#TheList Joseph Thomas, born 19/11/1973, of 28A Crouch Hill, Haringey, London N4 4AU: battered his Staffordshire Bull Terrier on multiple occasions, leaving him with two detached retina and partially sighted
Thomas was found guilty of one count of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, and to a second charge of failing in his duty as person responsible for animal welfare.
The court heard how Thomas terrorised the dog, Marley, who is two or three years old, over a two-year period, with attacks that included punching the dog, whipping him with a steel lead and beating him with a branch.
The court heard how, on January 15, 2019, a woman and her friend were walking on the Parkland Walk, near Ashmount School, when they witnessed Thomas “forcefully hitting the dog with a heavy branch” about 20 times.
Prosecutor Mark Jones explained that soon after Thomas got Marley in 2017, a neighbour reported witnessing him “pulling the dog off the ground” by his lead about five times so that he was “being caused to choke and thrashing around in the air”.
The court heard Thomas then hit Marley about 15 times with the lead, and that the neighbour would hear “harrowing screaming from the dog” coming from inside his flat.
On another occasion a Tesco employee saw Thomas punching the animal in the ribs. Separately, a further witness saw him strike the dog four times in the ribs area.
They remonstrated with him and he said: “It’s nothing to do with you,” to which they replied: “It’s got something to do with me, we’re in a public space.”
Officer seized Marley off Thomas on April 26, 2019
Sentencing Thomas, Dr Joan Scanlon cited his “absence of remorse”, ongoing denial of guilt and the “severe distress” his attacks caused for witnesses, as reasons for sending him to prison.
Sentencing: a total of 26 weeks in jail. Victim surcharge of £115. Indefinite disqualification on owning animals with no right of appeal for five years.
#TheList Andrew Alexander, born 26/07/1984, originally from Dundee and as at September 2019 of Malvern Drive, Ilford, London IG3 9DR – stole a pug named Pixie who is believed to have died
Eleven-month-old pug Pixie went missing on July 16, 2018 from a flat in Stobswell, Dundee, while in the care of Andrew Alexander.
Following her disappearance, eye-witnesses reported seeing a dog matching Pixie’s description being hit in the face at Baxter Park and then being carried lifeless by a man through the streets of Dundee towards a bridge over the River Tay.
Now construction worker Andrew Alexander has been fined £250 after being convicted of stealing the dog. As there was no admissible evidence that he had killed or mistreated the animal, he faced no charges in relation to this.
To date, it is not known what exactly happened to Pixie but it is believed that Alexander dumped her broken body in the River Tay.
Alexander was represented in court by dodgy lawyer Ian James Houston of Bruce Short Solicitors, Rattray Street, Dundee. Houston tried to get his client off with the theft charge on the grounds that the “property”, i.e. a much-loved family pet, no longer existed because she was dead. Houston insisted on proving to the court that the dog had died by showing the CCTV footage of Alexander carrying Pixie’s body through the streets despite the anguish of the dog’s distraught owner, who was present in court. How do these people sleep at night?
==== Background: We originally published this article in August 2018 but had to withhold certain details at the time, so as not to jeopardise the prosecution case against Andrew Alexander. This is an edited version of that article. to reflect the latest developments.
Sometime after 3pm on Monday 16 July 2018 an 11-month-old pug named Pixie went missing from an address in Park Avenue, Baxter Park, Dundee. Pixie’s owner, Kelly, had gone out to do some shopping, leaving the tiny dog alone in the company of her flatmate, Andrew Alexander. Kelly had known this man for several years and he had given her no reason to distrust him.
When Kelly left, Pixie was sleeping and she told Alexander not to take her out. She was alarmed on her return a short while later, therefore, to find the flat empty and Pixie gone. As time passed with no word from Alexander, Kelly became increasingly anxious. As she didn’t have Alexander’s new mobile number she asked a friend to call him. The friend spoke briefly with Alexander who was described as angry, screaming down the phone that he would “speak to Kelly later”.
