Category Archives: Small furries

Cruelty to rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, rats, gerbils, chinchillas, degus

Grosmont, North Yorkshire: Mandy Allinson and Michael Connolly

#TheList Mandy Allinson, born c. 1967, and Michael Connolly, born c. 1963, both of Fotherley Farm, Grosmont, Whitby YO22 5QJ – kept dogs and cats in “squalid and horrific” conditions

Puppy farmers Mandy Allinson and Michael Connolly from Grosmont, Whitby, North Yorkshire

Animals in the care of Mandy Allinson and Michael Connolly lived in their own excrement in a filthy barn at their farm near Whitby.

The pair admitted three breaches of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 in relation to two pet dogs, plus 18 other dogs and three cats not provided with a suitable living environment.

Police and RSPCA inspectors were alerted to the farm after a number of people bought puppies which fell ill or were found to be riddled with worms or fleas.

And they discovered dozens of animals being kept in appalling conditions at what was found to be an unregistered, unlicensed business.

A dog in the care of puppy farmers Mandy Allinson and Michael Connolly from Grosmont, Whitby, North Yorkshire

The court heard a cocker spaniel called Dexter was barely recognisable because his severely-matted fur made him look like “a big ball of fur”.

He had to be anaesthetised to be clipped by a vet, and the fur removed weighed 1.4kg.

Dogs in the care of puppy farmers Mandy Allinson and Michael Connolly from Grosmont, Whitby, North Yorkshire

The court heard that the animals got into that state because Allinson and Connolly suffered a variety of health problems, including diabetes and depression.

Speaking after the hearing RSPCA Inspector Claire Little, who led the investigation, said: “We received a number of calls from members of the public who had bought puppies from the premises and, once home, they’d fallen ill or their new families had discovered they were riddled with fleas and worms.

“This couple were running an unregistered, unlicensed business breeding dogs and they were not properly protecting the dogs’ welfare and health.”

When officers raided the property they found 40 dogs and puppies, three cats and a guinea pig at the address. All of the animals were removed.

“The puppies were all being kept inside the house while the adult dogs were kept out in a barn,” Inspector Little added.

“It was cold, dark, dank and filthy in the barn. Some dogs were kept in cramped, dirty cages stacked on top of each other, while other dogs were in disgusting kennels covered in dirt and faeces. It absolutely stank inside the barn, it was hell.

“The dogs were yellow with urine stains and covered in fleas. Many were riddled with worms and suffering from nasty diseases like giardia, campylobacter and coccidia.”

French bulldogs, collies, cocker spaniels, poodles and fashionable crossbreeds, such as cockerpoos, were taken into RSPCA care.

“This couple were clearly trying to cash in on the popularity of designer dogs such as cockerpoos but they were failing to meet these dogs’ basic needs and many were seriously poorly,” Inspector Little said.

“It was overcrowded, the disease control was poor and many of the dogs had matted coats and untreated open wounds. The floor was caked in faeces and water bowls were empty and upturned.

“Some had nasty skin infections and had made themselves bleed from constant scratching. One of the dogs had almost 2kg of matted fur removed.”

Grim conditions at the puppy farm run by  Mandy Allinson and Michael Connolly from Grosmont, Whitby, North Yorkshire

A guinea pig was found in a cage in one barn and three cats were found running loose in another barn on the site.

Sentencing: 10-week prison term, suspended for a year. Banned from keeping cats for seven years.

Gazette Live
BBC News

Walton-on-Thames, Surrey: Joshua Wanless

#TheList career criminal and gang member Joshua Wanless, born c. 1990, of Pankhurst Road, Walton-on-Thames KT12 – encouraged a dog to kill a ferret for his own sadistic enjoyment

Sick animal abuser Joshua Wanless of Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
Twisted Josh Wanless derived pleasure from seeing helpless animals being killed

Joshua Wanless, who has previous convictions for violence, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, a ferret, by feeding it to a dog and causing it to die, and causing unnecessary suffering to a dog by encouraging the dog to attack a ferret.

On January 30, 2019, officers were called to Apple Court Green in Walton after a report that Wanless had forced a dog into a cage with a ferret to kill it.

Officers arrived as Wanless drove into an adjacent road, where they searched his car. In the boot they found a box with a live ferret, a cage covered in blood and a dog with blood on its nose. On the green they also found the ferret that had been killed by the dog minutes beforehand.

