#TheList Harry Thompson, born 19/09/2001, of Burton Road, Woodville, Swadlincote DE11 – put a cat inside a washing machine overnight until she suffocated; laughed about what he had done
Thompson appeared at the youth court at North Staffordshire Justice Centre where he admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the cat, known as Squeak.
The court was told the next day when the cat was found dead there was “hilarity and mocking” from Thompson.
The court heard that between November 12 and November 14, 2018, at a house in Jennings Way, Burton, Thompson caused unnecessary suffering to Squeak by throwing her and placing her in a washing machine.
Magistrates noted that Thompson’s actions would have caused the cat prolonged suffering.
Sentencing: four-month detention training order – half to be spent in custody and the other under supervision. Ordered to pay £230 compensation and charges. Banned from owning animals for five years.
#TheList Dale Antony Oldfield, born 25/10/1990, of 5 Windsor Crescent, Bridlington YO15 3HX – left his pet dog to suffer in immense pain with infections for a year
Oldfield let the “chronic” skin and ear infection afflicting American bulldog, Taegan, go untreated for over a year.
The RSPCA found Taegan in a poor condition on May 8, 2019, and she was seized by police before being taken to a vet for treatment. Unfortunately, her health deteriorated and the dog had to be put to sleep.
Oldfield was charged with two offences under the Animal Welfare Act and called to court on August 14, but failed to appear.
He was convicted in his absence and, on October 2, 2019, appeared at Beverley Magistrates Court on charges relating to his treatment of Taegan.
The court heard Oldfield had been told by a vet a year beforehand that Taegan needed treatment but had not given her any in the time since.
RSPCA Inspector Claire Mitchell, who led the investigation, said: “Mr Oldfield was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to Taegan by failing to provide veterinary treatment for the chronic skin disease and ear infection she was suffering from, and for keeping her in unsuitable conditions.
“Mr Oldfield told the court that he loved his dog and he’d done the best he could but didn’t have the money for veterinary treatment.
“We discovered Taegan had been to the vet one year before and he’d been told she needed treatment but he didn’t take any action.
“Having a pet is extremely expensive and people need to consider whether they can afford the associated costs before taking one on.
“We appreciate that people’s circumstances can change and families can find themselves struggling financially but we would always encourage people to ask for help instead of leaving a pet in pain.”
Inspector Mitchell added: “The judge accepted that Taegan had suffered immensely. She relied on Mr Oldfield and he let her down by failing to get her the help she needed.”
Sentencing: 12-month community order with a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement and 180 hours of unpaid work. Total of £435 costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping animals indefinitely.
#TheList Tyler Rhys Earwaker, born c. 2000, of 32 Shalfleet Close, Eastbourne BN23 8DU & Liam Smith, c. 1999, of 43 Kensington Way, Polegate BN26 6FH – laughed as they set packs of dogs on captured wild rabbits
Earwaker pleaded guilty to six offences and Smith pleaded guilty to two. The pair were prosecuted by the RSPCA following an investigation which included examination of horrific mobile phone footage.
RSPCA inspector Carroll Lamport launched the investigation in May 2019 following a tip-off. She said, “When we checked [their] phones we found lots of videos of Earwaker and Smith releasing captured wild rabbits and setting their dogs on them.
“Some of the videos show the chase taking place across fields while others take place in fenced areas such as a basketball court and a children’s playground meaning the rabbits had no real chance of escape.
“It’s really upsetting to watch the footage and the rabbits must have been extremely distressed before being released. The chase would have been terrifying for them and the manner in which they were killed would have resulted in unnecessary suffering.”
The videos show the pair encouraging the dogs to chase down the rabbits – some of which are clearly in shock – and in one case the rabbits are kicked and thrown onto the ground.
A warrant was executed by police on May 14 at an address in Eastbourne. RSPCA officers joined police and a number of mobile phones were seized.
