#TheList Thomas J Keenan, born 1972, of Hamsterly Park, Northampton NN3 5DX – failed to get treatment for his pet cat’s serious leg injury; leg amputated
Keenan pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to his cat, Beauty, when he appeared before magistrates.
The court heard how the RSPCA were called in after receiving reports from a concerned member of the public who said Beauty had a serious leg injury that had not been treated.
RSPCA Inspector Michelle Hare visited on July 13, 2019, and could see that there was a problem with Beauty’s back left leg.
The leg was twisted inwards and looked floppy, the cat was unable to put any weight on it so, with Keenan’s permission, she took Beauty for veterinary treatment.
The vet said that Beauty had a broken femur and the bone had rubbed on her skin causing an abscess that had become infected.
He added that he estimated the pet had suffered for about three weeks.
Beauty had her leg amputated but has made a great recovery and has now been rehomed by the RSPCA.
Inspector Hare said: “We still are not sure how Beauty came to be injured but believed she may have been involved in a car accident.
“She had a nasty injury and she was struggling to walk so should have been taken to the vets straight away. Many vets will offer a payment plan to help spread the cost and there are charities who can help with vet bills.”.”
His other two cats will also be rehomed by the RSPCA.
In mitigation, the court was told that Keenan was aware of the injury but could not afford veterinary treatment.
Sentencing: 120 hours of unpaid work; £385 costs. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
#TheList Anthony Steven John Oakes, born 08/09/1986, of 96 Edge Lane, Dewsbury WF12 0HB – left his dogs to suffer with serious facial injuries consistent with badger fighting.
Oakes, who together with partner Amy Lauren Auty, runs an outdoor clothing company called Oakes Outdoors Ltd, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the five dogs by failing to take them to a vet.
In February 2019, West Yorkshire Police and the RSPCA together executed two warrants in Dewsbury after intelligence was gathered about dogs being injured.
Five Patterdale terriers were found and seized from a property and all had serious injuries, mainly on their faces, consistent with badger baiting.
One of the dogs had a severely infected eye which had to be removed.
Sentencing: 200 hours of community service; fined £500. Disqualified from keeping dogs for two years. All five dogs were signed over to the RSPCA for rehoming.
#TheList Celestino Jorge Tavares Furtado, born December 1986, of 165 Hemswell Avenue, Hull HU9 5LD – kept an American bulldog left locked up in an empty office without food or water
Former restaurateur Celestino Furtado, owner of Galitos LX Charcoal Grill Bar until it was shut down in 2018 for food hygiene breaches, said he didn’t have anyone to look after the dog when he went away, so he locked him up in an office and abandoned him.
The dog, now called Teddy, was so desperate for water and food he tried to chew through the door and was found walking in his own urine and faeces.
Portuguese national Furtado was found guilty in his absence of three offences contrary to section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, including failing to meet the dog’s need for a suitable environment, adequate care and supervision and an adequate supply of fresh drinking water.
A warrant was issued for his arrest and he appeared before the same court on October 1, 2019, to be sentenced.
RSPCA Inspector Jilly Dickinson said: “The smell coming out of the unit was unbearable. There was a wooden door inside which Teddy had scratched and chewed along with exposed electrical wires.
“It was a warm day and he appeared desperate for water – drinking every bowl we put in front of him. The environment was completely unhygienic and the large build-up of faeces suggested it had not been cleaned in some time.”
Previous advice had been given to Furtado by the RSPCA relating to keeping his dog’s environment clean, however, conditions had deteriorated to an unacceptable level.
Inspector Dickinson attended Furtado’s business address in Oxford Street, Wincolmlee, in May 2019, along with a Welfare Officer from Hull City Council.
They found the dog walking in his own urine and faeces, which led to some sores developing on his paws, although they were not infected. He had skin irritation, particularly under his chin, most likely caused as a result of the unhygienic environment. The smell emanating from the unit was overpowering and could be smelt from outside.
Sentencing: 12-month community order to include 180 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay £700 costs and an £85 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping dogs for five years. Deprivation order on Teddy who will be rehomed.
