#TheList Lesley Cameron (aka Lesley Grimshaw), born 01/04/1960 of 30 Dundas Gardens, Whitby YO21 1HD and Alexander Cameron, born 08/10/88 of 2 Greens Yard, Church Street, Whitby YO22 4AY – left their pet dog suffering in pain with a foul-smelling infection
Lesley Cameron and her son Alexander Cameron pleaded guilty to offences related to causing unnecessary suffering to their pet dog, Tigerlilly The Akita was suffering from a painful uterus infection but her owners failed to take her to the vet for treatment.
The court heard that an RSPCA inspector visited the pair’s home on November 28, 2019, after concerns were raised that the dog had missed her last three vet appointments.
Upon arrival, the RSPCA, along with North Yorkshire Police, found Tigerlily in a sorry state and suffering from pyometra.
RSPCA inspector Claire Little said: “I’ve met Tigerlily many times over many years and she’s a very friendly dog who has always come to the door to meet me.
“Upon entering the room where Tigerlily was lying on the floor, there was a noticeable and unpleasant smell, and she didn’t get up which worried me.
“I encouraged her to stand up so I could check her over, which she did, and she had lost weight from my last visit.
“Immediately I could see that the fur around her back end was wet and dirty.
“As she stood up I could smell the unpleasant smell more strongly and upon closer examination, I saw a greeny milky coloured discharge from her body
“The fur around there was soaked and appeared sticky when touched and her fur was matted.”
She added: “Ms Cameron allowed me to take Tigerlily to the vets for examination and she was taken into possession by police on vet advice and placed in RSPCA care pending the outcome of my investigation.
“Tigerlily is doing really well with a foster family at the moment I am really happy that we’ll now be able to find a permanent home for her, where her needs will always be met.”
In addition to the disqualification, a deprivation order was placed on Tigerlily whose care will now pass to the RSPCA.
Sentencing: Alexander Cameron – 12-month community order with 10 rehabilitation activity requirement days; 140 hours of unpaid work; total of £290 in costs and charges.
Lesley Cameron 12-month community order with 10 rehabilitation activity requirement days; £290 in costs and charges.
Both were banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
#TheList Anthony Bittlestone, born 28/12/1970, of Lilywhite Terrace, Easington Lane, Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland DH5 – banned from keeping animals after his dog was found starving.
Jack Russell Riley was described as “emaciated” and weighed just 3kg when found, which was less than half of the recommended weight for his breed. His nails were overgrown and he was also shedding fur. The floor of the kitchen where he was kept was littered faeces.
His owner Anthony Bittlestone pleaded guilty to two offences of causing unnecessary suffering and failing to ensure the dog’s welfare.
RSPCA prosecutor Stewart Haywood told the court that an inspector first visited Bittlestone’s house on September 30, 2019, but was not allowed in. He did, however, see Riley and noticed that his hips, ribs and spine were clearly visible. Inspector Haywood gave Bittlestone advice on improving the dog’s body condition.
The RSPCA paid further visits to Bittlestone’s home in October 2019 but there was no answer at the door.
After receiving no contact from Bittlestone, the RSPCA gained access to the property and found Riley in a “shocking condition”.
Mr Haywood said: “Riley was extremely thin and very lethargic. The kitchen floor was littered with faeces and the smell was described as disgusting.”
The pet was taken to a vet and examined. Blood tests were also carried out.
“Riley had a weight of 3.09kg, an emaciated body condition,” said Mr Haywood. “A dog of that type should weigh about 7kg.
“The dog was shedding fur and its nails were too long. Blood test results showed that Riley had simply been starved.”
Jason Smith, representing Bittlestone, said this happened at a time when the defendant, who worked as a milkman, was experiencing difficulties.
His partner had left him and his father had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Bittlestone found himself struggling to look after his parents and the dog as well as keeping up with his work, it was said.
Mr Smith added: “While Riley was clearly underweight, there was actually no long-term deficit at all. There was no internal damage, no veterinary or medical condition to show that Riley will be adversely affected.
“Mr Bittlestone was feeding Riley. The reality is that Riley was clearly not getting the nutritional value from the food that has been given to him.”
Sentencing: 18-month community order, 25 days of rehabilitation activities and 150 hours of unpaid work; £490 in costs. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
#TheList Steven Sai Chong To, born 21/03/1992, and wife Charlotte Plimmer, born 15/11/1996, both of 13 Theatre Royal Apartments, 15 Shoplatch, Shrewsbury SY1 1HR – for cruelty offences relating to four kittens
Takeaway worker Steven To killed two kittens and inflicted months of abuse on two others while his wife, Charlotte To (née Plimmer) failed to react to the ongoing cruelty.
