#TheList Sheena McCartney, born 15/11/1971, of 15 Drumellan Walk, Moyraverty, Craigavon BT65 5NH – persistently neglected her dogs
Sheena McCartney was banned from keeping animals for five years after failing to ensure the welfare of two dogs in her care.
She was convicted on three counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a Rottweiler with an eye condition, failing to comply with an improvement notice requiring her to bring the dog to a vet for treatment, and wilfully neglecting the needs of both the Rottweiler and a lurcher.
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council pursued the prosecution under the provisions of the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 after completing an investigation, which was initiated by a report from a member of the public who was concerned about the dogs’ welfare.
McCartney initially did not respond to contact from the Council, and when she did, an improvement notice was issued to her requiring her to seek treatment for the Rottweiler’s eye condition.
This was not complied with and due to her lack of co-operation, a warrant to enter her property was secured.
The Animal Welfare Officer subsequently visited McCartney’s property with a vet, who assessed the Rottweiler as suffering and the lurcher as being likely to suffer given the conditions in which he was being kept.
Both dogs were immediately taken into Council care and later rehomed.
A Council spokesperson commented: “The judge in this case saw fit to give a custodial sentence in addition to a disqualification from keeping animals because the defendant persistently neglected the needs of her dogs’ and flagrantly disregarded animal welfare legislation.
Sentencing: custodial sentence suspended for 18 months. Ordered to pay £84 in costs. Banned from keeping animals for five years.
The ten-year-old dog, whom Henry had owned since she was a puppy, was found by the RSPCA in a “dreadful condition”, weighing just 16kg and having no body fat.
Police were called to Henry’s previous address in Eaglescliffe, Stockton, after an RSPCA inspector saw Shadow looking starved in the garden through slots in the fence. The inspector found two empty dog bowls.
Stuart Bennett, prosecuting, told the court the dog would have been “in pain and suffering weakness” due to malnutrition.
Mr Bennett estimated that this suffering would have lasted around four weeks but “only occurred due to neglect which had obviously been far longer”.
Henry claimed she had fed Shadow but admitted it “probably wasn’t enough”.
Shadow was also found to have cataracts, which Henry had dismissed as “glazed eyes” due to her age. Henry agreed that she should have taken the dog to the vet and said she hadn’t done so as she “didn’t want to look like a bad person”.
The prosecution said that Henry had bought two kittens whom she had taken to the vet regularly, adding that this was “difficult to comprehend”.
The court was shown a series of photographs as evidence of Henry’s neglect. These included photos of Shadow with a protruding rib cage and spine.
A probation service report described how Henry’s personal circumstances had changed after the collapse of her marriage. They said that her neglect of Shadow was “a result of her burying her head in the sand with everything else going on in her life”.
Henry expressed remorse for her actions and agreed that she could have cared for Shadow “a lot better”.
Danielle Hewitt, defending, said that Henry’s two children would “suffer if a custodial sentence were to be imposed”.
Sentencing: 12 weeks in custody suspended for 12 months. 25 days of rehabilitation activity. Ordered to pay £522 costs. Banned from keeping animals for five years. Deprivation order on Shadow and her two kittens.
#TheList Louise Lawford, born c. 1970, of Eastern Road, Sutton Coldfield B73 5NU – for animal welfare offences relating to her pet-sitting business Pawford Paws
In June 2019 five dogs, who became known as the ‘Tamworth Five’, went missing while in the care of Birmingham-based pet-sitting Louise Lawford. Lawford claimed that the dogs – Ralph, Charlie, Pablo, Maggie and Jack – had run off in Hopwas Woods near Tamworth, but no trace of them has ever been found.
In court, prosecutors rejected Lawford’s version of events but were unable to prove what had happened that day. Charges relating to the pets’ disappearance therefore had to be dropped.
Lawford was called a “dog killer” by someone in the public gallery, which the judge described as “outrageous”.
The court heard that Lawford had been placed in a position of trust and left customers anguished.
The fate of the Tamworth Five remains a mystery.
Some of the pets’ owners were in court to witness Lawford being sentenced.
“The dogs were never found, despite being chipped and there being extensive searches,” said Jonathan Barker, prosecuting, adding he did not accept Lawford’s account that the dogs got lost in the woods, but could not prove otherwise.
