#TheList Anton Boston, born c. 1994, of Habershon Street, Splott, Cardiff CF25 2DY – convicted of illegal dog breeding and fraud
Anton Boston was prosecuted following a multi-agency investigation into his dog breeding business, Boston Bullies Wales
In May 2019 Shared Regulatory Services, RSPCA and police officers raided Boston’s house and found six adult dogs and five puppies.
Boston did not have a licence to breed dogs and was breeding more than the permitted levels. Officers found two fraudulent canine passports but no paperwork at all for the other animals.
Cllr Michael Michael, Cabinet Member responsible for Shared Regulatory Services, said: “Our officers were investigating Anton Boston for some time, due to the complaints that we received from a number of sources.
Cllr Michael continued: “At the request of the judge and the fact that a suspended sentence has been given in this case, we will be keeping a very close eye on Anton Boston to ensure he doesn’t breach any of the conditions of his sentence.”
Sentencing: 32 weeks’ custody, suspended for 18 months with a requirement to carry out 20 days of rehabilitation activities, as well as a 16-week tagged curfew. A forfeiture and destruction order was obtained for the passports and £350 costs was awarded to the Shared Regulatory Service.
#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 Ware, born 13/05/1946 , and Ann Ware, born c. 1960, both of Holly Road, Tiverton EX16 6HZ – failed to take their badly injured cat to the vet
The RSPCA visited the home of Ian and Ann Ware in September 2019 after receiving a call from a concerned member of the public.
The grey and white cat, known as Snowball, was rushed to a vet by RSPCA Inspector Charlotte Coggins where he had to be put to sleep because of the severity of his condition.
Inspector Coggins said: “The pinna was damaged, leaving the cartilage of the ear canal exposed.
“Around the ear canal there was a deep deficit in the skin and underlying muscle to the extent that the bone of the skull could be seen rostral to the ear canal.
“The diagnosis from the vet was of a chronic severe deep infection of the ear canal and surrounding tissues. The exact cause could not be ascertained on clinical examination but it may have resulted from a bite to the area from another cat or rodent.
“As a result of this infection, the vet found Snowball to be suffering severe pain and that the infection had been present for some time based on the severity and extent of tissue destruction including damage to the cartilage of the ear canal.”
The defendants admitted causing unnecessary suffering to Snowball by failing to provide prompt or effective professional veterinary care and attention for the severe and chronic infected wound of the left ear canal and surrounding tissue.
Sentencing: four-week curfew order; £110 each in court costs. Banned from keeping animals for three years.
#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 Daniel Brockhill, born 21/02/1968, of 16 Robin Crescent, Heysham LA3 2WG – for cruelty to two ponies
Brockhill, a Romany gypsy and alleged backyard breeder of diseased Staffordshire bull terriers, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to two ponies
The first animal, a dark brown cob mare, was left with a ‘stinking open wound’ caused by the tight bridle rubbing her, as well as a small cut to her nose, and areas of fur missing on the face.
The second animal, a black and white piebald cob mare, was spotted wandering in the field “aimlessly” in a dull and depressed state.
The weak and malnourished pony was not very responsive and had an elevated heartbeat and temperature. She was riddled with lice and eggs that had been present for at least 10 days, and had fecal staining on her hind legs indicating serious diarrhea.
The court was told Brockhill had only bought this pony three weeks earlier.
Prosecuting, Paul Ridehalgh told the court that a worker from World Horse Welfare had attended a field in the Twemlow Parade area of Heysham where 13 horses were kept. Most were in good body condition, but one had a bridle that was “clearly too tight” around her nose.
Mr Ridehalgh described how the worker went to loosen the bridle and discovered “a red raw open wound” under the pony’s chin. The collar had become embedded within the hair and skin and a bad smell was emanating from the wound.
The charity worker alerted the RSPCA, and when another inspector attended they became concerned about the other horse who looked too thin.
Mr Ridehalgh added: “It was displaying extremely worrying behaviour and clearly was extremely unwell.
A veterinary surgeon who examined the animals concluded both had been caused suffering by Brockhill’s failure to act.
Despite her painful injury, the first horse was bright, alert and responsive But the second was scored just one out of five on her body condition – zero being emaciated.
Brockhill agreed to sign over both horses to the RSPCA.
The thin horse gained 8kg in the four weeks she boarded with the charity
During an interview, Brockhill admitted he owned both ponies but claimed he had only owned the malnourished one for three weeks.
He said he had when he arranged transport to a field in Skipton the horse was weak and could barely walk, and that he was “appalled” by her condition.
When it was pointed out that she should have been referred to a vet, Brockhill said he was experienced in keeping horses and it was his opinion the horse just needed a ‘good feed’.
The court heard Brockhill had a conviction for animal cruelty from 2002, but of dissimilar nature.