In a state of panic Kelly rushed over to the nearby park and asked dog walkers if they’d seen Alexander or Pixie but no one had. She returned to the flat and waited anxiously.
When Alexander finally returned home at 7:30 pm he was alone and there was no sign of Pixie. When Kelly asked him where the dog was, Alexander shouted “lost!” in a manner that was more irritated than concerned. He said that Pixie had run off in Baxter Park at 4pm and he’d been unable to find her. He then told Kelly, somewhat bizarrely, that he was “away to jail” but didn’t elaborate on what he meant and left in a taxi to go to a girlfriend’s house.
Kelly texted Alexander the following morning to tell him he was no longer welcome at the flat. His response: “I’ve already moved out lol”
Alexander returned two days later while Kelly was out to collect his things and left for good.
In the following days Kelly posted a number of desperate appeals on Facebook. Her posts were shared extensively in the local area, the charity DogLost got involved, and multiple reports of sightings from pedestrians and motorists started to come in. The news wasn’t encouraging, however, with witnesses reporting seeing a man resembling Alexander carrying a pug-type dog that appeared to be lifeless.
One pedestrian recalled seeing the man holding a dog in his arms.
She said: “The dog was very still and I thought that was strange as a dog wouldn’t usually allow itself to be held like that without moving at all.
“He avoided passing close to me on his way towards the city centre – probably because I watching him. It was very clearly a pug and in retrospect, it seemed utterly lifeless.
“The man appeared red and flustered. I wish I had stopped him and asked if the dog was okay.”
Another witness – a young girl – said she had seen a man in Baxter Park pick up a pug by the neck and punch her in the face. The girl had been too afraid to challenge him.
These sightings took place as late as 7pm on the evening of Monday 16 July 2018 – three hours after Alexander said that Pixie had disappeared.
“There have been numerous sightings of what appeared to be a man carrying a small dog resembling Pixie in the Stobswell and Waterfront areas in the following few hours.
“The dog appeared to be lifeless or ill, and the man was described as in his mid 30s-40, tall, large build, and wearing a red t-shirt and blue shorts, possibly with stripes down the side.
“He was last seen shortly before 6pm near the bottom of Crichton Street. These sightings have been confirmed on CCTV.
“We have already received a large amount of relevant information from the public regarding this incident and are currently following a positive line of enquiry.
“We have also attempted to contact a number of witnesses who have been identified to us, but have not been able to get in touch with them.
“We would therefore like to ask anyone who has information about this incident who we have not already spoken to, to contact us – in particular if you saw the described man in the area of Baxter Park, Arbroath Road, Blackscroft, Dock Street, the Tay Bridge, Slessor Gardens or Crichton Street, between 3pm and 7pm on Monday 16th.
“We are also very interested in a report given to us regarding a man being seen possibly mistreating a dog in Baxter Park around that time.
“Anyone with any information should contact Police Scotland on 101, quoting CR/17475/18 or speak to any police officers”.
In the meantime, Kelly and her friends formed the Facebook group Justice for Pixie with the aim of spreading awareness about the case and campaigning for justice. Sadly that justice never came when Alexander walked free from court with a nominal fine for dog theft.
#TheList vet Dr Zahra Tahaneem Rafiq, born circa 1990, now of Wallington, Greater London, and previously of Merseyside – took two newborn French bulldog puppies from their owners; one of puppies died
Dr Zara Rafiq was fired after she took a French bulldog puppy she was meant to be delivering.
Rafiq took the pup home with her after joking to a colleague that she planned to do it. The newborn dog died three days later at Rafiq’s home, which she admitted despite earlier saying it had faded in her car.
Rafiq had delivered the litter of six dogs, each worth up to £2,000, by Caesarian.
Instead of leaving them to recover with their mum Lila, she and a colleague, Oscar Perez Maillo, both took a puppy home with them.
The second dog was later returned still alive after another worker with VetsNow raised concerns.
Rafiq was fired by VetsNow in Huyton, Merseyside, and a misconduct hearing by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons found her to be ‘dishonest’. However, she was cleared to practise again after six months.