Speaking after the hearing, the dogs’ owners – who say they “know” their pets are dead – said they would take civil action against Lawford.
“It’s a positive outcome because the court just did not believe the dogs were lost,” one owner Becky Parsons said. “It just doesn’t make sense.”
She said the past six months had been “an emotional rollercoaster” and that she was so upset at losing her dogs, Pablo and Maggie, that she “couldn’t face going back” to her house and has had to move.
The case, brought by Birmingham City Council, has attracted much attention on social media, and Lawford was called a “dog killer” when she left court briefly before sentencing.
The former dog walker, who has already had her licence revoked by Birmingham City Council, admitted breaching conditions including limits on the number of dogs she boarded at any one time, boarding dogs from different homes, as well as failing to seek treatment for the dog with a skin condition.
Lawford’s defence said she expressed “extreme and continuing remorse for what happened to the dogs”.
“This is well-intentioned but incompetent care,” her legal representative Tom Walking said.
Lawford apologised for the pain owners of the missing dogs have suffered
Birmingham City Council welcomed the sentence, calling the case “unusual and upsetting”.
“Only Mrs Lawford knows the truth of what happened to the five beloved pets placed in her care,” said Vicky Allwood, the council’s senior animal welfare officer.
Her sentence means she will have to give up her elderly pet labrador.
Sentencing: fined £800 and ordered to pay costs of £2,616 and a victim surcharge of £80. Banned from owning dogs for five years.
#TheList Helen Burt, born 04/01/1992, previously of Elder Place, Rosyth, and now Cairns Street East, Kirkcaldy KY1 – kept three Staffordshire bull terriers in squalid conditions
Burt let the dogs, Codi, Mali and Shakira, live in a filthy home surrounded by their own excrement and failed to take them outside to do the toilet.
At Dunfermline Sheriff Court she pled guilty to a charge under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006, after failing to provide the dogs with a suitable environment or to meet their needs, between January 11 and 25, 2018.
The charge detailed how her treatment of the dogs would have caused them psychological suffering and put them at risk of injury and disease.
They were exposed to urine, faeces and household debris including open tin cans and broken furniture.
Burt failed to provide adequate water and ventilation for the animals, left them in an unhygienic environment and failed to allow them to exhibit normal behaviour.
She also neglected to take the dogs outside to defecate or urinate.
Animal welfare charity Scottish SPCA investigated the case.
Scottish SPCA inspector Sarah Gregory said: “The living environment for these animals was cramped and filthy.
“The entire property was uninhabitable and appeared to have been used as a kennel rather than a home.
“The smell was an overwhelming stench of ammonia, dirt and faeces that made your eyes water. Faeces were trodden into the floor with fresh matter on top.
“There was litter and broken furniture throughout the property.”
She said the female dogs, Shakira and Mali, were found in a cage in the living room, with no bedding or resting area.
All of the dogs appeared in good body condition, despite the living environment and high risk of disease due to the contamination in the house.
“Not allowing the dogs adequate opportunities to toilet outside the house meant the dogs would be caused stress and potential mental suffering by having to toilet in the same area as they were confined to for sleeping and eating,” she added.
“Burt did not sign the dogs over into our care which meant that we’ve been caring for them for almost two years. As they are part of a case, we’ve been unable to rehome them until this conclusion. It has cost the society almost £30,000 to care for Codi, Mali and Shakira.
“We welcome the outcome of this case. It was clear that Burt was not able to provide these animals with even the most basic of care.”
Sentencing: community payback order with supervision and a requirement to do 100 hours of unpaid work within six months. Five-year ban on keeping dogs.
#TheList David Morton, born c. 1992, of Jane Street, Stanley DH9 7BH – left his husky dog to suffer with a broken leg for more than four weeks.
Serial headcase David Morton was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal for failing to get veterinary treatment for his pet husky’s broken leg. The cause of the dog’s injury was unexplained.
Kevin Campbell, prosecuting on behalf of RSPCA, said the charity became involved after a veterinary surgeon contacted them to raise concerns about Morton’s dog, a female husky named Sendi.
