Tag Archives: 2017 cases

Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute: Georgina Bretman

#TheList Georgina Anne Bretman, born c. 1989, of Glebefield Road, Helensburgh G84 8SZ – injected her own dog with insulin causing the animal to suffer hypoglycaemia, collapse, convulsions and seizures.

Former veterinary nurse Georgina Bretman deliberately poisoned her own dog for attention.
Former veterinary nurse Georgina Bretman deliberately poisoned her own dog for attention.

Attention-seeking veterinary nurse Bretman injected black-and-white cocker spaniel, Florence, with a drug that made the animal collapse and suffer from convulsions and seizures.

The two-year-old pup required immediate veterinary treatment to avoid falling into a coma and dying.

Former veterinary nurse Georgina Bretman deliberately poisoned her own dog for attention.

Bretman was convicted of causing the animal unnecessary suffering by injecting her with insulin.

Although no explanation was offered as to why the vet nurse had harmed her pet, the court was told that she was an “attention-seeker”.

On one occasion her employer, A&E Vets, gave Bretman an evening off – then correctly predicted that, within a few hours, her dog would suddenly become ill and be brought back to the surgery requiring emergency treatment.

Sheriff Joan Kerr found Bretman guilty of a charge under the Animal Health and Welfare Act, of injecting Florence with insulin resulting in her requiring immediate treatment to “avoid coma or death”.

Florence returned to good health in the care of the Scottish SPCA.

Sheriff Kerr said: “Flo was vulnerable and completely dependant on you for her care.

“Your motivation to cause her this suffering may never be known, you have chosen not to shed any light on that when you spoke to a social worker.

“You have expressed no remorse for causing Flo such suffering.”

Former veterinary nurse Georgina Bretman deliberately poisoned her own dog for attention.

It was noted Bretman harmed her own pet in her leisure time, not any animals she worked with and was not banned from working with animals. She was later banned from practising as a veterinary nurse.

Her former employer, Lesley Herd, became suspicious after Florence was brought in for emergency treatment on several separate occasions – always suffering from the same mysterious symptoms.

During Bretman’s trial, Mrs Herd said: “The dog was fine between episodes so I really didn’t know what was going on with the dog at all, we couldn’t understand why she was having these episodes.”

Mrs Herd said that, on one occasion, she took blood samples from Florence to send to the Glasgow University Vet School for testing. Although Bretman volunteered to deliver the samples, they never arrived.

Mrs Herd said: “Initially she didn’t want any bloods taken to the vet school, then agreed it was really the only way forward if we were going to find out what was going on.

“She volunteered to take the blood to the vet school. Later I found out the blood had never arrived at the vet school.”

She told the court: “Because of the pattern of collapse and low blood glucose on each occasion and the fact that the dog was normal between episodes, I was suspicious insulin had been administered to the dog.”

She described Bretman as “quite attention seeking” and added: “I had said to my partner she will find an excuse to come in to the clinic because she’s not happy about having the night off and I said ‘I bet Flo collapses tonight’, and it did happen.”

Former veterinary nurse Georgina Bretman deliberately poisoned her own dog for attention.

Bretman was later suspended and sacked from her job.

Mrs Herd contacted the SSPCA because of her concerns.

In evidence Bretman denied the charge and said she wasn’t responsible and only ever wanted to find out what was wrong with Flo.

It was put to her during her evidence: “It might be suggested you took a dislike to the dog, that’s why you harmed her.”

Bretman said: “Not at all, I put a lot of energy in. She was my companion.”

Defence counsel Craig Findlater handed 18 pages of references to the sheriff for consideration before his client was sentenced.

He told the court she is now unemployed and has moved back to her family home.

Mr Finldater said: “She has grown up with animals around her. She is educated to degree level and gained employment within her chosen profession, that is caring for animals.”

Sentencing: community payback order of 140 hours of unpaid work. Banned from keeping dogs for two years (expires September 2019).

Daily Record

In May 2019, the RCVS Veterinary Nurse Disciplinary Committee struck Bretman off the register.

The committee found Bretman’s actions in deliberately administering a poisonous substance to Florence, thereby risking her death, to be “very serious and deplorable conduct on the part of a veterinary nurse, a member of a profession specifically entrusted to look after and care for animals”.

It also took into account the fact Florence needed urgent veterinary treatment to avoid death and that Bretman was in a position of trust over Florence as her owner.

