Tag Archives: acute or prolonged suffering

Cavehill, Belfast: Wayne McGrath

#TheList Wayne Francis McGrath, born December 1972, of Marsden Gardens Flats, Belfast BT15 5AN – bludgeoned his pet dog to death with a hammer and burnt his remains

Wayne McGrath and victim Patch
Wayne McGrath and victim Patch

McGrath said he killed the American bulldog-type dog, known as Patch, after the animal mauled an eight-year-old girl.

Police found no evidence of the Patch’s remains but a court heard his owner caused him “unimaginable pain”.

McGrath admitted charges of being the keeper of a dog involved in the attack on the child and causing him unnecessary suffering.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court was told Patch was not on a lead when he attacked the girl at Kinnaird Avenue, North Belfast.

The child was bitten and mauled, and witnesses described seeing the dog shake and trail the child by the hair.

Social media image of Wayne McGrath with Patch

McGrath and another man punched and kicked the dog in a bid to break his hold on the girl, the court heard.

She then fled, but the animal shook off a chain put round his neck and began chasing her.

“The dog caught up with the child and got on top of her, and was shaking her and mauling at her chest,” a prosecution lawyer told the court.

The two men then grabbed the dog and restrained him, while the girl was led to safety.

McGrath was questioned at the scene by police, who took both him and the dog back to his partner’s house.

The following day officers checked to see if he had handed over the animal to be humanely destroyed, but McGrath told them he had killed the dog himself.

The court heard he had received death threats and was under pressure to dispose of the dog, but did not have the money to take the animal to a vet to be euthanised.

No remains of the dog were found when police searched McGrath’s home, but during interviews he claimed to have killed the animal at a dump near Ligoniel.

“He admitted killing the dog by hitting it over the crown of the head with a hammer twice, and then putting its remains in a wheelie bin, covering it with copper wire and petrol, and setting the remains and the tools he used on fire,” a prosecution barrister said.

But no evidence of dog remains or the burnt bins were found during further searches of the dump area either.

The court heard McGrath’s admissions were the only evidence that the dog had died in the way described.

The prosecution said the animal had been subjected to unnecessary cruelty.

“A blow to the head with a hammer would cause a lot of damage, trauma and pain,” the lawyer argued.

“In the final moments of its life the animal would have experienced unimaginable pain and fear inflicted by its carer.

“There’s no way to ascertain if the first blow from the hammer would have rendered the dog insensible, and the owner ascertained a further blow was indeed required.”

A defence barrister said McGrath acted out of fear, having received a visit from people connected to an unnamed criminal organisation.

The judge said it was a “terrible case” in which a girl had sustained “lasting injury” and a dog was treated in an “appalling” manner.

“I have no doubt in my mind that unnecessary suffering was caused to that animal.”

Sentencing: four months in prison. Lifetime ban on keeping any animals. McGrath was released on bail, pending an appeal against his jail sentence.

BBC News
Newsletter

Hartlepool, County Durham: Thomas Wade

#TheList Thomas Andrew Wade, born 02/03/1993, previously of Mellor Street, Stockton-on-Tees, but as of September 2020 living in an NHS care facility in Park Avenue, Hartlepool TS26 0DZ – subjected his pet cat to prolonged torture which included putting her into a hot oven and flushing her down the toilet

Thomas Wade pictured outside court
Thomas Wade aka ‘Evil Tom’

Wade claimed in court he heard voices from a WWE wrestler named Kane before launching the attack on the cat, known as Sweetie. During her ordeal, which came after she apparently “disobeyed” her twisted owner, Sweetie was put in a hot oven, flushed in a toilet, strangled with a TV cord and thrown against walls.

Wade then made disturbing voice recordings of himself where he spoke in detail about carrying out the horrific abuse and proclaimed: “No one can be more evil than myself.”

Despite the sickening cruelty, Sweetie miraculously survived the ordeal, but was hospitalised with severe third degree burns.

Wade pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal during his appearance at Teesside Magistrates’ Court.

Stuart Haywood, prosecuting, said loner Wade, who has learning difficulties and autism, received Sweetie as a gift from his sister as she thought it would be “good for him”.