He said: “On the 22nd July  the dog was seen by a vet who conceded that the dog had a fracture to her leg and the injury was four to six weeks old. The dog had either been untreated or treated inadequately.
“She concluded that the dog was clearly suffering as a result of the failure to give it any proper treatment.”
The dog had a broken femur and was unable to walk when she was seen by a vet.
Mr Campbell added: “When inspectors attended the address they could see the dog was unable to stand on its hind leg.
“A male answered the door and said he was the defendant, the inspector asked him about the dog in question and he was uncooperative – referring to him as a donkey.
“The defendant told him to f*** off, he was not allowed to enter the property and police had to be called to help him.”
Paul Donohue, mitigating, said the 28-year-old had not set out to harm his own dog.
He said: “The actual injury has not been caused on purpose. It was caused accidentally and the complaint is that the dog did not have the proper treatment. He accepts that the dog did not have an operation but that wasn’t for lack of trying.
“Like many people he does not have insurance so if anything happens it would fall to him to pay for it.
“If he had £5,000 there and then he would have spent it on the dog.
“He didn’t want the dog to suffer but he just has not got the money.”
Sendi was treated by the RSPCA and remains in their care.
Sentencing: ordered to pay £480 costs. Banned from keeping animals for five years. Morton is already serving a community order for a previous offence.
#TheList John David Baimbridge, born 01/06/1989, of 5 Grey Street, Stalybridge SK15 2NP – for the neglect of two dogs found underweight and infested with fleas at his family home
RSPCA inspector Lorna Campbell visited the property John Baimbridge shares with parents Judy and Dave Baimbridge and his brother James Baimbridge and discovered the dogs in poor condition. Both dogs – a red cocker spaniel named Ollie and a German shepherd called Pippa – were scratching furiously due to a severe flea infestation. They were also severely underweight and had suffered extensive fur loss.
Pippa was in so much pain she was crying, yet Baimbridge had not taken her or Ollie to the vets in four months.
Baimbridge agreed to sign the dogs over to the RSPCA and they were taken to Greater Manchester Animal Hospital for emergency treatment.
Pippa weighed just 21.5kg, when an average weight should have been 32kg, and her body condition score was one out of nine, with one being the lowest possible score. Her ribs, spine and hip bones were clearly visible.
She also had widespread hair loss across her body due to a chronic skin condition, believed to have been caused by an untreated flea infestation
Vets found Ollie’s foot had grown around towards the paw pad due to the matted fur. The matts had to be shaved off and his claws were cut.
Following on from the treatment both dogs made a full recovery and have been re-homed.
Baimbridge admitted two animal welfare charges at Tameside Magistrates’ Court on January 7, 2020. No charges were brought against any of the other members of the household in which the dogs lived.
Sentencing: 12-month community order including 100 hours of unpaid work. Ordered to pay a total of £415. He was banned from keeping animals for five years.
===== Additional information: John Baimbridge is employed by North West Ambulance Service as an Emergency Medical Technician. Baimbridge works on the front line and deals with patients. He is based at Tameside Ambulance Stations.
#TheList Maidstone gypsies and serial animal abusers Jimmy Price, born c. 1994, of Forstal Farm, Well Street, Loose ME15 0QE, Samuel ‘Johnny’ Powell, born c. 1985, of Wheat Gratten Stableyards, Forstal Road, Lenham ME17 2BF, Danny Price, born c. 1990, of Victoria Stables, Victoria Court, East Farleigh ME15 0BW
Jimmy Price and Samuel Powell were sent to prison after the former was filmed repeatedly stabbing a deer and the latter had put an eight-month-old foal to work. Price was also found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a horse and two dogs.
Jimmy Price’s brother, Danny Price – a qualified jockey – admitted letting a horse starve to death and received a community order.
A video played to the court showed Jimmy Price’s dogs, Scout and Tramp, untethered and unfed at the father-of-two’s home address in Forstal Farm, Loose.
A voice in the video was heard to say: “If they run away good luck to them, I tell you what you’re the wickedest fella I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Jimmy Price, who has a history of violence, was previously convicted in December 2019 after repeatedly stabbing a deer. He was also caught hare coursing.
Rowan Morton, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said today: “It’s very difficult to even explain the gravity of what the video shows.