Evening Times

Grangemouth: Coral and Andrew Elliott

#TheList Coral Elliott, born c. 1995, of 28A Fendoch Road, Grangemouth FK3 9HA, and former partner Andrew Elliott, age and current whereabouts unknown – for the horrific neglect of a dog who was “waiting to die”

Convicted animal abuser Coral Elliott from Grangemouth
Convicted animal abuser Coral Elliott from Grangemouth
King suffered appalling mistreatment at the hands of his callous owners Coral and Andrew Elliott

Coral and Andrew Elliott were tried separately for their part in the shocking mistreatment of German shepherd King, who was found barely alive at the couple’s then home in Cultenhove Crescent, Grangemouth.

Convicted animal abusers Coral Elliott from Grangemouth and ex partner Andrew Elliott whose whereabouts are currently unknown
Birds of a feather: Andrew and Coral Elliott

Andrew Elliott was sentenced in June 2017 after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering by failing to provide his dog veterinary treatment and adequate nutrition. He was given a 180-hour community payback order and banned from keeping animals for 20 years.

In December 2017 Coral Elliott also pleaded guilty to the cruelty charges but received a ban of just five years. She failed to comply with her community payback order and was given another one in May 2019.

Speaking about the distressing case Scottish SPCA Inspector Nicola Liddel said: “When I first visited the property, King could be seen lying in an emaciated state with thick yellow mucus streaming from his nostrils.

“His eyes were so sunken back into his head that you could hardly see them and they were surrounded by a thick greenish discharge. His demeanour was so low, it looked like he was waiting to die.

“After taking King to the vet it was found that he weighed only 18.6kgs, when a dog of his size should be around 32kgs.

“He was severely emaciated with all his bones visible throughout his coat and muscle wastage around his skull. His coat was stark and horrendously matted due to filth and faecal matter.

“Poor King had a chronic flea infestation and was struggling to breathe due to the severe discharge blocking his nasal passages. Unfortunately, King was put to sleep following veterinary advice.

“King should not have been left to suffer as he did and was housed in entirely unsuitable accommodation which smelt strongly of urine and faeces.”

Scottish SPCA News
Falkirk Herald

Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex: Luke Smith

#TheList Luke Smith, born c. 1991, former known addresses of Sidley Street, Bexhill, and Silchester Road, St Leonards – threw a 12-week-old kitten named Luna against a wall; kitten had to be euthanised due to the severity of her injuries.

Kitten killer Luke Smith from Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, and his victim, Luna
Persistent violent offender Luke Smith, who also has multiple convictions for domestic violence, with his animal victim, 12-week-old kitten Luna

In January 2017 Smith pleaded guilty to causing the kitten unnecessary suffering during the incident, which took place at Hastings on August 16, 2016. The kitten, named Luna, suffered head and neck injuries and had to be euthanised.

Smith was given a community order and banned from keeping animals for three years (expires January 2020).

Smith was back in court in May 2018 when he pleaded guilty to assaulting a woman by beating her. The offence took place at Hastings on April 18. He also admitted being in breach of a suspended sentence made by an earlier court for animal cruelty, in that he threw a kitten called Luna against a wall and for burglary of a house in Hastings, as well as a previous assault on a woman.

This time Smith sentenced to 16 weeks in prison. Magistrates said the reason for the custodial sentence was because of persistent breach of court orders.

Hastings and St Leonards Observer

Ilford, East London: Pakistani cockfighting gang

#TheList Mohammed Asab, born c. 1966, of 37 Water Lane, Ilford IG3 9HN; Mohammed Arif, born c. 1974, of 59 Fairfield Road, Ilford IG1 2JL; Akhtar Hussain, born c. 1970, of 4A Greenhill Grove, London E12 6BA; Mehtab Ahmed, born c. 1976, of 8 Celebration Way, London E4 9AF;  Altaf Hussain, born c. 1963, of 30 Parkstone Road, Coventry CV6 7AL

Ring leader of Pakistani cockfighting gang Mohammed Asab of 37 Water Lane, Ilford
Ring leader of Pakistani cockfighting gang Mohammed Asab of 37 Water Lane, Ilford

Mohammed Asab, the ring-leader of a Pakistani cockfighting gang based in Ilford, East London, was found guilty of causing an animal fight to take place, keeping and training an animal for use in connection with an animal fight, and keeping premises for use for an animal fight.

