#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 Amy Rutherford, born 12/01/1997, of Coltsfoot Gardens, Gateshead NE10 9RE – locked her two cats in her squalid home while she went to live with her boyfriend
Cats Lucy and Lola almost starved to death after their owner, Amy Rutherford, abandoned them in a dark and freezing property for six weeks.
In court, she pleaded guilty to one count of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and two of failing to ensure the welfare of an animal.
The court heard that the RSPCA were contacted in early September 2019 after members of the public reported seeing the “distressed” cats jumping up at the windows of Rutherford’s home.
An officer attended and left an RSPCA card, as well as putting sellotape around the hinges of the front door.
The investigator returned a number of times over the following days and saw that the tape was still intact, meaning nobody had entered or left the property.
Eventually, the police gained access on September 20.
Stewart Haywood, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said: “The conditions inside were appalling. There was a strong smell of urine and faeces and it was dark and cold.
“The light switches were not working and the rooms were covered in rubbish.”
The court heard that bin bags had been scratched at by the cats and there was no food or water in their bowls.
The prosecutor added: “The officer found Lucy. She was opening her mouth repeatedly but no sound was coming out. Her pink collar was wrapped around her hips rather than her neck.
“Her bones could be felt and her eyes were sunk.”
Lucy collapsed when she was put in a basket to the point officers thought she had died.
Lola, who was in a slightly better condition, was also seized and taken to a vets, where both were discovered to be emaciated and Lucy to be suffering from hypothermia.
When interviewed, Rutherford claimed she’d only ever left the pets for a couple of days and hadn’t replied to the RSPCA card because she’d been too busy with work.
John Williams, defending, said Rutherford was drinking too much at the time and suffered from secondary bipolar disorder and depression.
He added: “There’s no excuse and she accepts that. She abandoned the cats for about six weeks. She went to stay with her boyfriend as her mental health was deteriorating. She was a manager in a shop but she had to give that up as she could no longer carry on.”
District Judge Kate Meek said: “You had to move out of the house because it was uncomfortable for you because it was cold and dark, but, it’s alright for them [the cats] to suffer and not you?
“They, like any other pet animal, rely completely on you for their care and attention. When you take ownership of them, it’s effectively an agreement that you’re going to look after them.
“They’re technically no more able to do so themselves than a small, young child.”
The judge added: “I have looked at the pictures and they are quite distressing, as it is distressing to hear the particulars.
“It’s absolutely clear that this was over a prolonged period of time and both cats suffered a high degree of harm because of your lack of care and attention that you must be expected to provide any animal in your care.
“There is no justification or explanation for it.”
Sentencing: 18-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, with 250 hours of unpaid work. Banned from keeping pets indefinitely.
#TheList Paul Scotty Murray, born 21/11/1999, of 10 Gartmorn Road, Sauchie, Alloa FK10 3NX – inflicted a catalogue of injuries on a pup and stuffed him into a tiny drawer
The badly injured dog, known as Tyson, was left in agony with no access to food, water, light or room to move after being stuffed into a drawer by his twisted owner, Paul Scotty Murray. The four-month-old dog had to be euthanised on humane grounds.
Murray only admitted causing Tyson unnecessary suffering by failing to get him treated for a catalogue of horrendous injuries. The court did not address how he came to be injured in the first place.
Tyson had sustained a fractured elbow and injured hip, and was suffering from a painful ear condition between February 21-28, 2019.
Instead of taking the stricken dog to a vet, Murray left him to suffer in agony at his property on Gartmorn Road during that period.
He also admitted cramming Tyson into a tiny drawer under a bed on February 28.
Police discovered Tyson in the drawer and immediately seized him from Murray.
The court heard a vet found “evidence of definite trauma to the head, neck and femur”.
The injuries were likely to have been a result of “separate incidents” of trauma, and the pain the dog was in would have been obvious to any owner.
Sadly, Tyson was euthanised on welfare grounds on March 1.
Murray’s solicitor, Grazia Robertson of Glasgow law firm L and G Robertson, said her client was barely able to care for himself, let alone an animal.
She said this was due to a troubled upbringing, and asked for unpaid work or a curfew to be imposed on Murray.
She added: “Clearly, some punishment is required.”
