#TheList Jennifer Parnell, born c. 1944, previously of Beaconsfield Road, Clevedon, Somerset – a serial hoarder who breached a previous ban on keeping animals after eight cats were found in squalor at her home
In April 2012 Jennifer Parnell, then living in Burnham-on-Sea, was banned from keeping dogs and cats for 10 years after being convicted of cruelty charges relating to three dogs and four kittens. Now her disqualification order has been extended until 2038 after eight cats were found in disgusting conditions at her current address.
Parnell had crudely white-washed the windows of her home in an attempt to hide the faeces-ridden rooms inside the property and the cats who lived there.
But when the RSPCA got into her home, they found the eight cats living in squalid conditions.
One of the cats was so poorly he had to be put to sleep. He had been left to suffer with a blocked bladder.
Parnell was brought to court but failed to turn up and had to be brought back to court under a warrant.
She was convicted of three charges of causing animal suffering.
“This could have all been avoided if the disqualification order had not been breached,” said RSPCA acting chief inspector Stephanie Daly.
“The courts impose disqualification orders for a reason – to protect animals from suffering and neglect at the hands of people who have been convicted of doing so.
“We rely on the public to inform us if someone has breached a ban and take this very seriously – as do the courts,” she added.
The surviving cats will now be made available for rehoming.
Sentencing: 26 weeks in prison, suspended for two years; £2,000 towards boarding costs. Ban on keeping dogs and cats extended until 2038.
=== Note – 07/12/18: we have been advised that Jennifer Parnell (who has been known to use aliases including the surname Stewart) has now moved to Ashcombe Road, Weston-super-Mare. We understand that this serial hoarder and animal abuser relocates often to avoid detection. Anyone in that road should keep an eye out for those giveaway white-washed windows.
Parnell also apparently keeps four horses in Portbury, near gordano, which were not the subject of the cruelty case. We also hear that two dogs were in her possession as well but the RSPCA’s prosecution only concerned her keeping of cats.
Please watch out for her. By all accounts this is no confused old lady, but a devious individual who has apparently left landlords, vets, farriers and others thousands of pounds out of pocket.
#TheList Margaret Thomson Forsyth, born 1962, of 9x Unitas Crescent, Carluke, North Lanarkshire ML8 5AP – breached a 15-year ban on keeping animals imposed in 2006 following a case of appalling pet neglect
Forsyth kept the dogs locked in her kitchen and refused to walk, groom or clip them. The poodles were described as being “in a terrible state” when found living in squalor. All of them had advanced dental problems: their teeth were loose, one poodle’s jaw had disintegrated and another had a hole in the roof of hear mouth. Two of the dogs had to be euthanised to end their suffering.
Forsyth pleaded guilty to causing the dogs unnecessary suffering by failing to provide grooming and veterinary treatment.
Twelve years on and Forsyth was found to have breached her ban after Scottish SPCA officers discovered a 12-year-old Jack Russell dog, a 15-year-old female domestic short haired cat and a budgie at her property.
In December 2018 she was ordered to pay a £360 fine. An additional 21 month disqualification order was add on to her existing 15 year ban, which will now expire around May 2023.
#TheList Joe Whittam, born 07/06/1990, of Langdale Road, Carnforth, Lancashire LA5 9AU – set his dogs on a pet cat and fox; failed to provide vet treatment for his injured dogs
Joseph Whittam, who also uses the surname Riding, pleaded guilty to four offences under the Animal Welfare Act in relation to encouraging his two dogs to attack a cat and a fox, as well as failing to provide veterinary attention for the dogs themselves.
The RSPCA joined Lancashire Constabulary to execute a warrant at Whittam’s address in August 2017 after intelligence that suggested he was involved in wildlife crimes with his two dogs.
The dogs – a terrier called Rex and a lurcher called Zip – were removed by police and placed into the RSPCA’s care. A mobile phone was also seized and investigators discovered a number of shocking videos saved on the phone.
RSPCA special investigation officer Jason Bowles said: “In one video, the two dogs are going crazy, barking and snapping at the mesh of a trap with a black and white domestic cat inside.
