#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.
#TheList Laura Kiseliova, born 14/06/1979, and Raimondas Titas, born 13/03/1981, formerly of Ladywell Avenue, Manchester M38, but believed to have fled to their native Lithuania – imported and sold sick ‘designer’ pets
Lithuanians Laura Kiseliova and Raimondas Titas kept sick dogs and cats in filthy, cramped cages to sell for thousands of pounds.
They set up an online “puppy farm” called Pets313 and encouraged customers to buy popular breeds like pugs and french bulldogs.
However, when customers went to the couple’s house in Salford, Greater Manchester they were quickly persuaded to take the pets home, unaware that the canines hadn’t received vital injections or veterinary care.
And when they arrived home, the dogs suddenly became ill and lethargic after having been kept in dire conditions in small cages or crates in a garage.
Despite buyers being told they were receiving British-bred pups, they were actually getting Eastern European dogs that had travelled over to the UK on a Pet Passport bought by the Lithuanian couple.
The pair were sentenced to years behind bars at Manchester Crown Court in their absence, as they fled abroad before the hearing on Thursday 13/12/2018.
They had previously pleaded guilty to a total of 29 charges, including several animal welfare offences.
RSPCA inspectors, police and trading standards found 41 dogs and eight cats when they searched their previous home in Prestwich on November 18, 2013.
They discovered the pair were trafficking dogs under the pet passport scheme, and selling them to members of the public under the company name Pets 313 Ltd.
Officers also found more than 40 pet passports which didn’t match the dogs at the property, suggesting they were passing off trafficked dogs as those bred in the UK.
The dogs who were found included French bulldogs and pugs, as well as pedigree cats, which were being sold for between £800 and £1,000 each.
The pair were charged with a number of offences, including failing to provide them with a suitable environment, and failing to provide veterinary care.
One of the RSPCA investigators leading the operation, who didn’t want to be named, said: “The front room of the property was being used to sell the animals to members of the public but it was when you entered the rest of the house the scale of this operation became apparent.
“There were cages and pens containing different breeds of dogs in almost every room including a litter of puppies in a filthy ensuite bathroom upstairs. In a large garage at the back we found cages of animals stacked on top of each other.
“It was clear there were some cats and puppies that needed immediate veterinary treatment and sadly two of the puppies that were rushed to the vets for treatment later died from parvovirus.
“There was little sign of proper isolation pens for sick animals or biosecurity measures meaning any animal that passed through this place would be at risk of catching and spreading diseases and parasites.
“This was a large money-making operation at the expense of the welfare of the animals and the unsuspecting members of public who thought they were buying healthy, happy puppies.”
RSPCA SOU Chief Insp Ian Briggs said: “It was obvious that this duo were dealing and trading in a large number of animals and that many of them were not receiving the appropriate care and veterinary attention they needed.
“Some of the animals were suffering from problems such as conjunctivitis, gastroenteritis or had sore and infected wounds.”
Most of the animals have been signed over into RSPCA care and have been rehomed.
Chief Insp Briggs added: “We have seen a concerning increase in the number of calls we are receiving about large-scale traders dealing, predominantly, in puppies.
“We are regularly appalled by the conditions we find puppies living in and the stories we hear from owners who have, just days after bringing their puppy home, held their new dog as he died in their arms from preventable diseases and infections.
“Unfortunately, a major factor in this trade is traffickers – such as this pair – bringing in poorly pups from abroad, without the right vaccinations and documents, and selling them to unsuspecting buyers here in England.”
Sentencing: Kiseliova was sentenced to a total of four years in prison while Titas was jailed for three years and six months. Both were banned from keeping pets for life.
#TheList Mason Medford, born 17/11/1999, most recently of Clifton Grove, Leeds – locked Staffy Leo in a room to starve to death over a two-month period; dumped his body in a suitcase; reportedly laughed to friends about finding him dead
Self-styled ‘gangsta’ thug Medford, who also calls himself ‘MK South’, was due to appear to Leeds Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 15/08/18 to face animal cruelty charges in connection with the abandonment of the helpless dog, but failed to attend. It was agreed the case would go ahead in Medford’s absence and he was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering.
The court heard that Leo had been purchased for £100 by friends of Medford’s but didn’t get on with the dog they already had. The couple asked the York-based seller if he would have Leo back but he said no and so they asked if Medford would have the dog.
On November 26, 2017 Medford took Leo home to his address with a 25kg sack of dog food that the friend Adele Green had given him.
He later told police, after handing himself in following social media coverage of the horrific discovery, that the dog had growled at him and acted aggressively so he left him in the house – apparently for two months.
RSPCA prosecutor Andrew Davidson said: “The case can be summed up very sadly but very simply. The defendant left Leo at the house in question, locked him in a room and never came back. He left him in the house without food and water and did not return to look after him at any point. When he finally did return he was deceased.”
