#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 Phyllis Burns, age unknown, of Rosapenna Walk, Belfast BT14 6GY – failed to seek vet treatment for her pony’s broken leg
Burns was banned from keeping animals for ten years after she was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a pony.
The charges under the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 date back to 2015.
Burns’ crimes were uncovered when the Animal Welfare service attended a livery yard on the Colinglen Road in Dunmurry and found a pony suffering from a broken leg.
A vet said the leg appeared to have been broken for some time and the dressing was not the work of a veterinary qualified person.
The vet determined that the animal should have received veterinary treatment long before it was discovered, but unfortunately the pony had never been cared for accordingly. The council contracted vet concluded “it was apparent the pony had been left to suffer for some time with no veterinary attention.”
Sentencing: five-month suspended prison sentence. Ordered to pay costs totalling £600. Banned from keeping or having any involvement with animals for ten years.
#TheList Harry Todd, born 10/04/1957, of 49 Joanmount Park, Belfast BT14 6PF – for abandonment of 150 pigeons; dog also found dead at his property
Todd was convicted of four animal welfare offences after causing a dog unnecessary suffering and abandoning more than 150 pigeons at an address on the Ballysillan Road.
The prosecution case was brought by Belfast City Council after a report from a member of the public who was concerned for the welfare of the birds. The person also informed staff of a dog carcass which was in an upstairs room of the property.
Animal welfare officers visited the address on 02 November 2017 and found the partially skeletonised remains of a dog, a number of dead pigeons and 153 pigeons deemed to be suffering.
Sentencing: five month suspended sentence for each offence. Costs of £79. Banned from keeping animals for 15 years.
#TheList Andrew Gildea, born 24/02/1995, from Larne and Darren Kincaid, born c. 1999, from north Befast – kidnapped a seagull and tortured him on social media
Gildea and Kincaid Belfast lured a hungry Black Headed Gull they dubbed ‘Steven Seagull’ towards them using chips before bundling him into the footwell of Gildea’s car.
After driving the panic-stricken bird around Larne and Belfast, parading him before friends and family, the pair took the gull to Gildea’s house and live-streamed several videos of them torturing the bird on Facebook.
The footage caused uproar among animal lovers online and they were reported to police before handing themselves in.
Appearing at Laganside Courthouse in Belfast, both men entered guilty pleas to charges of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and will return later in March 2019 for sentencing.
Prosecution lawyers told the court several videos were uploaded to Facebook on June 11, 2018, over a two-hour span, detailing the bird’s ordeal.
In the first video, Gildea can be seen grabbing the bird and trailing it into the car, capturing it in the passenger footwell and putting up the windows to prevent its escape.
The court heard the bird was “flapping and clearly very distressed”.
Subsequent videos show the bird standing on a toolbox in Gildea’s garage being poked and teased and again clearly in distress before being trapped in a plastic box.
After surrendering to Larne police station, Gildea admitted enticing the bird with chips and livestreaming the videos, but said he never intended to cause harm to the creature.
Kincaid admitted being a passenger in the car and taking the bird to several addresses, but claimed to have experience handling pigeons and said he was aware of how to handle birds correctly.
He also told police he had drilled holes in the plastic box the bird was trapped in, so it would be able to breathe.
The court heard ‘Steven Seagull’ survived the ordeal after being released by Gildea and Kincaid, but district judge William McNallly was unimpressed with their antics.
Adjourning the matter so he could watch the video before sentencing the pair, he said: “I remember seeing a cat playing with a mouse and your behaviour reminds me of that cruelty.
“Playing with this bird is as cruel a thing as I have heard about in a long time. These are horrid videos with many views and I regard it as a very serious matter.”
Despite a backlash over his treatment of the bird on social media, Gildea continued to joke about ‘Steven Seagull’ for months after the incident on his Facebook account, with his friends exchanging jokes, news stories and memes relating to seagulls.
However, he did also post a message on Facebook expressing regret for the incident.
He said: “I’m probably the most kind-hearted person and I would do anything for everyone. Everyone I know would vouch for me being a nice guy. However I’ll only be ever remembered as the man who allegedly stole a seagull.”
Gildea and Kincaid face up to six months in prison for the offence of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and are due to be sentenced later this month.
#TheList Henry Hamilton, born 26/10/1953, of 10 Blackwood Street, Belfast BT7 3AS: convicted of animal cruelty after his cockapoo puppy’s rotting and broken leg has to be amputated
Henry Hamilton pleaded guilty to a number of offences including causing unnecessary suffering to his pet, Gypsy.
The prosecution was brought by Belfast City Council after a vet reported the cruelty.
Henry is reported to have ignored vet instructions on how to properly care for his little golden ‘cockapoo’ following the injury, leaving the same bandage on the dog for five weeks.
A council spokesperson said: ” In May 2017, Belfast City Council’s animal welfare service attended a veterinary practice in East Belfast to assess a female golden cockapoo-type dog that had its left hind leg bandaged.