Five dogs were found at the premises – belonging to Earwaker’s family – and the RSPCA said all appeared in good condition. A number of hutches and cages were located in the garden, some with ferrets inside.
Inspector Lamport said, “We found long hunting nets, often used for catching animals, and a number of animal carriers in the shed and Earwaker told me he used the large trap for rabbits, using carrots as bait.
“Some of his coats were bloodstained and a number of phones and an iPad were seized.”
Four dogs – two lurchers and two terriers – were seized by police and Earwaker was interviewed.
Inspector Lamport later received a call from Smith’s father claiming one of the dogs seized belonged to him.
She said, “Mr Smith told me he’d bought the terrier for his son, We discovered that his son, Liam Smith, had been going out with Earwaker rabbiting and ferreting.
“They were catching rabbits and ‘dropping’ them in front of their dogs for the dogs to chase in order to train the dogs they thought the latter was legal.”
The court determined the four dogs should be returned to their owners.
Sentencing: Earwaker – 12-month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work. He was disqualified from keeping rabbits for five years and ordered to pay £300 costs and £85 victim surcharge.
Smith – 12-month community order with 100 hours of unpaid work. He was disqualified from keeping rabbits for five years and ordered to pay £300 costs and £85 victim surcharge.
Anthony, John and Merrissa Sellars all pleaded guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a lurcher, known as Bing. Sadly Bing was so poorly he had to be put to sleep by a vet.
An investigation was launched after RSPCA Inspector Kirsty Keogh-Laws was called to investigate reports of a severely sick dog in May 2019.
She found Bing in severe pain with a broken leg, underweight and severely decayed teeth.
Insp Keogh-Laws said: “The condition poor Bing was in was shocking and he was clearly in terrible pain.
“His left hind leg was visibly swollen and appeared at least three times the size of his other hind leg. The poor boy couldn’t bear any weight on it. He was also underweight as I was able to clearly see his ribs, hips and spine.
“They claimed they had taken Bing to a vet, but when I looked into this, the vet had no record of him being brought in for treatment.”
Insp Keogh-Laws continued: “When I took poor Bing to the vet myself, he found a severe and untreated leg fracture which would have been causing Bing intense pain since he became injured, along with chronic, untreatable dental disease which would have required extracting all his teeth.
“He was also severely underweight. He was suffering so much the vet decided that sadly, the kindest option was to put Bing to sleep.”
Bing was a white and brindle male neutered lurcher, aged between 12-14 years old, and had been owned by the family from the age of one.
Insp Keogh-Laws added: “This has been a tragic case which never should have happened.
“Bing was in his later years of life and should have been treated with love, kindness and been given the care that he desperately needed.
“He could have been spared this unnecessary suffering if only his owners had taken him to a vet when they realised he was injured.
“We were only made aware of poor Bing’s situation thanks to the person that called us, so we would always urge anyone with concerns about the welfare of an animal to contact our cruelty hotline on 0300 1234 999 so we can look into it.”
Sentencing: all three were given twelve weeks in prison and a lifetime ban on keeping animals.
#TheList Mark Cuthbert, born 07/03/1977, of 82 Thornyflat Place, Ayr KA8 0NE – set his dogs on wildlife including badgers; bought cats online to use as live bait for his dogs; failed to get vet treatment for his dogs’ fighting injuries
Mark Cuthbert pleaded guilty to keeping dogs for the purpose of an animal fight and killing a cat at home and at another premises.
Cuthbert used the selling website Gumtree to purchase the cats – with many owners believing their animals were going to a safe home.
The Scottish SPCA’s special investigations unit (SIU) received intelligence in March 2018 that Cuthbert had dogs for animal fighting. The SIU obtained a warrant to search Cuthbert’s address and, upon inspection, found his pets had injuries consistent with animal fighting.
They also suspected he had been self-medicating his dogs to avoid drawing attention to his illegal activities.
