#TheList smallholder Gary Joseph Clark, born c. 1975, of 30a River Street, Truro TR1 2SJ – kept pigs, poultry and a llama in filthy and dangerous conditions
Taxi driver Clark, who also runs an auto-repairs business named Team GC Enterprises, pleaded guilty to six offences relating to a failure to care for the animals under the Animal Health Act, 2006.
The offences related to a failure to care for the pigs, poultry and llama, that were kept at Trevarth Farm allotments in Lanner, Redruth, Cornwall.
Over the course of three visits made by Cornwall Council’s Animal Health officers and an Animal Plant and Health Agency vet, the enclosure for the pigs was found to be continually waterlogged, with mud coming up to the animals’ bellies.
The only water available for them to drink was dirty and muddy and they had access to hazardous objects such as nails and sharp edges.
A llama at the site had no shelter from the elements and there were sharp objects including nails and sharp projections found in its enclosure.
The poultry was not provided with clean dry litter and also did not have access to fresh water.
Despite the extensive advice he was given over the course of the visits, Clark made only minor improvements to the unacceptable conditions in which the animals were kept. All requests to remove the sharp objects and to provide dry lying areas and fresh water were ignored.
Sentencing: total of £792 in fines and surcharge. Banned for five years from keeping farm animals, including llamas.
#TheList gamekeeper Alan P Wilson, born c. 1958, of Henlaw Cottage, Longformacus, Duns TD11 3NT – killing dozens of wildlife on Longformacus Estate
Wilson admitted nine charges including killing goshawks, buzzards, badgers and an otter.
The offences were committed on the Longformacus Estate in the Borders between March 2016 and June 2017.
The court ruled Wilson was responsible for the deaths of numerous wildlife, including protected species. Investigators found animal corpses including otters, badgers, foxes, birds of prey and more when they searched Henlaw Wood in 2017.
A captive eagle owl which the Scottish SPCA suspects was being used as a live lure on birds of prey who were subsequently shot and killed was also discovered at Wilson’s residence. In 2018, Wilson was fined £400 and banned from keeping birds of prey for ten years for failing to ensure the welfare of the eagle owl.
After an investigation which involved experts from the Scottish SPCA’s special investigation unit (SIU), RSPB and Police Scotland, Wilson was found to have used techniques including illegally set snares and unlawful items such as banned pesticides and gin traps to trap and kill wildlife.
A land inspection also found ‘stink pits’, where dead animal carcasses are left to attract other wildlife. These ‘stink pits’ were surrounded by illegally set snares. Animal remains, including mammal skulls, were recovered.
investigators believe Wilson slaughtered thousands more animals.
One source claimed he was hell-bent on killing “everything that moved” except game birds on the estate that were being bred to be shot by wealthy clients.
One kill list found in Wilson’s home catalogued 1,071 dead animals – including cats, foxes, hedgehogs and stoats.
Sheriff Peter Paterson said the offences merited a jail term but he felt he was unable to impose one due to guidelines against short-term sentences.
“The sentencing options open to me at the moment do not reflect society’s views,” he added.
The court was told Wilson had pledged to no longer work as a gamekeeper and was now employed cutting trees.
Police welcomed the sentencing at Jedburgh Sheriff Court at the end of what they called a “complex inquiry” which had been a “large-scale” investigation.
“The illegal killing of birds of prey and protected species cannot, and will not, be tolerated, nor will the inhumane use of illegal traps and pesticides,” said Det Con Andy Loughlin.
An undercover Scottish SPCA investigator described it as a “despicable case of serious and systematic crimes to indiscriminately remove wildlife from an estate”.
“The sheer volume of dead wildlife discovered is truly shocking,” the investigator added.
“We will never know the total number of animals which perished due to Mr Wilson, though had it not been for the robust intervention of Police Scotland, the Scottish SPCA and our other partner agencies, many more would have suffered and perished.”
Sara Shaw, head of the Crown Office’s wildlife and environmental crime unit, said Wilson’s actions amounted to a “campaign of deliberate criminality”.
Duncan Orr-Ewing of RSPB Scotland called it an “absolutely appalling incident involving the illegal killing of a range of protected wildlife.”
Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture wildlife forensic scientist Dr Lucy Webster said the investigation had been an “excellent example” of partnership working to “bring a prolific wildlife criminal to justice”.
Robbie Marsland, director of the League Against Cruel Sports, described it as “one of the worst wildlife crime incidents in recent years”.
A spokesman for the Scottish Gamekeepers Association said Wilson’s actions were “unacceptable” and “entirely out of step” with conduct it expected from its members.
He said Wilson’s SGA membership would be terminated immediately.
Sentencing: ordered to carry out 225 hours of unpaid work and given a restriction of liberty order.