District Judge Paul Clarke said there had been a “high level of suffering”, but recognised Brockhill had co-operated with the RSPCA.
He remarked it wasn’t “deliberate cruelty”, adding: “It comes down to competence and horse husbandry.”
Sentencing: curfew; a total of £690 costs and charges. No ban.
#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.
#TheList Hayley Langton, born 18/12/1996, and Derek Yeomans, born c. 1950, both of Willowcroft Road, Spondon, Derby DE21 7FR – left their Akita to suffer in “unimaginable pain” over several months
Hayley Langton and Derek Yeomans pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the dog, known as Keeta, between August and September 2019.
Keeta was found with no fur and her eyes were covered in a green discharge.
The dog was rescued by RSPCA workers and immediately rushed to a veterinary centre.
Southern Derbyshire Magistrate’s Court heard how the vet said they had never seen a dog with dry eyes so severe, causing her extreme pain and distress.
Andrew Cash, prosecuting, said the last time Keeta was seen by a vet was in September 2013.
The dog was owned by single mother Langton, but was kept at the house of Yeomans.
When testing the dryness on her eyes, both readings came back as zero – something the vet said they had never seen before.
Mr Cash said Langton believed Keeta had a cold which had lasted around a month. However she failed to notice how serious her condition had become as she was out a lot and described her life as “chaotic”.
The dog has recovered, despite still showing signs of hair loss.
She has since been fostered by a veterinary nurse.
John Haye, mitigating, said Yeomans had not been fully aware of the severity of the situation the dog was in.
He said it was “fair to say” they had both taken their eye off the ball in terms of caring for the animal.
He revealed how Yeomans has ill health, suffers from high blood pressure and cares for his wife full-time.
He said Langton also suffers a range of mental health problems and struggles to care for herself, “never mind a dog”.
He said: “They both express remorse and sorrow for what happened.”
District Judge Jonathan Taaffe said: “Keeta is now properly looked after and responding to love and care that any domestic animal needs.
“This is not a matter that Keeta suddenly became ill, developed skin conditions and eye problems.
“It’s a situation where Keeta has clearly been in great distress over a significant period of time.
“The pain and distress that the dog must have been in could not be imagined.
“When people have pets, they have responsibilities to look after them.
“I accept this is not a case of sadistic ill treatment of Keeta. This is more a case of neglect based on issues in your life.”
Sentencing: three-month curfew of 7pm to 7am; 12-month community order; ordered to pay £490 each in costs. Both were disqualified from keeping dogs for a period without limit.
#TheList Arron Lee Dixon, born 26/01/1992, of 17 Aberfan Fawr, Merthyr Tydfil CF48 4PE – neglected and beat his horses
Arron Lee Dixon was found guilty of a string of animal welfare offences relating to three ponies.
The father-of-one failed to provide a suitable diet and environment for the ponies, who were being kept at a site in Bryngoleu, and was even caught beating one of them.
All three animals – a grey gelding Welsh, a male skewbald native and a small male skewbald native – were found by RSPCA officers to be underweight and had little or no land to graze on or supplementary feed.
One skewbald pony was so underweight and in such poor condition that a vet said he had “suffered unnecessarily” while another pony had escaped from the field and was found grazing elsewhere.
On March 21, 2019, when RSPCA officers were carrying out a follow-up check on the welfare of the ponies, an officer also caught Dixon beating one of the animals.
The ponies were taken into the care of the RSPCA and were made available for rehoming.
Dixon, who runs a house and rubbish clearance business called Dixon’s Removals, was convicted of five animal welfare offences dating to February and March 2019. He had pleaded not guilty at an earlier hearing but was found guilty in his absence.
An RSPCA spokesman said the charity had already given Dixon advice on horse care in February because the ponies had little or no land to graze. But when officers returned on March 21, Dixon hadn’t addressed the problem or provided supplementary feed and the ponies were underweight.
It was during this visit while waiting for a vet and the police to arrive, Dixon was caught beating the skewbald native pony.
Gemma Cooper, an RSPCA spokeswoman, said: “These ponies were grazed illegally on inappropriate land without supplementary feed, and therefore were not having their needs met and one was so underweight, vets found him to be suffering.
“We tried to work with Dixon previously but returned to the site to find improvements had not been made. One pony had even escaped the field and was subsequently found grazing elsewhere.
“Thankfully, we were able to rescue these ponies and offer them a second chance of happiness. All three have made an amazing transformation and are now available for rehoming.”
Dixon was found guilty of three charges relating to the weight of the animals, one charge for failing to provide a suitable diet and one charge for failing to meet the skewbald native pony’s needs to be protected from pain, suffering or injury by inappropriate handling and physical ill-treatment including hitting.
Sentencing: 18-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months; 20 rehabilitation days. 10-week curfew; £1,000 in court costs. Banned for five years from keeping animals.