Category Archives: Reptiles

Cruelty to snakes, bearded dragons, chameleons, tortoises, other reptiles

Galashiels, Scottish Borders: Charlotte Roberts

#TheList Charlotte Amy Roberts, born 03/03/1991, of 274 Beech Avenue, Galashiels TD1 2LG – neglected a lizard to the extent it almost died

Pet peddlers Charlotte Roberts and Vickie Hay. Roberts was prosecuted for neglecting a lizard in her care
Charlotte Roberts (left) with wife Vickie Hay

Roberts, who together with wife Vickie Roberts (née Hay) is a notorious pet peddler with a history of allegedly selling on poorly kittens riddled with parasites, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the pet.

Reptile neglected by Charlotte Roberts from Galashiels, Scottish Borders

Animal welfare officers said the Bosc monitor lizard was close to death when they raided the flat following the tip-off.

In addition to the lizard they found 13 cats, two dogs and a rabbit.

Roberts avoided a ban from owning all animals and has signed over her dogs and cats to the Scottish SPCA.

But there are are still two dogs, five cats and a fish living in the property as they are in the ownership of her 23-year-old wife Vickie Roberts.

Vickie Roberts’ not guilty plea to causing unnecessary suffering to the lizard was accepted by the Crown.

Facebook warning about poorly kittens being sold on Facebook by Charlotte Roberts and Vickie Hay

The court heard was told how a complaint was made to the Scottish SPCA about animal neglect at the property.

Charlotte Roberts' sells kittens on Facebook

Charlotte Roberts admitted the lizard was in a “very bad” condition.

The court heard how it was motionless and in a state of collapse and had no access to water. The water dish was dry and was full of wood shavings.

Officers immediately removed the lizard for veterinary attention and it was found to be very weak and emaciated.

Its weight was 1.68 kilogrammes when it should be a healthy weight of between 2.5 and three kilogrammes.

The lizard had seven days of treatment which proved to be successful as the lizard was “fed back to life”. It has now been signed over to the Scottish SPCA.

Vickie Hay sells kittens on Facebook

The Crown had originally called for a ban on Charlotte Roberts owning all animals.

But after consulting the Scottish SPCA – who told them Roberts had been engaging well with them and also Lothian Cat Rescue – the motion was restricted to reptiles.

Depute fiscal Anna Robertson told the latest hearing the Scottish SPCA had spoken highly of Roberts’ attitude and that she had understood their stance over the lizard.

Ms Robertson said that as a result Charlotte Roberts had signed over her cats and one dog to the Scottish SPCA but said there were still animals in the Beech Avenue flat that had not been signed over as they belonged to Vickie Roberts.

Vickie Hay sells puppies on Facebook

She said there were still concerns as all the animals in the house had to be treated for fleas, the landlords Waverley Housing had a policy on the number of pets in their property and all vets in the area had indicated there were outstanding bills to be paid.

The fiscal added that it was understood there was a Go Fund Me page for a dog which had an ear infection.

Defence lawyer Colin Severin said that there were now two dogs, five cats and a fish in the property but added: “All remaining animals are in the ownership of her partner.”

Vickie Hay trawls Facebook looking for animals to sell on
Charlotte Roberts and Vickie Hay have been trawling Facebook for animals to buy and sell on for years. This post was from 2015.

As regards Charlotte Roberts he said, ‘she had taken on more than she could handle’, and there had been no malice involved.

He said a ban on keeping all animals would not be appropriate.

Sheriff Peter Paterson fined Charlotte Roberts £200 for causing unnecessary suffering to the lizard and banned her from keeping reptiles for two years.

But after hearing Charlotte Roberts has a joint Employment Support Allowance of £275 per fortnight with her partner, the sheriff said he found it “difficult to comprehend” how they could afford to keep the amount of cats and dogs they have.

Sentencing: fined £200. Banned from keeping reptiles for two years.

