoe Allen

#TheList Zoe Elizabeth Pearsall Allen, born 23/10/1972, formerly of Hawley Street, Colne, Lancashire and more recently Henshaw Street in Oldham – left dogs, cats and a ferret behind when she moved out of her home

Thirteen animals were left to starve to death by Zoe Allen, now of Oldham
Thirteen animals were left to starve to death by Zoe Allen, now of Oldham

In total, two dogs, ten cats and a ferret were discovered at Zoe Allen’s house after she moved out – six of the cats and the ferret were dead.

Allen pleaded guilty to eight offences relating to the two dogs and seven of the cats under the Animal Welfare Act*.

RSPCA inspector Natalie Taylor said: “We got a call that Allen had abandoned her animals and I attended.

“There were lots of blue bottle flies in the window of the property, which I know from experience isn’t a good sign.

“I knocked, and was relieved when one of the dogs, Cassey, jumped up at the window, but my relief didn’t last long as she didn’t look in good shape.

“I could hear a second dog – Trixy – barking frantically upstairs and I knew there were some cats in there too.

“I’ll never forget this house as long as I live.”

Thirteen animals were left to starve to death by Zoe Allen, now of Oldham

When housing officers granted access the animals were discovered living amongst clutter, rubbish and their own filth. Initially two cats were found alive along with the bodies of six cats and a ferret.

A further two cats were caught in cat traps in the days following. There were lots of empty food and water bowls. Fleas were visible on both the alive and dead animals.

The animals were seized by police and placed in RSPCA care on veterinary advice.

On examination, the four surviving cats were found to be emaciated. Cassey – a female Jack Russell type dog – was very thin with her ribs, spine, and pelvis all prominent. She had a mass on her eye, an ear condition and a skin condition.

Trixy – another female Jack Russell type dog – was even thinner than Cassey, with her ribs, spine and pelvic bones easily visible. She had a skin condition and overgrown nails that had grown into the skin.

All have recovered in RSPCA care and have now been happily rehomed.

In mitigation the court heard that Allen had to leave the house due to a water burst, rent arrears and problems with her neighbours. Her benefits stopped so she moved to Oldham. The court was told she had “buried her head in the sand”.

Sentencing: 12-month community order with curfew and 20 rehabilitation requirement days. Ordered to pay £300 costs and a £85 victim surcharge. Disqualified from keeping animals for five years.

RSPCA News
ITV News

Belton, Doncaster: Simon Hallgarth and Paul Walker

#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

Hoarders Simon Hallgarth and Paul Walker of Doncaster were jailed and given lifetime animal ban for neglecting dozens of dogs and three goats
Simon Hallgarth (right) and Paul Walker of Belton, Doncaster, were jailed and have been banned from keeping animals for life after admitting cruelty to dozens of dogs and three goats

Simon Hallgarth and Paul Walker pleaded guilty to 11 offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Hoarders Simon Hallgarth and Paul Walker of Doncaster were jailed and given lifetime animal ban for neglecting dozens of dogs and three goats

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.

Hoarders Simon Hallgarth and Paul Walker of Doncaster were jailed and given lifetime animal ban for neglecting dozens of dogs and three goats

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.”

Hoarders Simon Hallgarth and Paul Walker of Doncaster were jailed and given lifetime animal ban for neglecting dozens of dogs and three goats

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.

Hoarders Paul Walker (left) and Simon Hallgarth from Doncaster have been banned from keeping animals for life
Hoarders Paul Walker (left) and Simon Hallgarth from Doncaster have been banned from keeping animals for life

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.

