#TheList Kieran John Jerome Mitchell, born 27/05/1995, of Keswick Crescent, Plymouth PL6 – punched and slapped his pet dog 36 times causing him to suffer wounds to his head and ears
Convicted cannabis dealer Mitchell, formerly of Penrose Street, Stonehouse, Plymouth, was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to the bull terrier Hugo in November 2017. He was convicted in his absence back in July 2018 and a warrant issued for his arrest the following month.
Mitchell surrendered to custody in March 2020. He was released on bail but failed to turn up at the next hearing. Magistrates have now issued a further arrest warrant.
The RSPCA, which brought the case, said concerns were raised about the welfare of Hugo, after they were sent an anonymous audio recording of him being beaten and taunted by Mitchell.
RSPCA prosecutor Lindi Meyer told the court it was a “nasty sustained attack” with a total of 36 hits, punches or slaps heard on the recording.
As Mitchell attacked the dog he can be overheard goading him, asking him: “Are you crying now? Whimpering?”
The RSPCA seized Hugo from Mitchell and took him to a vet for examination. The vet found three lesions on his face, one of which was near an eye. The vet said that the beating would have been a traumatic experience for Hugo, causing him to feel “terror, fear, pain and anxiety”.
Mitchell admitted in his interview that he smacked Hugo and would rub his nose in it if he fouled on the floor.
The presiding magistrate told Mitchell: “You acted in anger against an innocent animal.”
Sentencing: 24 weeks in prison. £115 victim surcharge. Banned from owning animals for ten years.
The court was told how neighbours called the RSPCA to Tolley’s flat, as they were concerned her dog had been left unattended in the property for some time. They said they had not seen Tolley for several days.
Inspector Emma Dingley was sent to the address and knocked on the door but when she got no reply she looked through the letterbox and could see Roo collapsed on the hallway floor in her own faeces.
She was in an emaciated state and Emma could see a huge tumour on her front leg.
She called the police for assistance so she could enter the property and rescue Roo.
The poorly dog was extremely cold and was too weak to stand or lift her head. Emma carried her out of the property and rushed her to the RSPCA’s Greater Manchester Animal Hospital.
Staff at the centre placed heat pads on Roo as she was suffering from hypothermia and gave her fluids as she was severely dehydrated. Her body temperature was found to be just 33.8C where the normal body temperature should be around 39C.
The veins were very collapsed, which made placement of a catheter for fluid replacement very difficult. It was thought the collapse of the veins was due to both dehydration and hypothermia.
A vet also found a large mass, approximately 12cm by 20cm which was ulcerated and would have been present for weeks causing intense suffering to the dog but Tolley had not sought veterinary treatment.
Emma said: “Roo was in an awful state when I went to rescue her. She was laid in her only faeces and couldn’t stand as she was so weak and in poor health
“She was freezing as there was no heating in the property so I wrapped her in a blanket and comforted her.
“She was clearly starved and as I cradled her in my arms to carry her to the van she knew I was trying to help her and she tried to wag her tail. It was heart-breaking.
“Staff at the animal hospital were doing all they could to save her but she was basically dying in front of our eyes and there was nothing we could do. She refused to eat even though she was starving.
“Sadly the following day she had deteriorated further so the vet made the decision to put Roo to sleep to end her suffering.
“It was so upsetting for us all – I just take some comfort from the fact she had kind people with her when she died and was not frightened and alone in the flat.
“This was a very upsetting case to deal with and there is never any excuse to abandon a pet – particularly in such a callous way.”
Sentencing: six-week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months; 20 days of rehabilitation activity requirement; £100 costs. Five-year ban on keeping animals.
#TheList serial domestic abuser Samuel Thomas Johnson, born 04/06/1985, of Ashwell Drive, Shirley, Solihull B90 3LR – kicked a dog repeatedly during a drunken and drug-fuelled attack on his girlfriend; traumatised dog put to sleep weeks later
Former soldier Johnson, who was previously cautioned for domestic violence against another woman, threw his girlfriend to the floor and strangled her before kicking Staffy Rosie as she desperately tried to protect her owner
The woman’s young son was upstairs while Johnson battered her and Rosie. The brave and loyal dog was left so traumatised by the vicious attack, she had to be put down by the vets just months later.
In passing sentence, the judge said Johnson had the power to inflict serious damage with his fists along with an issue with his temper.
He touched upon his ‘worrying’ history of two other actual bodily harm (ABH) offences, one inflicted upon a previous partner, and said future girlfriends needed ‘protecting’.
Despite this the judge concluded by wishing Johnson “all the best” as he passed a suspended sentence.