Between August 2018 and March 2019, the Tos inflicted abuse which RSPCA veterinarian Dr David Martin said was the worst he had seen in his 22 years of practice.
The court heard how eight-week-old kittens Jin and Sun, and two-month-old pets Moon and Mew, suffered seizures, broken bones, infections, hair and skin loss, multiple amputations and tail lacerations which left one “hanging on by a thread”.
Steven To pleaded guilty to three animal cruelty charges relating to harming the cats, and Charlotte To pleaded guilty to four charges of failing to provide a safe environment and veterinary care.
Prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, Sara Pratt, said: “The defendants lived together with their kittens in a flat in Shrewsbury.
“Over the period of August 2018 and March 2019, they acquired a total of four kittens, two of which were killed while in the care of the defendants, as a result of the actions of Steven To – Jin was almost 12 weeks old and Mew was just five months old at the time of their deaths.”
The court heard Jin and Sun were registered at Animal Trusts Vets and deemed healthy in August 2018, before Moon and Mew were registered at a different practice, Copthorne Veterinary Clinic, in November 2018.
Ms Pratt added: “On September 14, 2018, a phone call was made to Animal Trust Vets reporting that Jin had been playing, knocked over some recycling, started having a seizure and died.
“On September 21, Sun was anaesthetised and X-rays revealed a fresh fracture to her right tibia.”
The court heard in October 2018, Sun was taken to the vets with two “kinks” in her tail, before returning three days later with it “hanging off”.
The defendants bought Moon and Mew in November 2018, before Sun was taken to the vets again with hair and skin loss.
Mew then suffered an injury to her chin where the skin had become detached from her jaw bone and required surgery, the court heard.
Ms Pratt said: “Just seven days after surgery to her avulsed chin, Mew was returned to Copthorne Vets with an extreme fracture dislocation midway down the tail – all tendons had been ripped.”
Mew was found dead on the kitchen floor days after returning from the vets following a tail amputation.
The court heard that an RSPCA post mortem found evidence of blunt trauma to the right side of the cat’s thorax and neck, as well as evidence that the cat had lost blood externally through the nose.
The court then heard how in February 2019, Moon was taken to Abbey Veterinary Centre starved, and again with a leg fracture in March.
Following concerns raised by the veterinary practices and the RSPCA, later that month Moon and Sun were seized by police and a full investigation was launched.
A report by Dr Martin stated that it was “clear” all four cats sustained “serious injuries” and that two died from “traumatic incidents”.
He added: “It is exceptionally unusual to have such a significant incidence of serious trauma in four cats over such a short period of time, to the extent that in 22 years of veterinary practice, I have never seen or heard of such a high incidence of serious injury.”
District Judge Kevin Grego said there was “no doubt” a lifetime ban was necessary for Mr To, and that Mrs To should not have “covered her eyes” to the ongoing abuse.
He said: “The penny must have dropped after a short period of time. She [Mrs To] either should have got those animals out of the house or at the very least ensured it wasn’t going to happen again.”
Judge Grego added: “Animal cruelty is incisive of a mindset that’s corrosive and damaging – that’s what makes this so serious.
“There should be no doubt the animals that died and suffered did so as a result of deliberate cruelty from you, Steven.
“That cruelty and death could have been avoided if you, Charlotte, didn’t frankly cover your eyes and accept what your husband told you when you knew what you were being told was unsustainable
Sentencing: Steven To was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, with 200 hours of unpaid work, 25 days of rehabilitation, a lifetime ban on keeping animals and was ordered to pay £5,000 court costs, more than £3,500 in vets’ fees and a £122 surcharge.
Charlotte To was given a 12-month community order, with 25 days of rehabilitation, 40 hours of unpaid work, a seven-year ban on owning animals and was ordered to pay £390 costs.
#TheList Amy Woodhouse, born 02/06/1985, of 152 Holmfield Close, Pontefract WF8 2NE – left her pet dog to suffer in agony for weeks with an infected ear
RSPCA inspector Kris Walker said: “I first saw Max in May of last year. He was in good body condition, bright and alert, but was a little scabby down his back. His left ear appeared infected, it was oozing yellow pus-like liquid and seemed to be very sore as he cried when I touched it.
Inspector Walker continued: “A little over a month later I spoke to her on the phone and she said she had only just got the money together to take Max to the vets and that he was booked in for the next day.
“I spoke to her again a few days later and was told he’d been given some medication and needed to go back in another seven days so I stressed again how important it was that he go.
“I tried to reach her on the phone after that and got no reply and when I contacted the vets was told she hadn’t returned with Max so I went back to the property to check on him, however his owner wouldn’t let me in.
