Category Archives: Small furries

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

Carnforth, Lancashire: Joe Whittam

#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

Two photos of convicted animal abuser Joe Whittam from Carnforth, Lancashire.
Joe Whittam from Carnforth was jailed after filming “blood-curdling” videos of his dogs killing a cat and fox

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. 

Westmorland Gazette

Newry, County Down: Richard Crozier

#TheList Richard Crozier of Annsville, Newry BT34 1AB – for a catalogue of neglect towards  five adult dogs, four dependant pups and four ferrets in his care.

Richard Crozier was banned from keeping animals after pets were found in ‘appalling’ conditions at his home
Richard Crozier was banned from keeping animals after pets were found in ‘appalling’ conditions at his home

A case was brought against Crozier by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council following a complaint about the condition of animals living at his home.

When council animal welfare officers visited Crozier’s home on March 4, 2016 they found the conditions in which the animals were being kept to be “appalling”.

Sadly, a lurcher-type dog had already died. The dog, who was wearing a muzzle, was chained to a kennel.  He had several open wounds on his legs and was skeletal. A post mortem found that the dog was severely emaciated.

The animals were all deemed to be suffering and were taken into the possession of the council.

In court, Crozier pleaded guilty to all four charges which were brought by the council under the provisions of the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011.

Sentencing: 
Total fines of £1000. Disqualified from keeping animals for just five years (expires November 2023).

Belfast Newsletter

Meir, Stoke-on-Trent: Natalie Keenan and David Knight

#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 and Natalie Keenan of Meir, Stoke kept 23 pets - including owl, fox and raccoon dog - inside '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.

David Knight and Natalie Keenan of Meir, Stoke kept 23 pets - including owl, fox and raccoon dog - inside 'smelly and flea-ridden' house of horrors

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.

A raccoon dog kept in a foul cage by Natalie Keenan and David Knight from Meir, Stoke

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 rat
  • a bearded dragon
  • five snakes
  • eight degus;
  • and an African grey parrot called Charlie.
David Knight and Natalie Keenan of Meir, Stoke kept 23 pets - including owl, fox and raccoon dog - inside 'smelly and flea-ridden' house of horrors
Lexi was in such poor condition she had to be put to sleep

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.

Stoke Sentinel
Signal1

 

Benwell, Newcastle upon Tyne: Natalie Dendri

UPDATED FOR SENTENCING
#TheList Natalie Dendri, aged 39, of Colston Street, Benwell, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 – threw a pet ferret named Posh Spice into the air and repeatedly punched her

Natalie Dendry from Newcastle threw pet ferret named Posh Spice into the air and repeatedly punched her

Dendri was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to the animal and being drunk and disorderly after the incident in May 2018.

She was seen throwing the animal into the air and repeatedly punching her. The ferret tried to escape but Dendri caught her and attacked her again.

The details were revealed at a trial at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court after Dendri was charged with two offences – causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and being drunk and disorderly.

She denied both charges but failed to attend court and the trial went ahead in her absence.

Prosecutor Stephen Davies said the offences took place just before 2pm on May 31.

It was said a driver who was travelling along Armstrong Road saw a woman at the side of road with a furry object. She then threw it in the air and started punching it “really severely”.

Natalie Dendry from Newcastle threw pet ferret named Posh Spice into the air and repeatedly punched her

The animal squirmed away but Dendri grabbed her and punched her again with a clenched fist, the court heard.

The police were called and PC Lewis Calboutin attended the scene.

The officer told the court : “I was asked to attend in relation to an intoxicated female who may have a pet that she was treating badly.

“I saw a female sitting on the grass verge on the side of Armstrong Road.

“She immediately appeared to me to be intoxicated. She had a ferret called Posh Spice. It was lying in the sun and it appeared dehydrated. It was hot, it was panting and seemed lethargic.”

Dendri was asked to get into a police vehicle so she could be taken home to attend to the animal’s welfare.

In the vehicle, she was shouting and swearing and, as they reached her address, she vomited in the van.

“We asked her to step out of the vehicle,” said PC Calboutin. “She started shouting and swearing at me and my colleague.

“She then dropped her ferret from a standard height to the floor.”

Dendri was arrested and the ferret was taken to a vet. The animal later recovered and was placed in a shelter.

On being interviewed, the defendant denied being drunk or that she ill treated the ferret. She pleaded not guilty to the offences at an earlier hearing.

However magistrates found her guilty of both charges on the day of the trial.

It was also revealed that Dendri had previously admitted to an offence of assaulting an officer at a police station after she was arrested on May 31, 2018.

North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard that Dendri had kept ferrets for a number of years but after Posh Spice was removed she no longer had any pets.

Janice Hall, defending, said that Dendry was previously sectioned as a result of her ill mental health and now has carers.