Police mugshot of sick animal abuser Joshua Wanless of Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
Gangsta type Josh Wanless is well known to Surrey Police

Wildlife & Rural Crime Co-ordinator PC Hollie Iribar who investigated the case alongside PC Josh Parry, said: “This is an abhorrent crime which involved Joshua Wanless antagonising a dog to kill a ferret for no other reason than his own enjoyment.

“He denied the offences at the time and told officers at the scene that the ferret had escaped from its box and been killed by accident, but subsequent investigation of his mobile phone revealed text messages stating his cruel intention beforehand.

“Using dogs to commit crimes in this way is disgusting. We know that crimes such as organised dog fighting are linked to serious criminal networks where it is sadly viewed as a sport. Bringing offenders to justice for such barbaric activity is just another way we can disrupt organised criminals from committing other kinds of serious crime.”

Wanless, whom Walton locals say has killed a dog and may also be responsible for air rifle attacks on cats in the area, also pleaded guilty to two breaches of his Criminal Behaviour Order. The breaches are that he caused alarm or distress to another member of the public and entered an area he was not allowed in.

Sentencing: 16-week custodial sentence, suspended for two years; 180 hours of unpaid work; costs and charges totalling £200. Banned from owning or keeping all animals for two years.

SurreyLive

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

Clowne, Chesterfield: David Walker

#TheList David Walker, born c. 1988, of no fixed address – smashed and killed a pet ferret with a marble slab and threw another at a fence in front of horrified children.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard how David Walker had been babysitting his ex-partner’s children in Clowne when he threw one of the ferrets called Jack and killed another called Joe after he said they had attacked pet guinea pigs.

Prosecuting solicitor Andy Cash, representing the RSPCA, said: “He went on to say he was not thinking and he had acted like an animal and made a conscious decision to kill Joe after he lost control and lost his temper.”

Mr Cash added Walker’s ex had arranged for him to look after the children and their friends but she got a call from him with the children screaming saying the guinea pigs were dead. Walker’s ex returned, according to Mr Cash, and the children said Walker had killed the ferrets and one had been thrown against a fence.

The defendant admitted he had been making drinks and heard screaming and said one of the guinea pigs was dead so he had picked up the ferret Jack and thrown him out of frustration. He added that he lost his temper and grabbed the other ferret Joe and twisted its neck. Walker claimed he did not want Joe to suffer so he put a towel over the ferret’s head and when he realised the animal was still alive he struck Joe with a marble slab.

The court heard Walker’s ex found the pet ferrets in plastic bags in the bin with Jack still breathing but Joe was dead. She stated Walker told her the pet ferrets had killed the guinea pigs and he had killed the ferrets.

Walker pleaded guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal after the attacks in October 2018.

Karl Meakin, defending, said: “It is an extremely unpleasant sequence of events and one which Mr Walker is deeply ashamed and remorseful for.”

Sentencing: 18 month community order with thinking skills and rehabilitation programmes and 200 hours of unpaid work. Total of £485 costs and charges. Banned from keeping animals for ten years.

The Star

Kingston Upon Hull: Rebecca McHugh

#TheList Rebecca Dawn McHugh, born 08/11/1981 of Boulevard, Hull HU3 – left animals to starve to death in her abandoned pet shop

Former pet shop owner Rebecca McHugh abandoned bearded dragons, a corn snake, a leopard gecko and a Tegu Lizard when she closed the business. Only three of the animals left behind survived the ordeal.
Former pet shop owner Rebecca McHugh abandoned bearded dragons, a corn snake, a leopard gecko and a Tegu Lizard when she closed the business. Only three of the animals left behind survived the ordeal.

Rebecca ‘Becky’ McHugh has been disqualified from keeping caged exotics, rabbits, reptiles, guinea pigs and caged birds for life, after a prosecution case brought by the RSPCA.

In January 2018, McHugh was convicted in her absence of four offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and a warrant was issued for her arrest.

The RSPCA was called to Hull Pets and Garden on Beverley Road in June 2018, almost five months after the shop closed.

RSPCA inspector Jilly Dickinson said: “The shop closed down in January, and I attended in June after energy suppliers entered to switch off the supply and found the exotics – it appears they had simply been left behind after the shutters had gone down for the final time.

“Five animals were alive, but only three of these – a corn snake and two bearded dragons – survived.

“The bearded dragons were underweight, and one of them had a horrendous burden of mites, leaving them unable to open their eyes, lethargic, anaemic and dehydrated.

“There was an underweight leopard gecko with long standing metabolic bone disease and subsequent current and historic fractures, and eye problems which were untreatable – meaning that they unfortunately had to be put to sleep.