Investigators seized an electronic device that contained video and images of animal fights. The clips included Cuthbert’s dogs killing badgers and domestic cats.
Objects in the footage matched animal fighting paraphernalia discovered at his home. Among the items seized were tracking collars, nets, live animal traps, syringes, superglue, and pet carriers.
DNA analysis of these supported the case that many of the items were used for animal fighting.
The dogs involved in the case were black and white Patterdale terrier, Billy, and two brown female Patterdale terriers known as Digger and Tally.
Cuthbert pleaded guilty to keeping dogs, cats and a rat for an animal fight contrary to the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 under Section 23 (1) (a), for procuring cats for the purpose of animal fighting and arranging, participating and causing animal fights to take place under Section 23 (2) of the Act.
Commenting on the investigation and court case, a Scottish SPCA undercover special investigation unit (SIU) officer said, “This is a truly horrific case of animal cruelty, where we suspect dozens of animals have suffered mentally and physically at the hands of Mark Cuthbert. His inhumane treatment of animals is completely unacceptable.”
“We investigate reports of animal fights every week and the imagery and videos we discovered on his phone are some of the most depraved and upsetting we have seen. One harrowing video shows the three dogs attacking a domestic cat in a field which is fighting for its life. It’s clear the cat was caused horrendous suffering and many of the cats he purchased will have suffered long, torturous deaths.
“Cuthbert had been picking up the cats for his dogs to attack from the online selling site, Gumtree.
“After contacting Gumtree, we found correspondence between Cuthbert and people who had listed their cats on the site which led us to believe large numbers of cats were uplifted from pet owners who trusted their cats were going to a good, safe home.
“As well as the cats he purchased under false pretence, his own dogs have been treated appallingly. When we visited Cuthbert, two of his dogs had very obvious facial injuries and scars to the face, nose and jaw. Digger had a healed injury to the lower lip which had caused a v-shaped deformity and Billy was very aggressive when approached.
“If you are using an online service to find a new home for, or sell, your pet, please be vigilant and ensure your pet is going to a safe environment. If you are suspicious, do not continue with the sale and notify the Scottish SPCA as soon as possible.”
The Scottish SPCA’s special investigations unit are experts in investigating animal fighting offences and rely on information from the public to continue to put a stop to this horrific activity. All information shared with the Scottish SPCA can be treated with confidentiality and can be reported to the animal helpline on 03000 999 999.
Sentencing: ten months’ imprisonment. Ten-year ban on owning or keeping any animal.
#TheList Andrew Alexander, born 26/07/1984, originally from Dundee and as at September 2019 of Malvern Drive, Ilford, London IG3 9DR – stole a pug named Pixie who is believed to have died
Eleven-month-old pug Pixie went missing on July 16, 2018 from a flat in Stobswell, Dundee, while in the care of Andrew Alexander.
Following her disappearance, eye-witnesses reported seeing a dog matching Pixie’s description being hit in the face at Baxter Park and then being carried lifeless by a man through the streets of Dundee towards a bridge over the River Tay.
Now construction worker Andrew Alexander has been fined £250 after being convicted of stealing the dog. As there was no admissible evidence that he had killed or mistreated the animal, he faced no charges in relation to this.
To date, it is not known what exactly happened to Pixie but it is believed that Alexander dumped her broken body in the River Tay.
Alexander was represented in court by dodgy lawyer Ian James Houston of Bruce Short Solicitors, Rattray Street, Dundee. Houston tried to get his client off with the theft charge on the grounds that the “property”, i.e. a much-loved family pet, no longer existed because she was dead. Houston insisted on proving to the court that the dog had died by showing the CCTV footage of Alexander carrying Pixie’s body through the streets despite the anguish of the dog’s distraught owner, who was present in court. How do these people sleep at night?
==== Background: We originally published this article in August 2018 but had to withhold certain details at the time, so as not to jeopardise the prosecution case against Andrew Alexander. This is an edited version of that article. to reflect the latest developments.