The tabby was then given to Wade for a three week trial before possible adoption.

But on October 8, 2019, Wade went to his sister’s home and told her the cat “was not wanted anymore”.

Thomas Wade pictured outside court

Mr Haywood said his sister then went to Wade’s home where she “smelled a strong smell of burning”.

“The defendant was sitting on a settee and the cat was wet and breathing rapidly, he refused to say why,” he said.

He added that fur was then found in Wade’s oven. After more questions, Wade finally admitted what he had done, saying that it “felt good”.

His sister immediately notified the RSPCA and Sweetie was taken to a vet where she was found to be in a “terrible condition”.

She had sustained skin damage and “significant” third degree burns before being hospitalised.

The police soon became involved and Wade was arrested.

Rambling voice recordings were later discovered of Wade speaking about the abuse.

In the recordings, one of which was eight minutes long, he spoke in detail about attacking Sweetie.

In one sinister recording he said, “No one can be more evil than myself” and said he wanted to “rip out its tongue” after seeing her struggle while being “choke slammed”.

In another he referred to himself as “evil Tom”.

In police interview, Wade said he “threw her against four walls” and said he carried out the violence in part because he claimed he heard voice in his head from the WWE wrestling character, Kane, in his head.

Wade was also remorseless, telling officers “she had not suffered enough”.

He said he put the terrified cat in the oven “on high for five minutes” after throwing her against a wall and said he became infuriated at Sweetie for “disobeying” his orders for her not to go under his bed. The court heard that Wade had “no mental health” issues, but did have learning difficulties.

Matthew Agar, defending, said the incident was “shocking”, and said he “did not want to minimise” the offence.

He said it was his view Wade’s learning disability was a “contributing factor” and that he had serious concerns for him.

Mr Agar added that Wade was now aware of the severity of the offence and that he felt Wade had something like a “split-personality”.

He said that Wade had moved to Teesside from Grimsby and would “go weeks” without any other contact with people.

Sentencing Wade, district judge, Helen Cousins called him an “extremely dangerous man” and that she would liked to have “put him in prison for as long as I could”.

Sentencing: 18-week prison sentence, suspended for two years. Six months of mental health treatment. 30 rehabilitation activity days and 18-week hospital curfew. £440 costs. Banned from keeping pets for 10 years (expires 2030).

GazetteLive

Lupset, Wakefield: Kieron Jones

#TheList Kieron Paul Andrew Jones, born September 1991, of Hall Road, Lupset, Wakefield WF2 8ND – punched a seven-month-old puppy causing her to suffer a broken pelvis

Dog abuser Kieron Jones
Kieron Jones

Jones admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the unnamed dog by punching her. The dog was found to have a broken pelvis.

Sentencing: jailed for four weeks suspended for 12 months; £122 in costs. Banned from keeping animals for life.

Source: Wakefield Express (article removed)

Lochgelly, Fife: Martin Davidson

#TheList Martin Davidson, born 12/10/1995, of Abbotsford Road, Lochore, Lochgelly KY5 8DT- trained four dogs to violently bait wild animals including badgers ; failed to treat his dogs’ fighting injuries

Martin Davidson social media image
Martin Davidson

Davidson kept videos of his dogs viciously attacking foxes and sickeningly posed for pictures with the injured or dead animals.

The father-of-two trained his dogs for animal fighting including badger baiting.

Dog with horrific facial scarring
Davidson failed to take any of his dogs for veterinary treatment for their horrific facial injuries

He pleaded guilty to the charge along with failing to provide veterinary treatment to an injured dog in his care.

Davidson was investigated by the Scottish SPCA after the charity received intelligence about his behaviour.

A sheriff deferred Davidson’s sentencing until October 2, 2020, but issued him with an interim ban of owning, keeping or dealing with dogs for the next five years.

Martin Davidson social media image
Doomed: Davidson with his offspring

Three of the dogs involved in the case were male, brindle coloured bull lurchers named Tramp, Mojo and Sid. The other was a female, white and tan, Staffordshire bull terrier named Lady.