“A Tegu lizard was described by the vet as being in the worst condition he had ever seen – completely emaciated, dehydrated and lethargic. The Tegu unfortunately didn’t pull through and died not long after coming into our care.”

The surviving animals were signed over to the RSPCA and have now been rehomed.

Sentencing: two-year community order including 250 hours of unpaid work; total of £385 costs and charges. Disqualified for life from keeping caged exotics, rabbits, reptiles, guinea pigs and caged birds.

RSPCA News
Hull Daily Mail

Aberdare, South Wales: Gavin Huw Towells

#TheList Gavin Huw Towells, born 31/05/1980, of Cae Coed, Cwmbach, Aberdare CF44 0BF – threw two pet rabbits into the bushes of a layby and drove off.

Gavin Huw Towells from Aberdare, South Wales, was jailed after being caught throwing rabbits into grass verge

Gavin Huw Towells was caught on CCTV intentionally throwing two rabbits into a grass verge – then driving off and leaving the cage behind.

Towells pleaded guilty to three offences, including causing unnecessary suffering to a tricolour female dutch rabbit and a brown female English lop eared rabbit by lifting them by their ears and throwing them, that he abandoned them, and also that he failed to provide them with a suitable living environment by confining them in an inadequate cage.

Towells was also prosecuted by Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council for fly-tipping – as he left the rabbit cage at the location. He was fined £500 for this offence.

The court heard that Towells was caught on privately-owned CCTV getting out of his car in a layby on Abercynon Road, Abercynon, and getting out a small rabbit cage from his boot which he placed on the ground next to heavy undergrowth.

He then opens up the hutch and picks up a pet rabbit by the ear and hurls her into the undergrowth. He then picks up a second pet rabbit by an ear and hurls her in the same manner. He then drives off leaving the rabbit cage behind.

A witness who saw what had happened managed to confine the rabbits and they were taken to the RSPCA Merthyr Tydfil Veterinary Clinic where they were health checked and given pain relief for the redness to their ears, which is thought to have been caused by Towells when he threw them.

Gavin Huw Towells of Aberdare, South Wales is now banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
Cruel: Gavin Huw Towells of Aberdare, South Wales is now banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

In interview with the RSPCA Towells said he was taught by a pet store how to handle the rabbits in such a way so they didn’t kick him.

One of the two rabbits treated with appalling cruelty by Gavin Towells of Aberdare, South Wales
One of the two rabbits treated with appalling cruelty by Gavin Towells

RSPCA inspector Gemma Cooper said: “The way in which Towells treated these poor rabbits is absolutely disgusting. There is just no need for it. The rabbits actually somersaulted many times before landing.

“There are plenty of charities out there who are willing to take in unwanted pets. Not only did he cause the rabbits unnecessary suffering by the way in which he threw them, he also would have caused them suffering by abandoning them.

“These are domestic rabbits who do not have the same instincts as a wild rabbits and would have probably become victim to a predator in a short amount of time. Luckily a very clued-up witness was able to save them from such a tragedy.”

The rabbits have now been successfully rehomed together.

Gavin Huw Towells of Aberdare, South Wales is now banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

Scientific officer for RSPCA’s Companion Animals department, Dr Jane Tyson, added: “Rabbits should never be picked up by their ears. How they were handled in this case would have been very stressful for them and highly likely to cause injury.

“Rabbits also have very fragile spines which can easily fracture from incorrect handling. When they are held, the handling should be gentle but firm and their body weight should be fully supported with one hand always supporting their back and hindquarters. If they feel insecure and struggle when being held they can sustain serious injuries such as fractures.”

Sentencing: eight-week prison sentence for the animal welfare offences; total of £515 costs and charges. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

Leader Live
Wales Online
ITV News

Barlby, North Yorkshire: Keith Lewis

#TheList Keith Lewis, born c. 1948, of York Road, Barlby, North Yorkshire YO8 – a serial abuser with three separate convictions for neglect involving dozens of animals including dogs, rabbits, ferrets and birds

In December 2018 RSPCA officers discovered Lewis’s injured dog Meg tethered to a pipe with a chain inside a dark and muddy shed. She had an infected+- neck wound caused by embedded twine.

In the latest prosecution case against him serial abuser Keith Lewis admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a collie dog named Meg

The RSPCA attended Lewis’s property on 13 December 2018, along with police after a call from a member of the public and found Meg tethered to a pipe with a chain inside a dark and muddy shed.

