#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 Nigel Stubbins, born 25/01/1972, of 84 Main Street, Newton, Alfreton DE55 5TE – for brutal handling of a collapsed cow in an abattoir
Nigel Stubbins was found guilty of two counts of unlawful handling of a dairy cow, in addition to an earlier guilty plea for inappropriately transporting a horned bull in the same compartment as other cattle.
Stubbins was caught on CCTV at Foyle Abattoir in Cinderford, using an electrical goad and excessive pulling to attempt to move a Holstein Fresian cow for about 45 minutes.
The incident occurred on November 13, 2018, when Stubbins arrived at the abattoir at 9pm outside normal operational hours.
He proceeded to unload cattle from a compartment. The CCTV footage showed that when he opened the lorry’s top rear compartment, one of the cows was down and slid down the ramp.
Stubbins then spent 45 minutes trying to get the cow to stand and walk into a pen when it was evident from the footage the cow couldn’t get up and remain on her feet.
Stubbins tried various methods to get the cow to stand up, including pulling her by the nose, using ropes to drag her round, and excessive use of an electric goad over a half-hour period.
There are strict rules in place for the use of electric goads. They should not be used repeatedly when animals fail to respond and when the cattle are unable to get up.
It is also specifically prohibited to lift or drag animals by the head, ears, horns, legs, tail or fleece, or handle them in such a way as to cause them unnecessary pain or suffering.
Sentencing: fined £1,055 and ordered to pay £2,000 towards prosecution costs and a £155 victim surcharge.
#TheList William Tatler, born c. 1973, of The Green, Idridgehay, Belper, Derbyshire DE56 2SJ, and Samuel Staniland, born c. 1987, of Hadleigh, Ipswich IP7 – for illegal fox hunting, with cubs being targeted.
Joint master Will Tatler and huntsman Sam Staniland admitted hunting a wild mammal with dogs at Spath Covert, in Sutton-on-the-Hill, Derbyshire, on October 2, 2018.
The men were charged under the Hunting Act 2004, which says people who illegally hunt foxes can be fined but not sent to prison.
The case against four other associates of the hunt was dismissed.
They were assistant terrier man Samuel Stanley, 25, of Burton Road, Needwood; terrier man Andrew Bull, 51, of Meynell Hunt Kennels, Ashbourne Road, Sudbury; whipper-in John ‘Ollie’ Finnegan, 33, of Gaddesby Lane, Kirby Bellars; and joint master Peter Southwell, 61, of Tolldish Lane, Great Haywood.
All six men had previously pleaded not guilty and were set to face trial, but Staniland and Tatler changed their plea to guilty before the trial.
The prosecution came after the League Against Cruel Sports filmed a fox being hunted and gave the footage to police.
League Against Cruel Sports investigator Roger Swaine captured the footage on 2 October 2018 at Spath Covert in Sutton-on-the-Hill, Derbyshire – the same area where two other men from the hunt were caught illegally hunting fox cubs in 2011.
Mr Swaine said they were “cub hunting”, which is when hounds are trained to hunt fox cubs.
“They were in the same place, it was the same hunt, doing exactly the same thing,” said Mr Swaine, who also filmed the previous footage.
He said he was “disappointed” by the fine.
“The problem is they are very well financed and they have a very good legal defence team,” he said.
“To receive just a fine for this barbaric activity shows the need to strengthen the Hunting Act, including the introduction of prison sentences,” he said.
In a statement issued through the Countryside Alliance, the Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt said the Hunting Act was “a difficult and troublesome piece of legislation”.
“It is complex and open to misinterpretation,” the statement said.
“The Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt regrets that in this case some individuals were unable to show that they had fulfilled all the conditions of the relevant exemption, as set out in Schedule 1 of the Act.
“The Hunt confirms that moving forward it will continue to operate within the law, utilising both artificial trails and the exemptions provided in the Act.”
Sentencing: fined £535 and ordered to pay £150 towards legal costs.
#TheList puppy farmers Sansha Niomi Lamb, born 08/05/1980, of 1 Draycott Place, Dronfield Woodhouse, Dronfield S18 8RY, and her father Peter Lamb, born 26/10/1949, of 72 Ashford Road, Dronfield Woodhouse, Dronfield S18 8RT
Sansha Lamb admitted 12 offences and her father Peter Lamb admitted 11 offences relating to the dogs at Unstone House, on Whittington Lane, at Unstone, near Dronfield S18 4DQ.