Sometime after 3pm on Monday 16 July 2018 an 11-month-old pug named Pixie went missing from an address in Park Avenue, Baxter Park, Dundee. Pixie’s owner, Kelly, had gone out to do some shopping, leaving the tiny dog alone in the company of her flatmate, Andrew Alexander. Kelly had known this man for several years and he had given her no reason to distrust him.
When Kelly left, Pixie was sleeping and she told Alexander not to take her out. She was alarmed on her return a short while later, therefore, to find the flat empty and Pixie gone. As time passed with no word from Alexander, Kelly became increasingly anxious. As she didn’t have Alexander’s new mobile number she asked a friend to call him. The friend spoke briefly with Alexander who was described as angry, screaming down the phone that he would “speak to Kelly later”.
In a state of panic Kelly rushed over to the nearby park and asked dog walkers if they’d seen Alexander or Pixie but no one had. She returned to the flat and waited anxiously.
When Alexander finally returned home at 7:30 pm he was alone and there was no sign of Pixie. When Kelly asked him where the dog was, Alexander shouted “lost!” in a manner that was more irritated than concerned. He said that Pixie had run off in Baxter Park at 4pm and he’d been unable to find her. He then told Kelly, somewhat bizarrely, that he was “away to jail” but didn’t elaborate on what he meant and left in a taxi to go to a girlfriend’s house.
Kelly texted Alexander the following morning to tell him he was no longer welcome at the flat. His response: “I’ve already moved out lol”
Alexander returned two days later while Kelly was out to collect his things and left for good.
In the following days Kelly posted a number of desperate appeals on Facebook. Her posts were shared extensively in the local area, the charity DogLost got involved, and multiple reports of sightings from pedestrians and motorists started to come in. The news wasn’t encouraging, however, with witnesses reporting seeing a man resembling Alexander carrying a pug-type dog that appeared to be lifeless.
One pedestrian recalled seeing the man holding a dog in his arms.
She said: “The dog was very still and I thought that was strange as a dog wouldn’t usually allow itself to be held like that without moving at all.
“He avoided passing close to me on his way towards the city centre – probably because I watching him. It was very clearly a pug and in retrospect, it seemed utterly lifeless.
“The man appeared red and flustered. I wish I had stopped him and asked if the dog was okay.”
Another witness – a young girl – said she had seen a man in Baxter Park pick up a pug by the neck and punch her in the face. The girl had been too afraid to challenge him.
These sightings took place as late as 7pm on the evening of Monday 16 July 2018 – three hours after Alexander said that Pixie had disappeared.
“There have been numerous sightings of what appeared to be a man carrying a small dog resembling Pixie in the Stobswell and Waterfront areas in the following few hours.
“The dog appeared to be lifeless or ill, and the man was described as in his mid 30s-40, tall, large build, and wearing a red t-shirt and blue shorts, possibly with stripes down the side.
“He was last seen shortly before 6pm near the bottom of Crichton Street. These sightings have been confirmed on CCTV.
“We have already received a large amount of relevant information from the public regarding this incident and are currently following a positive line of enquiry.
“We have also attempted to contact a number of witnesses who have been identified to us, but have not been able to get in touch with them.
“We would therefore like to ask anyone who has information about this incident who we have not already spoken to, to contact us – in particular if you saw the described man in the area of Baxter Park, Arbroath Road, Blackscroft, Dock Street, the Tay Bridge, Slessor Gardens or Crichton Street, between 3pm and 7pm on Monday 16th.
“We are also very interested in a report given to us regarding a man being seen possibly mistreating a dog in Baxter Park around that time.
“Anyone with any information should contact Police Scotland on 101, quoting CR/17475/18 or speak to any police officers”.
In the meantime, Kelly and her friends formed the Facebook group Justice for Pixie with the aim of spreading awareness about the case and campaigning for justice. Sadly that justice never came when Alexander walked free from court with a nominal fine for dog theft.
