#The List Eleanor (Ellie) Rose Marsh, born c. 1992, and Amy Elizabeth Youll, born 17/02/1992, both of Todmorden Road, Bacup OL3 – both pleaded guilty to not taking reasonable steps to ensure the needs of the eight dogs and three cats were met.
Sentencing: Both women were ordered to pay a total of £180 and banned from keeping animals for just 12 months. Deprivation order on all of the animals.
#TheList Mathew Howell Jones, born 30/05/1981, of Jones Street, Tonypandy CF40 2BY – for badger baiting and failing to take his injured dog to the vet
Mathew Howell Jones pleaded guilty to one Protection of Badgers Act 1992 offence and one Animal Welfare Act 2006 offence.
The court heard that the father-of-three was caught using dogs to interfere with a badger sett on January 20, 2019.
Jones also admitted failing to get urgent veterinary treatment for his dog, with the black terrier struggling with serious injuries.
The unnamed dog had alopecia and skin lesions, caused by sarcoptic mange – with a wound to the eye consistent with a tear injury to the lower lid. Despite these problems, Jones had not taken him to the vet.
A veterinary professional said such injuries are “commonly seen following fighting” and would be “consistent with a face-to-face encounter with another dog or a fox or a badger”.
The dog – one of four initially seized as part of the investigation – was signed into the RSPCA’s care and ultimately put up for rehoming.
Police found blood-stained overalls in Jones’ van, though he denied ownership of the clothing. Testing of the blood confirmed it had come from a badger. RSPCA officers later found evidence of one large, freshly dug and back-filled hole at an active badger sett.
Chief inspector of the RSPCA’s special operations unit Ian Briggs said: “Interfering with a badger sett in this way is a very serious wildlife crime, and clearly had serious possible impacts both for the dogs involved and wildlife.
“One poor dog in this case was struggling with injuries that clearly needed urgent veterinary care. It’s very worrying that the injuries sustained by the dog are – according to veterinary opinion – consistent with fighting, and a face-to-face encounter with wildlife, such as a fox or a badger.
“This case is yet another example of the RSPCA’s efforts to tackle crimes against Wales’ wildlife.”
Sentencing: five-month prison sentence, suspended for 24 months; ordered to pay a total of £1,520. Disqualified from keeping all animals for four years.
Jones was also deprived by the court of all possessions related to the interference with a badger sett – including locating devices and netting.
#TheList badger baiter Ryan Michael Smith, born c. 1993, of Noel Street, Gainsborough DN21 2RY
Smith, who has previous convictions for violence and spent time in prison, pleaded guilty to interfering with a badger sett and attempting to kill a badger when he appeared before Mansfield Magistrates’ Court.
The court heard how Smith was among three people who were spotted by a gamekeeper on land near Beckingham, Nottinghamshire.
The gamekeeper suspected the trio were badger baiting – which is where a dog is sent into a sett to flush out the badger and attack it for the handler to then dig the badger out and kill it or take it away for it to be killed at a later date.
Police were alerted and Shields and Thorne were arrested close to the scene. Smith was arrested by police on the same day away from badger sett. He initially denied the offences but changed his plea ahead of a trial.
Officers found a six-foot hole had been dug into the badger sett and there were spades nearby. A net which is often used to capture badgers was also found.
Two dogs, wearing radio collars, were also seized and were taken to a nearby vets in Retford for treatment as they had facial and dental injuries. One dog was in a collapsed state at the scene due to exhaustion.
The RSPCA were alerted to the incident and inspector Keith Ellis began an investigation.
He called the help of an expert badger witness who said the badger sett was active and had been disturbed. No dead badger was recovered but Inspector Ellis said it is possible the badger had died in the sett.
A veterinary expert who examined both Patterdale Terriers said the facial wounds were consistent with them been involved in a fight with another animal of a similar size and stature.
Inspector Ellis said: “The gamekeeper said he could see the men jump into a six-foot hole which they had dug down into the badger sett so he called the police.
“When they attended the scene it was clear that the sett had been interfered with and there were spades nearby.
“The dogs were wearing radio-collars which are used so the owners can locate where they are underground and when the dogs locate the badger the handlers dig down and usually kill the badger.”
In mitigation, Smith said he had ‘tagged along with the other two’.
The forfeiture of the dogs into RSPCA care was ordered and both are doing well. They are due to be re-homed soon.
Sentencing: 18-week jail sentence suspended for two months; ordered to pay £415. Deprivation order on his dogs. Banned from keeping dogs for five years.
#TheList Arthur Donaldson, born 18/02/1977, of 68 Parkmore, Knockmenagh, Craigavon, Co Armagh BT64 2AF – failed to seek veterinary care for his dog’s (unexplained) head injury
Donaldson was convicted of failing to ensure the welfare of an unnamed 19-month-old female German Shepherd in his care.
