#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
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.
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.
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.”
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.
#TheList Rebecca Dawn McHugh, born 08/11/1981 of Boulevard, Hull HU3 – left animals to starve to death in her abandoned pet shop
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.
#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 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.
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.
#TheList Rachel Louise Goodwin, aged 29, from Broomer Street, Dewsbury WF13 – found guilty in her absence of five cases of animal abuse after four rabbits and two guinea pigs were found dead at her home.
Single mother-of-seven Goodwin was convicted after four rabbits and two guinea pigs kept at her home were found dead. She was due to appear before Kirklees Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 15/8/18 but failed to attend so the case was heard in her absence.
Goodwin was found guilty of one count of causing unnecessary suffering and four counts of failing to meet the needs of the animals under the Animal Welfare Act.
The animals were discovered when a fifth rabbit, named Ginger, was found sitting under a car on Broomer Street on 2nd January 2018 and was picked up by an RSPCA officer.
Further enquiries led the officer to Goodwin’s address. Kris Walker, RSPCA Inspector, said: “My colleague went to Goodwin’s house to see if the rabbit belonged to her but soon became concerned and I and the police attended.
“We were faced with an absolutely heartbreaking scene; the dead rabbits and guinea pigs were in hutches in the garden, some were much more decomposed than others so clearly some of them had been living there alongside the bodies.
“Veterinary evidence suggested one of the rabbits, called Spike, had been dead for around three days, while rabbits Rihanna and Selena had been dead for as little as 24 hours.
“Half of guinea pig Tinkerbell’s body was missing so it was impossible to say how long Tinkerbell had been dead.”
Inspector Walker added: “The hutches were absolutely filthy and there was no food or water.”
“We presume that Ginger was loose and therefore had access to grass which is probably the reason for this rabbit’s survival.”
Ginger was signed over to the RSPCA and has since been rehomed.
#TheList Charmaine Victoria Louise Collins, born 02/01/1990, of Rosebery Road, Southborne, Bournemouth BH5 2JH – let 61 animals die in her maggot-infested flat
Mother-of-one Collins crammed 196 animals including cats, dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils and lizards as well as ducks and chickens in to her two-bedroom flat at 25 Hamilton Road in Boscombe before she was raided by police and the RSPCA. Some animals had gone without water and food for at least a week. Of the 196 animals, 61 died.
The court heard that Collins, who had started a degree in veterinary care, had established an animal breeding business called Fairytales with a friend. However, the friend backed out around two weeks before the flat was raided.
Officials found 48 animals in a small shed in the property’s communal garden. Many of the creatures inside – including 30 guinea pigs – were dead at the time, or died shortly afterwards.
Entry was then forced to the flat, which was in darkness and without electricity. As RSPCA inspector Patrick Bailey panned a torch around the dark rooms, the beam fell on a severely dehydrated rabbit, which was “convulsing”.
Officers were cofonfronted with loosely-stacked crates and cages filled with animals and smaller creatures suffocating in plastic containers.
More rabbits were confined to these containers, unable to move in any direction.
An animal carcass infested with maggots was also discovered. Decomposition indicated the creature had been dead for some time.
The RSPCA had first become involved with Collins in April 2016 over “similar issues”. At that time, Collins sought help from officials and some months later had just two dogs and a lizard.
However, she then began buying animals from fairs and shows. Ten days after she was interviewed by police, she travelled to Holland to buy 70 rodents. All have now been seized by the RSPCA.
Collins, who currently works as an assistant for Poole photography business Lite-Box Imagery, admitted six charges relating to the care of the animals.
Sentence: 12-month community order and 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days; total of £330 costs and charges. Banned from keeping any animal for the next 10 years (expires July 2028).
Update November 2019: Herbert is now banned from keeping animals for life after breaching her ban. She was caught with two guinea pigs who were being kept in foul conditions. Herbert was also given a 12-month community order with a ten-day rehabilitation activity requirement. She was ordered to pay a £80 fine, £805.22 in costs and a £90 victim surcharge. The guinea pigs were rescued in time and rehomed.
#TheList Stephen Emsley, born c. 1969, of 43 Riddings Road, Huddersfield HD2 1HL – caught on camera as he tortured rabbits and guinea pigs
Stephen Emsley admitted two offences under the Animal Welfare Act and was convicted of a further five after a trial at Kirklees Magistrates’ Court in Huddersfield.
