#TheList Lauren Jane Eliot (aka Lauren Purvis), born 02/08/1997, of 5 Thomas Street, Annfield Plain, Stanley, Co Durham DH9 7SN – left a poorly British bulldog puppy to live in a yard full of rubbish and a mouldy sofa.
Eighteen-month-old British bulldog Royston was underweight, had skin and ear conditions and was living in a cluttered yard full of hazards when the RSPCA rescued him from his heartless owner, Lauren Jane Eliot.
The single mother-of-one was banned from keeping animals for five years after she was convicted of one offence under the Animal Welfare Act.
She failed to appear before Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court but was convicted in her absence of not taking reasonable steps to ensure the dog’s needs for a suitable environment were met and not seeking veterinary attention for his various ailments.
RSPCA inspector Cathy Maddison said: “I had been to this property in April and given advice to the couple living there to clean up the yard where they said Royston – an 18-month-old British bulldog – was living in the daytime.
“I got another call about him in August and when I went the situation had deteriorated.
“Royston was lying on a mouldy sofa in the yard, which was full of hazards.
“He had lost weight, had red skin and his nails were long.
“Eliot said she was taking him to the vets so I advised that needed to happen and the yard needed to be tidied up but unfortunately when I went back over a week later neither had.
“The yard was even worse, with faeces everywhere, and the shed Royston was using for shelter had been filled with chairs so his only resting place was the now very wet sofa.
“Eliot agreed I could take Royston to the vets to be checked over where he was found to be underweight.
“The skin under his chin and neck appeared red raw, his ears were very dirty and he smelled bad.
“He was taken into possession by police on vet advice and placed in our care pending the outcome of our investigation.”
The court heard that the defendant had been left with the dog when she broke up with her partner and was not in a position to care for him.
Inspector Maddison said: “Royston is now fully recovered and doing great.
“He’s a fantastic dog, and I’m really happy that we’ll now be able to find a fantastic new forever home for him.”
Sentencing: ordered to pay a total of £400. Five-year ban on keeping animals.
The court was told how neighbours called the RSPCA to Tolley’s flat, as they were concerned her dog had been left unattended in the property for some time. They said they had not seen Tolley for several days.
Inspector Emma Dingley was sent to the address and knocked on the door but when she got no reply she looked through the letterbox and could see Roo collapsed on the hallway floor in her own faeces.
She was in an emaciated state and Emma could see a huge tumour on her front leg.
She called the police for assistance so she could enter the property and rescue Roo.
The poorly dog was extremely cold and was too weak to stand or lift her head. Emma carried her out of the property and rushed her to the RSPCA’s Greater Manchester Animal Hospital.
Staff at the centre placed heat pads on Roo as she was suffering from hypothermia and gave her fluids as she was severely dehydrated. Her body temperature was found to be just 33.8C where the normal body temperature should be around 39C.
The veins were very collapsed, which made placement of a catheter for fluid replacement very difficult. It was thought the collapse of the veins was due to both dehydration and hypothermia.
A vet also found a large mass, approximately 12cm by 20cm which was ulcerated and would have been present for weeks causing intense suffering to the dog but Tolley had not sought veterinary treatment.
Emma said: “Roo was in an awful state when I went to rescue her. She was laid in her only faeces and couldn’t stand as she was so weak and in poor health
“She was freezing as there was no heating in the property so I wrapped her in a blanket and comforted her.
“She was clearly starved and as I cradled her in my arms to carry her to the van she knew I was trying to help her and she tried to wag her tail. It was heart-breaking.
“Staff at the animal hospital were doing all they could to save her but she was basically dying in front of our eyes and there was nothing we could do. She refused to eat even though she was starving.
“Sadly the following day she had deteriorated further so the vet made the decision to put Roo to sleep to end her suffering.
“It was so upsetting for us all – I just take some comfort from the fact she had kind people with her when she died and was not frightened and alone in the flat.
“This was a very upsetting case to deal with and there is never any excuse to abandon a pet – particularly in such a callous way.”
Sentencing: six-week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months; 20 days of rehabilitation activity requirement; £100 costs. Five-year ban on keeping animals.
#TheList Emma Jane Connolly, born 1989, of Wellington Street, Howley, Warrington WA1 – left her elderly pet dog to suffer with multiple ailments
Single mother-of-two Emma Connolly admitted two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal in that she failed to seek veterinary treatment for her desperately ill 16-year-old Staffy Lucie.
Lucie was suffering from a skin condition, ‘excessive thirst’ and hind leg weakness and pain. She was very sadly put to sleep.
Sentencing: eight-week curfew; ordered to pay £1,310 in costs and charges. Banned from keeping all animals for 10 years.
#TheList Sarah ‘Marie’ McGahan, born 11/11/1967 of 2 Belvedere Manor, Lurgan, Craigavon BT67 9NW – failed to ensure the welfare of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and her puppies.