A furious Sheriff Craig Harris warned Murray of how seriously he viewed the offences.
He said: “You put this animal through absolute hell. You should be nowhere near animals.
“I’ve given serious consideration as to whether you should go to prison for this.”
Instead, Murray walked free from court with a community order.
Sentencing: 150 hours of unpaid work and a one-year supervision order. He is banned from owning, keeping, or taking charge of any animal for a period of seven years.
#TheList puppy farm dealer Marco Tondo, born 18/10/1987, currently of 18 Shawfield Court, Annan, Dumfries-shire DG12 6JB but with links to the Shettleston area of Glasgow, and partner Nadine Campbell, born 07/12/1988, of 39 Colston Avenue, Bishopbriggs G64 1SL – sold sick puppies and ran an illegal ‘pet shop’
Wannabe gangster and alleged drug dealer Marco Tondo kept several dogs in cramped conditions at partner Campbell’s address in Bishopbriggs in October 2018.
The Scottish SPCA said the puppies were suffering from a number of serious health problems, including worm and flea infestations, parvovirus and coccidiosis – a parasitic infestation.
Investigating officers determined they had come from “suspected puppy dealers”.
Five puppies were sold at the “pet shop” where eight other young dogs were kept.
Two dogs had to be put down, one of which had suffered organ damage. Other dogs there were also poorly and underweight.
Tondo, who shares a baby daughter with co-accused Nadine Campbell, was set to face trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court but pleaded guilty to a charge of causing “unnecessary suffering” to the puppies.
Tondo and Campbell both admitted to operating a pet shop without proper authority involving the selling of five puppies and having eight other young dogs.
The court heard Tondo put Jack Russell and Chihuahua puppies up for sale on Gumtree.
Two buyers came to the property in Bishopbriggs, where Campbell was living.
Tondo told them not to feed the puppy on the journey as it would be “sick due to travel.”
He claimed one dog had been wormed but failed to forward the paperwork to the buyers. It was later discovered that the puppy had not been wormed or microchipped.
The buyers paid £350 and Tondo did acknowledge that the puppy was “unwell” – it later vomited in the buyers’ car and its health deteriorated.
The puppy was taken to the vet for dehydration where its breathing became “laboured” and died.
Tondo could not be contacted and his phone appeared “out of service.”
The court heard of another incident when a vet and her daughter bought a dog from Tondo.
The vet noted that the dogs didn’t show typical puppy behaviour and were underweight – she also noted there was no food, beds or blankets for the animals.
The vet later bought the dog after discussing it with her daughter and was told by Tondo that the puppy had been vaccinated and microchipped.
The dog’s health deteriorated as it became dehydrated and was passing clear watery fluids.
The puppy was taken for veterinary treatment but did not respond to its medication.
A third puppy was then bought on October 21, 2018, at an address in Larbert, Stirlingshire.
Prosecutors said the dog – who also had fleas – then “collapsed, was pale and had a fever”.
Vets found it had signs of “organ damage”. The dog died on October 25, 2018.
A fourth puppy later sold also needed vet treatment.
The charge stated a number of puppies at the address in Bishopbriggs were “confined in a small cage” and others in a garden were “underweight”.
Despite all of this neither Tondo nor Campbell were banned from keeping animals an outcome with the Scottish SPCA greeted with disappointment.
An undercover special investigation unit (SIU) inspector said: “Whilst we welcome and respect the court’s judgment, we would have liked to see Tondo given a ban on owning or keeping animals. His disregard for the welfare of numerous dogs led to several puppies becoming unwell and, in two sorry cases, passing away.
“We became aware of Tondo and Campbell following reports by concerned members of the public who had purchased puppies from them that had subsequently become very ill and, sadly in two instances, passed away.
“Working on intelligence we were able to determine that both of the accused were supplied puppies from an unidentified puppy dealer, but failed to keep any form of register of sales carried out.
“Our investigation led us to the home of Campbell. With a warrant, we discovered evidence to support that they were selling puppies on behalf of a third party without the appropriate licence.
“The pups have come from suspected puppy dealers. These people are driven by profit and often have no regard for animal welfare.”