“In a second video, the cat is released along with the dogs and the dogs grab the cat and literally start to rip it apart while the cat screams and cries in pain. It is horrific and absolutely blood-curdling. Many of our staff here at the RSPCA haven’t been able to stomach watching it.
“One of the magistrates had to leave court after watching the sickening footage.
“The cat was killed although we never found the body and never traced the poor cat’s owners.”
He added: “In another video, the dogs can be seen attacking and biting a fox. In all the footage Whittam can clearly be heard encouraging the dogs and egging them on.”
Rex and Zip both had old injuries – thought to be caused by their attacks – which had not been treated. They received veterinary care and remain in the RSPCA’s care. They will be rehomed once the case has concluded.
Further analysis of Whittam’s phone uncovered images of a dog being encouraged to attack a gerbil and still images of the fox attack which show the animal being baited by the dog.
Whittam claimed the fox had been shot and injured before his dogs got hold of it.
Lancashire Constabulary’s Sgt James Pinder said: “This investigation began as a result of community information in relation to animal welfare and poaching offences.
“I hope the investigation clearly demonstrates that we will work with our partner agencies and will deal with offenders in a robust manner.
“The sentence, which marks the end of a 16-month investigation, is welcomed by Lancashire Constabulary and we hope it will send a clear message to those who think it is acceptable to partake in these criminal activities.”
Sentencing Whittam at Preston Magistrates’ Court, the chairman of the bench said the offences were sustained, deliberate and gratuitous
Sentencing: Jailed for 22 weeks; ordered to pay a total of £490. Disqualified from keeping animals for life.
#TheList Carl Stephen Hollis, born c. 1962, and Melanie Hollis, born c. 1967, both of 4x Warren Drive, Broughton, Chester CH4 0PT – for animal cruelty offences towards two dogs and five cats
The court heard that Carl Hollis, owner of a plastering and joinery business called Hollis Construction, was responsible for two elderly labrador dogs, both of whom were suffering from a skin condition. Five flea-riddled and underweight cats found at the property were the responsibility of Melanie Hollis. None of the pets had received veterinary treatment.
Prosecuting, Chris Murphy said the couple had received RSPCA advice and a voucher for veterinary care in September 2017 and December 2017 following concern for the two dogs.
When an RSPCA inspector visited the Hollises on June 30, 2018, she was informed the couple had gone on a two-week holiday, due to return on July 10, and had left their sons to periodically go round and check on the animals.
On initial sight there were 10 cats seen at the property and there was dried cat and dog food in the bowls.
It was noted both dogs had extensive hair loss and there was a strong smell of ammonia in the front room, with puddles on the floor and dirty water in the bowls.
In total there were seven cats, six kittens and two labradors at the property. However, it was accepted most of the cats were either strays or not owned by the couple.
All animals were taken to the vets to be checked over. None of the them were microchipped.
One of the cats – who was about 20 years old – had to be put to sleep, but the court heard that all of the other animals are doing well and that some had been rehomed.
When interviewed, Carl Hollis admitted to ownership of the dogs – who were in their mid to late teens – and said he did not take the dogs to the vet for fear they would be put to sleep.
Melanie Hollis accepted the cats had not received the veterinary care they should have. She admitted she had taken on “far more than she could chew” by letting in stray cats .
The couple’s two sons were spoken to and claimed that they had visited the property daily to check on the animals.
Defending Melanie Hollis, Richard Thomas said she had been looking after animals for more than 30 years and there had been no prior advice for her from the RSPCA regarding the welfare of the cats.
It had been accepted the 20-year-old cat was in poor health and was dying, and would likely be put to sleep if he had been taken to the vets, but “misplaced loyalty” meant his owner could not face doing it.
With all the animals at the home, the situation had “become slightly chaotic,” Mr Thomas added.
Although Carl Hollis was not represented, Mr Thomas said on his behalf: “He had owned these animals for 15-16 years; he tried to treat them at home but admittedly should have taken them to the vets. There was nothing deliberate about the mistreatment.”
Carl Hollis added: “I apologise for the mistreatment, I was ignorant.”