“The leg had rotted away as a result of an untreated fracture. As a result, the pup, called Gypsy, had to have its leg amputated.
“A council investigation showed that following an initial consultation with a vet on 19 April, 2017, regarding an injury to the dog’s leg, Henry Hamilton did not follow the vet’s instructions to make sure the dog’s leg was cared for properly.
“Instead, the initial bandage remained in place from 19 April 2017 until 26 May 2017, causing the dog unnecessary suffering, severe pain and the amputation of its leg as a direct result of not receiving proper veterinary care needed.
“Initially Henry Hamilton pleaded not guilty to offences, however, during the contested hearing in November 2018, submitted a guilty plea which was adjourned for sentencing until today.
“Today (14 Feb 2018) he received a six month custodial sentence, suspended for two years.”
Gypsy, who now has only three legs, has since been re-homed.
Sentencing: six month custodial sentence, suspended for two years. Disqualified from owning and keeping animals for five years.
#TheList Theresa McGahey, of Fort Street, Belfast BT12 7BH – starved her pet dog to death; another one was also starving but recovered
Irresponsible McGahey’s appalling neglect was discovered after she contacted Belfast City Council to ask them to remove the dog’s body. A council official discovered the dead brindle-coloured Staffy, named Tyson, lying in the rear yard of the property.
The court heard that a second “extremely skinny” Staffordshire Bull Terrier was lying on top of the dead body of her companion, alive but in a “poor state.”
When found, Tyson weighed just 7kg against a normal weight for the breed of 17kg. A vet later determined ulcers were found in Tyson’s stomach, which compounded with starvation would have led to a “painful and miserable” death in “appalling conditions.”
It was concluded that Tyson had died in “considerable distress” and in “filthy conditions”. As well as starving the dog, McGahey also failed to obtain medical treatment which amounted to “a criminal act that went on over a period of time” as it would have taken the dog “days if not weeks to starve”.
Court documents stated McGahey’s abuse of Tyson occurred over a 14-month period between January 2016 and March 2017.
Backyard breeder McGahey, who frequently advertised puppies for sale via Facebook, initially claimed Tyson had been poisoned and denied having deprived him of food.
It’s understood the other dog found at her home has since been returned to health and rehomed.
When local newspaper Sunday Life called to McGahey’s property and asked about the dog starving to death, she said: “And what?”
Sentencing: McGahey received a conditional discharge for 12 months and banned from keeping animals for life under Section 33 of the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011.
#TheList fox hunter Neil Frederick Pinkerton, born 19/03/1988, of 26 Clandeboye Street, Belfast BT5 4QT – ACQUITTED of cruelty offences related to animal fighting
Sadistic Neil Pinkerton posted graphic images and video of his terrier dog, known as Judy, engaged in a savage fight with a fox, to the private Facebook group North Coast Lurchers on the Beam.
In the clip, the fox can be seen locked muzzle to muzzle with Judy after the pair were dug out from the wild animal’s underground den.
Pinkerton was charged after a member of the public contacted an anti-hunting group, which then passed on the information to police.
The father-of-two was accused of two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to the dog and fox both on December 28, 2016.
He faced a third charge of causing the terrier unnecessary suffering by failing to treat or get her “adequate’’ veterinary treatment on January 25, 2017, the date she was seized by police at his home.
But he walked out of Belfast Crown Court after his one-day trial was brought to an end when Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland directed the jury to acquit him.
Judge McFarland told the jury the fox clearly had the dog by the muzzle and “no suffering was caused to the fox’’.
He also said evidence from a vet who examined Judy after she was seized stated she would have been “in discomfort”, but added the pair were only attached for a short period of time.
The decision sparked outrage from anti-hunting groups, including the League Against Cruel Sports NI. Further shock was caused in April 2018 when it was announced that Judy was to be returned to Pinkerton.
Janice Watts, senior public affairs officer for the League Against Cruel Sports NI, told local newspaper Sunday Life: “We are appalled and sickened that Judy is being returned to Pinkerton given how she suffered at his hands.
“The pictures of Judy’s horrific injuries speak for themselves, yet our justice system is allowing her to go back to Pinkerton.
“The League Against Cruel Sports and PSNI worked very hard to ensure that the person behind this awful brutality was appropriately punished.
“We would like to thank the PSNI for their hard work and assistance throughout this case.”
Sunday Life previously reported how bloodthirsty Pinkerton relished getting his dogs to kill foxes in a closed Facebook group.
He wrote in the North Coast Lurchers Under the Beam page: “Fantastic hunt today, dug (a) lovely fox for wee bitch…big f* killed the thing in (the) hole, crushed its head. Fs. Lol.”
In another exchange seen by Sunday Life, he boasted to a fellow member: “That lurcher killing them but to kill and draw, fs!”.
Pinkerton also shared a graphic video of one hunt and sickening images of both the dead fox and the savaged, bleeding dog, captioned: “One’s going to feel this in the morning, one’s not”.
Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom where hunting with dogs is still legal.