The inspector added: “The puppies were suffering from a number of serious health problems including worm and flea infestations, parvovirus and coccidiosis, a parasitic infestation. Tondo’s failure to provide veterinary care for these animals would have led to immeasurable suffering.
“Not only did they put the dogs in their care at risk but due to the contagious nature of the diseases the puppies had, they put domestic dogs in Scotland at great risk.
“This has been heart-breaking for the families who bought the puppies from the couple. Not only did it result in large veterinary bills, but also a lot of stress and heartache.
“Tondo has overlooked the most basic welfare standards in order that they can profit at the expense of these animals.
“This case shows that not only are we targeting puppy farmers but we are also taking on those buying puppies from dealers with successful results. This is a reminder that we will not overlook anyone involved in this barbaric trade.”
Sentencing: Marco Tondo was ordered to carry out 270 hours of unpaid work in the community while Nadine Campbell was tagged for three months for selling the pups from her home address without a licence. No ban on keeping animals was imposed on either of them.
The owner was alerted to the crime after hearing gunshots and then spotting Price loading something into the back of his van.
North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard police later found the 22-year-old with eight dead pheasants in his vehicle.
Prosecutor Sue Hayers said: “The injured party was at home at 9pm on January 14 when he heard what he thought sounded like silenced rifle shots. He saw a light shine in the trees and formed the opinion someone was outside.
“He saw a van parked up the road and saw someone throw something into the rear of the van. The person was holding a rifle. The vehicle pulled away.
“Police later located the van and the defendant. They recovered an air rifle, pellets and eight pheasants from the vehicle.”
When he was arrested, Price claimed he did not know the Whitmore land was private and said he intended to eat the birds.
The court heard the landowner, the Cavanagh-Mainwairing family, rears pheasants to be used in licensed shoots held on the estate, and the theft left them £320 out of pocket.
Price pleaded guilty to theft and a charge of trespassing at night with an air rifle to destroy game.
The offences put him in breach of a conditional discharge he received for another theft, when he was collecting scrap metal and took property that the owner had not agreed he could have.
Mohammed Fiaz, mitigating, said: “He has written a letter of apology for his behaviour. The reason Mr Price took the pheasants was for his own consumption. He wasn’t going to sell them on. He purchased the rifle legitimately.
“He was working as a labourer but unfortunately he lost that job a couple of weeks ago.”
Sentencing: 12-month community order with 80 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay £320 to the victim. He must also pay a £120 fine for breaching the conditional discharge.
#TheList Steven Anthony Harrison, born 12/08/1985, of Brereton Road, Middlesbrough TS4 3HS – starved and neglected his pet dog and let him stray
Steven Harrison’s dog, known as Benson, was found “skinny, lethargic and retching’ with a potato stuck in his throat. He had also swallowed a dishcloth which was lodged in his stomach.
Career criminal Harrison, who has racked up dozens of convictions for house burglary, was convicted of two offences under the Animal Welfare Act: one of causing unnecessary suffering and one of failing to meet Benson’s needs.
A member of the public had alerted the RSPCA after the dog was found straying on February 4, 2019.
Inspector Clare Wilson said: “When I first saw Benson he was skinny, lethargic and kept retching and coughing constantly. I could feel and see all of his ribs and his spine.
“It was late at night so I took him to a nearby vet surgery where staff were concerned that he had an obstruction.
“He was put onto a drip and given pain relief and medication to help with the sickness. Vets did lots of tests and x-rays showed a large obstruction in his chest cavity, behind the heart. He needed a special operation to remove it – and that’s when vets found a whole potato and dishcloth inside him.
“It was touch and go whether he’d survive the complex operation but, luckily, he pulled through.”
Inspector Wilson traced Harrison and was told that Benson had been vomiting for a number of days but no veterinary treatment was sought and he was allowed to stray around the area.
She continued: “He was extremely poorly by the time we were able to get him the vet. He was lucky to survive.”
Benson was signed over to the RSPCA after court.
The inspector continued: “Poor Benson has a stricture in his oesophagus which means he will probably always need to be fed small amounts of food regularly so this incident has had a life-changing effect on him.
“He’s doing well otherwise though and is such a lovely dog that the animal centre staff who are caring for him are hopeful they will be able to find him the special home he needs and deserves when he’s ready.”
