#TheList equine sanctuary owner Ann Michelle Sim, born 26/08/1984, of Shearford Close, Barnstaple EX31 1AG – neglected and starved multiple horses in her care
Mother-of-three Ann Sim, who ran North Devon Equine Rescue in Rumsam, near Barnstaple, was given a 10-week suspended jail sentence and banned from keeping horses for 10 years after admitting three cruelty charges.
The RSPCA visited Sim’s so-called sanctuary and found horses so thin their spines and ribs could be seen through the skin.
Conditions were described as ‘chaotic’ with animals living in foul conditions among rubbish and with sparse and inadequate bedding.
Ponies and horses had overgrown feet and one had to have his eye removed because an infection had not been treated by a vet.
The court heard Sim had set up the centre with the best of intentions five years earlier but had struggled to cope when her personal life fell apart.
Prosecutor Kevin Withy said Sim had been on the radar of the RSPCA for some time before the offences were committed between June and September 2019.
In one of the foul stables inspectors discovered a mare and foal whose ribs and spine were visible due to lack of food. Conditions were filthy with little clean bedding and only ‘a limited amount of water’.
The animals had been suffering for a number of months and there was no control of parasites.
The chestnut mare, Bumble, also had severely overgrown feet and Sim had not called a vet. A Welsh gelding called Tiggy had an infected eye that needed to be removed and a pony, Punchy, was emaciated, anaemic and had overgrown feet.
Defence barrister Herc Ashworth said the 35-year-old set up the rescue centre to “help abandoned horses back to health” and had “no intention of causing suffering”.
“I accept it was not a deliberate act on your behalf,” the judge added.
All the animals have since been rehomed.
Sentencing: 10-week custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months. Ordered to pay £322 costs. Banned from keeping equines for 10 years.
#TheList John Joseph Boyle, born 17/09/1965, of 663 Springfield Road, Belfast BT12 7HD – beat an injured dog to death with two hammers
John Boyle, formerly of Ardilea Court, Ardoyne, admitted killing his pet dog with two hammers after she had been hit by a car. He then dumped her remains in a wheelie bin. The horrific incident took place on 23 November 2017.
Officers went to Boyle’s house after being called by a concerned neighbour who had seen him with the ailing pet and who was worried he would not seek proper care for her injuries.
When Boyle was questioned about the whereabouts of the pup, he said a friend had taken her away to a farmhouse in the countryside.
But when his house and yard were searched, the body of the dog and two bloodied hammers were discovered.
He then admitted killing his pet and said he couldn’t afford to take her to the vet.
A spokesperson for Belfast City Council said: “This was a particularly extreme and harrowing case.
“Belfast City Council brought the prosecution after animal welfare officers followed up on a report that a dog had been knocked down by a car and injured,” they explained.
“Mr Boyle took a hammer and killed the dog, placing it in a wheelie bin.
“Animal welfare officers attended the property at Ardilea Court and found the dog’s body. They seized a wooden mallet and metal hammer from the property, both with evidence of dried blood on them.”
The court viewed the offence as so serious that it justified a jail term.
Boyle will serve his sentence in Maghaberry Prison.
Sentencing: six months in jail; fines totalling £264. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
#TheList greyhound breeder/trainer Clive Donald Elliott, born 19/11/1979, of 35 Limes Avenue, Swindon SN2 1QQ – convicted of multiple counts of cruelty towards dogs in his care
Clive Elliott binged on drink and drugs while his dogs starved in kennels at the home he now shares with his mother. When police and an RSPCA officer visited the property they found one dog stuffed in a freezer, two others dead on the floor and other animals starved.
The greyhound trainer and breeder, who had inherited a number of dogs from his late father, left the animals unfed for around four days.
But a vet who examined the stricken animals after they were rescued from their kennel suggested the dogs had been subject to weeks or possibly months of neglect.
RSPCA prosecutor Matthew Knight said officers had found eight dogs. Three were dead, including one that had been put into a bin liner and stuffed into a chest freezer.
“There was no dog food whatsoever in the property,” the solicitor said.
The five other dogs were in a poor condition. Their nails were overgrown, some had abscesses and scurvy.
One of the animals had a severe mouth ulcer, which Elliott later admitted knowing about. The dog initially wolfed down food but died a week later after his condition deteriorated.
Autopsies were carried out on the dead dogs. The bone marrow of one was a glutinous liquid – the result of poor nutrition. The vet said it would have taken weeks or possibly months to reach that stage.
As an example of how poorly nourished the greyhounds were, Mr Knight said one dog had increased in weight by a third in just one month after it was taken from the house. He said: “The vet puts this purely down to providing the proper food.”
Interviewed by the authorities, Elliott said matters had deteriorated after the breakdown of a relationship. He had turned to drink and drugs and did not ask for help as he was “too proud”.
He told the RSPCA his mother, who has dementia, would have fed them had there been any dog food. He added: “There wasn’t any food for my mum that’s how low I was.”
The dogs Elliott was accused of having neglected were racing as recently as January 2019. Racing cards suggest Gemstone Bobbie, who added a third to his body weight after being rescued, was at the Swindon track twice that month. “C D Elliott” was the trainer
Elliott’s lawyer Terry McCarthy of Jeary & Lewis Solicitors said his client had inherited dogs after the death of his father in 2014.
He had owned his own printing business and was looking after the dogs on the side. He changed jobs, working night shifts and caring for the animals during the day.
He found he was not coping well and, when his relationship broke down, matters spiralled.
