Tag Archives: financial difficulty defence

Stanley, County Durham: David Morton

#TheList David Morton, born c. 1992, of Jane Street, Stanley DH9 7BH – left his husky dog to suffer with a broken leg for more than four weeks.

David Morton, who is no stranger to the courts, told magistrates he didn't "give a monkeys'after being convicted for leaving his pet dog to suffer in agony with a broken leg
Morton, who is no stranger to the courts, told magistrates he didn’t “give a monkeys’after being convicted for leaving his pet dog to suffer in agony with a broken leg

Serial headcase David Morton was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal for failing to get veterinary treatment for his pet husky’s broken leg. The cause of the dog’s injury was unexplained.

Morton, who was recently given community service after sending human faeces to a police officer, told magistrates that he “didn’t give a monkey’s” what they said and would have two dogs by the weekend.

Husky Sendi who was mistreated and neglected by her uncaring owner David Morton
Husky Sendi who was mistreated and neglected by her uncaring owner David Morton

Kevin Campbell, prosecuting on behalf of RSPCA, said the charity became involved after a veterinary surgeon contacted them to raise concerns about Morton’s dog, a female husky named Sendi.

He said: “On the 22nd July [2019] the dog was seen by a vet who conceded that the dog had a fracture to her leg and the injury was four to six weeks old. The dog had either been untreated or treated inadequately.

“She concluded that the dog was clearly suffering as a result of the failure to give it any proper treatment.”

The dog had a broken femur and was unable to walk when she was seen by a vet.

Mr Campbell added: “When inspectors attended the address they could see the dog was unable to stand on its hind leg.

“A male answered the door and said he was the defendant, the inspector asked him about the dog in question and he was uncooperative – referring to him as a donkey.

“The defendant told him to f*** off, he was not allowed to enter the property and police had to be called to help him.”

PIctured is convicted dog abuser David Morton outside court

Paul Donohue, mitigating, said the 28-year-old had not set out to harm his own dog.

He said: “The actual injury has not been caused on purpose. It was caused accidentally and the complaint is that the dog did not have the proper treatment. He accepts that the dog did not have an operation but that wasn’t for lack of trying.

PIctured is convicted dog abuser David Morton outside court

“Like many people he does not have insurance so if anything happens it would fall to him to pay for it.

“If he had £5,000 there and then he would have spent it on the dog.

“He didn’t want the dog to suffer but he just has not got the money.”

Sendi was treated by the RSPCA and remains in their care.

Sentencing: ordered to pay £480 costs. Banned from keeping animals for five years. Morton is already serving a community order for a previous offence.

Northern Echo

Littlemore, Oxford: Martin Edwards

#TheList Martin Edwards, born 14/11/1971, of Falcon Close, Oxford OX4 6EY – for failing to treat his dog’s chronic skin condition

Callous Martin Edwards from Oxford failed to get his pet dog the treatment he needed for his painful skin condition.
Callous Martin Edwards failed to get his pet dog the treatment he needed for his painful skin condition.

Edwards was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to his Labrador-Staffie cross called Terror by failing to treat his painful allergic dermatitis between 20 February and 20 March 2019.

RSPCA inspector Andy Eddy investigated Edwards after receiving a report of a neglected dog.

When Inspector Eddy arrived at Edwards’ home he noticed Terror was chewing on his back leg and there were bald patches in his fur.

Inspector Eddy advised Edwards to take his dog to the vet and gave him a voucher towards the costs. He failed to do so despite repeated advice and on 20 March Inspector Eddy took Terror to the vet himself.

Later that day an order was issued by Thames Valley Police to seize the dog.

Terror was found to be unwell, and the vet who later examined him said his body looked sore with lesions on his legs and an abdomen that looked infected. The vet also found mites in his skin.

During interview Edwards said how upset he was with himself he was for letting it get to the point where Terror was taken from him.

Edwards also revealed he had recently lost his mother and had been made redundant from BMW just before Christmas and as a result was struggling financially.

Terror went on to make a full recovery in the care of the RSPCA.

Sentencing: 18-month community order; total of £125 costs and charges. Banned from keeping animals for two years.

