#TheList Wilfred Francis, born c. 1981, and his brother Ian Martin Francis, born c. 1983, both of Yr Ackery Farm, Dark Lane, Burton, Rossett, Wrexham LL12 0AE – for the mistreatment of cattle on their farm
Wilfred and Ian Francis pleaded guilty to a number of offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
On February 5, 2019, an unannounced visit by Wrexham Council was made to the farm after receiving a complaint of a dog eating a dead calf.
On arrival at the farm officers of the Food and Farming team accompanied by an Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) Vet found dead cattle and calves, animals with none or insufficient bedding. Some were without food and water and had access to hazardous object around the premises.
Ian Dillon, acting on behalf of the council, told the court: “Two dead cattle were being picked at by chickens. One had been unlawfully killed by Wilfred Francis by injecting it with anaesthetic.
“One cow had to be put to sleep after because it was left without medication after breaking its hip calfing two weeks previously.”
Mr Dillon said: “There were other cows with no access to water or food, some kept near to scrap metal which could have caused them harm and a general failure to clean and disinfect to keep away flies and disease.
“Waste food products had been left on the farm. Mince pies, cup cakes and ice cream was fed to the cattle. Some animals were left lying in slurry.”
Photographs taken by animal welfare officers showed animals living in squalid conditions. The officers made subsequent visits to the farm.
Mr Dillon said: “One calf was drowning in slurry. Another had been born the previous evening and had little bedding that was filled with slurry. The cow that had given birth was exhausted and had been given no food or water.
“Another newborn calf seen on March 5 was only just able to keep its nose above the slurry.”
Conditions did improve said Mr Dillon but eventually, the council applied to seize animals in May 2019 to stop unnecessary suffering. The herd reduced from 140 down to 40 head of cattle.
Sentencing: 16-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months. Ordered to pay £3,000 costs each to Wrexham County Council – at a minimum rate of £50 per month. There was no order against the brothers keeping animals in the future.
#TheList Dennis Thorne, born c. 1976, of Kington Magna, Gillingham, Dorset SP9 – failed to care for goats, ferrets and poultry on his smallholding
Thorne, who is a Romany gypsy, pleaded guilty to six offences under animal health and welfare legislation following an investigation by Dorset Council Trading Standards. This included four offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 of causing unnecessary suffering to a flock of 30-40 poultry, two goats and two ferrets, by failing to provide them with appropriate care and one offence of failing to inspect his animals at regular intervals.
He also pleaded guilty to an offence of failing to tag his two goats, which is legally required to prevent animal disease spread.
In March 2019, trading standards officers visited land Thorne rented at Okeford Fitzpaine, near Sturminster Newton. They discovered the carcasses of around 20 ducks, chicken and geese littering the animal enclosure. The few surviving poultry were emaciated and in filthy conditions.
Two emaciated goats were also found in a small pen with no clean water or dry lying area.
In a nearby barn were cages containing the carcasses of two ferrets. The cages were filthy and all of the drinking containers were empty. Despite having received previous advice from the team, the goats were not tagged.
All the animals remaining in Thorne’s possession were seized by Trading Standards under the Animal Health Act and then cared for by the RSPCA. Thorne later agreed to give up his ownership of them.
The court was advised that Thorne had received a formal caution from the RSPCA in 2009 for causing unnecessary suffering to a horse.
Sentencing: 14 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months. Community Order of 200 hours of unpaid work and 20 days of rehabilitation. Ordered to pay £715. Banned from keeping all animals for 10 years.
#TheList Cherie Samantha Moore (born 11/04/1988), wife Robyn Melissa Moore born 03/01/1987) and their friend Aaron Cummings (born 02/10/1987) all of 37 Cables Wynd House, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6DF – kept nine cats, one dog and a rabbit in cramped and filthy conditions in a flat
A Scottish SPCA investigation found that the majority of the cats were kept inside two rooms, and they were eating food so hungrily it was causing them to choke.
The dog was in lean condition and had a visible skin issue. She was also very anxious and mentally highly strung. They found her pacing around a room and scratching excessively.
The rabbit had overgrown nails which were affecting his mobility. He has since had to be put to sleep due to severe dental issues.