#TheList Neil Patrick Souter, born 29/11/1960, of Blakey Walk, Middlesbrough TS6 8BB – exposed his three dogs to extreme suffering
Souter denied his pet terriers Boyo, Vino and Baby veterinary treatment over a five-year period and allowed them to suffer severely, leaving one with an “oozing” tumour, and others with growths, blackened skin, and teeth problems.
Stewart Haywood, prosecuting, described the scene to the court: “There was an unpleasant smell in the house and all three dogs were in poor condition.
“On arrival, Baby was asleep, but the inspector saw that she had fur loss.”
Baby also had tumorous masses on her bottom and right foot, leaving her unable to walk and suffering for “no less than two weeks”.
Mr Haywood added that Souter said he was “aware of the lump” and said Baby had had it for about “five years”.
“The defendant had an open bottle of alcohol and was seen to be under the influence”, he said.
“He then walked out of the house holding Vino shouting that the RSPCA were going to take the dog to put her to sleep.”
Souter eventually “calmed down” and let the inspector remove the dogs.
All three of the dogs had “black, thickened and flaky” skin from untreated disease likely caused by fleas, while Boyo and Vino had dental disease that caused suffering for “no less than six months”.
All three dogs were later euthanised or passed away from their catalogue of ailments.
Souter said he accepted ownership and “did what he could” when it came to the dogs’ health.
A probation officer told the court that Souter was “resistant” to questions and alleged photos of the neglect had been “tampered with” by the RSPCA.
His solicitor Paul McGee said his client, who had no previous convictions, is paranoid and believes “people are out to get him”.
He also submitted a string of other factors in mitigation, including that Souter was blind in one eye, had a fear of leaving home and was struggling after a string of family bereavements.
But district judge Natalie Wortley dismissed pleas for leniency: “This is a case that involved prolonged neglect and a high level of suffering.
“I have heard you were extremely loyal to those dogs and loved those dogs but you neglected them severely.”
Sentencing: 12 weeks in prison; ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge. Disqualified from owning animals for five years.
#TheList Daniel Mark Bowd, born 12/10/1991, of Old Stores Cottage, School Lane, Lower Leigh, Stoke On Trent ST10 4SS – kept starving dogs, cows and pigs in atrocious conditions on a smallholding
Daniel Bowd. former managing director of recently failed waste management company DM Bowd Environmental Services Ltd, kept dogs, pigs and cattle on a smallholding on Raddle Lane, Leigh, near Uttoxeter, but abandoned the animals to starve.
Staffordshire County Council raided the smallholding in January 2019 following a tip-off.
Five dogs in pens covered in faeces and urine
Pigs and cattle with no food or water
Pig skulls and smaller animal skulls in a field
A blood-covered pig which had been eating a dead pig
Prosecutor Khalid Mahmood told North Staffordshire Justice Centre: “A small pig had a blood-covered face as it had been eating the dead pig that was inside the pen. The officers then went looking in the pen and found skulls of dead pigs.
“The officers also saw cattle with no food or water and there was no dry lying area for them. Similarly, there was no dry lying area for any other animals.”
RSPCA officers inspected the dogs. They had wood in their rectum, their abdomens and guts felt empty, and they had scratches and damaged ears as if they had been fighting.
Bowd told the probation service that he was £60,000 in debt. He was working 14 hours every day just to ‘keep his head above water’ on a self-employed basis.
Lucy Taylor-Grimes, mitigating, said: “He just couldn’t keep up with the volume of food that the animals needed.”
Bowd admitted a catalogue of animal welfare offences against pigs and dogs. He also admitted failing to dispose of animal bones correctly, failing to maintain a register of the cattle on his holding, and not maintaining a proper veterinary medicine record for his livestock.
Sentencing: 18-week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months; ordered to pay £1,615 in court costs. Lifetime ban on keeping pigs, cattle and dogs with the possibility of review after five years.