‘I’m fuming,’ owner Safinah Mhagrh told the Daily Record. ‘That vet stole my puppy. It was a terrible, heartless thing to do. She should not be allowed to practise.’
Safinah had taken her three-year-old French bulldog Lila to surgery after she went into labour in December 2017.
‘The first one was coming out legs first and got stuck. I thought Lila was going to die,’ she said. She was told to go home while vets operated.
When she came back, she was told there had been a litter of four but the stuck one hadn’t survived. Another of the puppies then died as it was too weak, but Lila bonded with the remaining two.
Ms Mhagrh said she had contacted police but the case hadn’t been taken further. A hearing heard Rafiq was remorseful and not motivated by financial gain.
Panel chair Ian Arundel said: ‘The committee concluded Dr Rafiq was very unlikely to pose a risk to animals in future.’
VetsNow refunded the £200 cost for the Caesarian.
Dr Laura Playforth, head of veterinary standards at Vets Now said: ‘We are extremely sorry about what happened, especially to our client and their pets.
‘We are very clear on our position here – these individuals will not work with us again.
‘I want to reassure pet owners that this is an isolated incident. We have almost 600 vets and vet nurses working for us up and down the country, working tirelessly to help animals in their greatest time of need. In my 20 years as a vet, I’ve never seen anything like this case.’
#TheList Jibriel Guled, born c. 1994, of Barclay Close, Cassidy Road, Fulham SW6 – kicked a four-month puppy to death
Guled, who according to his LinkedIn profile is a delivery driver with the pizza chain Papa John, was jailed and banned from keeping animals for life after he was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a Staffordshire bull terrier called Bibi by the infliction of physical abuse, namely blunt force trauma.
The RSPCA and police attended the property on 23 June, 2018, following a call to 999.
Bibi was sadly already dead and RSPCA Inspector Mike Beaman, who investigated, collected her body which had been placed in a wicker basket and wrapped in blankets.
Inspector Beaman said, “This was an extremely sad case involving a young dog whose life was cut short far too soon. Myself and the police attended the property in June last year after the police received an emotional 999 call from someone claiming Guled had kicked his dog.
“Poor Bibi would have experienced extreme pain and suffering from this physical abuse which we now believe was inflicted on her over a period of months.”
Somali national Guled said in court that the bed inside the property had collapsed on top of Bibi and this had caused her injuries and killed her.
A post-mortem examination of the dog’s body revealed that there were also three historical injuries of blunt force trauma to the dog’s body which occurred between May and June before the final incident which led to her death.
Sentencing: 26-week custodial sentence; £1000 in costs. Banned from keeping all animals for life.
#TheList persistent hoarder Edwin Harris, born c. 1939, of Murthering Lane, Stapleford Abbotts, Romford RM4 – kept 13 dogs, six pigs, six cockerels, two ducks, four cats, a pigeon and a rook in foul conditions; breached previous ban
Harris was banned from keeping animals for life for a second time after he admitted breaching a previous ban when he was found to be keeping a large number of animals in appalling conditions.
He also admitted failing to provide the animals with a suitable environment and causing unnecessary suffering to Bella, a Shar Pei-type dog, by failing to adequately investigate and address the cause of her ear and skin conditions.
The RSPCA attended the address in May 2018 with the police and found a large number of animals being kept in appalling conditions.
Dogs were found in small cages covered in mess and faeces with little or no water, and one was even found locked inside a cupboard which had been turned into a makeshift cage.
The cockerels, pigeon and rook were also kept in small cages covered in faeces, and the pigs were kept in a small narrow space within an outbuilding with hardly any room to turn round or exercise.
RSPCA Inspector Adam Jones said: “The conditions were appalling, most of the small animals and dogs were kept in cages and probably had not known any other life. They had obviously never been socialised and were scared.
“The cages had not been cleaned out and the animals were surrounded in their own faeces and dirt. If they did have water it was usually filthy. I was horrified to find one small Jack Russell being kept in a cupboard that the defendant had converted into some kind of makeshift cage.
