#TheList Sarah ‘Marie’ McGahan, born 11/11/1967 of 2 Belvedere Manor, Lurgan, Craigavon BT67 9NW – failed to ensure the welfare of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and her puppies.
In a case brought by Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council, Marie McGahan pleaded guilty to animal welfare offences relating to a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and her pups.
This followed an investigation in 2018 as a result of information from the public.
McGahan had failed to make the necessary improvements to the cleanliness of the area in which dogs were kept and a litter of pups were found in squalid conditions at her home.
McGahan was deemed to be in breach of a notice requiring her to maintain a clean environment for the animals in her care.
A council spokesperson said: “The judge in this case saw fit to impose a five-year ban from keeping animals because the defendant persistently neglected the needs of her dogs and flagrantly disregarded animal welfare legislation.
“This case serves as a reminder that the council will investigate complaints and bring forward legal proceedings against those who do not take reasonable steps to ensure the welfare of their animals.”
Sentencing: fined £150 and ordered to pay council costs of £226. Five-year Disqualification Order in respect of all animals.
#TheList John Benjamin Cook, born 13/11/1993, and his brother William Cook, born 11/07/1989, both of Little Acres, Longfield Avenue, New Barn, Longfield, Dartford DA3 7LA – ran a puppy farm and a cock-fighting ring
Gypsy travellers John and William Cook were convicted of a number of animal welfare offences.
In July 2018 RSPCA officers executed a warrant at the sprawling property in New Barn the brothers share with their extended family, including wives, children and parents, after a member of the public who had bought puppies from them raised concerns.
In total, 18 dogs, including spaniels and beagles were removed along with two cockerels.
Officers also seized a number of mobile phones from the site and a suspecting cock-fighting pit was uncovered. Analysis of the mobiles showed the brothers were involved with fighting and later forensics tests found the blood of at least four cockerels on the pit.
During the four-day trial the court heard how John Cook was accused of causing suffering to a number of dogs, failing to provide them with vet care for stomach and teeth problems and keeping them in unsuitable conditions.
William Cook was accused of a number of offences relating to cockerel fighting.
John Cook pleaded guilty to the offences, while William Cook was convicted of the offences under the Animal Welfare Act.
RSPCA inspector Carroll Lamport, from the charity’s special operations unit, said: “Many of the dogs being kept at the site had health and welfare problems, including untreated gastrointestinal and dental issues.
“We also had serious concerns over the conditions they were being kept in. The dogs and puppies were being kept in dirty, wet conditions with no bedding.”
Sentencing: William Cook – 120-day prison term – suspended for two years. Ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work. Disqualified from keeping any animals for three years.
John Cook – 90 days in prison – also suspended for two years; 160 hours of unpaid work. He was disqualified from keeping dogs for three years.
Both men were ordered to pay £1,000 in costs plus a £115 victim surcharge.
#TheList Daniel Brockhill, born 21/02/1968, of 16 Robin Crescent, Heysham LA3 2WG – for cruelty to two ponies
Brockhill, a Romany gypsy and alleged backyard breeder of diseased Staffordshire bull terriers, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to two ponies
The first animal, a dark brown cob mare, was left with a ‘stinking open wound’ caused by the tight bridle rubbing her, as well as a small cut to her nose, and areas of fur missing on the face.
The second animal, a black and white piebald cob mare, was spotted wandering in the field “aimlessly” in a dull and depressed state.
The weak and malnourished pony was not very responsive and had an elevated heartbeat and temperature. She was riddled with lice and eggs that had been present for at least 10 days, and had fecal staining on her hind legs indicating serious diarrhea.
The court was told Brockhill had only bought this pony three weeks earlier.
Prosecuting, Paul Ridehalgh told the court that a worker from World Horse Welfare had attended a field in the Twemlow Parade area of Heysham where 13 horses were kept. Most were in good body condition, but one had a bridle that was “clearly too tight” around her nose.
Mr Ridehalgh described how the worker went to loosen the bridle and discovered “a red raw open wound” under the pony’s chin. The collar had become embedded within the hair and skin and a bad smell was emanating from the wound.
The charity worker alerted the RSPCA, and when another inspector attended they became concerned about the other horse who looked too thin.
Mr Ridehalgh added: “It was displaying extremely worrying behaviour and clearly was extremely unwell.
A veterinary surgeon who examined the animals concluded both had been caused suffering by Brockhill’s failure to act.
Despite her painful injury, the first horse was bright, alert and responsive But the second was scored just one out of five on her body condition – zero being emaciated.