RSPCA inspector Claire Mitchell said: “The chain and tether were absolutely filthy, caked in mud and faeces.

“You could see that whatever Meg had around her neck was really tight and there was an obvious smell of infection coming from her.

“On closer inspection it became clear that it was in fact bailer twine and she needed urgent veterinary attention.”

Meg was seized by police and taken to a vets who found the area around her neck was matted with pus.

The twine – which had been wrapped around her neck multiple times – was embedded in her skin and muscle and infected, and when the vet cut it off she found a wound all the way around her neck.

Meg’s temperature was high – most likely as a result of the infection – and her lower body was matted with dirt and faeces.

She was operated on to clip and clean the wound and stitch it up and hospitalised for five days.

Veterinary evidence suggested that Meg had suffered for at least two weeks.

Inspector Mitchell said: “This is the worst tethering injury I’ve ever seen in a dog. It was absolutely terrible and she suffered a great deal.

“The RSPCA does not agree with tethering dogs for long periods as it can cause distress and restrict natural behaviours but this in itself is not illegal providing that their needs are being met.”

Meg was signed over shortly afterward coming into RSPCA care and has been rehomed.

In mitigation the court heard that Lewis had pleaded guilty, that Meg had been moved to the shed following complaints about her continuously howling where she had been previously tethered near to a public footpath, that he had animals all his life and a disqualification would have a real impact on him.

However, the court remarked that he had previous animal cruelty convictions which were an aggravating factor.

Lewis was first prosecuted in 2016 when York magistrates heard how he kept 60 animals living in filthy, squalid and cramped conditions in former agricultural buildings in Barlby.

On that occasion he admitted neglect offences in relations to about 30 of the animals, mostly poultry and rabbits, and was banned from keeping caged animals for 10 years and ordered to do a 12-week curfew.

Three months after he appeared in court, police and an RSPCA inspector found two ferrets at his house in what the RSPCA’s prosecuting solicitor Phil Brown called “frankly appalling” conditions. They had no water, they were kept with piles of faeces and dirty bedding and three rotting rabbit carcasses.

Lewis was again taken to court and this time admitted breaching the 10-year animal ban, and failure to care for animals.

He received a second 10-year animal ban, preventing him having animals kept in cages.

But in December 2018, the RSPCA found Meg with the untreated wound round her neck.

At each of his three hearings, he claimed through his solicitors that the animals belonged to his son, claims that are not accepted by the RSPCA.

Sentencing (February 2019): 24-week prison sentence, suspended for two years; total of £415 costs and charges. Banned indefinitely from owning or having any part in the care of any animal of any species. A deprivation order was placed on any other animals in his care, including a number of dogs, cats, poultry, sheep, cows and pigs.

Yorkshire Post
York Press
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York Press

Wallasey, Merseyside: Jodie Wardil

#TheList Jodie Wardil, born c. 1991, of Sherlock Lane, Wallasey, Wirral CH44 – abandoned pet dog in an empty property; left a rabbit to starve to death in her hutch

Convicted animal abuser Jodie Wardil of Wallasey, Merseyside.
Wardil is the mother of four young boys. She has now been banned from keeping animals for life after abandoning a dog and leaving a rabbit to starve to death

Single mother-of-four Jodie Wardil left rabbit Annie to starve to death before callously dumping her emaciated body in a wheelie bin.

It was only thanks to eagle-eyed neighbours that the case of appalling neglect came to light, along with that of a Staffordshire bull terrier named Buster.

Wardil pleaded guilty at Wirral magistrates’ court to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, and a further charge of failing to ensure animal welfare.

Chris Murphy, prosecuting, said the RSPCA were first alerted by a worried neighbour who reported a dog had been left alone in a house.

The neighbour said he had been feeding the dog by pushing food through the letterbox for several days.

Convicted animal abuser Jodie Wardil of Wallasey, Merseyside.
Staffy Buster was riddled with fleas and had not been treated for a painful skin condition.

When the RSPCA inspector arrived and looked through the letterbox, he could see the dog had a severe skin infection.

The inspector later received a call from Wardil, during which she agreed to sign Buster over to the RSPCA.

When the inspector returned to collect Buster, a neighbour approached him to tell him the defendant had dumped a dead rabbit into a wheelie bin.

Initially Wardil claimed Annie the rabbit had been collected by her ex-partner.

The remains of rabbit Annie were discovered in a wheelie bin
Jodie Wardil had callously dumped the body of the rabbit she left to starve to death in a wheelie bin

The inspector recovered the emaciated rabbit from a black bin bag in the wheelie bin.