#TheList Dale Antony Oldfield, born 25/10/1990, of 5 Windsor Crescent, Bridlington YO15 3HX – left his pet dog to suffer in immense pain with infections for a year
Oldfield let the “chronic” skin and ear infection afflicting American bulldog, Taegan, go untreated for over a year.
The RSPCA found Taegan in a poor condition on May 8, 2019, and she was seized by police before being taken to a vet for treatment. Unfortunately, her health deteriorated and the dog had to be put to sleep.
Oldfield was charged with two offences under the Animal Welfare Act and called to court on August 14, but failed to appear.
He was convicted in his absence and, on October 2, 2019, appeared at Beverley Magistrates Court on charges relating to his treatment of Taegan.
The court heard Oldfield had been told by a vet a year beforehand that Taegan needed treatment but had not given her any in the time since.
RSPCA Inspector Claire Mitchell, who led the investigation, said: “Mr Oldfield was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to Taegan by failing to provide veterinary treatment for the chronic skin disease and ear infection she was suffering from, and for keeping her in unsuitable conditions.
“Mr Oldfield told the court that he loved his dog and he’d done the best he could but didn’t have the money for veterinary treatment.
“We discovered Taegan had been to the vet one year before and he’d been told she needed treatment but he didn’t take any action.
“Having a pet is extremely expensive and people need to consider whether they can afford the associated costs before taking one on.
“We appreciate that people’s circumstances can change and families can find themselves struggling financially but we would always encourage people to ask for help instead of leaving a pet in pain.”
Inspector Mitchell added: “The judge accepted that Taegan had suffered immensely. She relied on Mr Oldfield and he let her down by failing to get her the help she needed.”
Sentencing: 12-month community order with a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement and 180 hours of unpaid work. Total of £435 costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping animals indefinitely.
#TheList Gary McDonald, born c. 1990, of 64 Mungalhead Road, Bainsford, Falkirk FK2 7JG – attacked a nesting swan in a public park
Gary McDonald pleaded guilty to a charge under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 at Falkirk Sheriff Court.
The court heard that on May 6, 2018, McDonald entered Crownest Park in Stenhousemuir and approached a group of teenagers saying, “Watch this, I’m going to snap the swan’s neck”. He also asked the group to film him.
Members of the group shouted at him to leave the swan alone as he approached the nest site and took out their phones to film his actions.
McDonald climbed down the verge on the east side of the pond, known as the Lido”, and sat next to the nest.
The swan became alarmed and stood up, stretching out its wings and neck in warning.
McDonald then grabbed the bird by the neck and held it for several seconds before it escaped by entering the pond.
The witnesses uploaded their footage to social media and a witness appeal by Police Scotland resulted in McDonald being identified.
This was the second year that the swan had nested at the side of the Lido.
Sara Shaw, head of the wildlife and environmental crime unit, said: “This was a callous act against a nesting swan.
“Wild birds are protected under our wildlife laws and those who choose to commit acts of violence against them can expect to be held to account.”
Sentencing: three-year community payback order with supervision and conduct requirements.
#TheList Jamie Chapman Cole, born 27/09/1996, of 4 Pond Farm Close, Saltburn-by-the-Sea TS13 5HJ – for the starvation and neglect of his cocker spaniel dog
Vets estimated that gamekeeper Jamie Cole had neglected and starved his 10-month-old dog, known as Blue, for three to four weeks.
On 4 February 2019 Cole, who at the time was based at a farm near Minsterley in Shropshire, took Blue to the Malthouse Veterinary Group in Shrewsbury complaining of diarrhoea.
Vets there found her to have sunken eyes, a low body temperature, weighing only 6kgs and unable to stand on her own for long.
RSPCA prosecutor Roger Price told the court that a healthy body temperature for dogs would be between 38 and 39.2 degrees and the vet who assessed Blue used a thermometer that would only go as low as 32, which indicated that her temperature was at or below that threshold.
Blue was taken in and placed on a bed with a heat lamp to try and raise her body temperature, and ate “ravenously” when fed, Mr Price said.