“By his own admission the defendant had claimed he had a compulsion to keep animals because he loved them and he couldn’t stop taking them in. Had we not removed these animals it’s likely the numbers would have only increased – one of the pigs we removed had later had a litter of piglets.
“I hope that now he has been sentenced by the court the defendant will learn his lesson and not get animals which he clearly is unable to look after properly.”
Although the matter had crossed a custody threshold the bench said they had taken into account the defendant’s age and vulnerability and the fact that he has never been to prison before, but were keen for him to have some rehabilitation
In 2014 Harris was disqualified from keeping animals for life following a prosecution by the RSPCA.
Sentencing: Two-year community order with the requirement to carry out 135 hours of unpaid work and 60 days of Rehabilitation Activity Requirement; costs of £1,300 and a £85 victim surcharge. Lifetime ban on keeping animals.
#TheList company director Monshur Alom, born 28/11/1981, of 169 Golf Green Road, Jaywick, Clacton-on-Sea CO15 2RL – exposed his Bengal cats to 31 degree heat and left ducks outside without fresh food or water for more than a week
Chelmsford magistrates were shown graphic images of the animals’ living conditions during an eight-day period in June 2018, before RSPCA inspectors were able to contact owner Monshur Alom.
Alom, a furniture dealer trading as Royal London Antiques and director of a company named Cheque Bid Ltd, admitted to three breaches of the Animal Welfare Act.
The animals were being kept at the address in Golf Green Road, Jaywick, so the new dad could renovate his other home in Sidney Street, Stepney, London to accommodate the animals and his growing family.
Lauren Bond, prosecuting, called him “clearly unfit” to look after animals.
The ducks, and exotic cats, which he had no licence to keep, are now with the RSPCA.
Ms Bond said: “The inspector was overwhelmed by the heat in the conservatory and the ammonia smell burnt his nose.
“There was blood over the floor as though the cats had dragged raw meat but there was no sign of a carcass. There was a trough of water which was bright green, and large litter trays that appeared very full.
“Outside the ducks were confined to a one metre by three metre alleyway. There was liquid faeces on the floor and it smelt disgusting.”
It was his first time before the court in relation to animal welfare.
Mrs Scoot, mitigating, explained life had got on top of him and he had also been unwell.
However, he did accept his actions were a “form of neglect”.
She said: “He’s had the cats for two years and there’s never been any concern or need for the RSPCA to address him or the family.
“Unfortunately, the cats weren’t litter trained so he had them in the property for a short time and renovations were being made to their current property to give them appropriate living conditions.
“He’d had the ducks for significantly less time. A friend was going to kill them so he took the ducks and was going to find another home for them.
“He didn’t plan to keep them long term.”
Sentencing: 180 hours of unpaid work; £685 costs. Banned from keeping animals for ten years.
#TheList backyard breeder and serial animal abuser Amarpal Singh, born c. 1986, of 6 Banks Way, Manor Park, Newham, London E12 5NZ – neglected 23 dogs and puppies in home reeking of animal urine and faeces.
Amarpal Singh forced seven alapaha bulldogs and 16 puppies to live in such sickening conditions they became malnourished and underweight.
One of the dogs had to have her tail amputated.
Notorious greeder Singh had already been issued with an improvement notice in 2015, when Newham Animal Welfare Services and police officers found three dogs living in filthy conditions in his back garden.
Singh said he’d clear up the area, and the dogs were taken away.
However when officers visited his home again in November 2017 they found the 23 animals squeezed into the house which stunk of urine and faeces.
Pc Holly Hoare, who led the investigation, said: “After seeing the conditions the dogs were living in, I wouldn’t want any dogs to be living in this way ever again.
“When we went to the address, the puppies were very quiet and unable to interact with us. A number of the dogs were showing signs of diarrhoea and there was little evidence of water or food.”