Emsley was witnessed by a neighbour slamming two defenceless rabbits to the ground before discarding their bodies in a bin.
He was also seen slapping another rabbit 16 times, slamming the heads of two pets into each other and forcibly plucking the hairs from a guinea pig.
The court heard that Emsley was given the responsibility of caring for 13 rabbits and four guinea pigs after his partner left him,
He was witnessed hurting some of them over a two day period in July 2017 by his neighbour Margaret Lloyd. She described how she saw him remove one of the rabbits from a hutch in the garden, slap it to the body twice and then hit it a further four times before throwing it head first into the hutch.
The same day he returned to the hutch and selected two smaller rabbits.
Andrew Davidson, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said: ‘He held a rabbit in each hand, bit one of them and then used the head of one of the rabbits to hit the other rabbit in its body.
‘Then he walked towards the hutch where he left the previous rabbit and slammed both of the rabbits’ bodies together before throwing them head first into the hutch.’
The next day Mrs Lloyd was stood in her kitchen watching TV when she heard a squealing noise coming from the garden. She looked out and saw Emsley taking hold of one of the guinea pigs and ‘repeatedly plucking hair from its back’.
Footage of the pet squealing in pain was captured by Mrs Lloyd, magistrates were told.
RSPCA inspector Catherine Byrnes described what happened as “torture” and said: “The sound of the slaps and the squeals of the guinea pig can be heard on the video shot from inside a neighbouring property.
“The incidents happened over two days in July last year. He was torturing these animals, there’s no other way to describe it.
“It was what happened to two adult rabbits found dead in a bin at his property when we attended that was most upsetting to deal with.
“One of my colleagues described the rabbits as looking as though they had burst, such was the trauma inflicted to them.
“Though Emsley denies knowing what happened to them, the horrific actions against the two rabbits described by a witness, consistent with the injuries sustained by them and accepted by the court, includes Emsley biting them, smashing them together, banging their heads together and smashing them into the ground.”
Sentencing: 20-week suspended jail term; 16-week curfew; total of £615 costs and charges. Banned from keeping animals indefinitely.
#TheList Alexander Kyle Grice, born c. 1966, and Victoria Louisa Kyle Grice, born c. 1968, of Llwyncelyn, Glanarthan, Llandysul SA44 6PL – for cruelty towards dogs, a rabbit and a guinea pig
Brother and sister Alexander and Victoria Grice were both convicted on 12 counts of animal cruelty following a two-day trial in September 2017.
The case was brought by the RSPCA and both defendants had denied all the charges.
Among the offences of which they were jointly convicted were failing to protect a basset hound named Bertie from pain, suffering or disease. Bertie was underweight, in poor condition and not living in a suitable environment.
The pair were also found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a bichon frise dog named Bella, who was underweight, suffering from severe dental disease, skin disease, mammary tumours and an ear infection.
The pair were also found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering by failing to treat flea infestations, skin, eye and ear infections for various dogs and to causing unnecessary suffering to a rabbit and a guinea pig.
#TheList Tonya Haughton (DOB 26/11/80) and daughter Carmen Lyth (DOB 21/6/99), both of Blakelow Road, Abbey Hulton, Stoke-on-Trent ST2 – kept dozens of guinea pigs and rabbits in shocking conditions
Carmen Lyth (pictured) and her mother Tonya Laughton pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to 11 guinea pigs and four rabbits.
The RSPCA was contacted by the Stoke-on-Trent City Council in April 2017 after a council employee became concerned about smells coming from a property in Trowbridge Crescent, Bentilee, where the pair were living at the time.
When an RSPCA inspector attended, she found 42 dead guinea pigs wrapped in puppy training pads in a hutch in the garden, and two bags of dead guinea pigs inside the house.
There were also emaciated rabbits in the garden, and the house was covered in faeces.
Overall, Haughton and Lyth had around 130 animals in the house.
RSPCA inspector Charlotte Melvin said: “There were four cages of guinea pigs in the living room and more guinea pigs kept outside in the garden. There were even more cages dotted around the house.
“We found a dead guinea pig inside the property and when we asked what happened, we were told that the guinea pig was dying that morning but that they hadn’t had time to deal with it.