Ms Hall said: “They ensure that she is taking her medication. They also help with her money and provide her with general assistance.

“She struggles looking after herself, she’s not in a position to give appropriate care for an animal.”

District Judge Kate Meek said: “You caused unnecessary suffering to a ferret whether you meant to or not. More to the point you carried on  doing so.

“I accept there are a range of issues and a custodial sentence would simply delay that work being undertaken.”

She added: “Ms Dendri this is really your last chance. Let’s hope it works.”

Sentencing (02/11/18)
12-month community order to work with probation on her drug and alcohol issues; fined £50 and ordered to pay £250 costs.  Unlimited ban on keeping animals which lasts for at least two years, after which Dendri would need to apply to a court to  have the ban lifted. 

ChronicleLive

Stoke-on-Trent: Kayleigh Weston

#TheList junkie Kayleigh Weston, born 1987, of Lucerne Road, Biddulph, Stoke-on-Trent ST8 7FG – left family rabbit to starve to death in her hutch

Junkie Kayleigh Weston from Stoke-on-Trent left a little rabbit named Smudge to starve to death in her filthy hutch
Junkie Kayleigh Weston left a little rabbit named Smudge to starve to death in her filthy hutch

A police officer went to the defendant’s address and found the rabbit, named Smudge, dead in a hutch filled with droppings. He alerted the RSPCA and an examination found the animal was emaciated.

Roger Price, prosecuting for the RPSCA, told North Staffordshire Justice Centre a police officer visited the defendant’s home on April 14, 2018, and when there was no answer he went to the back of the house.

Mr Price said: “He was alerted to look into a rabbit’s hutch. There was an empty water bottle and an empty food bottle. There were a lot of droppings piled up. There was a lifeless black and white rabbit which was clearly dead.

“The RSPCA became involved and the rabbit was examined. A post mortem examination was carried out. The vet found there was no body fat at all on the animal and a very poor muscle mass. It was emaciated. All the skeletal bones could be seen. It had had diarrhoea and was probably dehydrated.

“The rabbit was significantly underweight. It was clearly ill and in need of veterinary attention.

“The rabbit was totally dependent on the owner to regularly inspect daily and to provide adequate food for the pet. It was estimated to have been dead for between two and four days.”

The defendant, who had owned the rabbit for six years, said she fed Smudge nuggets and carrots between 5pm and 6pm and cleaned the hutch once a week, but on occasions it was longer.

The court heard she last cleaned it out one or two weeks before the officer found the rabbit.

She added she did not think the rabbit was thin.

Weston pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal by failing to explore and address the animal’s poor bodily condition between April 2 and 14, 2018.

The court heard the defendant descended into a chaotic lifestyle due to her drug use.

All her other pets have since been re-homed and she is, apparently, no longer using drugs.

James Hulse, mitigating, said the defendant’s care for the animal was ‘sporadic and incompetent’.

Mr Hulse said: “She threw food into the cage but did not look to see if the rabbit was eating the food properly.

“Had she been to the vet and said, ‘My animal is not eating’. It is that that has not occurred. There was care but it was incompetent.”

Speaking after the case, RSPCA inspector Charlotte Melvin said: “This hutch was at least a few inches deep with faeces. The dead rabbit was found in a second compartment in the hutch. There was no food or water and as the rabbit was so emaciated it became clear that she had starved to death. There wasn’t even any rabbit food in the house.

“This was confirmed by a post mortem, which also showed that Smudge had zero body fat. She said that because Smudge was outside, she forgot about her. It is so sad that it was a case of out of sight, out of mind.

“It is so important to look after pets which are kept outside just as well as you would with pets who live inside your house, particularly as it gets colder and people are going outside in their gardens less.

“On top of that, rabbits have sensitive stomachs and going without food for even just 12 hours can cause them to suffer. The fact that Smudge went without food for so long is unbearable.

“It’s unbelievably cruel to simply leave an animal to slowly die in a cage without the care they need and deserve to survive.”

Sentencing:
Fined £240 and ordered to pay costs and charges totalling £330. Disqualified from owning an animal for five years but can apply to have the disqualification terminated after three years.

Stoke Sentinel

Larne, Co Antrim: Marlene McDonagh and David Moore

#TheList Marlene McDonagh, born 12/07/1962, and David Moore, aged 56, from Loughdoo Road, Larne – pleaded guilty to animal cruelty involving 12 dogs, four cats and two guinea pigs

Marlene McDonagh and David Moore received suspended prison sentences despite their cruelty towards 12 dogs, four cats and two guinea pigs
Marlene McDonagh and David Moore received suspended prison sentences despite their cruelty towards 12 dogs, four cats and two guinea pigs

Hypocrites McDonagh and partner Moore claimed to be animal welfare campaigners.  McDonagh is also well known in German Shepherd show and breeding circles.