“Things went wrong there and Mr Elliott was affected by the breakdown,” Mr McCarthy said.
“It seems some dogs were removed from him by someone his ex-partner met and the problems with the breakdown and the lack of income got in top of him.
“There is reference to the back problem you have heard about for which he has been prescribed medication.”
Elliott had been abusing prescription medication on top of that. “It’s my feeling that Mr Elliott was suffering at the time from severe depression. It’s unfortunate that he didn’t go and see a doctor and there is no medical evidence to confirm it.
“It’s quite obvious that as a result of that depression he wasn’t coping with anything.
“You’ve read in the report he couldn’t bring himself to look after his mother properly – as well as his dogs.
“Some of the dogs I think you’ve heard about were owned by another person. That person did not provide food for them either.
“Mr Elliott had no money.”
Chairman of the bench Jane Durrant said Elliott had shown no evidence of remorse.
“The pictures we have been shown are extremely distressing and the number of dogs and the level of suffering they endured is really quite appalling,” she said.
“The distress caused to these dogs was just quite unbelievable.”
Elliott did not appear to react as the sentence was read out.
Sentencing: 20 weeks’ imprisonment. Ordered to pay a total of £872 costs and charges. Banned from owning dogs for life.
#TheList commercial breeder Simon Davis, born c. 1985, of Acacia Crescent, Bedworth CV12 – cropped American bulldog puppies’ ears with razor blades before selling them for thousands of pounds to celebrity clients
Davis, who trades under the name Lions Lair Kennels, admitted to cropping the ears of seven puppies. He was arrested on 30 January 2019, after the RSPCA and Warwickshire Police carried out a joint raid at his home address.
During the raid, they found seven kennels, in a converted garage building in his back garden, containing eight American Bulldogs.
The RSPCA gathered a range of evidence, including before and after photographs and medical appliances such as syringes, razor blades and forceps were seized from both properties.
A further nine American Bulldogs were found at Mr Davis’s mother’s house nearby on Chelsey Road, including two pregnant dogs and six with cropped ears.
The RSPCA urge people to never buy a dog with cropped ears, and have taken seven of the dogs into care to be re-homed.
Sentencing: 18 weeks in jail suspended for 12 months. Ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid work and pay £10,973 in costs. A 15-year ban on keeping and dealing in 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 Janice Clow, born 30/08/1967, of Mersey Road, Gateshead NE8 3SR – failed to treat her elderly German Shepherd’s arthritis and painful skin and eye problems
Mother-of-four Janice Clow pleaded guilty to one offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to causing unnecessary suffering to her German Shepherd called Rocky.
The 11-year-old dog was in such a bad state when he was taken to the vet by the RSPCA that he had to be put down.
RSPCA inspector Rachael Hurst went to Clow’s home on August 21, 2019, following a complaint about a German Shepherd with a serious skin problem.
Inspector Hurst said: “Rocky was 11 and was in a really bad way. He was shaking and itching and stood in a hunched posture.
“He’d lost almost all of the fur across his body and his skin was thickened and sore.”
Inspector Hurst took Rocky to a vet who discovered he was suffering from a chronic skin condition. Vets said he’d been in this state for at least three to six months, but they suspected he could have been suffering for years.
“Rocky had fleas and open wounds on his body,” Inspector Hurst added.
“He had severe ear infections, an ulcerated bleeding mass on one paw, and two healed corneal ulcers in one eye.
“He was extremely itchy and uncomfortable.”
The vet found he was struggling particularly on his back legs and that he’d likely been suffering from stiffness and pain caused by his arthritis for six months to a year.
Rocky also had severely overgrown nails and a painful eye condition.
“The vet said the extent of his skin condition and severity of his arthritis, which had gone untreated for months, possibly years, had caused ‘irreversible damage’ and sadly Rocky had to be put to sleep,” Inspector Hurst added.
In court, Clow said she’d tried her best to help Rocky and had sought advice from the internet but that it had not been enough to help him. The court heard that she was remorseful.
Sentencing: 16 weeks in custody, suspended for 12 months; 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days; 150 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay £515 in costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping all animals for 10 years.
#TheList Nicole Mireille Jones, born 01/01/1990, of 22 Brynglas Avenue, Pontllanfraith, Blackwood NP12 2DB – left her Husky dog to suffer in agony with multiple ailments
RSPCA Cymru had been seeking to help Jones, and made multiple visits to her property related to the condition of eight-year-old husky Chad.
Sadly, Jones failed to provide Chad – who ultimately had chronic ear infections and deteriorating physical condition – with the veterinary care he so badly needed. His skin condition was so bad that vets reported the skin “falling away” when touched. He had to be put to sleep due to the extent of his injuries.
Mother-of-one Jones pleaded guilty to an Animal Welfare Act offence of causing her Husky crossbreed to suffer.
Gemma Black, RSPCA inspector, said: “RSPCA repeatedly tried to help this individual; but they did not ensure the dog had appropriate veterinary care to tackle Chad’s dreadful physical conditions and painful ear infections.
“Sadly, poor Chad’s skin got so bad that vets told us it was beginning to fall away when touched. There was simply no choice but to put this poor, suffering Husky crossbreed to sleep.
“This sad story is a reminder that people should always seek help if they are struggling to look after their dog. The inaction of Chad’s owner cost this dog dearly, and has led to her being banned from keeping animals ever again.”
Sentencing: 18-week prison sentence, suspended for two years. Ordered to pay a total of £565. Banned from keeping animals for life with the right of appeal after five years.