Mohammed Arif, Akhtar Hussain, Mehtab Ahmed and Altaf Hussain were all found guilty of being present at an animal fight involving cockerels.

Disturbing footage seized by police and produced in court showed bloodied birds being trained by the gang. In the video, shown below,  Asab is seen training and breeding cockerels to fight and even referred to one of his hens as a producer of ‘champions’.

Cockerels armed with sharpened spurs were pitched against one another in an outbuilding where the group had specifically designed a ring compete with seats around the edge and fake grass in the centre.

When police raided the fighting pit they found fresh cockerel blood splattered across white walls and found several distressed birds flapping around inside.

A blood-stained towel was also found and the cockerels were found to have wounds including one deep cut to the neck which someone had attempted to stitch up.

A total of ten cockerels and two hens were seized by police and animal welfare officers during the raid in January 2017.


Mohammed Asab: given a 22-week suspended sentence and ordered to pay £10,000 for the long-term care of his former cockerels, now forfeited to the RSPCA, and £2,000 in legal costs. He must also pay a £150 victim surcharge, complete 200 hours community service in 12 months, and forfeit his cockfighting paraphernalia. Lifetime bird-keeping ban.

Mohammed Arif, Akhtar Hussain, Mehtab Ahmed and Altaf Hussain were each fined £1,500, plus a £85 victim surcharge, and granted community orders of 200 hours community service to be completed in 12 months.

A 17-year-old was granted conditional discharge and a fine of £180.

Daily Mail
Ilford Recorder

Stockport, Greater Manchester: Joanne Brown

#TheList Joanne ‘Jojo’ Brown, born 08/05/1984, most recent known address (2018) Winterburn Green, Offerton Estate, Stockport SK2 5PG – abandoned her cat in a house for five weeks

Cat abuser Joanne Brown from Stockport, Greater Manchester, UK.
Joanne Brown left her cat alone in an abandoned property

Brown was sentenced at Stockport Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 21 December 2017. She pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the cat, known as Tinkerbell, at an earlier hearing.

Tinkerbell was abandoned by  Joanne Brown from Stockport, Greater Manchester, UK.
Tinkerbell was barely alive when rescued by the RSPCA.

The court heard that Tinkerbell was rescued from a house in Primrose Avenue, in Marple, Stockport, by a neighbour and a member of Brown’s family who became concerned for the cat’s welfare.

Tinkerbell was unresponsive and was covered in scabs and sores. She was taken to the RSPCA’s Greater Manchester Hospital, where staff worked tirelessly to save her life.

Tinkerbell was abandoned by  Joanne Brown from Stockport, Greater Manchester, UK, but recovered from her ordeal in the care of the RSPCA.
She has since recovered in the care of the RSPCA.

RSPCA inspector Heather Morris, who investigated, said: “Tinkerbell was extremely emaciated, dehydrated and anaemic – she was at death’s door. If she’d been in that house for another 24 hours she would have died.

“Tinkerbell had been abandoned for five weeks inside a house which was covered in faeces. There was no food for her so we can only assume that she spent weeks scavenging for food in the property.

“It really was touch-and-go as to whether she would survive, but she slowly started to improve after a month. It was a long process but she has recovered very well and has since been happily rehomed.”

Sentence: 12-month conditional discharge, ordered to pay £250 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

Source: RSPCA News (article removed)

2019 update: Joanne Brown has a new kitten – pictured.

Unfortunately, despite proving herself entirely incapable of caring for animals, she was never banned from keeping them.

Cat abuser Joanne Brown from Stockport, Greater Manchester, UK.

Brown works as a barmaid in a Hazel Grove pub.

Ripon, North Yorkshire: Andrew Ripley

#TheList Andrew Ripley, born 22/03/1961, of Gallows Hill Drive, Ripon HG4 1UP – caught on camera terrorising his pet collie, Bex

Border collie Bex was filmed in a state of distress as she is terrorised by her owner Andrew Ripley from Ripon
Border collie Bex was filmed in a state of distress as she is terrorised by her sadistic owner Andrew Ripley from Ripon

Upsetting footage showed Andrew Ripley in his garden with his hands around Bex’s neck, face and muzzle. He is shaking her and twisting her skin whilst talking to her in a low voice. All the time she is crying and trying to lick him.