Oxford Mail

Shropshire Union Canal, Nantwich: Brendan Murphy

#TheList Brendan Murphy, born c. 1967, of Nantwich – stabbed his dog twice before throwing her into the canal to drown

Murphy, who lives on a barge on the Shropshire Union Canal, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to his poorly Akita dog , Tara, by stabbing her twice, chaining a heavy weight around her body and dumping her in the canal to drown.

The court heard how Tara’s body was seen floating in the Shropshire Union canal at Nantwich on October 6, 2018, and police were called. Officers then alerted the RSPCA

Inspector Andy Harris investigated and took the dog’s body to the vets, where a post mortem examination revealed she had been suffering from a lung disease for a number of weeks.

The vet also found she had been stabbed twice before her body entered the canal. Due to the state of decomposition her body had been in the water for about three weeks.

Some patches of fur missing on Tara’s body suggested the propeller of a barge had come into contact with her under water and this had freed her body from the item used to weigh her down.

Her microchip revealed she was owned by Murphy so Inspector Harris visited his address and he admitted Tara was his.

During interview, Murphy admitted he was aware Tara was unwell with a lung condition and had sought veterinary advice but could not afford the treatment.

He said she had died on the canal barge and so he buried her in woodland near Crewe where he was moored at the time.

He said in interview that he went to the spot where he buried her to pay his respects a few times but claimed about two weeks later her body had been dug up and said he had no idea how she ended up in the canal.

As it was suspected Tara had drowned, samples of her bone marrow were sent away for forensic testing – the first time this technique has been used in an RSPCA prosecution.

The test showed that Tara died from drowning.

In a witness statement, an expert vet told the court: “It is my expert opinion that Tara was suffering as a result of underlying ill health at the time of her death.

“It is further my expert opinion that Tara was alive when she was placed in the canal and that she was deliberately anchored down with a length of chain.

“The cause of death in Tara is hence in my expert opinion drowning.”

Inspector Harris said: “Poor Tara had a lung disease which was left untreated and therefore she was left suffering will this illness for a number of weeks.

“She was then stabbed in the abdomen twice before being thrown alive into the canal, where she drowned.

“It is upsetting to think about what she must have endured during her final moments.”

Sentencing: 10-week jail sentence suspended for 12 months; ordered to pay a total of £415 in costs and charges. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

Nantwich News

Newbold, Chesterfield: James Drury

#TheList James Drury, born 31/07/1994 of 5 Coniston Way, Chesterfield S41 8JF – for allowing his pet dog to starve almost to death

Animal abuser James Drury of Chesterfield, UK

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.

James Drury of Chesterfield left his pet dog Dibbley to starve

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.

Animal abuser James Drury of Chesterfield, UK

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.

Derbyshire Times

Bell Green, Coventry: Darren Haywood

#TheList Darren ‘Daz’ Haywood, born c. 1982, of Chaloner Close, Bell Green, Coventry CV2 1UE – allowed his two dogs to become severely underweight and failed to get treatment for their skin condition

Animal abuser Darren 'Daz' Haywood of Coventry and his neglected dogs Tyson and Missy

Haywood was found guilty in his absence of three animal welfare offences, including causing unnecessary suffering.

The court heard how his Staffies, named Tyson and Missy, were severely underweight and suffering an untreated skin condition which had led to fur loss.

A concerned member of the public reported the matter to the RSPCA and Inspector Helen Smith was sent to investigate on March 4, 2019.

She found the dogs at Haywood’s address and could see immediately they both were underweight and appeared to have fur loss caused by a skin condition – they also smelt from the infection.

She was given permission to take them for veterinary treatment where the vet concluded both pets had suffered unnecessarily.
He found Tyson, aged 8, weighed 14.5kgs when a normal weight would have been 18-20kgs. His bones were protruding and he was constantly scratching due to a skin infection which had led to fur loss.

Missy, also aged 8, was also underweight at 15.2 kgs and again was constantly scratching due to a severe skin infection. Both dogs have now recovered in RSPCA care and will be available for re-homing soon.

