#TheList Emma Jane Connolly, born 1989, of Wellington Street, Howley, Warrington WA1 – left her elderly pet dog to suffer with multiple ailments
Single mother-of-two Emma Connolly admitted two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal in that she failed to seek veterinary treatment for her desperately ill 16-year-old Staffy Lucie.
Lucie was suffering from a skin condition, ‘excessive thirst’ and hind leg weakness and pain. She was very sadly put to sleep.
Sentencing: eight-week curfew; ordered to pay £1,310 in costs and charges. Banned from keeping all animals for 10 years.
#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 Sharon Hayes (also known as Sharon Micklewright), born 16/09/1966, of Coronation Drive, Frodsham WA6 7HS – prosecuted for animal cruelty after her pet dog’s emaciated remains were found buried in her garden
Sharon Hayes, who is a grandmother, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to her Staffordshire bull terrier, known as Lily.
The court heard how the RSPCA were called to investigate after a member of the public reported their concerns about Lily’s welfare.
Inspector Leanne Cragg was sent to the property on September 17, 2019, and when Hayes answered the door she asked to see her dog to which Hayes replied ‘she’s dead’.
Hayes explained that Lily had died days earlier on September 12 and she had buried her body in the garden.
She admitted Lily was underweight and that she vomited blood and had diarrhoea the night before she died, but she failed to seek veterinary treatment for her.
Suspecting the dog had been neglected, an application to exhume Lily’s body was made. Hayes showed the RSPCA where Lily was buried and her body was found wrapped in a patterned curtain.
Her body was taken for a post mortem examination where tests proved she was emaciated and she had chronic kidney failure which caused her death.
Inspector Cragg said: “It is terrible to think of the suffering Lily must have endured leading up to her death. The emaciation led to sickness and diarrhoea but the owner still did not seek veterinary treatment.
“There is never an excuse not to feed a pet or seek veterinary treatment – if people are in need of help there are also plenty of animal charities that can help.”
Sentencing: ordered to pay a total of £1,332. Banned from keeping animals for ten years with a right of appeal after five years.
#TheList Brendan Murphy, born c. 1967, of Nantwich – stabbed his dog twice before throwing her into the canal to drown
Murphy, who lives on a barge on the Shropshire Union Canal, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to his poorly Akita dog , Tara, by stabbing her twice, chaining a heavy weight around her body and dumping her in the canal to drown.
The court heard how Tara’s body was seen floating in the Shropshire Union canal at Nantwich on October 6, 2018, and police were called. Officers then alerted the RSPCA
Inspector Andy Harris investigated and took the dog’s body to the vets, where a post mortem examination revealed she had been suffering from a lung disease for a number of weeks.
The vet also found she had been stabbed twice before her body entered the canal. Due to the state of decomposition her body had been in the water for about three weeks.
Some patches of fur missing on Tara’s body suggested the propeller of a barge had come into contact with her under water and this had freed her body from the item used to weigh her down.
Her microchip revealed she was owned by Murphy so Inspector Harris visited his address and he admitted Tara was his.
During interview, Murphy admitted he was aware Tara was unwell with a lung condition and had sought veterinary advice but could not afford the treatment.
He said she had died on the canal barge and so he buried her in woodland near Crewe where he was moored at the time.
He said in interview that he went to the spot where he buried her to pay his respects a few times but claimed about two weeks later her body had been dug up and said he had no idea how she ended up in the canal.
As it was suspected Tara had drowned, samples of her bone marrow were sent away for forensic testing – the first time this technique has been used in an RSPCA prosecution.
The test showed that Tara died from drowning.
In a witness statement, an expert vet told the court: “It is my expert opinion that Tara was suffering as a result of underlying ill health at the time of her death.
“It is further my expert opinion that Tara was alive when she was placed in the canal and that she was deliberately anchored down with a length of chain.
“The cause of death in Tara is hence in my expert opinion drowning.”
Inspector Harris said: “Poor Tara had a lung disease which was left untreated and therefore she was left suffering will this illness for a number of weeks.
“She was then stabbed in the abdomen twice before being thrown alive into the canal, where she drowned.
“It is upsetting to think about what she must have endured during her final moments.”
Sentencing: 10-week jail sentence suspended for 12 months; ordered to pay a total of £415 in costs and charges. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
#TheList Yvonne Mairs, born 04/12/1967, of Sinclair Avenue, Orford, Warrington WA2 9QY – failed to take her desperately ill dog to the vet for treatment
Mairs’ dog, known as Sasha, was found with discharge and blood dripping from her ears and many missing and loose teeth.