“I attended with police on the following day, 13th July, almost two months since I’d first seen Max. He was crying as soon as I touched his ear, it was swollen, smelled strongly and appeared yellow and thickened. He was scratching and shaking his head.
“His owner gave permission for me to take him to the vets where his ears were causing him so much pain that I couldn’t get photos of inside them as it was just too much for him.”
Max was taken into possession by police on veterinary advice and kept at the vets overnight for treatment.
In court, Woodhouse admitted three offences under the Animal Welfare Act.
In mitigation, the court heard that the defendant recognised that she was failing to cope but at least made one attempt to take the dog to the vets.
Sentencing: 12-month community order including 20 rehabilitation activity days; ordered to pay £85 victim surcharge. Disqualified from keeping animals for 10 years.
A deprivation order was placed on Max who will now pass into RSPCA care for rehoming.
#TheList Michael ‘Mick’ Lingen, born 11/07/1967, of 29 Northfield Street, Worcester WR1 1NS – killed a Yorkshire terrier by hitting him on the head with an axe
Lingen admitted two charges – one of destroying the dog, who belonged to his former partner, and another of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal by striking him in the head with an axe.
Magistrates said the offence was so serious they had to impose a sentence of 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months.
Lingen must carry out 200 hours unpaid work within the next twelve months.
He must also pay £135 costs and a £122 victim surcharge.
Lingen was also disqualified for life from owning or keeping all animals or being involved in any arrangement in which he could control or influence their care – made under Section 34 Animal Welfare Act 2006.
#TheList Paula McNeil, born 06/01/1981, of 30 Yew Tree Road, Moreton, Wirral CH46 8UB – failed to take her desperately ill dog to the vet and left her to suffer for months in agony
Paula McNeil was banned from keeping animals for six years after “one of the worst cases” an RSPCA inspector said they had come across.
Inspector Anthony Joynes said the dog – a bull terrier cross known as Sahara – was “completely let down by her owner, became emaciated and was and left to suffer” with an untreated burst abscess on her neck and chin. She was in such a bad way vets had no choice but to put her to sleep on humane grounds.
McNeil admitted neglecting Sahara and pleaded guilty to one charge of causing unnecessary suffering.
Inspector Joynes was first called to investigate after McNeil had taken Sahara to the vets to be put down on September 11, 2019.
Seeing that the dog was in pain, the vet complied but alerted the RSPCA.
Inspector Joynes was sent to collect the body of Sahara and a detailed veterinary examination was carried out the following day.
He said: “As soon as I entered the surgery I was met with an incredibly strong and unforgettable smell of necrosis and infection.
“I described the dog as being emaciated with the bones of the ribs, pelvis and spine being clearly visible.
“There was clear muscle atrophy and the coat was dull, sticky and stained throughout, particularly the rear legs, with faeces and urine.
“I observed a large melon-sized open necrotic mass which appeared to cover the whole of the dog’s neck under the chin.
“There was pus clearly visible oozing out of this area as it was manipulated and the smell was overpowering. I noted two other severe, deep open sores to the front right leg which had the appearance of pressure sores.
“Both of these wounds appeared to be right down to the bone and pus was present.
Hollie Jones, a vet at Upton Veterinary Centre, who carried out a detailed veterinary examination said in her medical report that the most notable abnormality was a very large ulcerated ruptured mass present on the jaw and neck extending into the right side of the face.
Part of it was exposing underlying tissues where the mass had burst and there was a large amount of pus coming from the area and parts of the skin were necrotic. She said Sahara would have suffered with this wound for months.
She also found severe pressure sores on her right side – these were full thickness through the skin to the bones – exposing tendons and other joints.
Faeces and urine had caused an infection in the sores suggesting that Sahara had been left in a collapsed state laying on her side for at least a week.
She was also severely emaciated with all her bones protruding and weighed 18.2 kgs.
The vet said she would have expected a dog of this type to weigh around 39kg and added the wound to her neck would have made eating in the latter stages impossible
McNeil claimed during her interview that the abscess was caused by a bee sting just weeks before.
Inspector Joynes said: “The vet report shows Sahara had been suffering from this abscess in her neck for months without treatment and because of this it had broken down and become necrotic.
“This had led to her collapsed state and pressure sores on her body indicate she was left like this for weeks. She was also unable to eat because of the severity of the wound.
“There is never an excuse to deprive any pet in need of veterinary attention and in this case Sahara was neglected for such a long period of time. Photographs show how she was a healthy dog before.
“In my 11 years as an inspector it was one of the worst cases of its type I have come across – she was completely let down by her owner and left to suffer. Even when she had collapsed help was not sought for her immediately.”