RSPCA inspector Carol Neale said: “This poor dog was absolutely terrorised by Ripley.

“It’s clear to anyone that she is extremely frightened during the incident captured in the footage on 29 May [2017].

“She even tries to lick Ripley’s face in what seems to be an appeal for him to stop hurting her. It’s very upsetting to watch.”

Staff at RSPCA York & District Branch have worked hard with Bex over the months since, bringing in a specialist dog behaviourist to help her.

“I’ve never seen a more emotionally scarred dog, she was so traumatised,” said inspector Neale.

“She was signed over to us at the previous hearing in November and I did the homecheck on her potential new owners the following day myself.

“I’m so ecstatic to say that she’s been there for almost a month now and has settled in really well with her new family, and her feline housemates.

“She’s got a new name – Jess – and has been given the best Christmas present ever, a wonderful new start.”

Sentencing: 12-month community order of 150 hours of unpaid work and 30 days of rehabilitation; costs and charges totalling £535. Lifetime ban on keeping animals except bovines.

Dog Magazine

Nottingham: Aaron Jay Barker

#TheList Aaron Jay Barker (DoB 01/07/1991) of Flat 2, Cherry House, 23 Redhill Road, Arnold, Nottingham NG5 8GT – beat to death two kittens he’d adopted 10 days previously from Cats Protection League.

Kitten killer Aaron Jay Barker of Basford, Nottingham. Photo on right shows Barker with one of the kittens he later killed.
Kitten killer Aaron Jay Barker of Basford, Nottingham. Photo on right shows Barker with one of the kittens he later killed.

Barker pinned 4mo kittens Panther and Baby to the floor and beat them to death.

A post-mortem showed the kittens suffered multiple injuries including fractured skull, broken ribs, brain haemorrhages, ruptured liver and blood clots. Vets believed these were caused by blunt force trauma and contacted the RSPCA.

Barker claim a burglar attacked the kittens. He said he tried to give them a bath to wash away blood and faeces, but as he did so Panther jumped out of his arms, hit the bottom of the bath and died. Panther’s injuries were not consistent with this, however, and the evidence pointed to the injuries being inflicted when Barker was at home alone.

Sentence: 20 weeks in prison. Life  ban on keeping pets.

Nottingham Post 19/12/2017
The Sun 25/12/2017

Bilston, Wolverhampton: Carl Pugh

#TheList Carl Pugh, born 23/11/1982, of Elizabeth Avenue, Bilston WV14 8DZ – filmed savagely beating his dog next to a canal

American bulldog Jeff was brutally beaten by his cruel owner Carl Pugh from Bilston, Wolverhampton
American bulldog Jeff was brutally beaten by his cruel owner Carl Pugh from Bilston, Wolverhampton

Carl Pugh was caught on CCTV hitting his American bulldog called Jeff five times, before picking him up and holding him over the canal.

Pugh was convicted in his absence of causing unnecessary suffering to the dog after failing to turn up for his trial.

As they sentenced Pugh, magistrates described his actions as a ‘despicable way to treat a dog’.

RSPCA inspector Vicki Taylor said: “Pugh claimed that Jeff dragged him into the canal and that he got his foot wet, so he hit him – but he said that the CCTV made it look worse than it was, and he said that he loved the dog and would never harm him.

“But the CCTV showed a different story. On the footage, Pugh can clearly be seen hitting Jeff five times and then picking him up and holding him over the canal.

“The magistrates said in court that it was a ‘despicable way to treat a dog’ and they are right. There is no excuse to treat any animal like this.

“We’d like to thank everyone who contacted us with information after seeing the shocking video online.”

She added: “Jeff is a lovely dog and he hasn’t got an aggressive bone in his body. It is so sad that he went through this.”

Sentencing: 12-week curfew; costs and charges totalling £185. Disqualified from keeping animals for two years (expired December 2019).

Express and Star

Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol: Jake Griffiths

#TheList Jake Griffiths, born 07/08/1992, of 71 Ringwood Crescent, Westbury-on-Trym , Bristol BS10 5RL – swung his dog around by the lead and kept kicking him in the street until passers-by intervened and stopped him

Jake Griffiths from Bristol was given a lifetime ban from keeping animals after beating his dog so badly passers-by intervened
Jake Griffiths from Bristol was given a lifetime ban from keeping animals after beating his dog so badly passers-by intervened

Griffiths assaulted his dog in such a shocking way that people walking past the attack on Gloucester Road in July 2017 stepped in and tried to stop him.