Blue’s condition improved and she was seen on February 6 by another vet at Taylor & Marshall.
That vet described Blue as “shockingly thin” and said she was likely to have been in her condition for three to four weeks.
She had been suffering with a “large amount” of roundworms as well, Mr Price said.
Her condition continued to improve in the vets’ care and she gained weight.
The court heard that Cole was an experienced handler of dogs, and that several other dogs he had responsibility for at the time were healthy and happy.
Cole’s representative Georgia Griffiths told the magistrates: “This is a man who’s incredibly upset with what’s happened. He feels terrible in himself for letting it happen, and letting the dog down and himself down.”
Being a gamekeeper was a “lifelong dream” and he had always had a good relationship with dogs, she said, but after his failure to care for Blue he has given up his other dogs and his job voluntarily and moved to be with his family in Yorkshire.
“His dream has been squashed by his own actions but he wasn’t malicious, and he didn’t do it on purpose.”
Chair of the bench Lesley Thirlwell said: “You were proactive in giving up your job, your animals and changing your lifestyle completely.
“We feel that that was punishment over and above the punishment the courts were going to make.
“You have shown remorse and already changed your lifestyle, and that has convinced us you will not be acquiring any dog in the near future.”
Sentencing: community order including 80 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay £485. Deprivation order on Blue but no ban on keeping animals was imposed by the court.
#TheList puppy farmer Mark Burgess, born 22/05/1980, of Paddock View, Brenzett, Romney Marsh TN29 0BE – for multiple animal welfare offences.
A raid on a pet farm – during which inspectors found a puppy frozen in a freezer – led to a conviction for traveller Mark Burgess on eight animal welfare offences.
RSPCA inspectors descended on the Old Ashford Road in Brenzett, near Ashford, following complaints by four members of the public.
The complainants had purchased puppies from Burgess between December 2017 and February 2018, with all of the animals quickly falling ill and dying.
Footage captured during the early morning raid showed soaked bedding, shelters with bare, rotten floorboards and dogs chained to kennels.
In the bodycam video a range of concerns were highlighted, including a cat that was found shivering in a turned-off freezer.
RSPCA inspectors noted incidents of skin disease, claws growing into toepads and cat flu amongst the animals on the farm.
Among the more shocking discoveries caught on camera was the charred corpse of a small animal discovered in a “burner drum”.
Lead RSPCA Inspector Carroll Lamport said: “We found a mix of different breeds at the site including beagles, Dalmatians, spaniels and dachshund crosses.
“Some were pregnant, others had litters of tiny puppies while some had clear signs that they’d been used for breeding previously.
“Some of the dogs were extremely frightened and shut down. Some were living in almost complete darkness and others were huddled at the back of their runs.
“One beagle was sitting uncomfortably in a filthy, wet kennel. She looked so depressed.
“When we searched a freezer on-site we made a horrifying discovery; a small, four-week-old puppy.
“The body was frozen rigid and dumped in the bottom of a blood-soaked freezer.”
In total, 20 dogs were found living in unsuitable conditions and were seized by police and placed into RSPCA care – 12 adults and eight puppies.
Two cats and three kittens suffering from cat flu were also seized and later signed over.
An elderly German Shepherd – which it’s believed was Burgess’ personal pet – was showing signs of skin disease, muscle wastage and weak back legs after being found living outside, tethered to an old wooden kennel.
The German Shepherd was put to sleep but the remaining dogs were all signed over into RSPCA care and rehomed.
Eight infringements of the Animal Welfare Act were levelled at the 39-year-old, including causing unnecessary suffering to puppies by failing to investigate and address the cause of the animal’s ill health and by selling the animal in an unfit state.
Other convictions include failing to provide veterinary care in respect of a beagle’s eye condition and failing to provide a number of dogs with a suitable environment and diet.
At the sentencing hearing, Burgess’s lawyer Gordon Crow read a letter written by his client.
It said: “You’ve found me guilty of selling three puppies that I should have realised were ill and should’ve taken to the vet.