#TheList unlicensed animal trader Bradley Michael Tomes, born 27/04/1995, of Moss Lane, Hesketh Bank, Preston PR4 – kept dozens of exotic animals in filthy conditions and with untreated injuries
Tomes pleaded guilty to 15 offences under the Animal Welfare Act after dozens of neglected exotic animals had to be rescued by the RSPCA.
The offences relate to six iguanas; two mara (large rodents from South America); 16 peafowl; two pelicans; three agouti (a rodent native to America and South America); five porcupines; one green parakeet; two jardine parrots; one golden pheasant; one green winged macaw; one white necked raven and one cape parrot.
In January 2019 the RSPCA were called by police to a farm on Taylors Meanygate in Tarleton and found the animals being kept in squalid and unsuitable conditions. The charity then attended a second address on Moss Lane, Tarleton where a shed-type building at the back of the premises contained a number of animals.
RSPCA Deputy Chief Inspector Alison Fletcher said: “Some of these animals were species we as RSPCA inspectors of many years’ experience had never dealt with before, and it was a shock to see them kept in such conditions.
“Both locations were filthy. Many of the animals were in accommodation that was obviously completely unsuitable, did not have access to food or water, or were suffering.
“At the farm, we found two mara inside a small plastic transportation crate on the floor of one of the make-shift buildings. Mara are a large rodent who stand up on their hind legs. The height of the crate was 300mm, or just 12 inches. The depth of the crate was 560mm, and the length was 870mm giving no real room for them to move around.
“A squalid enclosure at the same location housed three agoutis, two pelican and 13 peafowl (pictured above).
“Four porcupines (pictured right) were in a pen which was wet and muddy with just a small structure for shelter – temperatures on site were close to freezing with snow and driving rain.
“At the second address a macaw was found in a black crate, similar to a dog crate. The bird’s tail feathers were touching the sides of the crate.
“The iguanas were at this location too – all six of which were in poor body condition and four had injuries to their tails.”
Two animals, an Agouti and a Mara, have subsequently died, and the court heard further dead birds and animals were discovered at the same locations but are not subject to charges, as the cause of death cannot be established.
In mitigation the court heard that Tomes had an interest in animals all of his life and had been employed as a zoo keeper.
He had signed all of the animals over in February and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. He had gone through a difficult break up but had now turned his life around and had a new job and new relationship.
The surviving animals have been rehomed to specialist keepers.
Sentencing: 20 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months; 25 rehabilitation days; 120 hours of community service; total of £615 costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping all animals for five years with no appeal for two 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 Noel Taylor, born c. 1997, of Old Kirk Road, Dunfermline KY12 7SQ – kicked a hedgehog to death
Noel Taylor inflicted so much injury on the hedgehog that when police found it, its internal organs were outside its body.
Taylor admitted that on August 28, 2016, at St Margaret Street, Dumfermline, he, whilst acting with others, repeatedly kicked the wild mammal with intent to inflict unnecessary suffering contrary to the Mammals (Protection) Act 1996.
Depute Fiscal Azrah Yousaf said police were alerted at around 4am by CCTV operators who had spotted three males kicking a hedgehog down the street.
The men, including Taylor, denied the actions and the CCTV operators directed the police officers to where they believed the hedgehog was lying.
“On examination, it was clear it had suffered severe injuries and its internal organs were outside the body,” she told the court.
“CCTV clearly showed that following kicking the hedgehog off the street, all of them clear the remnants of the animal off their shoes.”
Taylor’s solicitor, Jonathan Matheson-Dear, said his client was intoxicated but this did not excuse his behaviour.
“He was out with friends and had been to a nightclub. He was very drunk and clearly it was an action of stupidity and bravado,” he said.
“On the way home, in high spirits, he decided to harm this animal. I don’t know if his kick was the one that killed it but he is responsible and is accepting full responsibility.
“He should not have behaved in the way he did and he is not seeking to minimise the seriousness of his conduct.
“It is unfortunate the others haven’t been brought to justice for this but it in no way minimises his responsibility. He now recognises that hedgehogs are an endangered species.”
Since the incident, Mr Mathieson-Dear said, Taylor had reduced his alcohol intake.
“He now seldom goes out drinking,” he added. “Alcohol is not something that mixes well with him.
“Hopefully, this is a one-off aberration on his part and he recognises he should not behave in this way in the future.”
Sheriff Richard McFarlane described Taylor’s conduct as “abhorrent” and said the explanation that alcohol was a “fuelling factor” was not an excuse.
“There are real concerns for the species of hedgehogs and indeed they are becoming endangered,” he told Taylor.
“The maximum penalty for a charge of this nature is a significant fine or six months’ imprisonment.