The Star


Chatham, Kent: Keeley Boswell and Paul Flemming

#TheList serial animal abuser Keeley M Boswell, born 18/09/1986, and partner Paul M Flemming, born c. 1991, both of Gerald Avenue, Chatham ME4 5TF – banned from keeping animals for 10 years after their dog’s broken leg had to be amputated

Victims of convicted animal abusers Keeley Boswell and Paul Flemming of Chatham in Kent
Rottweiler Bella and Chihuahua are victims of serial pet abuser Keeley Boswell, shown here with her latest partner in animal crime, Paul Flemming

Keeley Boswell was already disqualified from keeping animals alongside previous partner James ‘Jimmy’ Moore for the severe neglect of an emaciated and flea-riddled Rottweiler named Bella and a Staffy, Rizla, with the latter having to be put to sleep.

James Moore was convicted of animal cruelty alongside Keeley Boswell in 2015
Keeley Boswell’s previous partner Jimmy Moore was convicted of animal cruelty alongside her in February 2015

In June 2018 RSPCA inspectors visited the home Boswell shares with latest partner Paul Flemming and discovered two flea-infested pets: 10-month-old Chihuahua Sandie and a cat called Princess Sandie also showed signs of a deformed forelimb.

Convicted animal abusers Keeley Boswell and Paul Flemming of Chatham in Kent

Both animals were taken to a veterinary surgery, where Sandie was found to have suffered a painful leg fracture, which would have occurred at least three weeks earlier and been caused by “great force”.

Victims of convicted animal abusers Keeley Boswell and Paul Flemming of Chatham in Kent
Princess was covered in fleas

The couple’s solicitor told the court that Boswell was aware she had been banned from keeping animals but she wasn’t sure if the ban was still in force.

Keeley Boswell is a serial animal abuser
Keeley Boswell is a serial animal abuser

She also admitted when asked by inspectors that Sandie’s leg did not look straight.

Flemming said he hadn’t noticed any issue with the dog’s leg but admitted that he ought to have taken her to the vets.

Convicted animal abusers Keeley Boswell and Paul Flemming of Chatham in Kent

Their solicitor asked magistrates to give the couple community orders rather than a custodial sentence, as they had multiple children in their care and Flemming was named as the household’s only breadwinner.

In addition to the animal cruelty charges, Boswell was convicted of breaching a disqualification order, whilst Flemming was convicted of aiding and abetting this.

Sentencing: 18-week suspended sentence; ordered to take part in a total of 400 hours of unpaid work and supplementary rehabilitation sessions; £450 in costs. Banned from keeping animals for ten years.

Kent Online

Aberford, Leeds: Andrew David Hinde

#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.

Hinde was first convicted of horse cruelty in 2011 when he was banned from keeping horses for three years.

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.

BBC News
Yorkshire Evening Post

Bainsford, Falkirk: George Moffat and Kerry Russell

#TheList George John Moffat, born c. 1998, and Kerry Russell, born c. 1976, of Main Street, Bainsford, Falkirk FK2 – failed to seek veterinary help for their chronically sick dog, who later had to be put to sleep

George John Moffat and Kerry Russell from Bainsford, Falkirk, neglected their pets and allowed one dog, Banjo, to suffer with a catalogue of injuries
George John Moffat and Kerry Russell neglected their pets and allowed one dog, Banjo, to suffer with a catalogue of injuries

George Moffat and Kerry Russell admitted that between January 21 and January 26 2018 at Haugh Gardens, Falkirk they caused unnecessary suffering to their dog, Banjo, by failing to provide him with appropriate care and treatment and not seeking veterinary advice for a chronic skin laceration and swelling to his head.

Convicted animal abuser George Moffat has now been disqualified from keeping animals for a period of 10 years.
Convicted animal abuser George Moffat, who works as a chef, has now been disqualified from keeping animals for a period of 10 years.

Moffat and Russell further admitted failing to ensure the needs of two dogs and four cats were met by exposing them to spilt paint, urine, faeces, household debris and knives and failing to allow them to exhibit normal behaviour by confining them with no access to appropriate outside areas for urinating and defecating, all contrary to the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.

Banjo

Depute fiscal Katie Cunningham said a Scottish SPCA inspector visited the flat occupied by the pair on January 31 after being notified by the vet who treated the Staffordshire Bull Terrier that the wound was so bad the dog had to be euthanised on humane grounds.

