#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 Paul Underwood, born c. 1972, and Nicola Muca (aka Nicki Underwood), born 20/01/1975, of Balmoral Avenue, Rushden NN10 – owners of an unsocialised Alaskan Malamute puppy who bit neighbours after straying twice from his home
Underwood and Muca were each given community orders and banned from keeping dogs for five years after being found guilty of having a dog dangerously out of control.
The one-year-old dog, known as Thor, first came to the attention of police after biting a neighbour who tried to return him home in August 2019, before the same thing happened to a different neighbour three months later.
Thor was seized from owners Underwood and Muca under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
Following an investigation and assistance from specially trained police officers, it became apparent that he hadn’t been socialised properly – he didn’t know how to play with dog toys, wasn’t toilet trained and was clearly used to an abusive environment where raised voices were the norm.
He was in danger of being put to sleep but officers from Northamptonshire Police’s Dog Section persevered and successfully rehabilitated him. A rehoming centre is now in the process of finding him a home.
PC Eva Horn, who assisted the investigating officers, said: “Thor certainly didn’t have the best start in life and we were determined to try our hardest to ensure he could get to a place where he was able to live the life he deserves. No-one invested in Thor to be a family dog and he was denied socialisation and training.
“Thor reacted so well to our training and has now become a much more well-rounded dog – all he needed was some love and attention.”
Sentencing: Underwood and Muca were each given 12-month community orders and banned from keeping dogs for five years.
#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 Reece Reed (aka Reece Howard-Reed), born c. 2000, most recently of Club Street, Kettering NN16 8RP – mutilated a prize-winning miniature horse by stabbing him 20 times; ripped the wings off three chickens
Reed, who has previous convictions for burglary and vehicle theft, attacked the animals in April 2018 after breaking into a Wellingborough farm. The farm owner was alerted by a burglar alarm at 07:30 a.m.
Prosecutor Priya Bakshi told the court: “He ran to the summer house to investigate. There he found a shovel, and saw one window had been pried open and another had been smashed.
“He peered through the window. There, he saw a man with a six-inch kitchen knife inside the chicken coop.”
The farmer scared off the armed man – Reed, who was naked from the waist down – before searching his stables to see if any animals had been hurt.
It was then that he found his daughter’s prize-winning miniature show horse Sol. His back legs and rear had been stabbed 20 times and he was bleeding heavily.
Additionally, Reed had cut the wings off of three chickens. They had to be put down.
In court, the judge heard how Sol was a prize winner worth over £3,000 and was on track to becoming a champion show horse. But following the attack, Sol was rendered unfit to compete ever again.
In a victim impact statement read out in court, Sol’s owner said: After I learned that Sol had been hurt I was devastated and heartbroken.
“Sol was and is my best friend and he will always be part of the family.”
Reed later pleaded guilty to the offence.
His defence barrister, Osmun Munir, said the 19-year-old was “remorseful and expresses sympathy for the family”.
But in sentencing, Judge Fowler was unable to jail Reed for more than two months over the mutilations – because the attacks were charged as “criminal damage” rather than, for example, animal cruelty.
He told Reed: “This episode can only be described as wholly despicable. The charges that you face today do not reflect the wickedness of your behaviour.
“This has been treated as if it were criminal damage against two inanimate objects. It isn’t. And it is in my view and error that ought to be corrected.”
#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 badger baiter Ryan Michael Smith, born 06/07/1993, of 3 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 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.