Inspector Helen Smith said: “It was clear from the smell of the dogs and their appearance that both had a severe infection and they were constantly scratching.

“They were also clearly underweight as many of their bones were protruding.

“There is never an excuse not to feed your pets or to leave them suffering when they should be taken immediately to a vets.

“Many vets will offer a payment plan to help spread the cost and there are charities who can help with vet bills.”

Haywood failed to appear for a previous hearing and was sentenced in his absence. He was later arrested but failed to appear for a sentencing hearing. A warrant was issued for his arrest and he was finally brought before the court for sentencing.

In mitigation, the court was told Haywood suffered financial hardship.

Sentencing: 12-month community order with four-month curfew; 15-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement; ordered to pay a £85 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping animals for five years.

Coventry Observer

Overstone, Northampton: Thomas Keenan

#TheList Thomas J Keenan, born 1972, of Hamsterly Park, Northampton NN3 5DX – failed to get treatment for his pet cat’s serious leg injury; leg amputated

Cat abuser Thomas Keenan from Northampton, UK

Keenan pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to his cat, Beauty, when he appeared before magistrates.

The court heard how the RSPCA were called in after receiving reports from a concerned member of the public who said Beauty had a serious leg injury that had not been treated.

RSPCA Inspector Michelle Hare visited on July 13, 2019, and could see that there was a problem with Beauty’s back left leg.

Neglected cat Beauty

The leg was twisted inwards and looked floppy, the cat was unable to put any weight on it so, with Keenan’s permission, she took Beauty for veterinary treatment.

The vet said that Beauty had a broken femur and the bone had rubbed on her skin causing an abscess that had become infected.

He added that he estimated the pet had suffered for about three weeks.

Beauty had her leg amputated but has made a great recovery and has now been rehomed by the RSPCA.

Inspector Hare said: “We still are not sure how Beauty came to be injured but believed she may have been involved in a car accident.

“She had a nasty injury and she was struggling to walk so should have been taken to the vets straight away. Many vets will offer a payment plan to help spread the cost and there are charities who can help with vet bills.”.”

His other two cats will also be rehomed by the RSPCA.

In mitigation, the court was told that Keenan was aware of the injury but could not afford veterinary treatment.

Sentencing: 120 hours of unpaid work; £385 costs. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

Northampton Chronicle

Hartlepool, County Durham: Michaela Durkin

#TheList Michaela Alison Durkin, born c. 1995, of Jesmond Gardens, Hartlepool TS24 – allowed her dog to suffer with a broken leg for a month, eventually forcing vets to amputate it.

Whippet Lola was left to suffer with a broken leg for four weeks by her callous owner Michaela Durkin
Whippet Lola was left to suffer with a broken leg for four weeks by her callous owner Michaela Durkin

Durkin pleaded guilty one count of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal between March and April 2019.

The mother-of-two lied to RSPCA inspectors claiming her whippet, Lola, had fallen down the stairs and injured her right hind leg, but appeared to “brighten up” after a couple of days.

A member of the public contacted the animal welfare charity after noticing the family pet had an “obvious and noticeable injury”. Lola was unable to put any weight on the leg and it appeared visibly swollen.

The court heardhow Durkin denied witnessing Lola falling down the stairs, but had heard a yelp. However, she claimed she could not remember the date that the dog first began holding up one leg.

Dave Dedman, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said: “Lola was taken to see a vet who stated she was incapable of putting any weight on the leg and it was clear there was a fracture to the femur, muscle contractures and shortening of the limb.

“She said that had occurred over a prolonged period of time. She was hospitalised on April 5, 2019, but very sadly, because of the break and because the muscle had contracted, Lola had her right hind leg amputated on April 8.”

Whippet Lola was left to suffer with a broken leg for four weeks by her callous owner Michaela Durkin

Durkin, was interviewed four days later and said she thought Lola had not been herself for a couple of days, but had perked back up and she had no reason to think Lola’s leg was broken.

Vets caring for the whippet confirmed it was impossible for the dog to have sustained the injury by falling down the stairs and said the fracture had happened at least four weeks prior to the RSPCA investigation.