“The conditions inside the house were shocking and the animals were in terrible states. The rabbits which we found in the garden were so thin that it was a surprise they were still alive.
“It really was such a shock to see animals being kept in this way. It is clear that the animals had been deteriorating for some time and it should never have got to this point.”
The RSPCA had 57 surviving animals signed over to them, who will be rehomed.
Haughton – 12-week suspended sentence. Disqualified from keeping animals for life.
Lyth – 18-month conditional discharge. Disqualified from keeping animals for just 5 years (expires November 2022).
#TheList producers of pornographic animal torture videos: Craig John Chapman, born 03/02/1975, of Cresswell Road, Hilderstone, Stone ST15 8RF, Theraza Smallwood, born 10/10/1980, of Parkhead Drive, Stoke-on-Trent ST3 6EW, Christine Louise Besford (now Christine Miller), born 02/05/1976, of Doulton Court, Stoke-on-Trent ST2 7QY and Sarah-Jayne Cook, born 1980, and from Stoke-on-Trent (now Sarah-Jayne Porter of Alvechurch, Birmingham).
In the only case of its kind to ever be prosecuted in the UK courts Craig Chapman, Christine Besford, Sarah-Jayne Cook and Theraza Smallwood all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to publish obscene material after making videos of small animals being tortured and killed for the sexual gratification of paying customers, which included London publican Brian Patrick McCann. More on him later.
The animals tortured to death by the gang over a period of around a year included mice, rats, guinea pigs and a kitten.
All four also admitted separate charges relating to the cruelty and torture of small animals.
Peter Cooper, prosecuting, told Stoke on Trent Crown Court how Chapman had told someone he met over the internet that he could supply videos depicting scenes of animal torture.
Describing the horrific scenes on the tape Mr Cooper said: “Throughout the film there are scenes of small animals being stamped on with high heeled shoes.
“There is another scene of an overtly sexual nature involving Chapman and a mouse taped to a wooden board.”
The footage also included a scene in which an eight-week-old kitten was glued to the floor and killed by a woman (identified as Christine Besford) with her stiletto heels.
“The man behind the camera [Chapman] tells the girl [Besford] to stand on the kitten’s head. She did this, but not very well and her heel fell onto the kitten’s neck.
The kitten yelled in its incomparable distress…… the man behind the camera laughed”.
A former business associate of Chapman told us this (obviously treat as allegations for the time being):
Chapman had been going on a fetish chat room and putting it out there that he could make ‘custom made’ videos of animals being tortured to death and these bastards were e-mailing him with their fantasies and he along with the 3 other scumbags would get to work buying mice and guinea pigs from Pets at Home and other animals from a local yellow paper.
There was a scene in the seized video where Chapman lies on the floor naked with a plank of wood across him with a hole drilled in it for his privates to poke through, and a girl crushes a live mouse on it then smears its entrails on Chapman’s bits. Sick beyond belief.
They resin glued a 12 week old tabby kitten to a piece of wood and then tortured it to death. Chapman can be heard complaining on the tape “Oh no, there’s only 15 mins left on the tape, I was hoping to make a THIRTY MINUTE show of this…”
It turned out that Chapman had been using his secretarial recruitment agency to see if any pretty applicants were particularly hard up for money and were potential “video stars” for his grotty enterprise.
We also received the following contribution from a Facebook user with a long-standing interest in the case:
Chapter Four [of Terry Spamer’s book] – simply titled “Look Away Now” is all about how Chapman was caught. What a harrowing read. Just reading the description of the first scene – where they’ve gaffer taped mice to the clutch of a car was enough to give me a mild panic attack.
Safe to say that by the time we get to the part where Chapman has RESIN GLUED the tabby kitten’s right hind leg to the piece of hardboard, I was in tears.
The terrified kitten has tried to escape clockwise, anti clockwise and almost a full circle in its desperate attempts to escape, breaking its own leg in the process.
Chapman tells the “star” (Besford) to stand on the kitten’s head. She does but her foot slips off and crushes its spine. At this point Chapman LAUGHS.
Even after the kitten is dead, Besford, at Chapman’s request, stabs her high heel at the kitten’s head until it rolls completely off.