The trio admitted failing to provide the basic needs for the animals, including a suitable environment, veterinary treatment and diet.
Scottish SPCA chief inspector Paul Anderson said, “The living environment for these animals was cramped and filthy.
“The majority of the cats were contained in two rooms.
“Upon entering the rooms, our inspectors were overwhelmed with the smell of ammonia.
“Four cats were in one room, eating food so hungrily, it was causing them to choke. They were clearly starving.
“No food or water was provided in the other room where three other cats were kept.
“The dog, Honey, was in a lean condition and had a visible skin condition that had caused hair loss along her back and down her legs.
“She appeared very anxious and mentally highly strung. She was pacing around the room and was scratching excessively.
“The male rabbit, Snowy, was found to have very overgrown nails which were affecting his mobility but was otherwise in good condition.”
He added: “Police Scotland were called to assist with the seizure of the animals.
“On veterinary examination, the body condition of the cats was overall very poor. Their health issues ranged from emaciation and dehydration, to flea infestation and visible signs of stress, such as excessive itching.
“The cats and dog have since been successfully rehomed. Unfortunately, due to severe dental issues, Snowy the rabbit had to be put to sleep on veterinary advice.”
Sentencing: all three were banned from keeping animals for three years.
#TheList puppy farmers Sansha Niomi Lamb, born 08/05/1980, of 1 Draycott Place, Dronfield Woodhouse, Dronfield S18 8RY, and her father Peter Lamb, born 26/10/1949, of 72 Ashford Road, Dronfield Woodhouse, Dronfield S18 8RT
Sansha Lamb admitted 12 offences and her father Peter Lamb admitted 11 offences relating to the dogs at Unstone House, on Whittington Lane, at Unstone, near Dronfield S18 4DQ.
Prosecuting solicitor Deborah Cartwright said the puppy farm was raided by animal health officers from NE Derbyshire District Council on January 9, 2019, with RSPCA officers and a vet after complaints had been received about concerns for the animals and officers had visited the site.
District Judge Jonathan Taaffe said: “It’s frankly – in the 30 years I have been involved in criminal law – one of the worst cases I have come across in terms of systematic neglect, selfish behaviour and the abuse of animals for commercial gain.
“It is clear to me that the problems in the period of January 2 to 9 covered by the charges were not isolated to that period of time.
“It’s also clear to me that Miss Lamb and to a lesser extent Peter Lamb should not have had anything to do with the breeding or keeping of animals.”
He added: “The fact that what was revealed on January 9 when the council, a vet and others went into the premises of Unstone House was frankly a horror story.”
Ms Cartwright, prosecuting for the council, added that officers found kennel floors and walls covered in excrement and a yard was filthy with faecal contamination and dogs were found with faeces matted into their fur. She told the court the final kennel in one block had the worst conditions.
Ms Cartwright said: “The final one represents the worst conditions and consisted of an enclosed room with doors and windows shut with no ventilation and the heating was left on and as officers entered they were hit by an overwhelming smell of ammonia along with dog faeces covering the whole floor.
“The concentration was such it made the vet gag and it made her eyes burn and she was unable to remain in the room at all until the windows and the doors were open for minutes.”
Ms Cartwright added: “One of the officers was observed outside the room retching badly and he was unable to go in. The dogs inside that room would have experienced the same reaction to the ammonia.” Investigators also found a whelping box in the house, where both defendants lived at the time, with a pug bitch and two puppies and their pen was covered in faeces and there was no food or water, according to Ms Cartwright.
She added that a further deformed dog approached officers in the hall which was covered in faeces and stank of ammonia.
Ms Cartwright said that officers also found a decomposing pug-type bitch in a dog basket covered in newspaper which had been dead for some time.
Officers discovered 25 mistreated dogs including the deceased pug, German Shepherds, a Dalmatian, Bulldogs, pugs, a Cockapoo, a Cocker Spaniels and puppies.
Many were emaciated or lean, according to Ms Cartwright, covered in faeces and urine, riddled with lice, skin lesions, infections and parasites and some were lame and injured and traumatised by their mistreatment.