The court heard Johnson is now seeing a psychiatrist in relation to his time in the army, though his defence solicitor said the most recent assault could not entirely be attributed to his traumas.
Sentencing: four-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months. 30 days of rehabilitation activity and a structured intervention for domestic abuse course. 10-year restraining order. No ban on keeping animals was imposed.
#TheList Ian Ware, born 13/05/1946 , and Ann Ware, born c. 1960, both of Holly Road, Tiverton EX16 6HZ – failed to take their badly injured cat to the vet
The RSPCA visited the home of Ian and Ann Ware in September 2019 after receiving a call from a concerned member of the public.
The grey and white cat, known as Snowball, was rushed to a vet by RSPCA Inspector Charlotte Coggins where he had to be put to sleep because of the severity of his condition.
Inspector Coggins said: “The pinna was damaged, leaving the cartilage of the ear canal exposed.
“Around the ear canal there was a deep deficit in the skin and underlying muscle to the extent that the bone of the skull could be seen rostral to the ear canal.
“The diagnosis from the vet was of a chronic severe deep infection of the ear canal and surrounding tissues. The exact cause could not be ascertained on clinical examination but it may have resulted from a bite to the area from another cat or rodent.
“As a result of this infection, the vet found Snowball to be suffering severe pain and that the infection had been present for some time based on the severity and extent of tissue destruction including damage to the cartilage of the ear canal.”
The defendants admitted causing unnecessary suffering to Snowball by failing to provide prompt or effective professional veterinary care and attention for the severe and chronic infected wound of the left ear canal and surrounding tissue.
Sentencing: four-week curfew order; £110 each in court costs. Banned from keeping animals for three years.
#TheList Ian Mark Reidy, born 10/01/1989, of 32 Springfield Avenue, Hereford HR2 7JH – left his horse to suffer with a broken leg for two months
The court heard Reidy failed to act on veterinary advice in relation to his 11-year-old horse, Brownie’s, broken leg between July 26 and September 19, 2019.
RSPCA Inspector Suzi Smith investigated after the animal welfare charity received a call about a horse with a severe untreated leg injury.
Ms Smith said: “Initially it appeared Brownie had collapsed. He seemed unable to get up. The foot was worn at the toe from the continued dragging of it over the weeks. He was wearing a thick rug in warm weather.
“Once we did get him up, he was non-weight bearing on the front leg. Upon removal of the rug it showed he was underweight with muscle atrophy to the broken leg where the muscle had wasted away over the weeks from his inability to use the leg. He had a pressure sore on his hock from the excessive time he had been spending laid down due to the pain.
“An x-ray showed his elbow to be in three pieces and vets found it was too late to perform any surgery to help.
“Reidy had initially called a vet when the injury occurred but refused to follow their advice before putting them off when they called to request a check-up of Brownie on eleven occasions, instead telling them he was getting better, rather than seeking the help Brownie desperately needed.”
Sentencing: 12-week custodial sentence. Ordered to pay a £122 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping any equine for life.
The court also made a seizure order for the remaining horses Reidy owned, but he told the court he had given them away.
#TheList Paula McNeil, born 06/01/1981, of 30 Yew Tree Road, Moreton, Wirral CH46 8UB – failed to take her desperately ill dog to the vet and left her to suffer for months in agony
Paula McNeil was banned from keeping animals for six years after “one of the worst cases” an RSPCA inspector said they had come across.
Inspector Anthony Joynes said the dog – a bull terrier cross known as Sahara – was “completely let down by her owner, became emaciated and was and left to suffer” with an untreated burst abscess on her neck and chin. She was in such a bad way vets had no choice but to put her to sleep on humane grounds.
McNeil admitted neglecting Sahara and pleaded guilty to one charge of causing unnecessary suffering.
Inspector Joynes was first called to investigate after McNeil had taken Sahara to the vets to be put down on September 11, 2019.
Seeing that the dog was in pain, the vet complied but alerted the RSPCA.
Inspector Joynes was sent to collect the body of Sahara and a detailed veterinary examination was carried out the following day.
He said: “As soon as I entered the surgery I was met with an incredibly strong and unforgettable smell of necrosis and infection.
“I described the dog as being emaciated with the bones of the ribs, pelvis and spine being clearly visible.
“There was clear muscle atrophy and the coat was dull, sticky and stained throughout, particularly the rear legs, with faeces and urine.
“I observed a large melon-sized open necrotic mass which appeared to cover the whole of the dog’s neck under the chin.
“There was pus clearly visible oozing out of this area as it was manipulated and the smell was overpowering. I noted two other severe, deep open sores to the front right leg which had the appearance of pressure sores.