“There are a group of four males that can be seen with a deer. Jimmy Price is seen stabbing the deer multiple times in the throat while others shout at him to stab it.
“It’s very graphic and upsetting, there was no doubt that animal was caused significant pain and suffering.”
Price, who was already serving a suspended sentence for theft offences, has previously been convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to dogs.
When Tramp and Scout were taken into the RSPCA’s care and fed properly, they gained 25% bodyweight and 45% bodyweight respectively within seven weeks.
Price’s dogs and the horse, which belonged to his late father, were seized during an RSPCA raid on Forstal Farm in March 2019.
Horse trader Samuel Powell had three horses seized during the same raid, having had a mare and her foal seized two months prior.
Four of the horses were found to be emaciated. One was suffering with diarrhoea and the foal had breathing problems, fleas and was described as “very thin”.
A Shetland Pony was found with a cut across the nose.
Powell accepted each of the horses was his own, but said they were in that condition as he was rehabilitating them.
He told the court: “I will buy horses that have not been treated properly. When I get them I feed them, look after them and rehabilitate them. Then I sell them for profit.
“I like to think I sometimes save lives when I buy horses.”
When asked where he buys his horses, Powell said: “I don’t want to go into too much detail as I’m from the gypsy community.”
In 2019 Powell was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a foal which was seen walking up and down at Appleby Horse Fair pulling a cart with people in.
On Friday 10/01/2020 Powell was found guilty of four counts of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and a fifth charge of failing to ensure the welfare of an animal. The five charges relate to the five horses seized from Forstal Farm.
Danny Price admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a bay horse. In return charges of causing suffering to a bay mare, a black mare and a piebald mare, were dropped.
The bay horse was found dead next to a hay bale during the RSPCA raid in March 2019. He had starved to death.
Magistrates heard the 29-year-old had stopped looking after the horse as he was in the process of selling it, and thought it was the new owner’s responsibility.
Sentencing: Jimmy Price – jailed for seven and a half months of which half will be spent in custody. Ordered to pay £5,115 in costs and charges. Five-year order banning him from keeping dogs.
Samuel Powell – jailed for 26 weeks and will serve half of that sentence. Ordered to pay total of £5,115. Banned from owning horses for five years but can appeal after just one year.
Danny Price – 12-month community order; 150 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay £1,585.
#TheList Luke Butler, born 20/09/1995, of 23 Mayfield Park South, Fishponds, Bristol BS16 3NF, girlfriend Rebecca Whitlow, born c. 2000, and her mother Claire Poore, born c. 1980, both of Speedwell Avenue, St George, Bristol BS5 8DN – left a dog in severe pain with multiple health problems
Butler, Whitlow and Poore pleaded guilty to two charges of neglect in relation to six-year-old Staffy Hugo who was in such poor physical condition he had to be put to sleep.
The dog had the worst case of fleas a vet had ever seen, was blinded in one eye and could barely stand. His ribs were very prominent and he scored just three out of nine on the vet’s body health count.
The judge, Lynne Matthews, described the actions of Butler, Whitlow and Poore as ‘staggering’.
The court heard that Butler bought the dog, but was unable to keep him at the home he shares with his mother as she has cats and other animals.
So instead, Hugo lived at his girlfriend Rebecca Whitlow’s home, even though her mum Claire Poore – a mother-of-five – was not keen.
The court heard that in late July 2019, a couple who were friends of the family offered to take Hugo out for a walk, being aware that he was rarely walked (Butler, Whitlow and Poore claimed they didn’t have time to walk him).
The friends arrived in a car to take Hugo on a trip to Brean Sands beach, on July 27, 2019, and both Poore and Whitlow were at home with the dog.
“When Claire Poore brought out Hugo, he was screaming with pain,” said Lindi Meyer, prosecuting for the RSPCA.
“He was barely walking, hopping along and dragging his back legs. His left eye was closed up completely and covered in a discharge, and his coat was clearly infested with fleas,” she added.
The friends told Poore that the dog needed urgent treatment, and when neither she nor Whitlow said they would take him to the vets, they called the PDSA charity and took him in.
Ms Meyer said the PDSA vet examined Hugo and found he had minimal body fat, and was a three out of nine on the body condition score.