Ms Cartwright said Sansha Lamb had been the holder of a licence to breed puppies and she had ignored warnings after visits to the site and she was sent a letter stating her licence had expired.
She told investigators she had mental health issues and she was not aware of the suffering or conditions the animals were experiencing.
Peter Lamb admitted responsibility for the care of the animals.
Ms Cartwright said: “Miss Lamb ignored previous advice and warnings regarding the treatment of the animals and she allowed a person with insufficient experience or training to have care of the animals.”
Sansha Lamb and Peter Lamb both pleaded guilty to nine counts of failing to ensure the welfare needs of dogs and to a further two counts each of causing unnecessary suffering to dogs between January 2 and January 9, 2019.
Sansha Lamb also pleaded guilty to breeding dogs without a licence between July, 2018, and January, 2019.
Defence solicitor David Gittins mother-of-seven Sansha Lamb is of previous good character and has been a dog breeder for several years without any previous problems but she had suffered from the breakdown of a difficult relationship and she started using cocaine.
He added that while she had recently been pregnant she struggled with her mental health and she had asked others to assist with the dogs.
Defence solicitor Martin Pizzey said retired parks authority worker Peter Lamb had no commercial interest and he became involved as problems emerged and he was trying to help his daughter.
Sentencing: Sansha Lamb was given 16 weeks of custody suspended for two years with a 16-week curfew. She was ordered to pay £1,000 costs and a £115 victim surcharge. Peter Lamb was sentenced to a 12-month community order with a 12-week curfew and Rehabilitation Activity Requirement. He was also ordered to pay £1,000 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.
Sansha Lamb was also banned from keeping animals for life and Peter Lamb was banned from keeping dogs for five years.
#TheList hoarder/breeder Kilmany Jane O’Connor (aka Kim O’Connor), born c. 1962, of Morecambe in Lancashire – banned from keeping animals for life after 54 dogs were found locked in tiny filthy cages at her home
Kilmany O’Connor pleaded guilty to five offences under the Animal Welfare Act – four of causing unnecessary suffering to 36 of her 54 dogs, and one of failing to meet all 54 dogs’ needs.
O’Connor’s home was raided by the RSPCA and police officers, after concerns were raised about the welfare of a number of dogs at the address.
RSPCA Inspector Sam Morris described the scene.
The first thing that struck me when I walked through the front door was how cluttered the hallway was, with household items everywhere. There were three cages stacked on top of another, and each had a cockerpoo or cocker spaniel-type dog inside. The cages were filthy, and the dogs’ fur was badly matted with faeces.
All the cages within the property appeared to be similar in size, which measured approximately 50cm high, 44cm wide and 60cm in length – the dogs were barely able to turn around and lie down, stretch out or stand on their hind limbs and of course they couldn’t escape.
The situation got worse in the living room. It was very cluttered and filthy, and the smell inside was awful. The ammonia was overpowering. The curtains were drawn and thick with cobwebs. The windows were closed and the room was quite dark. This room contained 13 dogs in cages – two of the cages had two dogs inside. One dog was tethered to a table leg and there were five loose dogs.
Two more dogs were caged in the kitchen. Two dogs were caged in the utility room and 14 were loose. Another 14 dogs were caged in an upstairs bedroom, which was very humid.
Some of the dogs had obvious veterinary issues. None of the dogs in the property had access to water.
The dogs were all signed over at the scene and taken into RSPCA care. One of the dogs – Mindy – lost one of her front paws as a result of her neglect and another of the dogs – Fifi, who was tethered in the living room – now uses wheels to get around after having lost the use of her back legs, but all have been happily re-homed.
Sentencing: 16-week custodial sentence suspended for two years. Ordered to pay court costs. Lifetime ban on keeping animals.
#TheList James Drury, born 31/07/1994 of 5 Coniston Way, Chesterfield S41 8JF – for allowing his pet dog to starve almost to death
Nine-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier Dibbley was said to be just one day from death when he was discovered in a bedroom in James Drury’s stinking property. The dog was so thin that every bone in his body was visible through his fur.
The RSPCA attended the property after being alerted by police concerned for the dog’s welfare.
As RSPCA Inspector Dave McAdam entered the property he was confronted with the smell of faeces and urine.