Border Telegraph

Bettws, Newport: Jayde Ross

#TheList Jayde Melanie Ross (aka Jayde Davies), born c. 1993, of Monnow Way, Bettws, Newport NP20 – left two bearded dragons in an abandoned property

Jayde Ross from Bettws, Newport, Wales, was banned from keeping all animals for three years after leaving two bearded dragons in an abandoned property.
Jayde Ross was banned from keeping all animals for three years after leaving two bearded dragons in an abandoned property.

Jayde Ross pleaded guilty to two animal welfare offences after leaving two bearded dragons in an empty property without appropriate heat, light, food or water. Very sadly, one of the animals perished.

The RSPCA was contacted after the bearded dragons – one male, and one female – were found abandoned at the property, “in a shocking state”.

One was severely emaciated while the other had suspected renal disease, parasitic infections and conjunctivitis.

The reptiles have complex needs, including a high requirement for heat and UVB lighting.

The RSPCA said the lizards’ condition suggested they had been without necessary food and water for some time.

Jayde Ross from Bettws, Newport, Wales. was banned from keeping all animals for three years after leaving two bearded dragons in an abandoned property.

One of the bearded dragons had to be put to sleep due to the extent of his injuries, while the other was transferred to a specialist wildlife centre for rehoming.

Sophie Daniels, RSPCA Inspector, said: “We found these poor bearded dragons in a shocking state – with one barely moving as a consequence of her condition; and both appearing very lethargic, depressed and with their bones prominent.

“Bearded dragons have very complex needs – and Wales’ cool climate means heating facilities are essential. Leaving these animals without heat placed them in grave danger, and it beggars belief that more effort had not been made to retrieve these animals or make sure they were safe after the tenant left the property.

“Owning pets is a privilege – but what we saw here was a derelict of duty that sadly resulted in one bearded dragon losing his life; and another suffering unnecessarily for a prolonged period of time.

“Thankfully, it wasn’t too late for the other lizard – but this sad case is a stark reminder as to the complex needs these animals have; and the responsibilities of owners to meet those needs.”

Sentencing: ordered to pay a total of £821 in fines, costs and charges. Banned from keeping animals for just three years.

ITV News

Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria: Wayne Moffatt and Ian Henry

Animal abusers Wayne Moffatt and  Ian Henry of Barrow in Furness, Cumbria, UK, pictured outside court
Animal abusers Wayne Moffatt and Ian Henry pictured outside court

#TheList reptile retailer Wayne P Moffatt, born c. 1961, of 10 Storey Square, Barrow in Furness LA14 2HU and his employee Ian Henry, born c. 1969, of St Vincent Street, Barrow in Furness LA14 – for neglecting more than 60 exotic animals at the store store

Animal abuser Wayne Moffatt of Barrow in Furness, Cumbria, UK
Wayne Moffatt

Wayne Moffatt, the owner of the Living World pet shop in Barrow, was found guilty of animal neglect charges alongside his friend Ian Henry. The verdict followed a two-day trial.

The pair had denied charges of causing unnecessary suffering and failing to meet the needs of animals including several species of snakes, frogs, geckos and monkeys at the Dalton Road store.

Animal abuser Wayne Moffatt of Barrow in Furness, Cumbria, UK

The judge also ordered animals in the store to be taken away by the RSPCA. The court heard a number of animals, including several species of snakes, frogs, geckos and monkeys were previously taken away by the RSPCA when a warrant was executed in February 2019.

Ordering the ban, Mr Chalk said: “I have no doubt that you have a keen interest in exotic animals but I do not think you have the necessary qualifications and understanding to deal with these animals.

“You need to think very carefully about whether you should keep animals of that type again unless you have the knowledge to deal with them appropriately.”

The shop licence to sell animals was refused by Barrow Council in 2018.

Living World premises at 228 Dalton Rd, Barrow in Furness
The Living World store at 228 Dalton Rd, Barrow in Furness

RSPCA inspectors and vet Victoria Temple had told the court a number of the animals were being kept at temperatures too low or too high and in spaces too small.

In court, Moffatt, who has previous convictions for drug offences, said he disputed those findings and insisted the animals were being kept at appropriate ‘winter’ temperatures – and in enclosures big enough.