“He was reluctant to walk, screaming in pain. He was ‘knuckling’, which is a sign of injury, and both hind legs were being dragged,” she said.
“Hugo’s condition was severe. He had the worst flea infestation the vet had ever seen,” she added.
The court was told that after a week, Butler and the vet agreed that Hugo had to be put down.
Butler, Whitlow and Poore agreed they were jointly responsible for the dog, and all three pleaded guilty to two counts of neglect – that they caused Hugo unnecessary suffering by failing to seek prompt veterinary treatment, and a second charge that they did not take steps to ensure the needs of an animal were met.
The court heard that all three acknowledged their failure to look after Hugo. Defending, Robyn Rowland said Hugo’s condition worsened in just one week – a statement challenged by the District Judge, who pointed to the very low body condition score as evidence that the neglect was prolonged.
“Mr Butler acknowledges that he didn’t check on the animal as much as he should,” said Mr Rowland.
“He is incredibly remorseful, as they all are. He was someone who generally cares for animals.
“This was not a case of someone buying an animal and then deliberately setting out to mistreat or neglect it,” he added.
“This has been a stark learning curve for him, as it has for all of them. Little is to be gained by sending this man, or any of them, into custody,” said Mr Rowland.
“Miss Whitlow was just 18 at the time, and was a young and naive woman. She didn’t understand the difficulty in looking after an animal – it was a lack of learning and a lack of knowledge.
“Miss Poore has five children, including a two-year-old, and having the dog in her home was perhaps not her first choice. She was tearful when I met her earlier, and she can’t quite believe the situation she finds herself in,” he added.
District Judge Lynne Matthews slammed the three for their actions – or inaction.
She told them: “It’s said you loved that dog but didn’t look after it. I say you didn’t look after the dog and the dog has lost its life,” the judge said.
“If you are not in a position to look after a dog, don’t have a dog.
“You three were not up to it. I don’t take the view you were malicious and I think you were all incompetent, too busy with other things and this poor dog suffered as a result,” she added.
“If this was a child, and a child was screaming in pain, attention would be given immediately. It was obvious this dog was in extreme pain and to turn a blind eye – this is a higher culpability and greater harm,” she said.
Sentencing the trio, District Judge Matthews gave Poore a lesser sentence, and said she was less culpable for the dog’s plight.
She slammed Whitlow for not taking Hugo to the vet, or even accompanying him when their friends said they would.
“Even when it was convenient for friends to take Hugo to the vets, you still didn’t go – that’s quite staggering,” said District Judge Matthews.
She told Butler and Whitlow they were the dog’s owners and had a duty to act.
Sentencing: Poore – 12-month community order of 100 hours of community service. Banned from keeping dogs for five years.
Butler and Whitlow – ten-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months. Ordered to do 300 hours’ community service work. Banned from keeping any animals for five years.
#TheList Paul Underwood, born c. 1972, and Nicola Muca (aka Nicki Underwood), born 20/01/1975, of Balmoral Avenue, Rushden NN10 – owners of an unsocialised Alaskan Malamute puppy who bit neighbours after straying twice from his home
Underwood and Muca were each given community orders and banned from keeping dogs for five years after being found guilty of having a dog dangerously out of control.
The one-year-old dog, known as Thor, first came to the attention of police after biting a neighbour who tried to return him home in August 2019, before the same thing happened to a different neighbour three months later.
Thor was seized from owners Underwood and Muca under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
Following an investigation and assistance from specially trained police officers, it became apparent that he hadn’t been socialised properly – he didn’t know how to play with dog toys, wasn’t toilet trained and was clearly used to an abusive environment where raised voices were the norm.
He was in danger of being put to sleep but officers from Northamptonshire Police’s Dog Section persevered and successfully rehabilitated him. A rehoming centre is now in the process of finding him a home.
PC Eva Horn, who assisted the investigating officers, said: “Thor certainly didn’t have the best start in life and we were determined to try our hardest to ensure he could get to a place where he was able to live the life he deserves. No-one invested in Thor to be a family dog and he was denied socialisation and training.
“Thor reacted so well to our training and has now become a much more well-rounded dog – all he needed was some love and attention.”
Sentencing: Underwood and Muca were each given 12-month community orders and banned from keeping dogs for five years.