The dogs were found injured as a result of the hunting and are now in the care of the SSPCA where they will be rehabilitated.

Shameless Davidson regularly uploads images of shocking animal cruelty to social media
Shameless Davidson regularly uploads images of shocking animal cruelty to social media

An SSPCA special investigations unit undercover inspector, who cannot be named, said: “We received intelligence that Davidson was keeping and training dogs for the purposes of animal fighting.

“We obtained a search warrant and gained entry to the home of Davidson where we found the four dogs.

One of the dogs rescued from a life of pain and misery at the hands of monstrous Martin Davidson
One of the dogs rescued from a life of pain and misery at the hands of monstrous Martin Davidson

“The Staffordshire bull terrier, Lady, was in the house. She had significant scarring to her muzzle and lower jaw. These injuries are consistent with animal fighting, in particular badger baiting.

“The three lurchers were found outdoors in a kennel and run in the rear garden, far too small for their size and breed. Two had obvious, fresh injuries to their ears and heads.

“We also found animal fighting paraphernalia at Davidson’s residence.

Social media post claiming it's
“It’s all lies!” Davidson’s foul-mouthed partner tries to convince people (maybe even herself) that he’s just misunderstood

“This included hunting gear, blood-stained wellies and a spot lamp commonly using for lamping with dogs, which is hunting at night.

“Multiple images were discovered of his dogs pictured with dead animals at night. Some featured the dogs viciously gripping foxes between their jaws.

“During interview, Davidson admitted that the four dogs were not registered with a vet and did not receive any medication or treatment to ease their suffering from any of the injuries they had sustained

“Other photos showed Lady, Tramp, Mojo and Sid in the back of Davidson’s vehicle at night with fresh injuries. Our expert vets determined these were consistent with animal fighting, specifically with badgers and foxes.

“The disregard that Davidson had for the welfare of the wild animals he forced his dogs to fight, and for his own dogs, is unfathomable. The dogs are in our care and are currently receiving the rehabilitation they need.

“We are pleased the sheriff issued the immediate ban which will stop Davidson owning or having any dealings with dogs.

“By ordering this, the sheriff is recognising the immediate threat that Davidson poses to any canine in his care. We look forward to the full sentencing in this case.

Central Fife Times
Daily Record

Didcot, Oxfordshire: James and Brynne Backhouse

#TheList James Peter Backhouse, born 11/03/1980, and Brynne Sean Backhouse, born 06/12/1965 of Ashdown Farm, Upper Hill Barn, Aston Tirrold, Didcot OX11 9DR – left sheep on their farm to suffer with maggot-infested feet and horrific injuries caused by chronic neglect

James Backhouse
Former sheep farmer James Backhouse

When local authority inspectors visited the farm of brothers James and Brynne Backhouse they found sheep with maggot-infested feet and animal carcasses improperly disposed of. One sheep was found to have had her eyes pecked out because she was left unable to move.

The Backhouses, who also operate a motocross business called Ashdown Track Limited, were sentenced for 16 animal welfare and farming standards offences.

Following an initial visit to the farm by officers from Oxfordshire County Council Trading Standards Service, the two brothers were advised to seek veterinary help for their neglected sheep, however, when officers returned they discovered an illegal ‘dead pit’ where the men had disposed of dead animals.

James Backhouse with partner Sherrie Benning
James Backhouse with partner Sherrie Benning, who also lives on the farm

Prosecutors said that a number of the animals had experienced ‘unnecessary suffering’ and that minimal care was provided to them.

Detailing some of the neglect Kristiina Reed, prosecuting, said some sheep were found to have maggots in their feet eating at decomposing flesh.

A number of the animals were unable to stand and the court heard that some were in ‘significant pain’ from foot rot.

James Backhouse

During an inspection the men were asked if they had treated the animals’ condition, called ‘fly strike’, and James Backhouse said ‘we never treat the lameness.’

Inspectors also saw five dead sheep visible in the field as well as the illegal ‘dead pit.’

One of the sheep, who was noted as being unable to stand on the first visit, was found to have had her eyes pecked out by the second day because she was unable to get up.