He repeatedly told the court: “In my 20 years of keeping animals I have never knowingly let an animal suffer or be in pain under my care.”

But the court was told the temperatures still fell short of legal guidelines.

Henry’s solicitor Maureen Fawcett had argued her client was only a friend of Moffatt’s and should not be deemed responsible for the welfare of the animals because he was not employed at Living World.

Moffatt said in his closing statement: “I’m very sorry Mr Henry is here.”

Ms Fawcett said: “It was Mr Moffatt that owned the pet shop and was responsible.

“In my respectful submission there isn’t sufficient evidence that Mr Henry had knowledge of the needs and upkeep of the animals.”

RSPCA prosecutor Steven Marsh said: “There is overwhelming evidence that Mr Henry was responsible for the animals.”

The court heard Henry had been on his own in the shop during a number of official visits, including the day the animals were taken in the execution of a warrant.

Sentencing:
Moffatt – 300 hours of unpaid work ; total of £885 costs and charges. Henry – 240 hours of unpaid work; costs and charges totalling £585.
Both were banned from keeping primates, reptiles and amphibians for the next two years (expires October 2021).

The Mail

Chesterfield, Derbyshire: Aidan Spencer

#TheList Aidan Peter Spencer, born 14/05/1997, of 32 Langhurst Court, Wenlock Close, Loundsley Green, Chesterfield S40 4PE – for aggressive mishandling of a dog. Also kept a snake in poor conditions.

Animal abuser Aidan Spencer from Chesterfield

Spencer pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a dog by manhandling the dog and being aggressive towards her. No separate penalty.

He also pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a snake by keeping it in poor and inappropriate conditions.

Sentencing: Committed to prison for 12 weeks suspended for 12 months with an Alcohol Treatment Requirement, a Thinking Skills Programme and a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement. Must pay £328.83 compensation, a £115 victim surcharge and £85 costs. Disqualified from owning or keeping animals for seven years.

Source: Derbyshire Times (article removed).

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In March 2020 Spencer was back in court for threatening behaviour during a row with his girlfriend. Magistrates extended Spencer’s existing community order by six months and his alcohol treatment programme by three months. He was also fined £120, and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

Hillsborough, County Down: Aaron Hobby

#TheList Aaron Hobby, born 09/07/1999, of 29 Grove Park, Hillsborough BT26 6JF – failed to ensure the welfare of several reptiles in his care

Aaron Hobby from Hillsborough, Northern Ireland, failed to look after several reptiles in his care

A milk snake, a gecko and a bearded dragon were among the reptiles found in poor conditions when Animal Welfare Officers from Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council visited Hobby’s property in August 2017.

The reptiles were taken into the care of council after a veterinary surgeon assessed them as being likely to suffer.

In particular, the bearded dragon – a cold-blooded reptile which originates from warmer climates and requires artificial heating to remain healthy when kept in captivity – was being warmed by a red bulb, exposing it to serious risk of injury.

A council spokesperson said: “The Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011 gives us the powers to prosecute anyone who neglects the needs of exotic as well as domestic animals.

“The substantial financial penalty imposed in this case is a positive outcome as it goes much further in sending out a clear message that those who fail to properly look after animals in their care may face more severe punishments.

“The conditions, in which these reptiles were kept, fell far short of what is acceptable.”

Sentencing: ordered to pay just under £2,100 in legal fees and care costs in addition to a £100 fine and a £15 offender’s levy. Five-year disqualification from keeping and owning animals.

Portadown Times

Peterhead, Aberdeenshire: Gary Stevens

#TheList Gary Stevens, born 13/07/1966 of Hallmoss Farm, near Peterhead AB42 3BP – for cruelty to livestock, a Shetland pony and a donkey

Gary Stevens from Peterhead caused suffering to livestock, a donkey and a pony.
Gary Stevens was jailed over the ‘extreme neglect’ of a pony and a donkey. A total of 45 animals, including horses, pigs, sheep, lambs, cats, dogs and terrapins, were removed from his Peterhead farm by the Scottish SPCA.

Stevens pleaded guilty to three of eight criminal charges raised against him under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.