During the visit a dog in the property was observed to urinate against a living room door which “didn’t seem to shock anyone in the house, giving the impression this was the norm”.

The inspector also observed “spilt paint, unknown stains on the carpet, rubbish littered in the hall and a smell of stale urine”.

First offender Moffat and Russell both claimed that Banjo had hurt his neck after “running into a bush outside”.

Ms Cunningham added: “They said they had called the vet straight away and had used one of their expensive towels to stop the bleeding but they had no answer as to why the dog was not taken to the vet that day.”

Their defence solicitors said money and transport issues were behind why the dog was not taken to the vet but both accepted “more should have been done”.

Sentencing: 135 hours of unpaid work each; both were banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

Falkirk Herald

Port Glasgow, Inverclyde: Sean Ward

#TheList Sean Ward, born c. 1991, originally from Greenock and more recently of Dougliehill Terrace, Port Glasgow PA14 – kept fighting dogs for killing wildlife including badgers, deer and foxes

Sean Ward from Port Glasgow kept fighting dogs for killing wildlife including badgers, deer and foxes.
Sheriff Craig Harris described Ward’s behaviour ”evil and sadistic” as he jailed Ward for seven months and banned him from keeping dogs for 20 years.

Violent career criminal and wildlife persecutor Sean Ward was jailed for seven months after Scottish SPCA investigators uncovered evidence of his appalling animal cruelty. This included text messages in which Ward described setting dogs on a fox as “some buzz” as well as a sick video showing a live deer being restrained by it hind legs as voices urged dogs to attack it.

Photographs of Ward smiling beside the dead animal later emerged.

Sean Ward from Port Glasgow kept fighting dogs for killing wildlife including badgers, deer and foxes.

The habitual thug, who has multiple previous convictions for weapons offences and violence, pleaded guilty to two charges under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act on summary complaint.

Sean Ward from Port Glasgow kept fighting dogs for killing wildlife including badgers, deer and foxes.

Ward was caught after a dog walker spotted him out with an injured dog in Port Glasgow in April 2018.

The black and white Jack Russell terrier was limping, had cuts and blood on her limbs and chest as well as a severe injury to her face.

The dog walker filmed the injured dog and sent footage to the Scottish SPCA.

Sean Ward from Port Glasgow kept fighting dogs for killing wildlife including badgers, deer and foxes.

The court heard police officers and Scottish SPCA investigators carried out a series of raids at Ward’s home after receiving the video from the concerned dog walker.

On one occasion, they found a Patterdale Terrier with scars on her face.

Sean Ward from Port Glasgow kept fighting dogs for killing wildlife including badgers, deer and foxes.

The animal was taken to a Scottish SPCA facility where she was examined by a vet. He found that the injuries were consistent with face-to-face fighting with a badger.

The vet viewed the film taken of the Jack Russell. In his opinion, the dog’s injuries were also consistent with face-to-face fighting with a badger.

A mobile phone seized during a search of Ward’s home was examined and a number of images and video were found.

One of the photographs showed Ward with a dead deer, a white lurcher and a Jack Russell.

Sean Ward from Port Glasgow kept fighting dogs for killing wildlife including badgers, deer and foxes.

A video of three dogs savaging a deer was also found where people were heard urging the dogs to attack.

Sara Shaw, head of the Wildlife and Environmental Crime Unit at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), welcomed the sentence.

She said: “These dogs caused terrible and unnecessary suffering with numerous wounds and scars.

“COPFS will continue to work to ensure those who participate in this barbaric practice are prosecuted and would encourage anyone who may have information on dog fighting to contact the police or Scottish SPCA.”

Sentencing: Jailed for seven months. Banned from keeping animals for 20 years.

