Tag Archives: Chester

Mickle Trafford, Chester: Claire Langford

#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 Curtis operated an illegal pet boarding business and failed to seek veterinary help for Shih-Tzu Blu after he was fatally injured by another dog
Claire Curtis operated an illegal pet boarding business and failed to seek veterinary help for Shih-Tzu Blu after he was fatally injured 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.

Chester and District Standard

Dodleston, Chester: Graham Lane

#TheList Graham Lane, born 01/10/1981, of Grasswood Road, Birkenhead, Wirral CH4 9NZ- neglected and starved a dog who was handed into the RSPCA as a stray

Graham Lane from Birkenhead, Wirral, Merseyside, starved and neglected his dog
In late 2017 Graham Lane, who now lives in Chester, was banned from keeping animals for ten years.

In September 2017 a young Staffy known as Badger was handed into the RSPCA’s Wirral branch in a terrible state.

Badger was skeletal and near collapse when he was handed into the RSPCA's Wirral branch
Badger was skeletal and near collapse when he was handed into the RSPCA’s Wirral branch

Weighing just 12.5kg, the dog was emaciated and near collapse from starvation. He had overgrown claws and painful pressure sores from being forced to lie on a hard surface with no bedding.

Badger was skeletal and near collapse when he was handed into the RSPCA's Wirral branch

An appeal went out to trace the skeletal dog’s owner and this led to local man Graham Lane being arrested and charged with animal cruelty. Lane was initially investigated for sexually abusing the dog but, as far as we can see, was never prosecuted for this.

Although no details of the prosecution case were ever published in the newspapers we understand that Graham Lane was convicted and given a 10-year ban on keeping all animals. This will expire in late 2027.

Neglected dog Badger looking healthy and well after six weeks of care by  the RSPCA
Badger’s weight almost doubled after six weeks of care and dedication by the RSPCA. He soon found his forever home.

After six weeks of care by RSPCA staff and volunteers, Badger was given a clean bill of health and rehomed.

RSPCA Wirral Facebook post

Chester: Christopher Hurst

#TheList Christopher Hurst, born c. 1977, of Wharton Court, Hoole Lane, Chester CH2 – drowned his pet cat in the bath in an outburst of anger

Cat killer Christopher Hurst from Chester is an aircraft fitter with Airbus
Cat killer Christopher Hurst from Chester is an aircraft fitter with Airbus

Hurst, who works as an aircraft fitter with Airbus,  pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

The court heard how Hurst held the 8yo black longhair cat, named Charlie, Charlie under the water for 15 seconds until he died.

Scratch marks found on Hurst’s hands were consistent with the cat struggling against him.

Hurst, who drank every day to self medicate for his supposed mental health problems, had owned Charlie since he was a kitten.

Cat killer Christopher Hurst from Chester is an aircraft fitter with Airbus

He said he had tried to rehome the pet because the cat had been ripping up his neighbours’ property and keeping everyone in the apartment block up all night.

Cheshire Police were called after reports of a disturbance at Hurst’s flat.

Hurst said he had run the bath for himself, but told officers he just ‘lost it’ and ‘it had all happened very quickly’.

He held Charlie down underneath the water until he had drowned.

Christopher Murphy, prosecuting, said: “The vet said these were cruel and inhumane actions on a perfectly healthy cat for no reason whatsoever.

“The drowning would’ve resulted in severe mental trauma and psychological suffering for Charlie.”

Hurst had one previous conviction, for assaulting a police officer when he was arrested later on September 12, 2015.

He was also too drunk to be interviewed on the same day.

Speaking about the case RSPCA inspector Anthony Joynes said it was “one of the most appalling and upsetting cases” he had dealt with.

He said: “The cat was a generally healthy pet who was in the wrong place at the wrong time and for that he paid the ultimate price.

“It was an inhumane ending for this cat and utterly barbaric. The cat would have suffered to an unimaginable extent, both physically and mentally through panic and terror.”

Jailed for 18 weeks. Banned from keeping animals for life.

BBC News