Brockhill agreed to sign over both horses to the RSPCA.
The thin horse gained 8kg in the four weeks she boarded with the charity
During an interview, Brockhill admitted he owned both ponies but claimed he had only owned the malnourished one for three weeks.
He said he had when he arranged transport to a field in Skipton the horse was weak and could barely walk, and that he was “appalled” by her condition.
When it was pointed out that she should have been referred to a vet, Brockhill said he was experienced in keeping horses and it was his opinion the horse just needed a ‘good feed’.
The court heard Brockhill had a conviction for animal cruelty from 2002, but of dissimilar nature.
District Judge Paul Clarke said there had been a “high level of suffering”, but recognised Brockhill had co-operated with the RSPCA.
He remarked it wasn’t “deliberate cruelty”, adding: “It comes down to competence and horse husbandry.”
Sentencing: curfew; a total of £690 costs and charges. No ban.
#TheList backyard breeder Robert Milliken, born 25/05/1986, of 81 Rathkyle, Antrim BT41 1LQ – for the wilful neglect of four dogs
Father-of-three Robert Milliken was charged with causing unnecessary suffering to four dogs – two hounds and two Patterdale terriers kept in pens at a property in Ballyutoag Hill in Crumlin.
Lawyers for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, who brought the case, confirmed that a complaint had been received about dogfighting and living conditions relating to the animals.
When a visit was made to the property, 13 dogs were found across three pens.
In one pen, there was a terrier-type dog with a wound to his lip while a second pen containing seven dogs was riddled with faeces.
In the third pen, there was a terrier and four underweight hounds. One dog had a swollen muzzle which was bloody.
The court heard that a vet attended and determined that the two terriers and two of the hounds were suffering and should be seized.
On a subsequent visit to the premises inspectors were met with a strong smell of urine. Two dogs were running loose. One of them was described as pot-bellied with swollen glands while the other was underweight.
No water or food was available to the dogs and when offered water one of the dogs drank so much she vomited.
These dogs were also seized.
Milliken’s lawyer told the court that his client was an animal lover who had kept dogs for many years. He had, however, lost stability in his life after the breakdown of his marriage and had been “bingeing on drugs”.
He told the court that his client – a trained butcher who had struggled to find work – had been sentenced on three years in prison in 2009 for an unrelated, unspecified crime and was terrified of going back to jail.
He urged the judge to consider his client’s circumstances when arriving at her judgement.
District Judge Oonagh Mullan was unconvinced, however, describing photos of the animals as ‘horrendous’ before she lamented the ‘suffering they must have undergone and the conditions they were living with’. She added that Milliken’s treatment of his dogs amounted to “willful neglect”.
After rising to consider her options, District Judge Mullan suspended the operation of the four-month sentences for three years and imposed the ban and order for costs.
Sentencing: four-month suspended prison sentence. Costs of £349. Banned from keeping animals for ten years.
#TheList Roma gypsy Gusztav ‘Guszti’ Petrovics, born 04/08/1988, originally from Pécs in Hungary and currently of 20 Abingdon Close, Rochdale OL11 – kept 27 dogs stacked up in their own faeces and urine with no food or water.
Petrovics was found guilty in his absence of two animal welfare offences at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on November 18, 2019.
The court heard the RSPCA were called to Petrovics’ home on January 24, 2019, following concerned calls from members of the public.
When they visited the home, Petrovics confirmed he owned a large number of dogs, and allowed RSPCA inspector Danni Jennings to see them.
She was shown inside a closed metal shed in the back garden, where there were seven dog crates full of dogs and puppies piled on top of each other.
In total there were 10 female adult dogs, one male and 15 puppies – all Dachshunds – with one female terrier-cross.
An expert vet who joined police and the RSPCA on the raid confirmed that the dogs were not being looked after properly. They were seized by police, the court heard.
Petrovics said during his interview that he had imported the dogs from Hungary, where he grew up, and planned to give the puppies to friends.
Inspector Jennings said: “The smell from the shed was apparent as soon as we were in the back garden. These dogs were kept in cramped conditions in cages which were stacked on top of each other.
“They were lying in their own faeces and urine – and the smell from the shed was evident as soon as we went onto the back garden. There was also no water or food in the cages for the dogs. The conditions were absolutely appalling.
“The puppies were immediately signed over into RSPCA care and have been rehomed. Following the conclusion of the case the RSPCA has taken the adult dogs into our care and they too will be rehomed.”