It was later revealed that the brothers had not kept appropriate medical records.

Prosecutor Reed described the neglect as ‘prolonged’ and said: “The injuries were allowed to develop and fester over a long period of time.

“The sheep sustained a high level of suffering from the injuries.”

Sentencing: ordered to pay a total of £13,170 each. Disqualified from owning sheep for two years.

Oxfordshire County Council
Oxford Mail

Poole, Dorset: Christine and Clare Hawkins

#TheList Christine Jane Hawkins, born 30/09/1958, and daughter Clare Louise Hawkins, born 23/12/1992, both of Dewlish Close, Canford Heath, Poole BH17 8AQ – failed to get veterinary treatment for a gravely ill elderly dog

Clare and Christine Hawkins
Aspiring actor Clare Hawkins and her mother Christine Hawkins only received a five-year ban on keeping animals.

Crossbreed Honey was discovered collapsed and motionless at the home of Christine and Clare Hawkins by RSPCA Inspector Patrick Bailey, who described her as “the skinniest living dog” he had ever seen, with every bone in her body clearly visible.

The dog, whom her owners claimed was 19 years old, was rushed to the vets who identified a catalogue of serious health problems including kidney disease, dental decay and conjunctivitis. Her claws were overgrown indicating that she was never exercised. Horrifyingly her owners admitted they hadn’t taken her to the vet for 12 years.

Honey, who had been starved and neglected by her cruel owners
The emaciated dog was motionless when discovered by an RSPCA inspector, who initially thought she had died.

Sadly she was too poorly to be saved and was put to sleep.

Now the Hawkins have been banned from keeping any animal for five years after admitting charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal over a three-month period in 2019.

Christine Hawkins

Prosecuting for the RSPCA, Matthew Knight said records showed Honey had not been to the vet since 2007, adding “it was obvious this dog needed help”.

The dog had been with the family since she was a puppy. Clare Hawkins was, they said, aged around seven at the time when they first got the pet.

Graphic images were shown in court which showed Honey’s protruding ribs and pelvis bones.

Honey, who had been starved and neglected by her cruel owners

Ben Schofield, mitigating on behalf of Christine Hawkins, said the mother had been struggling to accept that she allowed Honey to suffer.

“It was an incompetence by Ms Hawkins to not properly care for the animal,” said Mr Schofield.

Mark Price, mitigating for Clare Hawkins, said she broke down in tears when being interviewed and had tried to get help for Honey.

Honey, who had been starved and neglected by her cruel owners

Before she contacted the RSPCA, she attempted to get assistance from the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) but the charity said they needed to see proof of her mother’s benefit top-up before they could provide support.

Clare Hawkins
Clare Hawkins

Mr Price said when Clare Hawkins got home from work one day and discovered the dog could not stand, she spent the night by her side. She spoke to a veterinary friend and they advised her to call the RSPCA.

“She did the best she could for the dog but in an incompetent way,” said Mr Price.

Magistrate Ian Kendall said: “The photographs say it all. Absolutely appalling treatment of a poor, defenceless animal.”

Sentencing:

Christine Hawkins: 120 hours of unpaid community work.
Clare Hawkins: 60 hours of unpaid community work.
Both defendants were ordered to pay £300 costs and a £90 victim surcharge.
Both were banned from keeping animals for just five years (expires July 2025).

Mirror
Bournemouth Echo

Aston, Birmingham: Robert Iordan, Florin Nutu and Viorel Manu

#TheList Robert Iordan, born 28/05/1996, Florin Nutu, born 11/01/1984, and Viorel Manu, born c. 1980, all of 41 Dunsink Road, Birmingham B6 6PL – killed and butchered around 350 sheep in Northamptonshire over four months.

Police mugshots of Robert Iordan and Florin Nutu

Between June 22 and October 7, 2019, the three Romanian nationals travelled across rural areas in the county, killing and butchering sheep in order to steal the meat and profit from it.

The trio’s attacks on sheep and lambs, which all took place in the dead of night, had the county’s livestock farming community gripped in fear.