Anna McDonald, prosecuting, said on June 4, 2019, Mairs rang the RSPCA saying her dog was ill.
Inspectors arrived at her home and were shown Sasha who was quiet, lethargic, underweight and had infections.
Ms McDonald explained that as well as a chronic ear infection and dental disease, Sasha’s skin was scabbed over and there was a strong smell coming from her infection sites.
The court was told that upon inspection by a vet, Sasha was clearly in pain and would yelp when the vet tried to touch her face.
Sasha was euthanised, as the vet deemed surgery would have been too much for her and carried too many risks.
Ms McDonald said the dog would have been suffering for a minimum of six weeks but possibly many months, although Mairs said she only noticed the extent of Sasha’s illnesses the week before calling the RSPCA.
The court heard how, due to suffering from anxiety, Mairs struggled leaving the house and did not have a way to transport the dog to a vet, but she had been trying to clean Sasha’s head with a cloth.
Mairs’ lawyer told the court her client had owned the dog for her whole life and there was no suggestion to say that she had been neglected before.
Sentencing: 12-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months. Banned from keeping all animals for life.
Additional info: we understand that Smyth may have moved out of Larkhall in May 2019 and may be living in Burnbank, Hamilton. He is said to be a bit of a drifter who moves around constantly. He has apparently been in and out of jail for years, for all different offences. He has a lengthy criminal record, much of it involving violence against women. He also has drug and alcohol issues.
#TheList David Kent, born 02/03/1956, of Elmstead Road Chelford, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK11 3BS – convicted of animal cruelty after leaving his Cockapoo in his car for two hours
David Kent was charged after police alerted by a worried member of the public found his three-year-old Cockapoo rescue dog panting for breath and in a distressed state in the boot of his vehicle on 31 May 2018 .
Temperatures outside were 68 degrees Farenheit (20C), but it is not known how hot it was inside the car itself.
Kent was tracked down shortly afterwards by the officer who told him: ”You should be ashamed of yourself – the dog thinks more of you than you do of him.”
The unnamed animal is now at home with Kent and his partner Mike Jehan.
Kent later insisted he had left a bowl of water with the dog and had left a window open by up to six inches.
He also claimed the man who reported him was homophobic and critical of his relationship with Mr Jehan. But police said there was no water left in the boot and the windows were down one inch.
Prosecutor Lucy Garside said: “Information was received by the police from a member of the public who had called the police to make them aware of a dog in the car which was distressed.
“An officer attended the location that day and he heard a dog. He approached the car which the dog was inside he could hear the dog barking from inside the vehicle.
“The rear of the vehicle had very dark, tinted windows but the officer could see the dog in the boot. The vehicle was parked in full sunlight, the rear passenger windows were open but only by approximately one inch on each side.
“He tried the driver’s side rear passenger door which as open, he used that to get into the boot of the vehicle. Immediately he could feel how hot it was inside of the vehicle, he saw a small dog.
“When he opened the door he could see that the dog was panting excessively and was physically hot to touch, he also noticed there was no water left in the boot for the dog.
“The call was made at 1pm and by the time the officer arrived it was 3.20pm – the dog had been left in the vehicle for over two hours in a distressed state. Information taken from the Met Office weather report showed the weather was sunny with a temperature of 20 degrees celcius for the time the dog was in the car.
“The basis of plea states that there was water left in the boot of the vehicle and the windows were down six inches. But the officer specifically says there wasn’t any water left in the boot and the windows were down one inch.”
Sentencing: fined £136, plus £30 victim surcharge and £85 costs.
#TheList Shirley Miller, born c. 1960, of Swireford Road, Helsby WA6 9BA – let her horse suffer after refusing to get him treatment for cancer
At a three-day trial, Miller was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a 23-year-old horse called Bradley.
The court heard how the horse had a large tumour on his penis which she failed to seek veterinary attention for – and a veterinary witness believed he was left untreated for 12 to 18 months.
Bradley’s suffering was noticed on the day that Miller had loaned him to a woman to be his new owner in August 2018.
The new owner realised immediately there was something wrong with the horse and a vet attended.
The vet advised the new owner to contact the RSPCA and Inspector Leanne Cragg was sent to investigate on August 15.