Sentencing: 12-month community order: Carl Hollis must complete 200 hours unpaid work while Melanie Hollis must do 150 hours unpaid work. Total of £530 each in costs and charges. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
#TheList Natalie Keenan, born c. 1989, and David Knight, born c. 1977, both of Sandon Old Road, Meir, Stoke-on-Trent ST3 – kept 23 pets – including a barn owl, a fox and a raccoon dog – inside a smelly and flea-ridden house of horrors
David Knight pleaded guilty to five charges related to animal cruelty, while Natalie Keenan admitted four offences under the Animal Welfare Act.
The pair’s mini-zoo was discovered by chance when a utility company official went round to the Meir home to execute a warrant as they hadn’t paid their gas bill.
He alerted the RSPCA, who were confronted by the stench of neglect, with piles of dog poo in the kitchen, rotting chickens in a snake tank and animals covered in fleas.
Other creatures – from pets to exotics to wild animals – were being kept in tiny filthy cages, with barely enough room to move and without ready access to water.
One terrier-type dog, called Lexi, was in such a poor condition that she had to be put to sleep.
Hazel Stevens, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said Lexi was experiencing ‘significant suffering’. She was virtually blind, emaciated with protruding bones, had little fur and an infected tumour that was hidden underneath a ‘foul-smelling mess’.
The dog was found curled up on a pile of dirty nappies and had to be carried out of the house as she couldn’t walk.
The couple also had:
another dog, Mocha the French bulldog
a cat called Gizzy, who both had skin and flea problems;
a barn owl caged up in a bedroom
a fox living in a cage in another room;
a racoon dog
a bearded dragon
and an African grey parrot called Charlie.
RSPCA Inspector Charlotte Melvin said: “When I arrived at the property the couple wouldn’t let me inside so I waited outside for over two hours until police arrived.
“During that time the family carried bin bag after bin bag of rubbish out of the house.
“When I finally went inside it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Even though they’d been clearing out for two hours it was still absolutely filthy and the animals were being kept in horrifying conditions.
“There was cage after cage and animal after animal. The rooms were strewn with rubbish, all of the animals’ accommodation was filthy and their welfare needs were clearly not being met.
“It was disgusting and it was mass-scale neglect.”
The other animals remain in RSPCA care and can now be rehomed or moved to suitable keepers.
“Many of these animals simply shouldn’t be kept as pets let alone kept like this,” Inspector Melvin added.
“To see these poor animals living in such squalor was heartbreaking. I’m just glad they can all now have a second chance at find loving new homes where their needs will be properly catered to.”
Sentencing: 12-month community order including a 30-hour rehabilitation requirement. Total of £235 each in costs and charges. Both were disqualified from keeping animals for three years.
#TheList Joy Veronica Edwards, aged 61, and daughter Phillipa Edwards, aged 26, both of Cherrywood, Gwespyr, Holywell CH8 9LT – kept dogs, cats and horses in ‘eighteenth century conditions’ on their smallholding
Joy and Phillipa Edwards were banned from keeping dogs, cats and horses after the discovery of appalling animal neglect at their smallholding.
The RSPCA seized ten horses, three dogs and 15 cats from the property having been alerted to the conditions by a council pest controller.
One horse named Binka and a dog named Ben had to be put down and two cats were also later put down.
The animals were said to have been found in “18th or 19th century conditions”.
Horses in poor bodily condition were in a paddock which was wet and muddy and more like a pond. Outbuildings were dirty and had clearly not been cleaned for some time.
Cats were kept in cages in cluttered rooms.
Joy Edwards admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a Palamino mare known as Binka by failing to provide adequate veterinary care for a problem to her mouth, and for a problem with her fetlocks.
She also admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a collie dog known as Ben by failing to provide adequate veterinary care for his poor body condition and ulcerated skin.
She also failed to protect four cats by not providing veterinary care for ear mites and failing to provide adequate diet, especially ready access to fresh water.
Phillipa Edwards admitted failing to provide a Jack Russell terrier type dog known as Raven with a suitable environment and causing unnecessary suffering to one horse named Duckie
The court heard that the environment in which the animals were kept was not suitable and there was concern the defendants did not have the financial means or the physical ability to care for their animals.
Bob Vickery, defending, said that Joy Edwards was in a state of distress that one of her horses had been shot and the carcass left for her to dispose of. That had caused a huge amount of hurt, he said.