But they were hunted down by Northamptonshire Police’s rural crime team, acting on key information from NFU members and farmers, and arrested.

All three eventually pleaded guilty and were sentenced at Northampton crown court.

In a hearing in October 2019, the court heard the gruesome details of how the alleged operation was carried out.

The prosecution lawyer said: “The conspiracy involved the slaughter of about 350 sheep, all that have been slaughtered inhumanely.

“Vehicles and weapons have been taken to the location on local farmers’ fields, the sheep are captured and a knife is taken to their throats and they suffer a slow and painful death.

“A pipe is then inserted into the throat of the sheep which are blown up, they are skinned and their remains are left at the scene.”

NFU county adviser for Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland, Harriet Ranson, who was involved in the case from the beginning and liaised with police throughout, said she was delighted with the outcome.

“These crimes were horrific, barbaric and unprecedented and had the whole livestock farming community in Northamptonshire and neighbouring counties living in fear that they would be next for months,” she said.

“It is fantastic to see the courts treating these appalling crimes with the seriousness they deserve and handing down suitably lengthy prison terms to these dangerous men.

“This case really highlights how important local information from farmers, the NFU and the public is in helping to bring offenders before the courts.

“We’d like to thank Northamptonshire Police, their rural crime team and the police and crime commissioner for their relentless pursuit of these criminals and we hope this case sends out a clear message to anyone planning to do something similar – you will get caught and you will get punished.”

Sentencing: Iordan and Nutu were both handed jail terms of four years and four months and Manu was ordered to serve two years and 11 months inside.

Warwickshire Rural Crime Team (Facebook post)

Whitby, North Yorkshire: Lesley and Alexander Cameron

#TheList Lesley Cameron (aka Lesley Grimshaw), born 01/04/1960 of 30 Dundas Gardens, Whitby YO21 1HD and Alexander Cameron, born 08/10/88 of 2 Greens Yard, Church Street, Whitby YO22 4AY – left their pet dog suffering in pain with a foul-smelling infection

Dog abuser Alexander Cameron from Whitby
Alexander Cameron and his mother Lesley Cameron are banned from keeping animals until 2030 after being convicted of cruelty to their pet Akita

Lesley Cameron and her son Alexander Cameron pleaded guilty to offences related to causing unnecessary suffering to their pet dog, Tigerlilly The Akita was suffering from a painful uterus infection but her owners failed to take her to the vet for treatment.

The court heard that an RSPCA inspector visited the pair’s home on November 28, 2019, after concerns were raised that the dog had missed her last three vet appointments.

Upon arrival, the RSPCA, along with North Yorkshire Police, found Tigerlily in a sorry state and suffering from pyometra.

Abused Akita Tigerlilly
A deprivation order was placed on neglected Akita Tigerlilly who will now be rehomed

RSPCA inspector Claire Little said: “I’ve met Tigerlily many times over many years and she’s a very friendly dog who has always come to the door to meet me.

“Upon entering the room where Tigerlily was lying on the floor, there was a noticeable and unpleasant smell, and she didn’t get up which worried me.

“I encouraged her to stand up so I could check her over, which she did, and she had lost weight from my last visit.

“Immediately I could see that the fur around her back end was wet and dirty.

“As she stood up I could smell the unpleasant smell more strongly and upon closer examination, I saw a greeny milky coloured discharge from her body

“The fur around there was soaked and appeared sticky when touched and her fur was matted.”

Dog abuser Alex Cameron with victim Tigerlilly

She added: “Ms Cameron allowed me to take Tigerlily to the vets for examination and she was taken into possession by police on vet advice and placed in RSPCA care pending the outcome of my investigation.

“Tigerlily is doing really well with a foster family at the moment I am really happy that we’ll now be able to find a permanent home for her, where her needs will always be met.”

Dog abuser Alexander Cameron from Whitby

In addition to the disqualification, a deprivation order was placed on Tigerlily whose care will now pass to the RSPCA.

Sentencing:
Alexander Cameron – 12-month community order with 10 rehabilitation activity requirement days; 140 hours of unpaid work; total of £290 in costs and charges.