“Both of these wounds appeared to be right down to the bone and pus was present.
Hollie Jones, a vet at Upton Veterinary Centre, who carried out a detailed veterinary examination said in her medical report that the most notable abnormality was a very large ulcerated ruptured mass present on the jaw and neck extending into the right side of the face.
Part of it was exposing underlying tissues where the mass had burst and there was a large amount of pus coming from the area and parts of the skin were necrotic. She said Sahara would have suffered with this wound for months.
She also found severe pressure sores on her right side – these were full thickness through the skin to the bones – exposing tendons and other joints.
Faeces and urine had caused an infection in the sores suggesting that Sahara had been left in a collapsed state laying on her side for at least a week.
She was also severely emaciated with all her bones protruding and weighed 18.2 kgs.
The vet said she would have expected a dog of this type to weigh around 39kg and added the wound to her neck would have made eating in the latter stages impossible
McNeil claimed during her interview that the abscess was caused by a bee sting just weeks before.
Inspector Joynes said: “The vet report shows Sahara had been suffering from this abscess in her neck for months without treatment and because of this it had broken down and become necrotic.
“This had led to her collapsed state and pressure sores on her body indicate she was left like this for weeks. She was also unable to eat because of the severity of the wound.
“There is never an excuse to deprive any pet in need of veterinary attention and in this case Sahara was neglected for such a long period of time. Photographs show how she was a healthy dog before.
“In my 11 years as an inspector it was one of the worst cases of its type I have come across – she was completely let down by her owner and left to suffer. Even when she had collapsed help was not sought for her immediately.”
Sentencing: 12-month community order for a period of 12 months, with 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days; 160 hours of unpaid work. Ordered to pay a total of £1,395.86 in costs and charges. Six-year ban on keeping animals.
#TheList Ian Gordon McGrath, born 03/01/1975, of The Paddocks, Sandy Lane, Cranage, near Holmes Chapel, Crewe CW6 8HR – left 35 cow carcasses to decay at his dairy farm, left six other cows in such poor condition they had to be put down
McGrath admitted causing unnecessary suffering after a 2018 inspection of Grange Farm, Over Peover, Knutsford, by Cheshire East Council found some animals had no access to food or water.
Attempts had also been made to cover some of the 35 dead carcasses at the farm, which is now run by people who have no connection to this case.
The court heard the dairy farmer McGrath had suffered mental health problems since his father died in 2014.
Rachel Cooper, prosecuting, said that an experienced dairy farmer like McGrath must have known his actions were causing suffering to his animals.
But Adrian Roberts, defending, said McGrath had suffered with mental health problems since his father died in 2014.
He was also under financial pressure because of bovine tuberculosis in his herd and the falling price of milk.
District Judge Nicholas Sanders described the case as “appalling” and sentenced McGrath, who also admitted failing to dispose of dead cattle properly, to 18 weeks in jail which was suspended for 18 months.
He also banned McGrath from owning or keeping livestock for life but this can be reviewed in five years.
McGrath must also pay more than £17,000 in fines and costs, and carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.
#TheList Sean Ronald Burns, born 15/08/1970, of Rosehill Lodge, Ferry Lane, Pembroke SA71 4RG, Kenneth Darren Evans, born 09/10/1975, of 28 Llys Caermedi, Carmarthen SA31 1GX, and John A Clayton (dob tbc) of 17 Rhos Las, Carmarthen SA31 2DY – convicted on charges relating to cruelty to animals at Bramble Hall Farm in Pembroke Dock and operation of an illegal slaughterhouse
Sean Burns was convicted of multiple cruelty charges in relation to 215 animals at Bramble Hall Farm, Ferry Lane, Pembroke Dock SA71 4RG.
The charges included the unlicensed breeding of dogs, welfare and animal-keeping regulation charges relating to sheep, horses, dogs, pigs, and goats.
A total of 53 pigs, 80 sheep, three goats, 58 dogs, 20 horses and one donkey were removed from the smallholding after being found living in squalor and without adequate space, food or water.
District Judge Christopher James told Burns he had “deliberately” inflicted suffering over a “significant period of time”.
He told Burns the condition of the animals was “extremely poor”, and that some dogs and puppies had “died due to the neglect suffered at your hands”.
One horse was found with a pipe stuck in its hoof and two horses were found with no access to food or water.
They also found 10 newborn puppies in a plastic food bowl, two of which were dead.
Prosecutor Alexander Greenwood said the dogs were kept in a “hazardous environment”, with no bedding, and the floor wet with urine and faeces.