In the bedroom of the property, he found Dibbley in a severely emaciated state. Inspector McAdam said: This was amongst the most emaciated dogs I have ever seen that was still alive.
“The dog was so weak he had trouble walking due to the loss of muscle mass, with experience of nearly thirty years as an RSPCA inspector I knew this dog was close to death.
“There was again a large amount of faeces on the bedroom floor where the dog was being kept. Within the bedroom I did see a small amount of water in a steel bowl provided for the dog, but no food.”
Inspector McAdam had to carry the dog, estimated to be around nine years old, from the property and took him to a vet for treatment.
In a witness statement the vet who assessed Dibbley described him as “a walking skeleton”.
He said: “Every major bone in this dog’s body was clearly prominent and evident, he was literally a walking skeleton. This was amongst the worst cases of emaciation I have ever seen, this dog was no more than a day or so away from death. “
At the time of his rescue Dibbley weighed 8.9kgs but was put on a specialist diet and within six weeks he weighed 20.35 kgs.
In mitigation the court was told that Drury was suffering from stress at the time and financial hardship.
Dibbley is currently in RSPCA care and he will be re-homed soon.
Sentencing: 18-month community order with 19-day “thinking skills” programme and a 12-day rehabilitation requirement. Ordered to pay a total of £685 fine, costs and charges. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
#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
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.
#TheList Tiffany Guest, born 25/12/1989, previously of Winn Close in Kenilworth, Warwickshire and with links to Washbourne Road, Leamington Spa CV31 2LD – left her pets to starve to death after she moved out of her flat and locked them inside.
Guest cruelly abandoned her cats Reggie and Ronnie and dog Kray in a property before concerned neighbours alerted police 10 days later.
Officers forced entry into the flat in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, and discovered the emaciated Staffordshire bull terrier-type dog and the body of a starved cat on May 30, 2017.
Shockingly, a court heard how Kray had only survived by eating Ronnie after running out of contents scavenged from the bin.
The RSPCA were alerted and took Kray into care for treatment while an investigation was launched.
Guest was traced to near her work, which was only a mile away from the flat where she abandoned the pets.
But she left the country in a bid to evade justice after being told she faced animal welfare offences and was later traced to Malta.
Guest returned to the UK 13 months ago and was arrested by border control for the outstanding warrant.
She was brought before magistrates in relation to the animal cruelty charges and was bailed to re-appear at another date – but again fled to Malta.
On October 10, 2019, Guest was again arrested after she re-entered the country and was remanded in custody until her case at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court.
Pictures released by the RSPCA show the emaciated body of poor pooch Kray and the remains of Reggie strewn across the untidy flat.
Other heartbreaking images show how the animals had trawled leftover food from the bin in a desperate bid to survive.
RSPCA Inspector Boris Lasserre said after the case: “It is incomprehensible to think the suffering these pets must have endured and how terrified they must have been for such a long period of time before the cats died of starvation.
“It must have been terrible for Kray to watch as the cats died in front of him.
“There was evidence the pets had scavenged to try and feed themselves as the bin contents were all over the kitchen floor.
“Just 14 days later, by being fed properly in RSPCA care he made an amazing recovery with a significant increase in weight.
“Warwickshire Police officers did an amazing job in finding Kray, who they renamed Bobby, just in time as he would not have survived much longer.
“He is a lovely gentle dog and made a remarkable recovery in RSPCA care and has now been re-homed.”
In mitigation, the court was told she suffered from depression at the time of the incident.
Sentencing: 18 weeks in jail. Ordered to pay £372 costs and charges. Banned from keeping all animals for 15 years.
#TheList reptile retailer Wayne P Moffatt, born c. 1961, of 10 Storey Square, Barrow in Furness LA14 2HU and his employee Ian Henry, born c. 1969, of St Vincent Street, Barrow in Furness LA14 – for neglecting more than 60 exotic animals at the store store
Wayne Moffatt, the owner of the Living World pet shop in Barrow, was found guilty of animal neglect charges alongside his friend Ian Henry. The verdict followed a two-day trial.
The pair had denied charges of causing unnecessary suffering and failing to meet the needs of animals including several species of snakes, frogs, geckos and monkeys at the Dalton Road store.