Lesley Cameron 12-month community order with 10 rehabilitation activity requirement days; £290 in costs and charges.

Both were banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

TeessideLive

Warrington, Cheshire: Emma Connolly

#TheList Emma Jane Connolly, born 1989, of Wellington Street, Howley, Warrington WA1 – left her elderly pet dog to suffer with multiple ailments

Dog abuser Emma Jane Connolly from Warrington, UK

Single mother-of-two Emma Connolly admitted two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal in that she failed to seek veterinary treatment for her desperately ill 16-year-old Staffy Lucie.

Dog abuser Emma Jane Connolly from Warrington, UK

Lucie was suffering from a skin condition, ‘excessive thirst’ and hind leg weakness and pain. She was very sadly put to sleep.

Sentencing: eight-week curfew; ordered to pay £1,310 in costs and charges. Banned from keeping all animals for 10 years.

Warrington Guardian

Ferguslie Park, Paisley: Owen Gillespie

#TheList Owen Anthony Gillespie, born 09/02/1979, of 17 Westwood Gardens, Paisley PA3 1NA – left a desperately ill dog in agony and locked in a cage

Convicted dog abuser Owen Gillespie from Paisley, Renfrewshire

Gillespie failed to take his pet Staffy, Stella, to the vet to treat a chronic ear condition and an injured foot.

The nine-year-old dog was also suffering from a severe oesophageal condition which left her vomiting violently and in pain.

This resulted in her having to be euthanised by the Scottish SPCA as her condition was too severe to be treated.

The SSPCA attended at Gillespie’s home on April 25, 2019, after they received a call to say a dog could be heard screaming in pain at the property.

When they arrived around 10.45am they found the bull terrier vomiting in a cage in the living room and Gillespie told the officers she had been sick for a few days.

The court heard that Gillespie had not taken the dog to the vet as he couldn’t afford it.

Procurator fiscal depute Laura Wilcox said: “The SSPCA officer explained to Gillespie the reason for her visit and asked if she could view the dog.

“He agreed and invited her into the property where she saw the dog in a cage in the living room.

Staffy Stella, who was neglected by her owner to the extent that she had to be put to sleep

“The dog was in a good bodily condition and seemed bright but she was concerned because the flooring of the cage was covered in watery vomit and the dog was retching as if it was going to be sick.

“He informed the officer that she had eaten the outer covering of a tennis ball a few days prior.

“He let her out of the cage and the officer saw that the dog was lame on her right leg.”

Gillespie was told that the dog would have to receive treatment and that he would qualify for financial help from PDSA as he was unemployed.

It was once the dog was treated by the animal charity’s vet that the full extent of her condition was discovered.

Ms Wilcox added: “Her right front foot was inflamed and there was a nail that was loose. Both ear canals were inflamed, thickened, narrowed and were infected by bacteria and yeast. There was a smell coming from both ears.

“Her abdomen was tense and uncomfortable and it was found that her stomach wall was thickened and that her oesophagus was inflamed and flaccid.

“This meant it was ineffective at propelling food to her stomach.

“Her condition continued to worsen and she continued to vomit and at this point it was decided the best course of action was to euthanise her.”

The court heard the vet had concluded that if Gillespie had sought vet treatment for his dog within an appropriate time, he would have lessened the suffering.

However, prosecutors could not say whether the dog would have survived due to the severity of the stomach condition.

Staffy Stella, who was neglected by her owner to the extent that she had to be put to sleep

Gillespie pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to his dog between February and April 2019 by failing to seek adequate care to treat an injured foot, persistent vomiting and an ear condition.

His lawyer, Amy Spencer said: “He has already paid a penalty in regards to this as he has lost his much-loved dog.

“This is a heartbreaking case for him. He is still completely traumatised.

“He is embarrassed by his actions and he knows he ought to have sought treatment for Stella. He has worked his whole adult life and recently lost his job.

“He really was hoping she would have made a recovery.”

Sentencing: ordered to pay a £500 fine. Banned from keeping dogs for just one year.

Daily Record