BBC News
The Sun

Southwick, Sunderland: Arron Crighton

#TheList poacher Arron Crighton, born c. 1997, of Kismet Street, Sunderland SR5 2LG – made shocking videos of his dogs brutally killing foxes; posted graphic photos and videos online showing horrific injuries suffered by both dogs and foxes

Arron Crighton from Sunderland set his whippet on wild foxes 'for sport'
Arron Crighton from Sunderland set his whippet on wild foxes ‘for sport’ and bragged on social media about it

Arron Crighton admitted offences under the 2001 Animal Welfare Act and 2004 Hunting Act after using his black whippet, Jet, to attack and kill foxes.

Whippet Jet suffered a catalogue of painful injuries after being forced to fight foxes by his sadistic owner Arron Crighton
Whippet Jet suffered a catalogue of painful injuries after being forced to fight foxes by his sadistic owner Arron Crighton

Police were alerted to a number of videos made by Crighton, which included footage of a dog fighting with a fox and a person appearing to hold the fox down with their foot.

Police mugshot of animal abuser Arron Crighton from Sunderland

A second video showed two dogs with their jaws locked around the fox’s neck and body, while a picture was also taken showing Crighton and others holding a dog which had a bloodied fox in his mouth.

After being made aware of the social media posts, police executed a warrant at an address on Kismet Street, Sunderland, and seized a mobile phone belonging to Crighton.

Arron Crighton from Sunderland set his whippet on wild foxes 'for sport'
Arron Crighton

Investigators discovered hundreds of shocking photos and videos showing the attacks and subsequent injuries of the animals saved on the phone.

Asked why he’d initiated the illegal activity in interview, Crighton responded “for sport”. He also claimed that if one dog was injured by the fox, he would “put another dog on”.

PC Peter Baker, of Northumbria Police, said: “The photographs and videos that Arron Crighton made are incredibly distressing and showed a total disregard for the welfare of these animals.

“Crighton took a great deal of satisfaction out of filming this barbaric and criminal activity and then posted the trophy pictures online.

“It is blatantly clear that he cannot be trusted to own an animal and ensure it is adequately protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease. On this occasion, both Crighton’s own dog and the foxes suffered horrific injuries.

“This investigation was launched following information provided to police by a member of the public who saw the videos online and were rightly disgusted by them. I would urge anyone who sees poaching offences and cruelty of this type online to get in touch.

“This case should act as a reminder to all pet owners that anybody who fails to ensure an animal’s welfare is met could face criminal action. We would always ask anybody who witnesses cruelty or an animal in distress to contact the RSPCA direct or call 101.”

Jet– who was frightened but gentle in nature when officers located him– has been rehomed.

Sentencing: Jailed for 18 weeks. Banned from owning any animal for 10 years.

Sunderland Echo

Swadlincote, Derbyshire: Jenny Johnson

#TheList Jenny Johnson, born 13/02/1975), of Elmsleigh Drive, Midway, Swadlincote DE11 – kept her pet dog and cat in squalor in her filthy home

Jobless Jenny Johnson from Swadlincote has been jailed after keeping her pets in squalid conditions
Jobless Jenny Johnson from Swadlincote has been jailed after keeping her pets in squalid conditions

Jenny Johnson’s pets – Staffy Casper and moggy Riley – were forced to live in a hellish environment with conditions so appalling they made local authority environmental health officers retch when they visited the property.

Flooring throughout the property was covered in piles of animal excrement and saturated with urine. Kitchen worktops and items of furniture including the sofa were caked in filth.

Casper was found to have inflamed paws which a vet confirmed was related to the unhygienic conditions in which he was living.

Jobless Johnson pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to Staffy Casper and Riley the cat by allowing them to foul in her living room.

She then failed to clean up, resulting in the animals living in their own faeces and urine.

She also admitted a second charge of causing unnecessary suffering to the same animals by failing to secure their needs for a suitable environment, their need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns and the need to be protected from pain, suffering injury and disease.