Convicted animal abuser Marlene McDonagh from Larne
Marlene McDonagh claimed to be an animal welfare campaigner and was also well known in German Shepherd breeding and showing circles

Charges were brought against the pair following an investigation by council Animal Welfare Officers.

The officers at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council took the case under the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011.

Officers reported that :

  • A number of animals were severely matted with faeces stuck to their coats.
  • A number of dogs living inside the home were living in dirty conditions.
  • Several of the internal rooms had litter trays overflowing and with faeces also present on the floor.
  • The main bedroom housed seven chihuahuas and a Jack Russell terrier.
  • The floor was covered in puppy pads, urine and faeces.
  • Two guinea pigs found at the property had grossly overgrown nails.
  • A German Shepherd found at the property had faeces stuck to his severely matted coat and had a bilateral ear infection which was causing pain.
  • The German Shepherd also had proprioceptive deficits in the hind legs and remains unable to walk properly.
  • Five dogs and one cat had to be shaved as their coats were so matted.

McDonagh and Moore pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the welfare of the animals contrary to section 9 of the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011.

Animal abusers Marlene McDonagh and David Moore from Larne, Co Antrim
German Shepherd Gus was discovered in very poor condition but is recovering thanks to the efforts of rescue group German Shepherd RRR
Animal abusers Marlene McDonagh and David Moore from Larne, Co Antrim
Ovegrown nails on a guinea pig neglected by so-called animal welfare campaigners Marlene McDonagh and David Moore.

A spokesperson for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council said: “The Council gives a high priority to the welfare of domestic pets and operates a rigorous enforcement policy to ensure full compliance of regulatory requirements.

“Officers have a number of enforcement options available to them and will try to work with those responsible for animals. However where there is unsatisfactory improvement, such as in this case significant enforcement powers are available to Council Officers to ensure matters are fully investigated and anyone who does not take appropriate care of animals will be brought before the courts.”

Speaking about the paltry sentencing of the couple, a spokesman for German Shepherd RRR which is one of the sanctuaries that took in the animals, said: “We appreciate all the hard work by the welfare officers at the council to expose this disgusting situation but we are deeply disappointed at the sentencing of McDonagh and Moore.

“We continue our call for strict controls on people who are responsible for the welfare of animals, tougher sentences for convicts, an offenders’ register so there is more of a deterrent for people who feel it is acceptable to treat animals in such an appalling manner.

“At least we can name and shame these two. We can only continue to hope for lifetime bans for people convicted of animal cruelty.”

Sentencing:
Four-month custodial sentence, suspended for three years. Moore was ordered to pay costs including kennelling, veterinary and legal fees totalling £4,300. 

McDonagh and Moore were both and disqualified from keeping animals for at least five years except for two dogs and a fish.

BelfastLive
Larne Times

Newton, Sudbury, Suffolk: Matthew Lowe

#TheList Matthew Lowe, born 26/03/1979, previously of Newton, Sudbury, Suffolk and more recently 4 Gantry Close, Colchester CO1 2ZP – prosecuted for eight offences for neglect of poultry, pigs and rabbits on his smallholding.

Adam Pearson, prosecuting on behalf of Trading Standards at Suffolk County Council, said inspectors had attended Lowe’s smallholding at land off the Street in Assington, Suffolk, on December 19, 2017 after receiving a tip-off from a neighbour.

The pigs and poultry present on the site were found with no food and inadequate shelter. Piglets were in an unsuitable rearing environment, sows were underweight, and both pigs and poultry had parasites present.  Lowe also failed to correctly register to keep pigs.

Mr Pearson described four rabbits which were in such poor health they had to be euthanised.

He said officers found a one large white rabbit lying on its side in an enclosure suffering from breathing problems.

One of the rabbits found on a smallholding operated by Matthew Lowe near Sudbury. The rabbit was later put down Picture: SUFFOLK TRADING STANDARDS

A brown rabbit was discovered with swollen eyes and symptoms of myxomatosis while a second white rabbit was found with a badly injured back leg which had set at an angle, affecting the animal’s movement.

A fourth rabbit was discovered unresponsive with a sore ‘the size of a 50p piece’ on its back.

He added there were signs that rats had infested the rabbit enclosures and that officers also discovered a rubbish bin with four rabbit carcasses inside.

Following the prosecution, Suffolk Trading Standards are now working with Lowe to arrange the safe rehoming of the animals which he owns.

Sentencing:
Lowe was given an eight week prison sentence suspended for 18 months, 25 day’s rehabilitation activity requirement; 100 hours of unpaid work, costs of £4,899 and a £115 victim surcharge. He was disqualified from keeping any farmed animal for five years (expires October 2023).