Wardil said both animals had been neglected because she had not been living at the property and her “mind was elsewhere”.

On examination, Buster was found to have inflamed skin and to be “alive with fleas.” Following treatment, he made a full recovery and has since been re-homed.

The remains of rabbit Annie were discovered in a wheelie bin
The remains of rabbit Annie were discovered in a wheelie bin

The rabbit was found to be totally emaciated as a result of chronic starvation, lasting several weeks, with every part of the skeleton visible, and an untreated eye condition which had attracted maggots.

Chairman of the bench, Peter Sanders, told Wardil: “Animals rely for their well-being on human beings. The only thing that takes away from a custodial sentence is your mental state.”

Convicted animal abuser Jodie Wardil of Wallasey, Merseyside.
Jodie Wardil of Wallasey, Merseyside is disqualified for life from keeping animals

Speaking after the case, RSPCA Inspector Anthony Joynes said: “This was a serious case of prolonged neglect which had devastating effects for poor Annie the rabbit.

“Annie, who was already suffering with an untreated eye condition, was then left to starve to death before being callously dumped in the bin.

“Rabbit neglect is so incredibly sad as it often goes undetected until it’s too late.

“They’re far too easy to acquire and to neglect often without anyone ever knowing.

“Thankfully I’m able to report that Buster, who is a typical lovely and boisterous Staffie has made a full recovery and has been rehomed.

“I’m grateful to the members of the public who were clearly on the ball and ensured that the situation was reported to us.”

Sentencing: 18-month community order. Fined £585. Banned from keeping animals for life with the right of appeal after five years.

Liverpool Echo
Wirral Globe

Washford, Somerset: Heather Stanton

#TheList hoarder Heather Stanton, born c. 1958, of Barn End, Williton Road, Washford, Somerset TA23 0NU – left several animals to suffer in squalor with untreated health conditions

Some of the pets rescued from animal abuser Heather Stanton from Washford, Somerset
Some of the pets who suffered appalling neglect at the hands of their negligent owner Heather Stanton

Stanton was found guilty of the mistreatment of 11 dogs, including a sheepdog, a Jack Russell Terrier, Chinese Crested type dogs and Pomeranian type dogs.

Some of the pets rescued from animal abuser Heather Stanton from Washford, Somerset

The animals had a number of conditions including eye and skin infections which were not treated.

Stanton was also found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a white lionhead rabbit by confining the animal to the detriment of his wellbeing, to which she had pleaded not guilty.

Stanton pleaded not guilty to causing suffering to a white domestic cat but was again found to be guilty.

She also admitted to the mistreatment of a tortoise and six birds in her care.

One of the dogs mistreated by irresponsible Heather Stanton

Speaking about the case RSPCA inspector Jo Daniel said: “This was an upsetting case of extreme neglect for which there can be no excuse.

“Stanton had more animals than she could cope with and was unable to care for them adequately, as a result sadly many of the animals were suffering.

“All owners are responsible for meeting the needs of the animals in their care and we now look forward to finding these animals the loving homes they deserve.”

Sentencing:
Fined £5,000 and £85 costs. Community order of 80 hours of unpaid work. Disqualified from owning dogs, cats, birds and tortoises for five years under the Animal Welfare Act.

Somerset County Gazette
SomersetLive

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In April 2019 Stanton’s appeal against her five-year disqualification order was rejected.

Lancaster, Lancashire: Andrew John Rooney

#TheList Andrew John Rooney, born c. 1973, of 26 Mayfield Avenue, Lancaster LA1 2NY – found with two dogs, a cat, a budgie, a hamster and a guinea pig in breach of a 1997 ban on keeping animals.

Serial animal abuser Andrew John Rooney breached a previous ban.
Serial animal abuser Andrew John Rooney breached a previous ban.

Serial animal abuser Andrew John Rooney admitted breaching the lifelong disqualification between January 17, 2016, and July 17, 2018, by keeping two dogs, known as Shadow and Max, a cat known as Magic, alongside a bird, hamster and guinea pig.

Serial animal abuser Andrew John Rooney breached a previous ban.

Rooney pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to one of the dogs, a Labrador, by failing to seek adequate veterinary treatment for her skin condition between February and April 27, 2018.

Sentencing:
14 -week jail term, suspended for two years; rehabilitation activity requirement; 150 hours of unpaid work. Total of £615 costs and charges.

Lancashire Post