In a case brought by Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council, Marie McGahan pleaded guilty to animal welfare offences relating to a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and her pups.
This followed an investigation in 2018 as a result of information from the public.
McGahan had failed to make the necessary improvements to the cleanliness of the area in which dogs were kept and a litter of pups were found in squalid conditions at her home.
McGahan was deemed to be in breach of a notice requiring her to maintain a clean environment for the animals in her care.
A council spokesperson said: “The judge in this case saw fit to impose a five-year ban from keeping animals because the defendant persistently neglected the needs of her dogs and flagrantly disregarded animal welfare legislation.
“This case serves as a reminder that the council will investigate complaints and bring forward legal proceedings against those who do not take reasonable steps to ensure the welfare of their animals.”
Sentencing: fined £150 and ordered to pay council costs of £226. Five-year Disqualification Order in respect of all animals.
#TheList puppy dealer Julie Michelle Ward, born 11/04/1983, previously of 26 Douglas Road, Leigh, Greater Manchester WN7 5HG and currently of Greenacres travellers site on Slapton Road, Little Billington, Leighton Buzzard LU7 9BP
Julie Ward was convicted of animal cruelty offences in September 2016 alongside husband Martin Ward and brother-in-law Patrick Oliver Ward after a dead pet was found at a home they were using as a puppy farm. None of the gang showed up for sentencing and warrants were issued for their arrest
In May 2018 Patrick Ward was jailed for 22 weeks and banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
The Wards sold the puppies from addresses on Douglas Road and Windermere Road, in Leigh, Wigan.
The RSPCA launched an investigation into the trio after eight people complained they received sick puppies.
Customers said the animals soon became ill after they arrived home.
Four of the pets died suddenly or were so poorly vets decided to put them down to end their suffering.
Back in April 2015 Ward sold a puppy when she was too young to leave her mother.
She also failed to provide a malti-poo with treatment for an ear mite infestation in November 2015, while in February 2016 she failed to provide a black and white puppy with treatment for parvovirus.
Inspector Pippa Boyd, who led the case, said: “We believe Ward, and two other people who were part of the operation and have been dealt with by the courts previously, were importing puppies and then selling them on from two addresses in Leigh.
“When we joined police to execute two warrants at the properties in February 2016 we found a number of dogs and other evidence.
“At one address – in Windermere Road – we found a number of phones labelled with different dog breeds.
“At the other – in Douglas Road – we found three dogs, one with an untreated broken pelvis, and the body of a dead Jack Russell terrier left in a kennel.”
Sentencing: 18 weeks in jail, £150 victim surcharge. Disqualified from keeping all animals for 10 years.
#TheList Steven Sai Chong To, born 21/03/1992, and wife Charlotte Plimmer, born 15/11/1996, both of 13 Theatre Royal Apartments, 15 Shoplatch, Shrewsbury SY1 1HR – for cruelty offences relating to four kittens
Takeaway worker Steven To killed two kittens and inflicted months of abuse on two others while his wife, Charlotte To (née Plimmer) failed to react to the ongoing cruelty.
Between August 2018 and March 2019, the Tos inflicted abuse which RSPCA veterinarian Dr David Martin said was the worst he had seen in his 22 years of practice.
The court heard how eight-week-old kittens Jin and Sun, and two-month-old pets Moon and Mew, suffered seizures, broken bones, infections, hair and skin loss, multiple amputations and tail lacerations which left one “hanging on by a thread”.
Steven To pleaded guilty to three animal cruelty charges relating to harming the cats, and Charlotte To pleaded guilty to four charges of failing to provide a safe environment and veterinary care.
Prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, Sara Pratt, said: “The defendants lived together with their kittens in a flat in Shrewsbury.
“Over the period of August 2018 and March 2019, they acquired a total of four kittens, two of which were killed while in the care of the defendants, as a result of the actions of Steven To – Jin was almost 12 weeks old and Mew was just five months old at the time of their deaths.”
The court heard Jin and Sun were registered at Animal Trusts Vets and deemed healthy in August 2018, before Moon and Mew were registered at a different practice, Copthorne Veterinary Clinic, in November 2018.
Ms Pratt added: “On September 14, 2018, a phone call was made to Animal Trust Vets reporting that Jin had been playing, knocked over some recycling, started having a seizure and died.
“On September 21, Sun was anaesthetised and X-rays revealed a fresh fracture to her right tibia.”
The court heard in October 2018, Sun was taken to the vets with two “kinks” in her tail, before returning three days later with it “hanging off”.
The defendants bought Moon and Mew in November 2018, before Sun was taken to the vets again with hair and skin loss.
Mew then suffered an injury to her chin where the skin had become detached from her jaw bone and required surgery, the court heard.
Ms Pratt said: “Just seven days after surgery to her avulsed chin, Mew was returned to Copthorne Vets with an extreme fracture dislocation midway down the tail – all tendons had been ripped.”
Mew was found dead on the kitchen floor days after returning from the vets following a tail amputation.