Prosecuting solicitor Deborah Cartwright said the puppy farm was raided by animal health officers from NE Derbyshire District Council on January 9, 2019, with RSPCA officers and a vet after complaints had been received about concerns for the animals and officers had visited the site.
District Judge Jonathan Taaffe said: “It’s frankly – in the 30 years I have been involved in criminal law – one of the worst cases I have come across in terms of systematic neglect, selfish behaviour and the abuse of animals for commercial gain.
“It is clear to me that the problems in the period of January 2 to 9 covered by the charges were not isolated to that period of time.
“It’s also clear to me that Miss Lamb and to a lesser extent Peter Lamb should not have had anything to do with the breeding or keeping of animals.”
He added: “The fact that what was revealed on January 9 when the council, a vet and others went into the premises of Unstone House was frankly a horror story.”
Ms Cartwright, prosecuting for the council, added that officers found kennel floors and walls covered in excrement and a yard was filthy with faecal contamination and dogs were found with faeces matted into their fur. She told the court the final kennel in one block had the worst conditions.
Ms Cartwright said: “The final one represents the worst conditions and consisted of an enclosed room with doors and windows shut with no ventilation and the heating was left on and as officers entered they were hit by an overwhelming smell of ammonia along with dog faeces covering the whole floor.
“The concentration was such it made the vet gag and it made her eyes burn and she was unable to remain in the room at all until the windows and the doors were open for minutes.”
Ms Cartwright added: “One of the officers was observed outside the room retching badly and he was unable to go in. The dogs inside that room would have experienced the same reaction to the ammonia.” Investigators also found a whelping box in the house, where both defendants lived at the time, with a pug bitch and two puppies and their pen was covered in faeces and there was no food or water, according to Ms Cartwright.
She added that a further deformed dog approached officers in the hall which was covered in faeces and stank of ammonia.
Ms Cartwright said that officers also found a decomposing pug-type bitch in a dog basket covered in newspaper which had been dead for some time.
Officers discovered 25 mistreated dogs including the deceased pug, German Shepherds, a Dalmatian, Bulldogs, pugs, a Cockapoo, a Cocker Spaniels and puppies.
Many were emaciated or lean, according to Ms Cartwright, covered in faeces and urine, riddled with lice, skin lesions, infections and parasites and some were lame and injured and traumatised by their mistreatment.
Ms Cartwright said Sansha Lamb had been the holder of a licence to breed puppies and she had ignored warnings after visits to the site and she was sent a letter stating her licence had expired.
She told investigators she had mental health issues and she was not aware of the suffering or conditions the animals were experiencing.
Peter Lamb admitted responsibility for the care of the animals.
Ms Cartwright said: “Miss Lamb ignored previous advice and warnings regarding the treatment of the animals and she allowed a person with insufficient experience or training to have care of the animals.”
Sansha Lamb and Peter Lamb both pleaded guilty to nine counts of failing to ensure the welfare needs of dogs and to a further two counts each of causing unnecessary suffering to dogs between January 2 and January 9, 2019.
Sansha Lamb also pleaded guilty to breeding dogs without a licence between July, 2018, and January, 2019.
Defence solicitor David Gittins mother-of-seven Sansha Lamb is of previous good character and has been a dog breeder for several years without any previous problems but she had suffered from the breakdown of a difficult relationship and she started using cocaine.
He added that while she had recently been pregnant she struggled with her mental health and she had asked others to assist with the dogs.
Defence solicitor Martin Pizzey said retired parks authority worker Peter Lamb had no commercial interest and he became involved as problems emerged and he was trying to help his daughter.
Sentencing: Sansha Lamb was given 16 weeks of custody suspended for two years with a 16-week curfew. She was ordered to pay £1,000 costs and a £115 victim surcharge. Peter Lamb was sentenced to a 12-month community order with a 12-week curfew and Rehabilitation Activity Requirement. He was also ordered to pay £1,000 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.
Sansha Lamb was also banned from keeping animals for life and Peter Lamb was banned from keeping dogs for five years.