Sentencing: 12-month community order for a period of 12 months, with 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days; 160 hours of unpaid work. Ordered to pay a total of £1,395.86 in costs and charges. Six-year ban on keeping animals.
#TheList Michael Patrick Price, born 07/05/1991, of 24 Lime Tree Avenue, Malton YO17 7BZ, and partner Shannon Hanrahan (aka Shannon Price) born 04/06/1993, of Kidacre Park travellers site, Kidacre Street, Leeds LS10 1BD – abandoned several animals at Appleby Horse Fair
RSPCA inspectors were alerted after a passer-by saw that a pony had been left tethered beside the A685 just outside of Kirkby Stephen while two dogs were running loose near to two empty kennels.
None of the animals were being supervised or looked after, and the pony had no access to drinking water. Another dog – found in a cage without bedding – had no clean drinking water.
RSPCA inspector Claire Little said: “On Friday 31st May, whilst on duty in Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, my colleague and I received a request from the police to help with some animals.
“As we arrived at the location I saw a brindle lurcher-type dog and what appeared to be a collie-type dog amongst the traffic and the police were trying to catch them.
“We pulled over and I managed to secure the dogs and get them into our van for safekeeping whilst we approached the police officers.
“It was explained to us that the owners of the dogs were believed to be the occupants of a caravan on the side of the road and that they were in Bradford.
“The dogs were wearing collars but there was no tethering equipment of any kind and a small caged area measuring approximately 2 ft x 2 ft x 2 ft with no lid was the only possible living area I could see for them. There was no shelter available for the cage.
“The police were concerned regarding some birds in cages they had seen inside a van next to the caravan so my colleague went to look at those – they turned out to be wild goldfinches.
“I then saw a small cream Lhasa Apso-type dog that appeared young, inside a metal cage at the side of the road. The cage had a lid that was secured but there was no shelter and the dog was laying on wet grass with no access to water. As the weather was wet I was concerned about the dog as they appeared to be shivering.
“A grey shetland pony tethered with a length of blue nylon rope tied around their neck was nearby. The rope was so tight that I couldn’t get my finger between the rope and the neck and I was concerned that this may start to injure the pony if they remained in this situation. The rope was tied to a nearby branch of a hedge that was quite flimsy. The pony’s hooves appeared overgrown.
“The police took the three dogs and pony into possession and placed them in RSPCA care.”
Michael Patrick Price admitted not ensuring the needs of the pony were met, and the same charge for a lurcher dog and a collie cross.
He also admitted having two goldfinches.
His co-accused Shannon Hanrahan admitted failing to ensure the proper care of the caged dog, and illegally having the two goldfinches.
A deprivation order was placed on the pony and two dogs who will now pass into RSPCA care and be rehomed. The birds were released back into the wild.
Sentencing: Price was given 60 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs and charges totalling £690. He was banned from owning or keeping any animal for four years.
Hanrahan was given a 14-day curfew at an address in Byker, Newcastle. She must pay also £250 costs and a £32 victim surcharge.
#TheList John Benjamin Cook, born 13/11/1993, and his brother William Cook, born 11/07/1989, both of Little Acres, Longfield Avenue, New Barn, Longfield, Dartford DA3 7LA – ran a puppy farm and a cock-fighting ring
Gypsy travellers John and William Cook were convicted of a number of animal welfare offences.
In July 2018 RSPCA officers executed a warrant at the sprawling property in New Barn the brothers share with their extended family, including wives, children and parents, after a member of the public who had bought puppies from them raised concerns.
In total, 18 dogs, including spaniels and beagles were removed along with two cockerels.
Officers also seized a number of mobile phones from the site and a suspecting cock-fighting pit was uncovered. Analysis of the mobiles showed the brothers were involved with fighting and later forensics tests found the blood of at least four cockerels on the pit.
During the four-day trial the court heard how John Cook was accused of causing suffering to a number of dogs, failing to provide them with vet care for stomach and teeth problems and keeping them in unsuitable conditions.
William Cook was accused of a number of offences relating to cockerel fighting.
John Cook pleaded guilty to the offences, while William Cook was convicted of the offences under the Animal Welfare Act.
RSPCA inspector Carroll Lamport, from the charity’s special operations unit, said: “Many of the dogs being kept at the site had health and welfare problems, including untreated gastrointestinal and dental issues.
“We also had serious concerns over the conditions they were being kept in. The dogs and puppies were being kept in dirty, wet conditions with no bedding.”
Sentencing: William Cook – 120-day prison term – suspended for two years. Ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work. Disqualified from keeping any animals for three years.
John Cook – 90 days in prison – also suspended for two years; 160 hours of unpaid work. He was disqualified from keeping dogs for three years.
Both men were ordered to pay £1,000 in costs plus a £115 victim surcharge.