The court heard that an RSPCA post mortem found evidence of blunt trauma to the right side of the cat’s thorax and neck, as well as evidence that the cat had lost blood externally through the nose.
The court then heard how in February 2019, Moon was taken to Abbey Veterinary Centre starved, and again with a leg fracture in March.
Following concerns raised by the veterinary practices and the RSPCA, later that month Moon and Sun were seized by police and a full investigation was launched.
A report by Dr Martin stated that it was “clear” all four cats sustained “serious injuries” and that two died from “traumatic incidents”.
He added: “It is exceptionally unusual to have such a significant incidence of serious trauma in four cats over such a short period of time, to the extent that in 22 years of veterinary practice, I have never seen or heard of such a high incidence of serious injury.”
District Judge Kevin Grego said there was “no doubt” a lifetime ban was necessary for Mr To, and that Mrs To should not have “covered her eyes” to the ongoing abuse.
He said: “The penny must have dropped after a short period of time. She [Mrs To] either should have got those animals out of the house or at the very least ensured it wasn’t going to happen again.”
Judge Grego added: “Animal cruelty is incisive of a mindset that’s corrosive and damaging – that’s what makes this so serious.
“There should be no doubt the animals that died and suffered did so as a result of deliberate cruelty from you, Steven.
“That cruelty and death could have been avoided if you, Charlotte, didn’t frankly cover your eyes and accept what your husband told you when you knew what you were being told was unsustainable
Sentencing: Steven To was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, with 200 hours of unpaid work, 25 days of rehabilitation, a lifetime ban on keeping animals and was ordered to pay £5,000 court costs, more than £3,500 in vets’ fees and a £122 surcharge.
Charlotte To was given a 12-month community order, with 25 days of rehabilitation, 40 hours of unpaid work, a seven-year ban on owning animals and was ordered to pay £390 costs.
#TheList Amy Woodhouse, born 02/06/1985, of 152 Holmfield Close, Pontefract WF8 2NE – left her pet dog to suffer in agony for weeks with an infected ear
RSPCA inspector Kris Walker said: “I first saw Max in May of last year. He was in good body condition, bright and alert, but was a little scabby down his back. His left ear appeared infected, it was oozing yellow pus-like liquid and seemed to be very sore as he cried when I touched it.
Inspector Walker continued: “A little over a month later I spoke to her on the phone and she said she had only just got the money together to take Max to the vets and that he was booked in for the next day.
“I spoke to her again a few days later and was told he’d been given some medication and needed to go back in another seven days so I stressed again how important it was that he go.
“I tried to reach her on the phone after that and got no reply and when I contacted the vets was told she hadn’t returned with Max so I went back to the property to check on him, however his owner wouldn’t let me in.
“I attended with police on the following day, 13th July, almost two months since I’d first seen Max. He was crying as soon as I touched his ear, it was swollen, smelled strongly and appeared yellow and thickened. He was scratching and shaking his head.
“His owner gave permission for me to take him to the vets where his ears were causing him so much pain that I couldn’t get photos of inside them as it was just too much for him.”
Max was taken into possession by police on veterinary advice and kept at the vets overnight for treatment.
In court, Woodhouse admitted three offences under the Animal Welfare Act.
In mitigation, the court heard that the defendant recognised that she was failing to cope but at least made one attempt to take the dog to the vets.
Sentencing: 12-month community order including 20 rehabilitation activity days; ordered to pay £85 victim surcharge. Disqualified from keeping animals for 10 years.
A deprivation order was placed on Max who will now pass into RSPCA care for rehoming.
#TheList Ian Ware, born 13/05/1946 , and Ann Ware, born c. 1960, both of Holly Road, Tiverton EX16 6HZ – failed to take their badly injured cat to the vet
The RSPCA visited the home of Ian and Ann Ware in September 2019 after receiving a call from a concerned member of the public.
The grey and white cat, known as Snowball, was rushed to a vet by RSPCA Inspector Charlotte Coggins where he had to be put to sleep because of the severity of his condition.
Inspector Coggins said: “The pinna was damaged, leaving the cartilage of the ear canal exposed.
“Around the ear canal there was a deep deficit in the skin and underlying muscle to the extent that the bone of the skull could be seen rostral to the ear canal.
“The diagnosis from the vet was of a chronic severe deep infection of the ear canal and surrounding tissues. The exact cause could not be ascertained on clinical examination but it may have resulted from a bite to the area from another cat or rodent.
“As a result of this infection, the vet found Snowball to be suffering severe pain and that the infection had been present for some time based on the severity and extent of tissue destruction including damage to the cartilage of the ear canal.”
The defendants admitted causing unnecessary suffering to Snowball by failing to provide prompt or effective professional veterinary care and attention for the severe and chronic infected wound of the left ear canal and surrounding tissue.
Sentencing: four-week curfew order; £110 each in court costs. Banned from keeping animals for three years.