The guinea pig is hung by picture cord, being lifted off the floor by Smallwood before Chapman tells her not to do it so hard or else she’d strangle it and the video would end too early, as they need to torture the poor creature for as long as possible for more money.
She stabs it through its ribcage with her high heels then after 15 mins of this, she breaks its spine by standing on it full weight as it tries to run away mortally wounded.
That’s the running theme here – Chapman giving the “stars” the instructions on how to hurt the animals in the worst ways possible to achieve the most pain for the longest time for more money.
He tells the “star” at the beginning not to brake as hard, as he wants the mouse to last longer.
For his “friend” to testify that he was only motivated by money back then in order to do this , then consider the fact that he LAUGHS at the kittens’ agony when it yells in pain.
That to me sounds like enjoyment.
What people are not realising is that there weren’t just three scenes on the tape, there was TWENTY. TWENTY scenes of terrified animals being slaughtered under Craig John Chapman’s instruction in order for him to make money. He was selling clips for £200 a time so do the math. Apparently demand for new tapes was so great that he couldn’t keep up . Beyond sick. Beyond depraved.
Chapman paid Besford, Cook and Smallwood between £100 and £700 each for taking part in the torture.
The defendants got the mice and guinea pigs from a pet store and the kitten had been bought from an advert in a local newspaper.
An RSPCA report, read out in court, said the animals all died from multiple internal injuries caused by the torture and they had all suffered immense cruelty before they died.
Sentencing: Chapman was jailed for two years for conspiracy to publish the video and four months for cruelty to animals. Besford, Cook and Smallwood were each jailed for four months. All four were banned from keeping animals for life.
The Customer: Brian McCann
In November 2002 father-of-four Brian Patrick McCann, born 24/03/1955, then the owner of Rosie McCann’s bar in York Road, Islington, London, was jailed for his role in producing the twisted videos.
A police search of McCann’s computer revealed 40 files of “squish” or “crush” movies in which small animals such as kittens, guinea pigs, mice and even fish and earthworms were squashed to death, usually by a woman in high heels and wearing a short skirt.
McCann commissioned the video after contacting Chapman via a website specialising in such films.
McCann ordered the video over the internet and asked specifically for footage of a kitten being killed to be included.
Judge Nicholas Medowar QC said McCann had directly contributed to the production of at least one of the films, ordering specific scenes to be inserted to satisfy his own desires.
He said McCann had offered “excuses more than explanations” and appeared to be in denial about the gravity of what he had done, and imposed a jail term to be effective immediately.
RSPCA inspector Mr Simon Osborne, who witnessed scenes from the movies, said they were the most sickening he had seen in his six years as an animal protection officer.
“What was very distressing for me was not only watching these animals being trodden on … but it was the sounds of the animals screaming in pain, in obvious terrible agony,” he said.
Mr Osborne said the society was disappointed a tougher sentence had not been imposed and that animal cruelty had been dropped from the charge list.
Craig John Chapman is managing director of transport company Dulogis Group Ltd (known as UK Sameday before its rebranding in late 2018 – we hear he might be putting that into reverse now).
An article published in a trade magazine and the local paper told how Chapman started the business in 2003 after he was released from jail “left an office job” and built it up from one man with a van to a nationwide company.
Chapman was named Entrepeneur of the Year at the Stoke Sentinel Business Awards in March 2019 – quite astonishing when a simple Google search lays bare the grim details of his murky past (the case made all of the main online news sites, is mentioned in a Wikipedia entry on crush fetishes and even featured in a Channel 5 documentary on extreme porn).
Chapman lives in a large house in Stone with his partner and their toddler son.
Theraza Smallwood, who is shown on the video torturing a guinea pig, has three older children, all with different surnames, and is currently dating someone around half her age. We contacted Smallwood who told us she hadn’t spoken with Chapman for 17 years (strange that since they are first cousins and she even worked for him a while last year).
She couldn’t or wouldn’t identify Chapman from the photo we sent her. She told us that her participation in animal snuff videos was “a very long time ago and I’d like to keep it in the past”.
Christine Louise Besford now goes by her married name Miller. She runs a barber’s in Endon Road, Stoke.
Sarah-Jayne Cook is recently married and she and her husband have a young son. She goes by her married name Porter and lives in Alvechurch in Bromsgrove, Birmingham.