#TheList Ian Gordon McGrath, born 03/01/1975, of The Paddocks, Sandy Lane, Cranage, near Holmes Chapel, Crewe CW6 8HR – left 35 cow carcasses to decay at his dairy farm, left six other cows in such poor condition they had to be put down
McGrath admitted causing unnecessary suffering after a 2018 inspection of Grange Farm, Over Peover, Knutsford, by Cheshire East Council found some animals had no access to food or water.
Attempts had also been made to cover some of the 35 dead carcasses at the farm, which is now run by people who have no connection to this case.
The court heard the dairy farmer McGrath had suffered mental health problems since his father died in 2014.
Rachel Cooper, prosecuting, said that an experienced dairy farmer like McGrath must have known his actions were causing suffering to his animals.
But Adrian Roberts, defending, said McGrath had suffered with mental health problems since his father died in 2014.
He was also under financial pressure because of bovine tuberculosis in his herd and the falling price of milk.
District Judge Nicholas Sanders described the case as “appalling” and sentenced McGrath, who also admitted failing to dispose of dead cattle properly, to 18 weeks in jail which was suspended for 18 months.
He also banned McGrath from owning or keeping livestock for life but this can be reviewed in five years.
McGrath must also pay more than £17,000 in fines and costs, and carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.
#TheList Sean Ronald Burns, born 15/08/1970, of Rosehill Lodge, Ferry Lane, Pembroke SA71 4RG, Kenneth Darren Evans, born 09/10/1975, of 28 Llys Caermedi, Carmarthen SA31 1GX, and John A Clayton (dob tbc) of 17 Rhos Las, Carmarthen SA31 2DY – convicted on charges relating to cruelty to animals at Bramble Hall Farm in Pembroke Dock and operation of an illegal slaughterhouse
Sean Burns was convicted of multiple cruelty charges in relation to 215 animals at Bramble Hall Farm, Ferry Lane, Pembroke Dock SA71 4RG.
The charges included the unlicensed breeding of dogs, welfare and animal-keeping regulation charges relating to sheep, horses, dogs, pigs, and goats.
A total of 53 pigs, 80 sheep, three goats, 58 dogs, 20 horses and one donkey were removed from the smallholding after being found living in squalor and without adequate space, food or water.
District Judge Christopher James told Burns he had “deliberately” inflicted suffering over a “significant period of time”.
He told Burns the condition of the animals was “extremely poor”, and that some dogs and puppies had “died due to the neglect suffered at your hands”.
One horse was found with a pipe stuck in its hoof and two horses were found with no access to food or water.
They also found 10 newborn puppies in a plastic food bowl, two of which were dead.
Prosecutor Alexander Greenwood said the dogs were kept in a “hazardous environment”, with no bedding, and the floor wet with urine and faeces.
The court was told the animals displayed signs of “bullying behaviour” as food was so scarce and the bigger animals were keeping the smaller animals away from food.
The prosecution said this case of animal neglect was “one of the worst examples of its kind.”
The court heard Burns failed to provide documentation for any of the animals.
Defending, Aled Owen told the court Burns “has not got the skills to manage this farm efficiently”.
“Quite frankly, my client is illiterate,” he said.
The prosecution followed an investigation by public protection officers from Pembrokeshire Council, supported by Dyfed-Powys Police’s rural crime team.
Sean Burns’ mother Pamela Burns (born 12/08/1945) had faced 24 charges but the case against her ultimately did not proceed because she is said to be suffering from dementia.
Sean Burns was also convicted alongside associates John Clayton and Kenneth Evans on a string of charges relating to food hygiene, operating an illegal slaughterhouse and being involved in the illegal slaughter of sheep to produce ‘smokies’ – a West African delicacy where meat is cooked using a blow torch.
The illegal slaughterhouse operated in one of the agricultural outbuildings, with Clayton and Evans caught in the act by horrified inspectors.
The unit had been set up as a makeshift slaughter hall with six slaughtered sheep at various stages of preparation and further penned sheep awaiting the same fate.
The court was told that conditions in the slaughter hall were insanitary and the floor awash with blood from the slaughtered animals as well as by-products from the slaughter process.
A herd of pigs was seen wandering among suspended sheep carcasses, feeding on the remains of the slaughtered animals.
Approximately six further carcasses of smoked sheep were found bagged in the boot of Evans’ car, ready for onward supply.
Evidence was gathered by officers and the carcasses were seized for condemnation.
A number of sheep were subsequently euthanized for humane reasons and restrictions were placed on the herd of pigs, preventing their movement off-site to address the potential disease risk and to protect the human food chain.