Sentencing: 12-month community order. Ordered to pay £1,000 costs and an £85 victim surcharge. Five-year ban on keeping animals.
#TheList hoarder/breeder Kilmany Jane O’Connor (aka Kim O’Connor), born c. 1962, of Morecambe in Lancashire – banned from keeping animals for life after 54 dogs were found locked in tiny filthy cages at her home
Kilmany O’Connor pleaded guilty to five offences under the Animal Welfare Act – four of causing unnecessary suffering to 36 of her 54 dogs, and one of failing to meet all 54 dogs’ needs.
O’Connor’s home was raided by the RSPCA and police officers, after concerns were raised about the welfare of a number of dogs at the address.
RSPCA Inspector Sam Morris described the scene.
The first thing that struck me when I walked through the front door was how cluttered the hallway was, with household items everywhere. There were three cages stacked on top of another, and each had a cockerpoo or cocker spaniel-type dog inside. The cages were filthy, and the dogs’ fur was badly matted with faeces.
All the cages within the property appeared to be similar in size, which measured approximately 50cm high, 44cm wide and 60cm in length – the dogs were barely able to turn around and lie down, stretch out or stand on their hind limbs and of course they couldn’t escape.
The situation got worse in the living room. It was very cluttered and filthy, and the smell inside was awful. The ammonia was overpowering. The curtains were drawn and thick with cobwebs. The windows were closed and the room was quite dark. This room contained 13 dogs in cages – two of the cages had two dogs inside. One dog was tethered to a table leg and there were five loose dogs.
Two more dogs were caged in the kitchen. Two dogs were caged in the utility room and 14 were loose. Another 14 dogs were caged in an upstairs bedroom, which was very humid.
Some of the dogs had obvious veterinary issues. None of the dogs in the property had access to water.
The dogs were all signed over at the scene and taken into RSPCA care. One of the dogs – Mindy – lost one of her front paws as a result of her neglect and another of the dogs – Fifi, who was tethered in the living room – now uses wheels to get around after having lost the use of her back legs, but all have been happily re-homed.
Sentencing: 16-week custodial sentence suspended for two years. Ordered to pay court costs. Lifetime ban on keeping animals.
#TheList James ‘Jimboy’ Price, born 25/04/1983, of the Caravan Park, Sherdley Road, St Helens WA9 5DH – dragged a French bulldog behind a trailer for 13 miles after supposedly “failing to realise” she was trapped
Price claimed in court that he had not realised his dog’s lead was attached to his vehicle’s trailer as he set off from his home at the travellers’ site in Sherdley Road, St Helens. He then drove for 13 miles before the lead snapped leaving the dog’s mangled body lying on Brasenose Road in Bootle.
Inspectors tracked down Price via the dog’s microchip.
Price pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal on the basis he “ought to have known the animal was not entangled in a vehicle.”
The court heard that Price had “never intended” to harm the dog, named Pepper, whom he and his partner Lisa Walker had used for producing multiple litters of puppies, which they then sold on Facebook for around £1,300 each.
Daniel Kenyon, representing Price, told the court the loss of a family pet had been “punishment enough.”
Presiding magistrate Frank Dainty, passing sentence, said: “I do not believe you intended to harm the animal, but in future you need to check every corner of your vehicle before you set off.”
Sentencing: ordered to pay £1,238 in fines and costs. Banned from keeping animals for 12 months.
#TheList husband and wife Jason Coates, born c. 1975, and Cherylea Coates born c. 1979, and their nephew Albert ‘Alby’ Coates, born 11/09/1988, all of 72 Moreland Avenue, Colnbrook, Slough SL3 0LR
The Coates family, who are from the settled travelling community and run a skip-hire business, kept five dogs and two puppies in unsuitable conditions. The trio were prosecuted following a warrant executed at their home by Slough Borough Council’s resilience and enforcement team.
Neighbours had raised the alarm after hearing continuous barking and noticing the dogs were never taken out for exercise.
Officers visited the family’s home in Moreland Avenue in December 2018 and found a shed in the front garden and two cages in the back garden.
One cage was home to two Jack Russell puppies and their mother who belonged to 30-year-old Albert Coates.
It was believed three puppies had already died and the surviving young dogs had to make do with unsuitable bedding and a lack of blankets in wintry conditions.
Their food and water was also found to be contaminated.
A Jack Russell cross Chihuahua, a Chihuahua and two Cocker Spaniels belonging to Jason and Cherylea Coates were also discovered.