Sentencing: six weeks’ custody suspended for 12 months; ordered to do 80 hours of unpaid work and to pay a victim surcharge of £115. Disqualified from keeping all animals for seven years.
#TheList puppy farmers Lucinda S Rolph, born 14/06/1966 and daughter Victoria J Rolph, born 22/03/1989, both of Woodward Farm, Alma Lane, Upham, near Southampton SO32 1HE
Lucinda Rolph has been ordered to pay £600,000 through a court confiscation order after pleading guilty to running an unlicensed dog breeding farm. Her daughter Victoria Rolph also pleaded guilty to same offence, with a lesser role, and has been ordered to pay almost £15,000.
Licensing officers from the local authority caught wind of the pair’s operation in May 2015 and carried out a warrant at their £600,000 farm in the village of Upham, near Southampton. There they found litters of puppies as well as adult dogs.
Despite being warned that they needed a licence for commercial breeding, the Rolphs continued to advertise dogs and puppies for sale, sometimes under different names, without one.
The pair came to the attention of licensing officers again after a miniature Dachshund they sold died weeks later of canine parvovirus.
Prosecutor Ethu Crorie told the court how the pair would advertise puppies and adult dogs for sale online via Pets4Homes and Preloved. They advertised 38 different breeds, with prices ranging from £500 to £1,500 per animal.
Mr Crorie added there was no record of sales or receipts and the pair did not have any tax records.
The pair had several accounts in their own names and 18 with other people’s names – some of whom they knew and were unaware that their name was being used.
Mr Crorie said that if every dog had sold as advertised and none of the adverts were duplicated, the pair could have been paid as much as £1.5 million pounds.
In sentencing the pair, Judge Henry, inset, said: “Lucinda Rolph was warned of the need for having a licence in 2015.
“She said at that stage she was thinking about giving everything up.
“She was well aware a licence was required.
“She kept no records of this lucrative business and they used fake names to hide the fact they were still selling adult and puppies during this period.”
Sentencing: Lucinda Rolph was ordered to pay £601,700 within a three-month period or face a five-year prison sentence in default. She was also told to pay costs of £20,000 and to complete 60 hours of unpaid work.
Victoria Rolph was ordered to pay £14,950 within a three-month period or face six months in prison in default. She was also told to complete 60 hours of unpaid work.
Both Rolphs were also given a dog breeding banning order for six years.
#TheList Violet Johnston, born 31/01/1971, of Knocklea, Biggar ML12 6EG – for starving her Boxer dog and failing to treat her painful ear infection; dog put to sleep
Johnston was charged with failing to provide an adequate diet for the eight-year-old dog named Picco and for failing to seek veterinary treatment for her.
The court heard how a Scottish SPCA inspector found Picco and another Boxer named Boe in a large dog crate in the kitchen. Picco was in a very poor condition, weighing just 13.54kg, which is almost half the recommended weight for a dog of her breed. She was very thin and her spine was visibly protruding.
The dogs and two cats were removed from Johnston’s address and taken into the SSPCA’s care. A third cat was outside at the time.
Scottish SPCA inspector Sian Robertson said, “It was clear that Picco needed immediate veterinary treatment. Her frame was incredibly lean. When she was offered food, she gobbled it up as if she was starving.
“This shows that there was no health issue interfering with Picco’s ability to put on weight. When she received regular food in our care, she gained weight easily.
“On veterinary examination, Picco’s body score was given as 1/5 where five is top condition.
“She was found to have a mammary mass and an ear infection that was causing inflammation and infection, causing pain and discharge from her ears. The smell was obvious and pungent.
“It was clear to our team that Picco needed urgent care and treatment. The fact the health issues and starved frame were not picked up by Johnston shows how incapable she was of providing Picco with the care she needed.
“The saddest thing about this case is that Picco had to be euthanised for an unrelated health issue. She had marked spondylosis at several points along her spine which was having an effect on her quality of life, as well as having several other chronic degenerative conditions.
“Sadly, the vets made the decision that the kindest thing to do was to put her to sleep to end further suffering.”
Sentencing: six-month community payback supervision order. two-year-ban on keeping animals.