#TheList James Drury, born 31/07/1994 of 5 Coniston Way, Chesterfield S41 8JF – for allowing his pet dog to starve almost to death
Nine-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier Dibbley was said to be just one day from death when he was discovered in a bedroom in James Drury’s stinking property. The dog was so thin that every bone in his body was visible through his fur.
The RSPCA attended the property after being alerted by police concerned for the dog’s welfare.
As RSPCA Inspector Dave McAdam entered the property he was confronted with the smell of faeces and urine.
In the bedroom of the property, he found Dibbley in a severely emaciated state. Inspector McAdam said: This was amongst the most emaciated dogs I have ever seen that was still alive.
“The dog was so weak he had trouble walking due to the loss of muscle mass, with experience of nearly thirty years as an RSPCA inspector I knew this dog was close to death.
“There was again a large amount of faeces on the bedroom floor where the dog was being kept. Within the bedroom I did see a small amount of water in a steel bowl provided for the dog, but no food.”
Inspector McAdam had to carry the dog, estimated to be around nine years old, from the property and took him to a vet for treatment.
In a witness statement the vet who assessed Dibbley described him as “a walking skeleton”.
He said: “Every major bone in this dog’s body was clearly prominent and evident, he was literally a walking skeleton. This was amongst the worst cases of emaciation I have ever seen, this dog was no more than a day or so away from death. “
At the time of his rescue Dibbley weighed 8.9kgs but was put on a specialist diet and within six weeks he weighed 20.35 kgs.
In mitigation the court was told that Drury was suffering from stress at the time and financial hardship.
Dibbley is currently in RSPCA care and he will be re-homed soon.
Sentencing: 18-month community order with 19-day “thinking skills” programme and a 12-day rehabilitation requirement. Ordered to pay a total of £685 fine, costs and charges. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
#TheList Jack Butler, born c. October 1997, previously of Stanley Street in Derby DE22 and at date of sentencing Beechwood Drive, Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich NR7 – caught with child and animal porn
Butler was caught with sick child abuse images and movies showing people engaged in sex acts with animals. Police came across the vile photographs and films when they raided his then address in Derby.
Analysis of Butler’s MacBook uncovered all three categories of indecent images, the most serious of which typically show young children carrying out sex acts with adults.
Derby Crown Court heard how since his arrest in October 2018 Butler has lost his university place and relocated to Norwich.
But he was spared an immediate prison term after seeking out help from a specialist charity and being deemed at low risk of re-offending.
Lauren Butts, prosecuting, said police attended Butler’s then address in Stanley Street on October 23, 2018 as an internet (IP) address from the home had been linked to downloading child abuse images.
She said analysis of his MacBook uncovered 16 extreme pornographic images showing humans and animals engaged in sexual activity.
Also found were 44 of the most serious category A indecent child images, 60 category B and 43 category C.
Miss Butts said: “It is fair to say the police got them because the defendant told them where they were.”
She did not reveal to the court the ages of the children involved
Butler was arrested and pleaded guilty to four counts of possessing the illegal images.
Gareth Gimson, mitigating, said his client has lost his university place.
He said: “He is working with a charity called ‘Stop It Now’ and receiving counselling.
“His mum and dad sit in court and he knows he has brought an incredible amount of shame not just on himself but on them.”
Sentencing: 10-month prison sentence suspended for two years. Ordered to sign the sex offender’s register for 10 years and given sexual harm prevention order restricting his computer and internet use. He is to undertake 100 hours of unpaid work and 20 rehabilitation sessions with the probation service.
#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 Aidan Peter Spencer, born 14/05/1997, of 32 Langhurst Court, Wenlock Close, Loundsley Green, Chesterfield S40 4PE – for aggressive mishandling of a dog. Also kept a snake in poor conditions.
Spencer pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a dog by manhandling the dog and being aggressive towards her. No separate penalty.
He also pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a snake by keeping it in poor and inappropriate conditions.
Sentencing: Committed to prison for 12 weeks suspended for 12 months with an Alcohol Treatment Requirement, a Thinking Skills Programme and a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement. Must pay £328.83 compensation, a £115 victim surcharge and £85 costs. Disqualified from owning or keeping animals for seven years.
Source: Derbyshire Times (article removed).
===== In March 2020 Spencer was back in court for threatening behaviour during a row with his girlfriend. Magistrates extended Spencer’s existing community order by six months and his alcohol treatment programme by three months. He was also fined £120, and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.