The case against Donaldson was heard at Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Friday, October 18, 2019.
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council brought the case against Donaldson under the provisions of the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 following a report from a member of the public who was concerned about the dog’s welfare.
An Animal Welfare Officer visited the defendant’s property in July 2017 and spoke to him regarding a head injury the dog had sustained.
He was then advised to ensure the dog received veterinary treatment as a matter of urgency which he failed to do.
The Animal Welfare Officer later returned to the property with a veterinary surgeon who assessed the dog as being likely to suffer as the wound had become infected. The dog was taken into the care of the council and subsequently rehomed.
Sentencing: fined £500 and ordered to pay a further £424 in fees.
#TheList Laura Emily Butt (aka Laura Welch), born 23/03/1986 and Timothy Wood, born 27/05/1966 both of Derby Road, Draycott, Derby DE72 3NJ – left their dogs to starve for months and refused to take them to the vet
Butt and Wood fed their four dogs scraps from takeaway meals and left them to fight at their home in Draycott, Derby.
The charges related to a six-year-old Akita-type dog named Bear, and 14-year-old German Shepherd Molly. Another of the dogs, Roxy, seven, was underweight.
RSPCA inspectors found the animals with protruding bones and ‘deep scratches’ but the couple refused to take them to the vets, claiming they were ‘too busy’.
Butt and Wood pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court.
Butt, who is said to have bipolar disorder, adult ADHD and nervous anxiety, sobbed throughout the hearing.
RSPCA officer Helen Mead visited the property numerous times between December 2018 and May 2019.
Prosecutor Richard Purchase said: ‘There was a worry at that time that two dogs were underweight. Molly, 14, was thin and Roxy, seven, was underweight. Advice was given that the dogs needed cooked pasta into their dog food and should be taken to the vets.’
By March the dogs had not been taken to the vets because Wood said they were ‘very busy’.
The RSPCA inspector attended their home twice that month but could not gain access.
In May 2019, a police officer attended the property with Ms Mead who had ‘concerns regarding the state of two dogs’. Bear was found lethargic with protruding hip bones and another dog in the home was ‘grumbling’ and ‘had scabs’.
Mr Purchase said: ‘The fear was that it had a fight with one of the other dogs. The scratches were deep and the dog had not had any treatment.
‘Mr Wood said the dogs were fed a lot of food. Ms Mead asked there was any dog food but Mr Wood said no.
‘The concern was that the dogs were not being fed on dog food but scrap food from the local takeaway. It would appear the dogs were so thin because of their diet. All four dogs were seized.’
Wood owned three of the dogs while Butt owned Bear. All four dogs are still with the RSPCA.
Defending Wood, Mark Moore said the couple have become ‘village pariahs’ in Draycott and even the local shop won’t serve them.
The Chair of the Bench said: ‘These cases are always difficult. That said, whilst we fully respect how the RSPCA brought this case, we and they will have seen much worse cases.
‘That is not to minimise the distress you have caused these four dogs. You were incompetent in the care you provided. We also impose a deprivation order for the four dogs.’
Sentencing: total fines, costs and charges of £1,300. Disqualified from keeping any dogs for the next three years (expires October 2022).
#TheList Brian Medler, born c. 1944, of London Road, Kessingland, near Lowestoft NR33 7PN – failed to treat his dog’s aggressive tumour.
Medler pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal after his border collie, known as Leo, developed an aggressive tumour which was not properly treated for four months. The pensioner claimed to have mistaken a cancerous ulcer on the dog’s back for a tick bite.
The court heard the RSPCA had been contacted by a concerned member of the public and following two unsuccessful attempts to visit Medler’s home eventually saw Leo in June 2019. The stricken pet had a lump the size of a hand on his back which was clearly “infected and weeping”. There were also fly eggs in the centre of the wound.
Leo was taken to a vet for further examination where it was concluded that he had been caused unnecessary suffering.
Medler claimed to have taken the dog to a vet in Ireland but could provide no record of this. He also claimed that he was given cream to apply to the dog’s tumour twice a day but as the ulcer was cancerous this was not effective.
Calvin Saker, for Medler, said the 75-year-old had been looking after dogs since the age of 10 and was “hugely remorseful” about the incident.
Mr Saker said: “He saw the injury, took his pet to the vet and followed the advice he was given.”
Medler hoped his dog’s condition would improve and planned to take it to the vets two weeks after the RSPCA inspectors became involved.
Mr Saker said Medler had learnt “a very harsh lesson” but highlighted that he looked after another dog which was in a good condition.
Following the intervention of the inspectors, Leo had the tumour removed and is recovering well.
Sentencing: total of £625 in fines and costs. Deprivation order on Leo.
#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 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.