The judge also ordered animals in the store to be taken away by the RSPCA. The court heard a number of animals, including several species of snakes, frogs, geckos and monkeys were previously taken away by the RSPCA when a warrant was executed in February 2019.
Ordering the ban, Mr Chalk said: “I have no doubt that you have a keen interest in exotic animals but I do not think you have the necessary qualifications and understanding to deal with these animals.
“You need to think very carefully about whether you should keep animals of that type again unless you have the knowledge to deal with them appropriately.”
RSPCA inspectors and vet Victoria Temple had told the court a number of the animals were being kept at temperatures too low or too high and in spaces too small.
In court, Moffatt, who has previous convictions for drug offences, said he disputed those findings and insisted the animals were being kept at appropriate ‘winter’ temperatures – and in enclosures big enough.
He repeatedly told the court: “In my 20 years of keeping animals I have never knowingly let an animal suffer or be in pain under my care.”
But the court was told the temperatures still fell short of legal guidelines.
Henry’s solicitor Maureen Fawcett had argued her client was only a friend of Moffatt’s and should not be deemed responsible for the welfare of the animals because he was not employed at Living World.
Moffatt said in his closing statement: “I’m very sorry Mr Henry is here.”
Ms Fawcett said: “It was Mr Moffatt that owned the pet shop and was responsible.
“In my respectful submission there isn’t sufficient evidence that Mr Henry had knowledge of the needs and upkeep of the animals.”
RSPCA prosecutor Steven Marsh said: “There is overwhelming evidence that Mr Henry was responsible for the animals.”
The court heard Henry had been on his own in the shop during a number of official visits, including the day the animals were taken in the execution of a warrant.
Sentencing: Moffatt – 300 hours of unpaid work ; total of £885 costs and charges. Henry – 240 hours of unpaid work; costs and charges totalling £585.Both were banned from keeping primates, reptiles and amphibians for the next two years (expires October 2021).
#TheList Adam Cook, born c. 1992, and wife Shelbie Cook, born c.1996. of Attoxhall Road, Wyken, Coventry CV2 – allowed their pet dog to become severely underweight and failed to get treatment for her skin condition
Adam and Shelbie Cooke pleaded guilty to three charges under the Animal Welfare Act in relation to their two-year-old dog named Sassy.
The American bulldog had fur loss over her face, legs and ears and smelt of yeast due to the nasty skin infection. She was so underfed her ribs, hips and spine could be seen through her skin and her nails were very overgrown. She weighed just 19.3kg when her normal weight should have been 30kg.
In mitigation the couple claimed they had been in financial hardship.
Sassy’s ordeal only came to an end when RSPCA inspector Louise Marston visited the couple’s home following a report from a concerned member of the public in March 2019.
She immediately saw that Sassy was suffering with a bad skin condition and was severely underweight.
Adam Cook allowed Sassy to be taken by Inspector Marston for veterinary treatment while an investigation took place, but refused to sign her over into RSPCA care.
But Sassy was taken into the possession of West Midlands Police under the Animal Welfare Act after a veterinary examination suggested she had suffered unnecessarily.
Following an interview with Inspector Marston a few days later, Adam Cook agreed to sign Sassy over into RSPCA care.
Inspector Marston said: “As soon as I took Sassy to the vets I offered her water which she gulped down and the vet concluded she was borderline dehydrated. I also offered her food and she was ravenous.
“Her skin was in a terrible condition and her itching had caused fur loss and made some skin thicken, which suggests long-term irritation.
“She was also severely underweight but there was dog food in the house.
“The vet concluded that she had suffered in this way for weeks to months which must have been awful for her.”
Inspector Marston added: “There is never any excuse for not taking pets to a vet if they require treatment. Many vets will offer a payment plan to help spread the cost and there are charities who can help with vet bills.
“I am delighted to say that in the care of the RSPCA Sassy has had her skin condition treated and is back to a normal weight and has now been rehomed.”
Sentencing: Both were given a 12-month community order involving 80 hours of unpaid work and a 15-day rehabilitation activity requirement. Ordered to pay £335 costs and charges each. Banned from keeping dogs for five years.