He had all his livestock seized by Aberdeenshire Council’s Animal Health and Welfare Service in August 2018, following a series of visits by inspectors, prompted by public concerns.

A vet deemed it necessary for the animals to be removed due to concerns over their poor condition, lack of veterinary treatment and the dreadful conditions in which they were kept.

A pig was euthanised to end its suffering and the remaining livestock were taken to a place where they could be restored to health. Aberdeenshire Council subsequently sought a disposal order at Peterhead Sheriff Court which was granted in February 2019 allowing the animals to be sold.

Senior council animal health and welfare inspector Pauline Anderson said: “We welcome the strong sentence that has been imposed in what was a very distressing case.

“As well as the wholesale suffering of the animals, the poor conditions at the farm meant there was a risk of disease spreading outwith the premises. The animals were kept in shocking conditions and we would like to thank Police Scotland and the Animal and Plant Health Agency for their support to allow us to remove them from the site.”

Mr Stevens was also found guilty of ‘extreme’ neglect of a Shetland pony and donkey.

The Scottish SPCA had visited Hallmoss Farm in June 2018 after concerns were raised to the charity’s animal helpline. The vet in attendance then said the state of the Shetland pony was ‘the most extreme case’ he’d come across in 34 years of practising. Her front feet were so badly deformed that they were deemed in-correctable, while her poor body condition was attributed to pain and stress, and she was subsequently put to sleep.

Inspector Fiona McKenzie said: “In my 12 years as a Scottish SPCA inspector, this is one of the worst cases I’ve ever dealt with and I’ve never seen such a disregard for animal welfare.

“We made every attempt to work constructively with Stevens and his family, including issuing statutory care notices to improve the welfare of their animals.

“They rebuffed this offer of support and were uncooperative. Ultimately, they attempted to hide the animals under the guise of them having been rehomed.

“This left us with no choice but to make a report to the procurator fiscal. From this investigation we took ownership of over 45 animals including horses, pigs, sheep, lambs, cats, dogs and terrapins.”

She added: “We worked closely with Aberdeenshire Council’s Animal Health and Welfare team who took their own case to the procurator fiscal. We are very pleased the sheriff exercised the maximum punishment available to Stevens. We hope this will act as a deterrent to others and be just one of many examples of more consistent sentencing for those who are cruel to animals.”

Sentencing: 18 months in prison, reduced to 14 because of the guilty plea. Lifetime ban on keeping all animals.

Scottish Farmer
STV News

Pontyates, Carmarthenshire: Leighton Donnelly

#TheList Leighton Marc Donnelly, born c. 1984, of Maes Glas, Pontyates, Gwendraeth Valley SA15 – abandoned snakes to starve to death

Leighton Donnelly of Pontyates, Wales, left two snakes to die in an abandoned property

Leighton Donnelly pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal – contrary to the Animal Welfare Act 2006 – when he appeared before magistrates.

The court heard that he fled a property in Baptist Well Street, Waun Wen, Swansea after falling behind on his rent. When the landlord entered the house after weeks of failing to make contact, he found a starving boa constrictor loose in a bedroom.

A dead snake was found in a vivarium in the property.

Jon Tarrant, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, told the court the grim discovery was made on April 14, 2019.

Mr Tarrant said the boa constrictor was examined by a vet who said the animal was in a very emaciated state, and had lost a significant amount of body weight.

The vet concluded the snake “would have needed a prolonged period of starvation” to end up in such a poor physical state.

Leighton Donnelly of Pontyates, Wales, left two snakes to die in an abandoned property

In his interview Donnelly admitted that last time he had seen the snakes was in “February or March”.

The defendant, who represented himself in court, apologised for actions.

Magistrates told him courts took animal offences seriously and he had shown a “flagrant disregard for the welfare” of the snakes.

Sentencing: 12-month community order with a rehabilitation course and 60 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay £400 towards costs. Banned from keeping any animal for two years.