Whippet Lola was left to suffer with a broken leg for four weeks by her callous owner Michaela Durkin

They instead suggested Lola’s leg had been subjected to “substantial lateral force”. The court heard allegations that the father of Durkin’s children had kicked the dog, however no charges were brought against him.

Mr Dedman concluded there had been “prolonged neglect”, adding: “It’s a very sad and there’s a high level of suffering caused to the dog, to the point where her leg had to be amputated.”

A probation report stated Durkin had significant personal and financial problems and could not afford veterinary bills.

Durkin’s solicitor, Gavin Musgrave, conceded the family pet had sustained a “horrific injury” and told the court that Lola had been signed over into the care of the RSPCA.

Mr Musgrave said: “She was a responsible dog owner and she’s had animals in the past. She’s very remorseful for the incident and she’s fearful of the consequences.”

Sentencing: 12-month community order; total of £485 fine and charges. Disqualified from owning or being in control of any animal for ten years.

Northern Echo
Teesside Live

Bedworth, Warwickshire: Katy Liggins and James Johnson

#TheList Katy Liggins and James Johnson, ages unknown, both of Smercote Close, Bedworth CV12 0EB – left their dogs suffering from chronic skin conditions for months.

Convicted dog abusers Katy Liggins and James Johnson
Katy Liggins and James Johnson

Katy Liggins and partner James Johnson pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to Staffies Diesel and Roxy by failing to explore and address their chronic skin condition.

RSPCA inspectors were called to the couple’s home having been tipped off by a member of the public.

Before and after pictures of neglected dogs Diesel and Roxy
Before and after pictures of neglected dogs Diesel and Roxy

Investigating Inspector Helen Smith said: “When I first saw Diesel it was obvious he was in dire need of veterinary attention. He was constantly trying to scratch himself and his skin was so thick it was like that of an elephant.

“He has red sores which were weeping and it was clear he was suffering. Roxy was displaying similar symptoms.

“In my 20 years as an RSPCA inspector Diesel had one of the worst skin conditions caused by a flea infestation I have seen.

“Both pets must have been endlessly suffering trying to relieve their itchy skin. “

The RSPCA inspector went on: “The vet said they would have been suffering like this for months – which is so unnecessary as fleas are easily preventable with routine treatment.

“If pets do get fleas, veterinary treatment should be sought immediately so they don’t have to suffer needlessly for such a long period of time.”

In mitigation, the court heard the couple were suffering from financial difficulties.

The court ordered both Diesel and Roxy should be placed in the care of the RSPCA where they will be rehabilitated and re-homed.

Sentencing: 12-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months; 100 hours of unpaid work and 40-day rehabilitation activity requirement. Total of £250 costs and charges each. Five-year ban on keeping animals.

Coventry Telegraph
ITV News

Wallasey, Merseyside: Thomas Bennett

#TheList Thomas Anthony Bennett, born 08/01/1987 of 54 Rice Lane, Wallasey, Wirral CH44 0DQ – abandoned a dog, a snake and a bearded dragon without food or water for several days

Tom Bennett left three pets, including Rottweiler Bruno, without food and water in his filthy home.
Tom Bennett left three pets, including Rottweiler Bruno, without food and water in his filthy home.

Father-of-two Thomas Bennett pleaded guilty to three animal welfare charges after neglecting three pets, including a snake that was found dead at his property.

Tom Bennett left three pets, including Rottweiler Bruno, without food and water in his filthy home.
Bruno is recovering in the care of the RSPCA

The dog, a nine-year-old Rottweiler called Bruno, was found barricaded in a squalid kitchen which was full of faeces.

Neighbours allegedly heard a dog ‘barking for days’ on the street – with one resident fearing the house was empty for ‘at least a week’.

Tom Bennett left three pets, including Rottweiler Bruno, without food and water in his filthy home.
Conditions inside the property where Tom Bennett left three animals without food or water

RSPCA Inspector Anthony Joynes, who investigated, said none of the animals had food or water.

He said the python was found in a vivarium and had been dead for some time. The bearded dragon was in such a bad state of health that police officers initially thought he was also dead.