Clayton was convicted in 2002 for the same offence alongside David Jones of Moelfre Farm in Llanwnnen, John Beddows of Tregaron, Ceredigion, Trefor Williams of Llandysul, Ceredigion, Alun Evans and his brother Richard Evans both of Abernewrig, Lampeter, Malcolm Taylor of Oldbury, in the West Midlands, and Alun Lloyd of Llanfrynach, Pembrokeshire
Sentencing for these offences is to follow.
Magistrates in Court in Llanelli formalised that order for the removal of the animals owned by Pamela and Sean Burns of Bramble Hall.
Sentencing: Sean Burns was given 20 weeks in prison for illegal dog breeding, animal welfare charges and other summary matters. Although Pembrokeshire Council have incurred thousands of pounds in costs, Burns was only ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge at this stage. He was handed an indefinite ban from keeping animals, including having any involvement or influence over the care or welfare of animals.
#TheList Andrew William Beech, born 31/05/1986 of 64a Kingsfield Road, Biddulph ST8 6DR – subjected his pet dog to repeated violent attacks over several months, finally killing her
Neighbours of Andrew Beech had witnessed him screaming and swearing at his blue Staffordshire bull terrier, Millie, many times in the months leading up to her violent death on 19 August 2019.
One witness described seeing Beech throw Millie’s bed into the communal yard and yelling at her aggressively. He then kicked her hard, causing her to cry out. The witness tried to confront him but Beech disappeared inside his flat before she could do so.
On the evening of Millie’s death horrified neighbours heard Beech yelling “you shit all over the flat” followed by sounds of a dog in severe distress, crying and screaming.
On August 21, Beech wrote the following on Facebook: “my Millie moo died, completely shocked, RIP”.
Rumours emerged on social media that Beech had killed Millie and one local animal lover, Nicola, decided to go to his house to confront him. Beech told Nicola that Millie had died from natural causes and said he had buried her body in local woods. However, Nicola had noticed bloodstains on the walls of his hallway and was unconvinced by his lies. She went through his bins and was horrified to discover remnants of a blood-soaked dog bed.
Police were called but were reluctant to investigate so Nicola, determined to get justice for Millie, decided to take matters into her own hands.
She posted an appeal for information on Facebook and was soon contacted by someone who said they would show her where Beech had buried Millie’s body – actually in a small plot in the car park to the rear of his flat.
Nicola took a shovel and found Millie’s battered body in a cardboard box. She was wrapped in what remained of her dog bed.
The box contained a message that said “Millie, I’m going to miss you every day” with dog biscuits, and a deflated ball.
Nicola contacted the RSPCA who collected Millie’s remains and took her to a vet for examination. There it was discovered that she had died from a blunt trauma. She had several other traumatic injuries including a punctured liver and lung, a broken hip and internal bleeding. Almost every rib was broken.
Some injuries were older and had been inflicted on her months earlier, proving that this attack had not been a one-off.
The RSPCA prosecuted Beech but he denied the charges and continued to scream about his innocence to his friends and family and publicly on Facebook.
Faced with overwhelming evidence against him, however, Beech eventually pleaded guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal as well as harassing an ex-partner.
The court heard Beechhad lost his job at a builders’ merchant following the social media backlash in the wake of Millie’s death.
Beech’s lawyer, Peter Howland of Turnocks Defence Solicitors, told the court that his client became frustrated with Millie following a change in his working hours causing him to be away most of the day and that “he kicked her because of her behaviour”.
Speaking about the fatal attack Howland said that his client “kicked the dog a number of times and, as a result of that, it died within a matter of minutes. He was shocked and didn’t know what to do.”
Howland claimed that Beech had been in the Army and had served in Basra “which has had an effect on his mental health.”
This cut little ice with the judge who told Beech: “You could not cope with owning the dog but you made excuses – it would not have taken a genius to give the dog to the RSPCA.
“Instead you subjected the dog to cruelty on a regular basis. This was not a one-off – and then you kicked this dog to death.”
Sentencing: jailed for 24 weeks and banned indefinitely from keeping animals.
#TheList Tracy Jane Middleton, born November 1968, of Little Oakhurst Brissenden Farm, Ashford Road, Bethersden, Ashford, Kent TN26 3BQ – jailed and banned from owning animals for 10 years after carcasses of sheep, lambs and cattle were found on her land.
Tracy Middleton admitted 41 charges relating to animals on her farm, which covers 340 acres with 135 cows and 150 sheep. These included causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and failing to provide adequate food and water.
She also admitted to breaches concerning ear tags, and for not sufficiently dealing with the carcasses of nine dead ewes and 15 dead lambs.
In February 2019, Kent Animal Defenders complained to the RSPCA after finding a dismal scene at the farm, despite the RSPCA raising concerns in 2018.