WalesOnline

Byrness, Northumberland: Lynn Stoker

#TheList breeder/hoarder Lynn Stoker, born 04/07/1956, of Raw Farm House, Byrness Village, Newcastle upon Tyne NE19 1TR – jailed for cruelty to more than 100 dogs and puppies

Breeder/hoarder Lynn Stoker of Northumberland, UK, left 100 dogs to suffer in her squalid home
Breeder/hoarder Lynn Stoker left 100 dogs to suffer in her squalid home

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.

Shocking and distressing footage released by the RSPCA shows dozens of dogs cramped and locked up in cages.

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.

Breeder/hoarder Lynn Stoker of Northumberland, UK, left 100 dogs to suffer in her squalid home
Many of the dogs hadn’t had veterinary treatment in years in some cases and were at an advanced stage of suffering.

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.

Breeder/hoarder Lynn Stoker of Northumberland, UK, left 100 dogs to suffer in her squalid home

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.

Metro
ChronicleLive

Bolsover, Derbyshire: Simone Maughan

#TheList Simone Maughan, born 23/06/1992, previously of Westlea in Clowne and now of 38 Scarsdale Street, Bolsover, Chesterfield S44 6JW – kept two starving dogs in a small cage; neglected a bearded dragon

Simone Maughan of Derbyshire UK is banned from keeping animals for five years after starving her pet dogs and neglecting a bearded dragon

Mother-of-three Simone Maughan pleaded guilty to three animal welfare offences when she appeared at Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court.

Simone Maughan of Derbyshire UK is banned from keeping animals for five years after starving her pet dogs and neglecting a bearded dragon

The court heard how she had left Staffordshire Bull Terrier-type dogs Zena and Lola – mother and daughter – in a tiny cage in the kitchen of her house.

The RSPCA were alerted after a member of the public reported the starving pets.

Simone Maughan of Derbyshire UK is banned from keeping animals for five years after starving her pet dogs and neglecting a bearded dragon

Inspector Helen Mead arrived at the address and found the two emaciated dogs locked in the cage.

She also found a bearded dragon lizard in the living room with no light source or heat source, leaving the reptile close to death.

She immediately took the pets for emergency veterinary treatment and all have now recovered from their ordeal in RSPCA care.

Simone Maughan of Derbyshire UK is banned from keeping animals for five years after starving her pet dogs and neglecting a bearded dragon

Inspector Mead said: “I was really worried when I saw how frail the dogs were with all their bones protruding, they were in a very poor condition but were so friendly.

“Through normal feeding, they were able to return to their healthy body weight. But it could have been so different if this situation had been allowed to continue.

“There is no excuse not to provide the basics of food and water for pets so anyone who is struggling should ask for help at an early stage.”

In defence of Maughan, who now lives in Creswell, the court heard that she was suffering from depression at the time and was of previous good character.

Sentencing: 40 hours of unpaid work and eight-day rehabilitation order; £300 costs and a £150 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping animals for five years.

Derbyshire Live
ITV News


Kingston upon Hull: Sophie Esnee

#TheList Sophie Esnee, born c. 1990, of Belmont Street, Hull HU9 – threw her pet snake at a neighbour; failed to provide a suitable living environment for the snake.

Snake abuser and serial violent troublemaker Sophie Esnee from east Hull, UK
Sophie Esnee

Serial troublemaker and alleged drug addict Esnee was fined £100 and banned from keeping reptiles for seven years, for failing to provide a suitable living environment for the snake, known as Lucifer.

Esnee received no separate penalty for a further offence in neighbouring Estcourt Street on February 12, 2018, when she failed to protect Lucifer from “pain, suffering, injury and disease”, by “taking the snake out on a February evening and throwing the snake at another person”.

Both offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 were proved in Esnee’s absence at Hull Magistrates’ Court.

Lucifer was ordered to be taken into the care of the RSPCA to be rehomed.

In May 2019 Esnee, who has two aliases, was convicted of damaging a latched wooden door belonging to a pizza restaurant, assaulting a police constable by beating, possessing cannabis, and assault by beating.

Sentencing: total of £280 fine, costs and charges. Banned from keeping reptiles for seven years with the right of appeal after five years.

HullLive