They held him until police arrived, and Griffith was arrested.

It appeared Griffiths was trying to train his brindle-coloured Staffordshire bull terrier, who was just nine months old at the time. He was picking up the dog, Buddy, and throwing him to the ground.

“Witnesses saw Griffiths lift the dog up by his lead which was tied around his neck, so it was almost like a noose,” said RSPCA Inspector Simon Coombs.

“Then they saw him kick the dog a couple of times, before dragging him up the road.

“They intervened and called the police, who then arrested Griffiths and contacted ourselves,” he added.

Staffy Buddy was abused by his owner Jake Griffiths from Bristol
Staffy Buddy recovered from his ordeal and was made available for rehoming by the RSPCA

At Bristol Magistrates Court, Griffiths admitted two offences under the Animal Welfare Act.

He was given a lifetime ban on keeping all animals for causing unnecessary suffering to Buddy, as well as using frightening, harmful and potentially painful training methods.

In his defence, Griffiths told magistrates that he has an alcohol problem that made him short-tempered and he had taken it out on Buddy, despite saying he loved the dog.

“That is still no excuse for treating an animal so badly and I’m really pleased with the sentence,” said Insp Coombs.

“Griffiths signed Buddy over to us as soon as we became involved and I’m pleased to say that he was rehomed soon after,” he added.

Magistrates commended the two witnesses who saw the incident and intervened.

Griffiths was told by the court that he cannot appeal his lifetime animal ban for ten years.

Sentence: one-year community order, which includes 20 days of rehabilitation activity and a six-month alcohol treatment requirement; £300 in costs and £85 victim surcharge; banned from keeping animals for life.

Bristol Post

Swadlincote, Derbyshire: Leah R Prince

#TheList Leah Prince, born 06/02/75, of 8 Bridge Close, Church Gresley, Swadlincote, Derbyshire DE11 9HT – allowed Labrador to lose nearly half of her body weight

Labrador Roxy lost nearly half of her body weight in four months due to her owner Leah Prince's neglect
Labrador Roxy lost nearly half of her body weight in four months due to her owner Leah Prince’s neglect

Prince pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to her black Labrador called Roxy.

The court heard that Roxy almost died after losing 10 kilogrammes of weight in just four months. She had been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) earlier in 2017, and her rapid weight loss was said to be a result of the illness.

RSPCA Inspector Nicola Johnson said: “Roxy was unable to digest food properly because of the IBS, which would have left her in a lot of pain most days.

“She dropped weight very quickly and became weaker and weaker. All of her rib bones could be seen. It was obvious she was not a well dog.”

Roxy was skin and bone by the time she was rescued by the RSPCA from her neglectful owner Leah Prince from Swadlincote, Derbyshire
Roxy was skin and bone by the time she was rescued by the RSPCA from her neglectful owner Leah Prince from Swadlincote, Derbyshire. Happily she recovered and has been rehomed.

Roxy was taken to a vet by Prince, where she was diagnosed with IBS, but was not taken back to the vets again to receive an offer of surgery to help treat the condition.

Inspector Johnson said: “Instead, Prince went on the internet and searched for ways to treat it herself.

“She believed that eventually she would find the right food for Roxy, but in the meantime Roxy was drastically losing weight.

“She was eating food which would come straight out again – she just wasn’t able to digest it properly. This went on for four months, during which time Roxy had been left to suffer.

“If veterinary advice had been taken at the outset, she would not have lost so much weight and become so weak.”

The RSPCA was contacted by a member of the public after concerns were raised about the dog’s welfare and health.

Inspector Johnson added: “I took Roxy to a vet and we weighed her in at 13kg, which is far below the 25kg a female Labrador should weigh.

“Her road to recovery was a long one and she was so poorly that we nearly lost her a couple of times. It really was touch and go.

“I’d like to give a huge thanks to the staff at the RSPCA’s Burton branch, and staff at Springwood Vets and Swadlincote’s vets for their part in saving Roxy’s life. Without them she might not be here today.

“The good news is that Roxy has been happily re-homed with a lovely family, and she is a very happy dog today.

Sentencing: two-year conditional discharge; £200 costs. Lifetime ban on keeping animals.