“The fact is this is your first, and I hope your last offence, and you are taking steps to address your alcohol intake. You have also kept yourself out of further trouble and you continue to hold down two jobs and you were not alone in this dreadful acts so I will deal with this by way of a fine.”
#TheList Suzanna Falconer, born 1973, and Raymond Spires, born c. 1990, of Albert Avenue, West Hull HU3, for neglecting banned breed dog; dog put to sleep on BSL grounds; Falconer in breach of animal ban for starving 13 pet rats to death.
Tia had to be put to sleep after RSPCA inspectors found her at the home where Suzanna Falconer lived with her partner Raymond Spires.
The dog was suffering from a skin condition and was later found to be a pit bull, a breed banned in the UK.
Falconer, who was banned from keeping animals for five years in 2012 after starving 13 rats to death, pleaded guilty to breaching her disqualification order and failing to meet Tia’s needs.
A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “The RSPCA takes breaches of disqualification orders very seriously.
“Unfortunately, in this case, it is clear that no lessons had been learnt by Falconer, despite a disqualification from keeping animals.
“She not only breached the terms of the court order but sadly went on to fail to give Tia the care she needed.”
Spires also pleaded guilty to failing to meet the needs of Tia and aiding and abetting the breach of Falconer’s disqualification order.
Falconer was originally banned from keeping animals for five years after neglecting a rabbit called Bugsy, three ferrets and 13 rats and for causing unnecessary suffering to a hedgehog at her previous home in Downing Grove, east Hull.
The rats were found dead in cages in the shed having been starved to death.
The hedgehog had been kept in captivity and was emaciated.
Falconer had not fed the ferrets properly or protected them from pain, injury, disease and suffering.
RSPCA inspectors and police raided Gill’s house again in September 2013 where they found 20 fish, a corn snake, two Staffordshire bull terriers called Zane and Patch, two terriers called Dufus and Meg, two cats and six kittens.
Dufus and Meg were confined to the kitchen and had been eating out of the bin.
Zane and Patch were found in the rubbish-strewn garden, where there was broken glass jars, rusty metal tins and exposed metal chair springs.
Sentencing: Falconer – eight-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, £350 costs, £80 victim surcharge. Spires – 80 hours of unpaid work, £350 costs and £60 victim surcharge. Both were banned from keeping animals for seven years (expires November 2021) .
#TheList repeat offender Andrew Gill, born c. 1964, of 34 Downing Grove, Hull HU9 3SY – left his four dogs without access to food, water or bedding; breached disqualification order.
Gill was banned, alongside former partner Suzanna Falconer, from keeping animals in 2012 for causing unnecessary suffering to 13 rats, which died of starvation, failing to meet the welfare needs of three ferrets and a rabbit and causing unnecessary suffering to a hedgehog.
RSPCA inspector Hannah Bryer said: “Throughout the duration of the previous proceedings, Mr Gill was given advice, assistance and warning notices to improve the welfare of his remaining animals.
“After he was banned, he failed to follow the court order and continued keeping animals.
“Mr Gill has proved he is unable to care for animals properly, even when given extensive guidance.
“He has shown a complete disregard for the court order and to the wellbeing of his pets.”
RSPCA inspectors and police raided Gill’s home in September 2012. When they entered the property, he said: “You’re not taking my pets, you are not touching the snake or the fish, no way.”
Inside, they found 20 fish, a corn snake, two Staffordshire bull terriers called Zane and Patch, two terriers called Dufus and Meg, two cats and six kittens.
Miss Bryer said Dufus and Meg were confined to the kitchen and had been eating out of the bin. Zane and Patch were in the garden, which was littered with rubbish including broken glass jars, rusty metal tins and exposed metal chair springs.
Gill admitted breaching his disqualification order and failing to meet the welfare needs of the dogs.
In 2007, Gill spoke of of his devastation after an arson attack on his shed killed his 300 rats, two rabbits, two hamsters, two guinea pigs and three hedgehogs.
Sentencing: 12-week prison sentence, suspended for a year, 200 hours of unpaid work, £250 costs. Banned from keeping animals for 20 years (expires April 2033).
#TheList Ricky Jefferies, born 05/04/1979, previously of Edgeworth in Yate and as of 2020 of Stanshawe Crescent, Yate, Bristol BS37 4EW – kicked a hedgehog repeatedly in the street
The court heard that Jefferies kicked the hedgehog after discovering his fiancee of seven years was having an affair with his best friend.
Police saw Jefferies run towards the hedgehog and kick her six or seven metres, then kick her again.
Jefferies admitted inflicting unnecessary suffering to a wild animal when he appeared before North Avon magistrates on 02/07/2009. He was fined £140, ordered to pay £55 court costs and £15 towards the Victim Support Fund.