Suffolk County Council
East Anglian Daily Times

 

Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire: Jeremiah Smith and father Jason Smith

Jeremiah Smith, born July 1997, and his father Jason Smith, born ca 1972, both of 11 Burton Road, Branston, Burton On Trent, Staffordshire DE14 3DL for cruelty to rabbits, hens, owls and a kestrel

Animal abuser Jeremiah Smith from Burton on Trent
Gypsy Jeremiah Smith and two of his victims

Gypsies Jeremiah and Jason Smith were both prosecuted under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

The RSPCA found up to 70 animals at their address at 11 Burton Road including chickens, rabbits and birds of prey, the latter kept in cages for parrots and being fed unsuitable foods. Chickens were also not being treating for a mite infestation.

Smith senior pleaded guilty to charges of failing to prevent the causing of unnecessary suffering to animals between August 10 and 15, 2017.

This included failing to treat 17 chickens for a mite infestation and failing to meet the need for a suitable living environment for 30 chickens. He also pleaded guilty for failing to meet the need for a suitable living environment for three goldfinches.

His son Jeremiah Smith – father to 3yo triplets – pleaded guilty to four charges of causing unnecessary suffering to protected animals.

Irresponsible gypsy and animal abuser Jeremiah Smith bought and sold birds via social media
Irresponsible gypsy and animal abuser Jeremiah Smith bought and sold birds via social media

This included failing to meet the need for a suitable living environment for five rabbits, a kestrel, two barn owls and 12 pigeons as well as failing to meet their need of a suitable diet and constant water supply for the rabbits.

The RSPCA praised the court for their ruling and warned people not to keep animals they cannot look after.

Sentencing:
Jason Smith – total fines and charges of £1,055.
Jeremiah Smith – total fines and charges of  £1,455.Both were disqualified from keeping animals for two years.

Jason Smith’s lawyer said they would be appealing against the decision.

Liversedge, West Yorkshire: Jane Harvey

#TheList Jane Harvey, aged 45, of 5 Twelfth Avenue, Liversedge WF15 8LF – allowed a ferret to starve to death; another ferret also found dead but remains mummified.

Two dead ferrets were found at the Liversedge home of Jane Harvey
Two dead ferrets were found at the Liversedge home of Jane Harvey

RSPCA inspectors found two dead ferrets when they visited the Liversedge home of Jane Harvey, in February 2018.

Prosecuting Andrew Davidson said the inspectors found ‘no sign of food’ when they inspected three hutches in the back garden of the house.

They found one ferret, called Panda, in a ‘mummified condition’ and another ferret called, Buttons, dead and in an ’emaciated condition’.

When Buttons was later inspected by an RSPCA vet evidence of muscle wastage, which occurs when the body uses up its fat reserves, was found.

Mr Davidson added there had been a ‘prolonged’ period of neglect.

Harvey admitted one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal

Sentencing:
60 hours of unpaid work; total of £570 fines, costs and charges. Banned from keeping pets, other than dogs, for 12 months (expires August 2019).

Huddersfield Daily Examiner

St Budeaux, Plymouth: Darryn Carpenter

#TheList Darryn Carpenter, aged 37, Normandy Way, Plymouth PL5 – beat pet rabbit Lucky to death and dumped his broken body in a dustbin

Twisted father Darryn Carpenter of St Budeaux beat a defenceless pet rabbit to death
Twisted father Darryn Carpenter of St Budeaux beat a defenceless pet rabbit to death

Father-of-two Carpenter, who has a conviction for domestic violence, was found guilty in his absence of causing Lucky unnecessary suffering on or about December 8 , 2017.

Police visiting Carpenter’s home on another matter found the animal wrapped in a plastic bag in the bin.

When questioned Carpenter claimed he had gone downstairs when he heard Lucky making noises, and after picking him up he dropped Lucky on the floor by accident. He said  that when he put Lucky back into the hutch he was unharmed, but was found dead in the hutch the next day.

A post-mortem examination showed Lucky has suffered a severe injury to his thorax (the area between the neck and the abdomen).

He had a fracture dislocation of his spine and severe bleed to his chest cavity and into his lungs. It was concluded that he died as a “result of blunt force trauma”. Significant force had been applied to break the rabbit’s back. None of this was consistent with Carpenter’s claims that the rabbit had accidentally fallen to the floor.

Speaking about the case RSPCA chief inspector Richard Abbott said: “This was a very upsetting case where Mr Carpenter inflicted a great deal of violence and cruelty on a defenceless pet, who was kept at his home.”

“Pets deserve to be treated with care and respect and it’s terribly sad that poor Lucky’s life ended in this way.”

Sentence: 18-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months. Total of £615 costs and charges.  Banned from keeping any animal for 10 years (expires August 2028).