Andrew Price, prosecuting for Kent Trading Standards, said officials carried out a series of visits from 2018 to 2019 after being contacted by animal welfare activists.
The cattle sheds had no dry area for the cows to lie down, the water troughs were almost empty and the mud was so deep that cows found it hard to move around.
Animals had bald patches of skin. There was a dead calf in the mud and one calf was seen in the yard with bailing twine in its mouth.
Middleton’s lawyer, Gordon Crow, said his client accepted the farm was chaotic and badly-managed but that she had been overwhelmed at the time and going through a traumatic time in her life. He urged District Judge Justin Barron not to jail Middleton because of the “untold damage” this would cause her family.
However, Judge Barron said the level of suffering was so serious that the only appropriate punishment was a custodial sentence.
Addressing Middleton he said: “No one could look at those pictures and say your animals didn’t experience a high level of suffering.”
Many of the remaining animals have now been moved or sold, and a local farmer has now leased the farm.
Sentencing: 120 days in jail. Ordered to pay £8,500 costs. Banned from owning or keeping any animals for 10 years with the exception of a cat and two dogs she owns.
#TheList John Joseph Boyle, born 17/09/1965, of 663 Springfield Road, Belfast BT12 7HD – beat an injured dog to death with two hammers
John Boyle, formerly of Ardilea Court, Ardoyne, admitted killing his pet dog with two hammers after she had been hit by a car. He then dumped her remains in a wheelie bin. The horrific incident took place on 23 November 2017.
Officers went to Boyle’s house after being called by a concerned neighbour who had seen him with the ailing pet and who was worried he would not seek proper care for her injuries.
When Boyle was questioned about the whereabouts of the pup, he said a friend had taken her away to a farmhouse in the countryside.
But when his house and yard were searched, the body of the dog and two bloodied hammers were discovered.
He then admitted killing his pet and said he couldn’t afford to take her to the vet.
A spokesperson for Belfast City Council said: “This was a particularly extreme and harrowing case.
“Belfast City Council brought the prosecution after animal welfare officers followed up on a report that a dog had been knocked down by a car and injured,” they explained.
“Mr Boyle took a hammer and killed the dog, placing it in a wheelie bin.
“Animal welfare officers attended the property at Ardilea Court and found the dog’s body. They seized a wooden mallet and metal hammer from the property, both with evidence of dried blood on them.”
The court viewed the offence as so serious that it justified a jail term.
Boyle will serve his sentence in Maghaberry Prison.
Sentencing: six months in jail; fines totalling £264. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
#TheList Paul Scotty Murray, born 21/11/1999, of 10 Gartmorn Road, Sauchie, Alloa FK10 3NX – inflicted a catalogue of injuries on a pup and stuffed him into a tiny drawer
The badly injured dog, known as Tyson, was left in agony with no access to food, water, light or room to move after being stuffed into a drawer by his twisted owner, Paul Scotty Murray. The four-month-old dog had to be euthanised on humane grounds.
Murray only admitted causing Tyson unnecessary suffering by failing to get him treated for a catalogue of horrendous injuries. The court did not address how he came to be injured in the first place.
Tyson had sustained a fractured elbow and injured hip, and was suffering from a painful ear condition between February 21-28, 2019.
Instead of taking the stricken dog to a vet, Murray left him to suffer in agony at his property on Gartmorn Road during that period.
He also admitted cramming Tyson into a tiny drawer under a bed on February 28.
Police discovered Tyson in the drawer and immediately seized him from Murray.
The court heard a vet found “evidence of definite trauma to the head, neck and femur”.
The injuries were likely to have been a result of “separate incidents” of trauma, and the pain the dog was in would have been obvious to any owner.
Sadly, Tyson was euthanised on welfare grounds on March 1.
Murray’s solicitor, Grazia Robertson of Glasgow law firm L and G Robertson, said her client was barely able to care for himself, let alone an animal.
She said this was due to a troubled upbringing, and asked for unpaid work or a curfew to be imposed on Murray.
She added: “Clearly, some punishment is required.”
A furious Sheriff Craig Harris warned Murray of how seriously he viewed the offences.
He said: “You put this animal through absolute hell. You should be nowhere near animals.
“I’ve given serious consideration as to whether you should go to prison for this.”
Instead, Murray walked free from court with a community order.
Sentencing: 150 hours of unpaid work and a one-year supervision order. He is banned from owning, keeping, or taking charge of any animal for a period of seven years.
#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.
The owner was alerted to the crime after hearing gunshots and then spotting Price loading something into the back of his van.
North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard police later found the 22-year-old with eight dead pheasants in his vehicle.
Prosecutor Sue Hayers said: “The injured party was at home at 9pm on January 14 when he heard what he thought sounded like silenced rifle shots. He saw a light shine in the trees and formed the opinion someone was outside.