Leanne said the vet found the cancerous tumour to be 10cm long and 8cm wide.
The tumour had been left untreated for so long that maggots were also visible. The vet said he believed Bradley had been left untreated for between 12 to 18 months and the tumour was inoperable.
Miller had denied causing unnecessary suffering by failing to seek veterinary attention and said she checked the horses daily but had no idea that Bradley had any health issues.
Leanne said: “Poor Bradley must have lived in agony for at least 12 months – even urinating would have caused him horrendous pain.
“The court was of the view that any reliable and competent owner would have noticed the suffering.
“It was clear he was in discomfort and there was a horrendous smell caused by tumour and maggots had infested it, which must have been almost unbearable for him.
“After hearing from expert veterinary witnesses the district judge was satisfied Miller would have known about the health issue.”
Bradley was seized by the RSPCA and was cared for by his new owner until a vet decided in October he was suffering so much the kindest thing would be to put him to sleep.
Sentencing: ordered to pay £9,850 costs and a £1,500 fine. Banned from keeping equines for just three years (suspended for six weeks so that she can make arrangements for eight other horses currently in her care).
#TheList pet sitter Claire Langford (aka Claire Curtis), born c. 1972, of The Orchard, Plemstall Lane, Mickle Trafford, Chester CH2 4EN – failed to take a badly injured Shih Tzu to the vet after he had been attacked by another dog
Claire Langford was paid to look after four-year-old Shih-Tzu Blu while his owners went on holiday – despite not having a licence for boarding facilities.
Then when Blu was seriously injured after being attacked by a boxer dog, Langford failed to contact a vet until after he had died.
Langford, who previously owned a kennels business and claimed to have been a judge at Crufts, pleaded guilty to keeping an animal boarding establishment without a licence. She was also found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal following a trial.
The court heard that Blu’s owner dropped off the dog the day before she was heading on her holiday as the family member she usually left the pet with was unwell.
It was later that same day that Blu died.
Langford had given four varying accounts of events surrounding the incident, which happened when she was out with her own dogs and Blu at Delamere Forest.
A vet pathologist said in court that Blu had numerous injuries and bit marks which included a severe 13cm lesion around the neck.
The pathologist concluded Blu would have died about an hour after the attack but it was clear veterinary assistance should have been sought as the injuries could clearly be seen.
In a victim impact statement, Blu’s devastated owner said: “This was the first time I had ever left Blu and I was very nervous.
“Blu was my baby boy; after 13 years of trying to start a family we agreed to put that heartache behind us. Blu gave us the most amazing four years but it should have been so much more. He brought me so much joy into my life. Blu was my world and meant everything to me.
“I feel lost without him; it kills me every day knowing I left him with those people.”
A probation report said Langford, who had no previous convictions, had received a visit from the RSPCA who said they had no issues.
She had a diploma in animal care and had looked after dogs her whole life, and had volunteered with the RSPCA.
She “thought the world of Blu” and the attack “broke her heart”.
Langford had a number of health issues, both physical and mental, including complications caused by having type two diabetes since the age of six.
Defending, Peter Barnett said Langford had run a kennels business until about 10 years ago due to her health, but would look after her own six dogs and friends’ dogs.
She was on universal credit and personal independent payments, while being cared for by her 18-year-old daughter.
Sentencing: ordered to pay £1,000 compensation to Blu’s owners and £1,500 in costs to the council. Six-month curfew. Banned from applying for an animal boarding premises licence for 10 years.
Update 30/05/19: Following sentencing on April 30, 2019, Langford submitted an appeal against both her conviction and sentence – but withdrew her appeal against conviction two days before the hearing.
Appealing against her sentence, Langford claimed that the event was a one-off and that she was not operating a commercial enterprise, but this was rejected by the appeal judge.
During the appeal the judge said: “It must have been transparent this dog was poorly, you had received training. This dog suffered on any view serious and fatal injuries, and would have been displaying signs of ill health and distress.”
And referring to a recording of a phone conversation with a veterinary receptionist heard in court, he added: “It’s not simply a case of you not noticing the injury. This is a bad case. We heard the calm tone with which you spoke to the receptionist. She was far more upset than you were, for a dog you’d been paid to look after.”
However, taking into account Langford’s financial situation, the judge reduced the total amount payable by deleting the costs ordered.
The curfew was also reduced to one month and the curfew times altered.