Jenny Johnson's pets Casper and Riley were forced to live in hellish conditions
Jenny Johnson’s pets Casper and Riley were forced to live in hellish conditions

Ruksana Munir, prosecuting for South Derbyshire District Council, told the court: “Council officers entered the property on July 31, 2018, after they were sent a photograph of the condition of the property by the landlord who raised concerns.

“The landlord had let this property to the defendant three years ago and she had a cat and a dog and was concerned about their welfare.

“The defendant did not open the door [as she was out] and the landlord believed something criminal was taking place so exercised her right to unlock the back door, along with council officers.

“The dog was behind the door and walked out when it was opened.

“There was an overpowering foul smell upon entering.

“Officers were actually nauseated by the smell.

“They saw piles of faeces and pools of urine, both fresh and historic, around the house and on the kitchen worktops.

“The animals were living around this stomach-churning sight.”

Mrs Munir added: “There was a lengthy period of time where there was no effort made by the defendant to remove the waste.

“The sofa was heavily soiled and it had been ripped open. It was behaviour consistent with a dog being cooped up in a property for a long period of time.

“The dog is quite strong and with [Johnson’s] mobility issues she could not control the dog on a lead, which indicated she wasn’t going out to walk the dog.”

The court was told that Casper was seized at the time of the raid and Riley, who was not at home, was seized later.

The pets will now be rehomed following the conclusion of the case, having clocked up £3,000 in kennel fees – a cost picked up by the taxpayer.

Following the visit, Johnson was served with a letter in August 2018 but the court heard there were no attempts made by her to clear the waste and there was still urine and faeces in the living room.

The council’s pollution control officers later removed the waste at a cost of £450 which the court was told she is repaying.

It was also revealed that Johnson had previous involvement with council officers for an “identical” matter in 2014.

At that time, the premises was cleaned by the council and she was allowed to keep her dog.

Johnson underwent mental health tests which determined she had capacity to be responsible for her actions but an appropriate adult was asked to sit in for her police interview, the court was told.

The court was told that the legal fees to bring the case to prosecution totalled £5,938, of which £3,000 was kennel fees for both animals.

Chairman of the Bench Mr Hickson jailed Johnson for 12 weeks, telling her: “This one of the worst cases we have ever seen.

“Words fail us.

“It was a scene of horror, so stomach-churning that the officers were wretching.

“This was a prolonged period and what makes it worse is that it is not the first time.

“There was a cost to the taxpayer of cleaning up this disgusting mess.

“[Following the mental health tests] you are therefore completely responsible for the situation you find yourself in.”

Sentencing: jailed for 12 weeks and ordered to pay costs and charges totalling £3,115. She was banned from keeping animals for life.

Derbyshire Live

Falmouth, Cornwall: Peter and Vicki Quick

#TheList Peter Quick, born c. 1981, and Vicki Quick, born c. 1979, both of 18 Oakfield Road, Falmouth, Cornwall TR11 2HR – for the starvation and neglect of two dogs and four cats

Convicted animal abusers Vicki Quick and Peter Quick from Falmouth in Cornwall
Pet abusers: the Quicks were banned from keeping animals for 20 years after their two dogs and four cats were found to have been starved and badly neglected

Peter and Vicki Quick were found guilty of five counts of animal cruelty.

The court was shown photographic evidence of the couple’s cats and dogs, some of whom had visible rib cages and painful skin conditions.

Peter and Vicki Quick from Falmouth in Cornwall left their pets to starve and failed to treat their painful skin conditions

The two dogs, Scooby and Bambi, together with four cats Toulouse, Cookie, Crumble and Dough, have been in the care of the RSPCA pending the sentencing.

The couple do have another cat, Midnight, described by Vicki Quick as her “therapy cat”, who will also be taken away from them, although he did not have any injuries or issues.

The Quicks’ lawyer said that the offences were committed at a time when the couple, who have four children, experienced difficulties in living at the address. He said they had been threatened and advised not to return to the property

It was said that Vicki Quick has a long history of mental health issues including psychosis, depression and agoraphobia.