“I accept your decision and I apologise to all concerned.
“I’ve been brought up around animals and love being around them more than people.
“Since being found guilty it’s been a nightmare.
“I’ve even been shunned by my own traveller community.
“It’s my animals that have given me strength recently.
“I’ve always said I’ll pay the money back to the buyers and I’m sorry for what they’ve gone through.”
District Judge Justin Barron told Burgess: “I found your behaviour negligent in the sense that you sold these puppies and should have further investigated the cause of their illness, identified that illness and not going on to sell them.
“The animals should not have been sold in the condition that they were in.”
He said Mr Burgess’s “standards fell short”.
The RSPCA had requested Burgess should be banned from keeping dogs.
The judge responded: “From the latest evidence I have seen the dogs you are now keeping are well cared for and I do not see there is a need to ban you from keeping dogs.”
The judge described a press release issued after Burgess’s conviction at Canterbury Crown Court in August as being an “emotional statement not appropriately balanced”.
“It led to the impression he had been found guilty of deliberately and gratuitously causing suffering to animals which wasn’t my finding.”
He said the case had led him to consider “whether the RSPCA should continue to conduct its own prosecution”.
Sentencing: two-year community order, 30 days probation, a six-month curfew and a ban on the selling of dogs for two years.
#TheList Emma Bluff, born c. 1976, of 3 Valley Cottages, Sherwood Street, Bolsover, Chesterfield S44 6JR – left her elderly dog to suffer for at least six months with a horrendous flea infestation
Bluff pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to 11-year-old Akita/Staffy cross Molly when she appeared at Chesterfield magistrates’ court.
RSPCA Inspector Mick Darling was sent to Bluff’s home after a tip off from the public and found the dog had lost half of her fur due to a severe flea infestation which a vet said had been left untreated for at least six months.
The vet found Molly was covered in fleas with inflammation all over her body, head, neck, muzzle, and legs which had led to numerous self-trauma injuries and infections.
The collar on Moly was so badly fouled by the fleas that the vet was unable to unclip it and it had to be cut off.
Due to her age, the flea infestation had caused Molly’s health to fail.
She was underweight, had an untreated growth at the bottom of her tail and she was struggling to stand on her back legs.
Her claws were long with the front dew calls almost sticking into her leg. She also had sore feet which had been caused by standing in urine.
Due to the severity of her condition, her suffering and the fact she had other health problems the vet decided the kindest thing to do was to put Molly to sleep.
Inspector Darling said: “Molly was in a terrible condition and was left like this for at least six months.
“Sadly this case goes to show how untreated skin conditions and allergies can lead to painful and horrendous suffering and other health issues – it is a pet owner’s duty to seek veterinary treatment.”
Sentencing: 16-week custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months; 80 hours of unpaid work; a total of £450 costs and charges. Banned from keeping animals for five years.
#TheList Leighton Marc Donnelly, born c. 1984, of Maes Glas, Pontyates, Gwendraeth Valley SA15 – abandoned snakes to starve to death
Leighton Donnelly pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal – contrary to the Animal Welfare Act 2006 – when he appeared before magistrates.
The court heard that he fled a property in Baptist Well Street, Waun Wen, Swansea after falling behind on his rent. When the landlord entered the house after weeks of failing to make contact, he found a starving boa constrictor loose in a bedroom.
A dead snake was found in a vivarium in the property.
Jon Tarrant, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, told the court the grim discovery was made on April 14, 2019.
Mr Tarrant said the boa constrictor was examined by a vet who said the animal was in a very emaciated state, and had lost a significant amount of body weight.
The vet concluded the snake “would have needed a prolonged period of starvation” to end up in such a poor physical state.
In his interview Donnelly admitted that last time he had seen the snakes was in “February or March”.
The defendant, who represented himself in court, apologised for actions.
Magistrates told him courts took animal offences seriously and he had shown a “flagrant disregard for the welfare” of the snakes.
Sentencing: 12-month community order with a rehabilitation course and 60 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay £400 towards costs. Banned from keeping any animal for two years.