The court was told the animals displayed signs of “bullying behaviour” as food was so scarce and the bigger animals were keeping the smaller animals away from food.
The prosecution said this case of animal neglect was “one of the worst examples of its kind.”
The court heard Burns failed to provide documentation for any of the animals.
Defending, Aled Owen told the court Burns “has not got the skills to manage this farm efficiently”.
“Quite frankly, my client is illiterate,” he said.
The prosecution followed an investigation by public protection officers from Pembrokeshire Council, supported by Dyfed-Powys Police’s rural crime team.
Sean Burns’ mother Pamela Burns (born 12/08/1945) had faced 24 charges but the case against her ultimately did not proceed because she is said to be suffering from dementia.
Sean Burns was also convicted alongside associates John Clayton and Kenneth Evans on a string of charges relating to food hygiene, operating an illegal slaughterhouse and being involved in the illegal slaughter of sheep to produce ‘smokies’ – a West African delicacy where meat is cooked using a blow torch.
The illegal slaughterhouse operated in one of the agricultural outbuildings, with Clayton and Evans caught in the act by horrified inspectors.
The unit had been set up as a makeshift slaughter hall with six slaughtered sheep at various stages of preparation and further penned sheep awaiting the same fate.
The court was told that conditions in the slaughter hall were insanitary and the floor awash with blood from the slaughtered animals as well as by-products from the slaughter process.
A herd of pigs was seen wandering among suspended sheep carcasses, feeding on the remains of the slaughtered animals.
Approximately six further carcasses of smoked sheep were found bagged in the boot of Evans’ car, ready for onward supply.
Evidence was gathered by officers and the carcasses were seized for condemnation.
A number of sheep were subsequently euthanized for humane reasons and restrictions were placed on the herd of pigs, preventing their movement off-site to address the potential disease risk and to protect the human food chain.
Clayton was convicted in 2002 for the same offence alongside David Jones of Moelfre Farm in Llanwnnen, John Beddows of Tregaron, Ceredigion, Trefor Williams of Llandysul, Ceredigion, Alun Evans and his brother Richard Evans both of Abernewrig, Lampeter, Malcolm Taylor of Oldbury, in the West Midlands, and Alun Lloyd of Llanfrynach, Pembrokeshire
Sentencing for these offences is to follow.
Magistrates in Court in Llanelli formalised that order for the removal of the animals owned by Pamela and Sean Burns of Bramble Hall.
Sentencing: Sean Burns was given 20 weeks in prison for illegal dog breeding, animal welfare charges and other summary matters. Although Pembrokeshire Council have incurred thousands of pounds in costs, Burns was only ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge at this stage. He was handed an indefinite ban from keeping animals, including having any involvement or influence over the care or welfare of animals.
#TheList Paul Scotty Murray, born 21/11/1999, of 10 Gartmorn Road, Sauchie, Alloa FK10 3NX – inflicted a catalogue of injuries on a pup and stuffed him into a tiny drawer
The badly injured dog, known as Tyson, was left in agony with no access to food, water, light or room to move after being stuffed into a drawer by his twisted owner, Paul Scotty Murray. The four-month-old dog had to be euthanised on humane grounds.
Murray only admitted causing Tyson unnecessary suffering by failing to get him treated for a catalogue of horrendous injuries. The court did not address how he came to be injured in the first place.
Tyson had sustained a fractured elbow and injured hip, and was suffering from a painful ear condition between February 21-28, 2019.
Instead of taking the stricken dog to a vet, Murray left him to suffer in agony at his property on Gartmorn Road during that period.
He also admitted cramming Tyson into a tiny drawer under a bed on February 28.
Police discovered Tyson in the drawer and immediately seized him from Murray.
The court heard a vet found “evidence of definite trauma to the head, neck and femur”.
The injuries were likely to have been a result of “separate incidents” of trauma, and the pain the dog was in would have been obvious to any owner.
Sadly, Tyson was euthanised on welfare grounds on March 1.
Murray’s solicitor, Grazia Robertson of Glasgow law firm L and G Robertson, said her client was barely able to care for himself, let alone an animal.
She said this was due to a troubled upbringing, and asked for unpaid work or a curfew to be imposed on Murray.
She added: “Clearly, some punishment is required.”
A furious Sheriff Craig Harris warned Murray of how seriously he viewed the offences.
He said: “You put this animal through absolute hell. You should be nowhere near animals.
“I’ve given serious consideration as to whether you should go to prison for this.”
Instead, Murray walked free from court with a community order.
Sentencing: 150 hours of unpaid work and a one-year supervision order. He is banned from owning, keeping, or taking charge of any animal for a period of seven years.