In sentencing the pair, the judge said: “It was your responsibility to look after those animals and while we have sympathy for your situation, it is clear that you do not have the skills or understanding at this time to prevent suffering to them.

“We do not accept that you could not have noticed they were being starved and dehydrated and that they were in pain and had injuries, body scabs and fleas.”

Sentencing: £300 costs each. 20-year ban on keeping animals. This was suspended for 21 days, during which time the couple have a right to appeal.

CornwallLive

Musselburgh, East Lothian: Nicola Barnes

#TheList Nicola Barnes (also uses the names Serapheena Moon and Claire Kelly), born c. 1975 of Dalrymple Loan, Musselburgh EH21 – failed to treat her flea-ridden pets’ severe skin complaints

Spritualist Nicola Barnes from Musselburgh failed to take her poorly pets Ash (top) and Arael to the vets
Spritualist Nicola Barnes from Musselburgh failed to take her poorly pets Ash (top) and Arael to the vets

Mother-of-three Nicola Barnes, who works as a spiritualist under the name Serapheena Moon, admitted neglecting 18-year-old cat Ash and eight-year-old Staffy dog Arael by failing to get treatment for their conditions.

Sadly Ash was in such a distressed state she had to be put down while Areal was seized from Barnes by the Scottish SPCA.

Neighbours spotted the animals’ condition at Barnes’s former home in Whitecraig Crescent, Musselburgh, and called in Scottish SPCA officers.

Spritualist Nicola Barnes from Musselburgh failed to take her poorly pets Ash (top) and Arael to the vets
Convicted animal abuser Nicola Barnes outside court

SSPCA inspector Stephanie McCrossan said: “I arrived at the property and noted Ash looked extremely malnourished and was trying to eat from an empty crisp packet.

“I offered her some cat meat which she devoured.

“I could see she had four large green infected-looking sores along her side.

Staffy Areal was suffering from extensive hair loss and had open sores on her body
Staffy Arael was suffering from extensive hair loss and had open sores on her body

“When I assessed Arael, the Staffie, it was clear she had an obvious skin condition and smelled very strongly of yeast. There were open sores on her body and extensive hair loss.

“Both animals were in need of immediate veterinary attention.

“Upon veterinary examination, Ash was given a body score of 2/9 and weighed 3.2kg – a cat of her type should weigh between 4-4.5kg. She had bacterial conjunctivitis of both eyes, as well as a large alopecic area on her chest and flank with scabbing and ulceration. After further examination, she was found to have a heart murmur and was severely anaemic.

“Arael was given a body score of 3/9 and weighed only 13.6kg. There was alopecia and healing scabs on her ears and was evidence of self-trauma and ulceration to the point of bleeding and infected areas with pus were also found.

“Both animals had a severe flea infestation which could clearly be seen in their coat.

“Sadly, Ash’s red blood cell count deteriorated drastically and the veterinary staff made the tough decision to put her to sleep on welfare grounds.

“The suffering Ash and Arael faced was unnecessary and could have been easily avoided with proper diet and vet attention.

“This level of neglect didn’t happen overnight.”

Barnes pleaded guilty to causing two animals unnecessary suffering in May and June 2017.

Her partner and co-accused Allen Smogar, 33, had his not guilty pleas accepted by the Crown.

Barnes’ lawyer Liam Kildare said his client had both pets as a pup and a kitten and the “seasonal” skin conditions would flare up and go away again.

Mr Kildare said that his client had attended a local vets “a number of years ago” but had decided to treat the skin complaints herself using Aloe Vera cream and coconut oil.

The brief added: “She accepts not seeking secondary advice. And she attributes some of the cat’s skin conditions to old age and she used various skin products [on the cat].”

“This is not a case where Miss Barnes did nothing. She did love these animals very much.

Sentencing: fined £360 and banned from owning any animal for two years.

Scottish SPCA
East Lothian Courier