The couple, aged 44 and 40, contested surrendering the animals and a court order had to be obtained while their nephew voluntarily surrendered his dogs to the care of the council.
All the dogs have since been rehomed and nursed back to health.
The trio appeared for sentencing at Reading Magistrates Court on Friday, August 9, 2019, after each admitted a charge of neglect under Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
Albert Coates admitted an additional charge of causing unnecessary suffering under section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
All offences took place on December 18, 2018.
Sentencing: all were ordered to pay a total of £400 in fines, costs and charges and were disqualified from owning or keeping an animal for a minimum of two years.
#TheList Mandy Allinson, born c. 1967, and Michael ‘Mick’ Connolly, born c. 1963, both of Fotherley Farm, Grosmont, Whitby YO22 5QJ – kept dogs and cats in “squalid and horrific” conditions
Animals in the care of Mandy Allinson and Michael Connolly lived in their own excrement in a filthy barn at their farm near Whitby.
The pair admitted three breaches of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 in relation to two pet dogs, plus 18 other dogs and three cats not provided with a suitable living environment.
Police and RSPCA inspectors were alerted to the farm after a number of people bought puppies which fell ill or were found to be riddled with worms or fleas.
And they discovered dozens of animals being kept in appalling conditions at what was found to be an unregistered, unlicensed business.
The court heard a cocker spaniel called Dexter was barely recognisable because his severely-matted fur made him look like “a big ball of fur”.
He had to be anaesthetised to be clipped by a vet, and the fur removed weighed 1.4kg.
The court heard that the animals got into that state because Allinson and Connolly suffered a variety of health problems, including diabetes and depression.
Speaking after the hearing RSPCA Inspector Claire Little, who led the investigation, said: “We received a number of calls from members of the public who had bought puppies from the premises and, once home, they’d fallen ill or their new families had discovered they were riddled with fleas and worms.
“This couple were running an unregistered, unlicensed business breeding dogs and they were not properly protecting the dogs’ welfare and health.”
When officers raided the property they found 40 dogs and puppies, three cats and a guinea pig at the address. All of the animals were removed.
“The puppies were all being kept inside the house while the adult dogs were kept out in a barn,” Inspector Little added.
“It was cold, dark, dank and filthy in the barn. Some dogs were kept in cramped, dirty cages stacked on top of each other, while other dogs were in disgusting kennels covered in dirt and faeces. It absolutely stank inside the barn, it was hell.
“The dogs were yellow with urine stains and covered in fleas. Many were riddled with worms and suffering from nasty diseases like giardia, campylobacter and coccidia.”
French bulldogs, collies, cocker spaniels, poodles and fashionable crossbreeds, such as cockerpoos, were taken into RSPCA care.
“This couple were clearly trying to cash in on the popularity of designer dogs such as cockerpoos but they were failing to meet these dogs’ basic needs and many were seriously poorly,” Inspector Little said.
“It was overcrowded, the disease control was poor and many of the dogs had matted coats and untreated open wounds. The floor was caked in faeces and water bowls were empty and upturned.
“Some had nasty skin infections and had made themselves bleed from constant scratching. One of the dogs had almost 2kg of matted fur removed.”
A guinea pig was found in a cage in one barn and three cats were found running loose in another barn on the site.
Sentencing: 10-week prison term, suspended for a year. Banned from keeping cats for seven years.
#TheList fraudulent puppy dealer Esther Rachel Titterton, born c. 1992, of Wheatlow Brook, Milwich, Staffordshire, but has also lived in Oak Road, Stone ST15 8NG
Esther Titterton was jailed for 18 months after admitting illegally breeding and selling puppies using fake Kennel Club paperwork.
Titterton was also charged with the breeding of dogs without a licence, sales of puppies without a pet shop licence and consumer protection offences.
Up to 39 puppies, many with health problems, were seized from Titterton’s home.
Trading Standards officers also found false vaccination certificates, which along with the Kennel Club papers were used to dupe customers.
Titterton pleaded guilty to 11 charges of dishonestly making false representation to make gain for herself and two others relating to an item used in the committing of fraud and her business being used to commit fraud.
Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards team said it worked with the Animal, Plant and Health Agency, police and the RSPCA to investigate Titterton after a complaint about her business activities in June 2017.
Titterton had been operating from her home, a farm in Milwich, and checks revealed it was not licensed to sell pets or breed dogs. The owner of the farm was not involved with the investigation.
Most of the puppies were cockapoos and health problems with dogs from so-called puppy farms is a common occurrence, trading standards said.