Anthony said: “Bruno was locked in a filthy kitchen which had been barricaded shut with furniture. He had no food or water and was surrounded by faeces.

“There were some empty dog food cans in the kitchen and because he was so hungry he had started chewing them.

“He was clearly underweight but since he has been the care of the RSPCA he has done really well and it is hoped he will be rehomed soon.”

Tom Bennett left three pets, including Rottweiler Bruno, without food and water in his filthy home.
Animal abuser Thomas Anthony Bennett from Wallasey, Wirral, Merseyside

Anthony said: “From the state of decomposition it was clear the snake had been dead sometime.

“The bearded dragon looked close to death but was given specialist medical care – including having a feeding tube inserted into his stomach – and made a full recovery.

“Sadly, recently he developed a tumour in his mouth and a vet decided the kindest thing to do would be to put him to sleep but I am grateful he enjoyed a few months of life being properly cared for.”

“Bennett didn’t even have the right equipment for keeping a bearded dragon – there was no UV light for him and without this they develop bone problems and will be unable to live a healthy life.

“Reptiles and other exotic pets are completely reliant on their owners to meet their welfare needs including requiring the correct levels of heat, light and humidity, plus an appropriate diet.

“People may buy them with little idea of how difficult they can be to keep and the animals are sometimes neglected when the novelty wears off and the commitment hits home.

“This is why the RSPCA would encourage anyone thinking of getting an exotic pet to find out as much as possible about the animal’s needs and whether they’re the right pet for them.”

Tom Bennett left three pets, including Rottweiler Bruno, without food and water in his filthy home.

Bennett admitted he had not fed the bearded dragon and snake for at least six weeks and said this was because he was struggling financially.

Sentencing: 12-month jail term suspended for 12 months; 20-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement; total of £515 costs and charges. Five year ban on keeping animals.

Liverpool Echo
Wirral Globe

Spalding, Lincolnshire: Sian Williamson

#TheList Sian Williamson, age unknown, of Redthorne Close, Spalding PE11 2LP – kept two dogs in appalling conditions; one dog extremely emaciated when rescued

Dog abuser Sian Williamson of Spalding was let off with an RSPCA caution, which will only remain on file for 3 years.
Despite evidence of animal neglect and cruelty Sian Williamson of Spalding was let off with an RSPCA caution, which will only remain on file for 3 years.

The dogs – Staffy Molly and Sharpei cross Mika – were rescued in February 2019 by Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue, who were alerted by a local dog warden.

Emaciated Molly was being kept in grim conditions by her callous owner Sian Williamson of Spalding
Emaciated Molly was being kept in grim conditions by her callous owner Sian Williamson

Rescuers found the dogs in a desperate state in the back garden, with their owner, mother-of-two Sian Williamson, nowhere to be seen.

Neglected dogs Molly and Mika

Eventually she returned and the rescuers asked why her dogs were in such poor condition. Williamson responded that she had no money but was carrying a takeaway for her and her kids.

Neglected dog Molly

Williamson agreed to sign the dogs over to the rescue, who then alerted the RSPCA.

Dog abuser Sian Williamson of Spalding was let off with an RSPCA caution, which will only remain on file for 3 years.

The RSPCA took some photos and asked for a copy of the vet report but decided to let Williamson off with a caution, which will remain on her file for three years.

Molly, victim of dog abuser Sian Williamson

Williamson has a large collection of exotic pets including snakes and other reptiles. Since she was never formally prosecuted, there is nothing to stop her continuing to acquire more animals.

Animal abuser Sian Williamson from Spalding, Lincolnshire
Animal abuser Sian Williamson
No words needed …
Victims of dog abuser Sian Williamson of Spalding.
The dogs have recovered from their ordeal.

Molly recovered well in the care of Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue, who continue to post regular updates on her progress. Sharpei cross Mika who was far less emaciated than Molly, was sent to another rescue due to her breed but is also doing well. She had to have an operation for an eye condition known as entropion, which Williamson had failed to treat.

SBT’s post on the dogs’ rescue