She accepted she should have had the horse put down earlier.
Binka had a genetic problem with her fetlocks and had a problem walking but she had bred the horse and had her a long time which coloured her judgement over when she should be destroyed.
She had been reluctant to have Ben the dog put down and had been away and had not been fully aware of his worsening condition.
Mr Vickery said “The animals are their life. They live in an isolated rural location.”
Their difficulties had been made worse by one of the worst winters on record and they were unable to move them to other sites because there were none available.
He said they had indicated a huge degree of remorse and were anxious to co-operate with the RSPCA.
A probation officer said that Joy Edwards completely disputed the RSPCA case against her despite her guilty pleas and said that as a result of bad press following the previous appearance they had lost a lot of friends and respect in the community.
She did not drink or smoke and animals were her “main passion.”
Phillipa Edwards was said to live an isolated life. She had been bullied in school and suffered significant mental health problems.
The judge said that society demanded that people who had animals looked after them properly.
They had been kept in conditions more akin to the 18th or 19th century, he said.
The inescapable conclusion was that there had been prolonged neglect, he said.
Sentencing: Joy Edwards – 12-week prison sentence suspended for a year with rehabilitation and 120 hours unpaid work. £150 costs and a £115 surcharge. Banned from owning horses, dogs and cats for eight years.
Phillipa Edwards – fined £300 with £150 costs and a £30 surcharge. Banned from keeping animals for three years.
#TheList Rebecca J Tucker, aged 46, of Bradworthy, Devon, and Luke J Morley, aged 37, who’s now moved back to his home town of Leicester – ran a small holding in Bradworthy where horses, cattle and pigs were kept in squalid conditions without food and water
Tucker and Morley, who previously lived together at Boards Court, Bideford, pleaded guilty to a range of charges under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007.
Trading Standards Officers, Animal and Plant Health Agency vets and RSPCA inspectors were called to the pair’s premises at various times during December 2017 and January 2018 and found animals being kept in poor conditions and a state of neglect.
On one occasion a vet found 14 cattle in a newly built shed with no dry lying or bedding or food. There was also a small area adjacent where pigs were housed, and they had no access to water.
On another day a vet arrived at the farm mid-morning to find the animals had not yet received any attention such as food and water that day.
When Trading Standards Officers visited they found 11 horses in a field with no suitable dry area for them to lie down in and they had no supplementary food.
There was also a collapsed five bar gate, collapsed fencing and collapsing netting in the field posing dangers of sharp metal edges and nails and an amount of plastic and burnt rubbish in the area.
Some of the horses were in such a bad state, that the pair were found to have caused them “unnecessary suffering” and so the RSPCA took possession of them.
During the hot sunny period in May vets were concerned about the lack of food, water and adequate shelter for the pigs – sunburn is a significant problem for pigs.
Trading Standards Officers returned to monitor the welfare of the animals and found further issues concerning diet, water and environment and reported their findings and subsequent advice to Tucker and Morley both verbally and in writing.
A further visit in June found eight pigs with a lack of dry bedding and a Belgian blue calf suffering from hair loss, scabs and a significant untreated lice infestation.
Despite repeated advice and intervention, Tucker and Morley made only temporary improvements, if any, in caring for their animals.
At the time of the offences it is understood that Tucker was the owner of the farming business and employed Morley to feed and care for the animals.
The Judge commented that Tucker “shirked responsibility” and put blame of the animals’ state on Morley, even though extensive advice had been provided to both by the inspectors.
Sentencing: Tucker – 17 weeks’ imprisonment for each offence to be served concurrently and suspended for 12 months. 180 hours of unpaid community work. Total costs of £390.
Morley – 12 weeks’ imprisonment for each offence to be served concurrently and suspended for 12 months. 120 hours of unpaid community work. Total costs of £240.
Both – banned from keeping animals for ten years (expires October 2028).
#TheList sexual deviant Bryan Mills, aged 46 at date of offence, of 28 Argyle Square, Sunderland SR2 7BS – caught with 71 images showing humans engaged in sexual activity with snakes, pigs, dogs and horses
Animal sex images which “defy belief” were found on computer equipment belonging to Bryan Mills.