The court heard evidence from housing officer Sarah Blackburn that she visited the house on more than one occasion due to concerns about the dog and health and safety. She reported they found “squalid conditions through the property, rubbish and clothing and the kitchen was a disgusting state.” There was faeces, urine and splatters of blood in the house.
A statement was also read out from Medford’s mother, Emma Medford, of Bellbrooke Grove, Leeds. She said she had gone to the house to collect clothes in January 2018 and was confronted by faeces and urine. She had not been to the house for months and found Leo dead outside the bathroom covered by a towel. She confronted her son and said he should “do the decent thing” and bury the dog.
Leo was found in the suitcase at Harehills Cemetery on Wednesday January 24, 2018.
A postmortem confirmed Leo died as a result of multiple organ failure as his body shut down. He was “completely emaciated”, weighed half of what he should and there was nothing in his stomach or intestines.
The vet carrying out the examination said: “He would have suffered greatly after not being fed adequately for four weeks.”
Mr Davidson added: “For him to be dumped in a suitcase demonstrated how little the owner actually cared for him.”
Once arrested Medford, who has links to Milton Keynes and Northampton, will be brought before the court and sentenced.
#The List John Declan Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy, born c. 1993, of Bolton Road, Atherton, Manchester M46 and Lorraine Ashurst, born c. 1964, of Cameron Street, Leigh WN7 5EA – for mistreatment of three young horses
Lorraine Ashurst and her son John Declan Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy were both found guilty of four offences under the Animal Welfare Act which took place between January and March 2017 at Barlows Farm on Close Lane in Hindley, Wigan.
An earlier trial was told that concerns had been raised about a number of horses which had been left on the land, with some causing problems for motorists by wandering out onto nearby roads. RSPCA inspectors left notes, after visiting in February 2017, before arranging follow-up visits.
The ponies, a Palomino mare, a chestnut gelding and a grey mare, had different injuries such as foot abscesses, laminitis and osteoarthritis, which were not addressed by the pair.
Charity inspectors felt their condition had deteriorated as they had not been placed on a satisfactory worming regime.
Sentencing: John Declan Ashurst O’Shaughnessy – 12 month community order to complete 150 hours of unpaid work. Total of £1,085 costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping any animals for five years, later reduced to two years on appeal. Deprivation order was placed on the three ponies, with a foal also born to the grey mare. Later appealed, unsuccessfully.
A warrant was issued for Lorraine Ashurst’s arrest when she failed to appear for sentencing. As at 20/07/2018 the warrant is still outstanding.
#TheList Kiki Stamatopoulou-Angelitos, born 22/02/1970, most recently of 21 Gomer Gardens, Townhill, Swansea SA1 6QF but may now be living in Greece – on the run after dead and starving pets found in her filthy home
Angelitos was convicted in her absence after magistrates found three charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and three charges of failing to meet the welfare needs of an animal proven. She was due to be sentenced at the end of May 2018 but failed to attend and magistrates issued a warrant for her arrest.
But she has still not been located and a spokeswoman for South Wales Police said arrest enquiries were continuing.
During the hearing, Swansea Magistrates’ Court heard a dead dog was found in the garden of Angelitos’ home in Gomer Gardens, in Townhill, and had been decomposing for two weeks.
A “visibly bony” Malamute dog and several small animals in a bad state, together with six dogs which were kept in one room, were also found in the house.
Sarah Thyer, prosecuting on behalf of Swansea Council , told the court at the time that this was a “distressing case”.
Officers first visited the property on October 6, 2017, after concerns about animal welfare and of the state of the house had been raised. She added: “There was an extremely strong smell of rubbish.
“Rubbish bags were covering the floor to such a large quantity that officers had to walk on this [the rubbish].”
She said there were open bags of dog food as well and that, in the kitchen, the tap was running at full blast.
The “filth” from the floor was washed in with the overflowing water, she continued, and the dogs were drinking from this dirty water. In the first visit, the officer found a room had been barricaded with a large animal crate inside. They weren’t able to see inside clearly as it was dark, she continued, but were able to identify several animal cages and a dog.
A few days later, officers returned to the property and, in the overgrown garden, they found a dog crate in a hole. Inside the crate there was a dog carcass which showed signs of two weeks of decomposition.
She continued: “In one of the bedrooms there was a Malamute which was in a very bad condition.
“The pest warden brought the dog downstairs and it was visibly bony.
“In the same room there were two rabbits which had no access to water. Both rabbits had extremely long claws.
“They were given water and they drank large amounts of it.” The court heard that, in another bedroom, there were six dogs, a gerbil and a hamster, together with some empty cages.
Ms Thyer said Angelitos agreed to surrender a German Shepherd dog in January 2018.
The court heard she had owned the Malamute dog for a year and that she had had the small animals for 18 months.