“He saw a van parked up the road and saw someone throw something into the rear of the van. The person was holding a rifle. The vehicle pulled away.
“Police later located the van and the defendant. They recovered an air rifle, pellets and eight pheasants from the vehicle.”
When he was arrested, Price claimed he did not know the Whitmore land was private and said he intended to eat the birds.
The court heard the landowner, the Cavanagh-Mainwairing family, rears pheasants to be used in licensed shoots held on the estate, and the theft left them £320 out of pocket.
Price pleaded guilty to theft and a charge of trespassing at night with an air rifle to destroy game.
The offences put him in breach of a conditional discharge he received for another theft, when he was collecting scrap metal and took property that the owner had not agreed he could have.
Mohammed Fiaz, mitigating, said: “He has written a letter of apology for his behaviour. The reason Mr Price took the pheasants was for his own consumption. He wasn’t going to sell them on. He purchased the rifle legitimately.
“He was working as a labourer but unfortunately he lost that job a couple of weeks ago.”
Sentencing: 12-month community order with 80 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay £320 to the victim. He must also pay a £120 fine for breaching the conditional discharge.
#TheList greyhound breeder/trainer Clive Donald Elliott, born 19/11/1979, of 35 Limes Avenue, Swindon SN2 1QQ – convicted of multiple counts of cruelty towards dogs in his care
Clive Elliott binged on drink and drugs while his dogs starved in kennels at the home he now shares with his mother. When police and an RSPCA officer visited the property they found one dog stuffed in a freezer, two others dead on the floor and other animals starved.
The greyhound trainer and breeder, who had inherited a number of dogs from his late father, left the animals unfed for around four days.
But a vet who examined the stricken animals after they were rescued from their kennel suggested the dogs had been subject to weeks or possibly months of neglect.
RSPCA prosecutor Matthew Knight said officers had found eight dogs. Three were dead, including one that had been put into a bin liner and stuffed into a chest freezer.
“There was no dog food whatsoever in the property,” the solicitor said.
The five other dogs were in a poor condition. Their nails were overgrown, some had abscesses and scurvy.
One of the animals had a severe mouth ulcer, which Elliott later admitted knowing about. The dog initially wolfed down food but died a week later after his condition deteriorated.
Autopsies were carried out on the dead dogs. The bone marrow of one was a glutinous liquid – the result of poor nutrition. The vet said it would have taken weeks or possibly months to reach that stage.
As an example of how poorly nourished the greyhounds were, Mr Knight said one dog had increased in weight by a third in just one month after it was taken from the house. He said: “The vet puts this purely down to providing the proper food.”
Interviewed by the authorities, Elliott said matters had deteriorated after the breakdown of a relationship. He had turned to drink and drugs and did not ask for help as he was “too proud”.
He told the RSPCA his mother, who has dementia, would have fed them had there been any dog food. He added: “There wasn’t any food for my mum that’s how low I was.”
The dogs Elliott was accused of having neglected were racing as recently as January 2019. Racing cards suggest Gemstone Bobbie, who added a third to his body weight after being rescued, was at the Swindon track twice that month. “C D Elliott” was the trainer
Elliott’s lawyer Terry McCarthy of Jeary & Lewis Solicitors said his client had inherited dogs after the death of his father in 2014.
He had owned his own printing business and was looking after the dogs on the side. He changed jobs, working night shifts and caring for the animals during the day.
He found he was not coping well and, when his relationship broke down, matters spiralled.
“Things went wrong there and Mr Elliott was affected by the breakdown,” Mr McCarthy said.
“It seems some dogs were removed from him by someone his ex-partner met and the problems with the breakdown and the lack of income got in top of him.
“There is reference to the back problem you have heard about for which he has been prescribed medication.”
Elliott had been abusing prescription medication on top of that. “It’s my feeling that Mr Elliott was suffering at the time from severe depression. It’s unfortunate that he didn’t go and see a doctor and there is no medical evidence to confirm it.
“It’s quite obvious that as a result of that depression he wasn’t coping with anything.
“You’ve read in the report he couldn’t bring himself to look after his mother properly – as well as his dogs.
“Some of the dogs I think you’ve heard about were owned by another person. That person did not provide food for them either.
“Mr Elliott had no money.”
Chairman of the bench Jane Durrant said Elliott had shown no evidence of remorse.
“The pictures we have been shown are extremely distressing and the number of dogs and the level of suffering they endured is really quite appalling,” she said.
“The distress caused to these dogs was just quite unbelievable.”
Elliott did not appear to react as the sentence was read out.
Sentencing: 20 weeks’ imprisonment. Ordered to pay a total of £872 costs and charges. Banned from owning dogs for life.