Mills had downloaded the sick bestiality stash featuring humans engaged in sexual activity with snakes, pigs, dogs and horses.
A court heard he was caught with 71 still and moving images of extreme pornography when police went to his home in Sunderland.
The 46-year-old has been spared prison but was warned about the damage such offences cause.
Judge Tim Gittins, at Newcastle Crown Court, told him: “What you must appreciate, and you don’t appear at this stage to appreciate, is although this involved adults and appears to be adults, on occasions, volunteering in this activity, the items are illegal and do untold damage, not just to the animals but to those you erroneously believe are volunteering.
“Very often adults are coerced into doing what they are doing and the images themselves give no indication of the dreadful situation they find themselves in or the damage of them knowing the images are available for viewing.
“It perpetuates the damage that people like you download and retain them.”
Mills pleaded guilty to possessing extreme pornography and was sentenced to a two year community order.
#TheList Sue Smith and daughter Georgina ‘Gina Louise’ Blizzard Smith, both of Ingst Manor Farm, Ingst Hill, Olveston, Bristol BS35 4AP and Smith’s employee Mark Downes of Pilning, Bristol – convicted of a catalogue of shocking offences of animal welfare involving horses, cattle, goats, pigs, chickens and dogs.
The RSPCA said the scenes they discovered at Ingst Manor Farm will ‘stick in the minds’ of all the inspectors who found hundreds of dead and dying animals at the farm, with dead horses, pigs, sheep, chickens and cattle lying around, being eaten by other animals.
The carcasses of 87 dead sheep were found, nine cattle, two pigs, two goats and there were so many dead chickens and poultry that the RSPCA could not count them all,
The animals that were still alive were waist deep in faeces and decomposing bodies.
A decomposing horse was found wrapped in plastic, with another dead horse discovered attached to the rear of a vehicle with a rope tied around its neck.
Officers saw thin horses walking through thick, deep mud that was up to their knees in some places, surrounded by scrap metal, barbed wire, broken fencing and a bonfire containing animal bones.
Further horror awaited the inspectors in a muddy barn. It was filled with sick and starving sheep, cows and pigs, who were all trying to survive living on top of the piles of dead animals.
In one heartbreaking scene, those going into the farm found lambs alive, lying on the bodies of their mothers, mud six inches deep covering the decaying bodies of other animals, and goats that had starved to death.
The inspectors had to undertake a disposal operation of animal carcasses on a scale not seen since the Foot and Mouth crisis 17 years ago.
RSPCA inspectors visited the farm in March 2015 after concerns were raised and on arrival were met with scenes of appalling suffering.
On further visits to the farm, RSPCA inspectors also found more animals in need of help.
There were piles of carcasses throughout the barn amongst the live sheep and dogs kept in small, faeces-filled cages without food or water. They carried out numerous initial visits throughout that summer of 2015 to clear the dead animals and rescue the survivors.
When they returned in April 2016 to check up, they discovered instead of things getting better over the winter, they had got worse.
They found a number of pigs eating a dead sheep, with other pigs in a pig pen eating a dead pig.
Susan Smith (b. circa 1958) was found guilty of a total of 36 individual charges. She was convicted of ten separate charges relating to not disposing of the bodies of dead animals properly, and another 26 ranging from animal cruelty and neglect through to not registering births or using unlicensed feed.
Smith’s employee Mark Downs, (b. circa 1968), from Blands Row in nearby Pilning, was convicted of 22 separate charges relating to animal cruelty, neglect and failure to dispose of bodies.
Smith’s daughter Georgina Blizzard-Smith (born 20/12/1996) was found guilty of two offences relating to two dogs at the farm in April 2016. was also found guilty of two charges of failing to take steps to ensure the needs of two dogs, Angel a golden Labrador, and Savannah, a Border Collie, and causing unnecessary suffering to the collie.
Sue Smith (August 2018): not concluded pending the outcome of an appeal
Georgina Blizzard-Smith (June 2018): deprived of ownership; £500 in costs and £306 in compensation.
Mark Downes: 32 week in prison; £1,000 in costs; banned from keeping farm animals – pigs, sheep, goats, horses and cattle – for life.