Pc Hoare added: “They were all living in extremely poor conditions, with excrement that had not be cleared up in a number of days. Some of the dogs were in cages that were too small for them and it was distressing to see them in such a poor state of health.”
Sentencing: 200 hours of unpaid work. Total of £1,360 costs and charges. Banned from dealing in, owning or keeping dogs for just two years (expires December 2020).
The RSPCA’s Special Operations Unit (SOU) joined Metropolitan Police to execute a warrant at the property in January 2018 after calls from concerned members of the public who had bought puppies from the address in the run-up to Christmas.
To their shock, a total of 38 dogs and 18 cats were found in makeshift pens, in the garden and in cages.
RSPCA Inspector Carroll Lamport said: “We’d been contacted by numerous people buying puppies who had grown suspicious of the operation that was being run from the house in Bexleyheath.
“People were concerned that they were never allowed beyond the living room when they visited the house to see the puppies and many who had purchased dogs reported that their pets had quickly fallen ill.
“Sadly, in some cases, people’s beloved new pet puppies had been so poorly that they’d died.”
In the run-up to Christmas 2017 the RSPCA received six complaints relating to Basset hounds, dachshunds and a boxer. One of the pups – a dachshund – died on Christmas Day having contracted parvovirus.
When officers raided the property they discovered pedigree cats and fashionable dog breeds – such as Newfoundlands, dachshunds, French bulldogs and Shihtzus – being kept in completely unacceptable conditions.
One Newfoundland was found with seriously deformed legs and couldn’t walk while many of the dogs were covered in mud, faeces and their coats were matted with dirt. Some of the dogs had severe dental disease, some with docked tails and many had nasty eye infections or ears clogged with built-up hair and wax.
An independent vet who joined officers on the raid to check all of the animals said it was some of the worst conditions he’d ever seen.
Inspector Lamport added: “The house and garden were total mayhem but the living room – the only space prospective buyers were allowed access to – couldn’t have been more different. A pristine and impeccably clean space.
“Mr Hayes was involved in the day-to-day care of these animals and should have known better than to keep them in such horrendous conditions.
“Thankfully, we were able to save these lovely dogs and cats and they will all go on to lead much happier and healthier lives.”
All of the animals have since been re-homed or are in foster care awaiting new homes.
Sentencing: 20 weeks in jail suspended for 18 months; 250 hours of unpaid work; fined £3,500 plus £115 victim surcharge. Disqualified from keeping animals indefinitely
#TheList callous breeder Janet Oxlade (aka Janet Bremner), age 67, of 9 Grazeley Close, Bexleyheath, London DA6 7QF – kept 38 dogs and 18 cats in filthy makeshift pens in her back garden and crates inside the house
Oxlade pleaded guilty to animal welfare offences following an RSPCA raid at her home in Bexleyheath.
An independent vet who joined officers on the raid said it was some of the worst conditions he’d ever seen and compared the matted filth in the animal’s coats to “armour-plating”.
RSPCA Inspector Cliff Harrison filmed around two hours of footage as evidence. In the video he says: “There’s filth and mud everywhere and the dogs couldn’t get out of the dirt at all. It’s absolutely disgusting.
“The animals are smothered in faeces. They just don’t know where to go.
“It’s utterly disgraceful to keep animals in these conditions.”
The RSPCA’s Special Operations Unit joined Metropolitan Police to execute a warrant at the Bexleyheath property in January after calls from concerned members of the public who had bought puppies from the address in the run-up to Christmas.
“We’d had a number of complaints over recent years about this address but never had enough evidence to act on,” said RSPCA Inspector Carroll Lamport.
“In 2017, local inspectors dealt with a handful of calls and attended the property but Ms Oxlade wouldn’t let us in.
“People became suspicious of her as they were never allowed outside of the living room of the home – which was kept in pristine condition – and couldn’t see the conditions the animals were being kept in.
“Between the end of November and a few days before Christmas we had six further complaints from the public relating to Basset hounds, dachshunds and a boxer. Sadly, one of the dachshunds died of parvovirus on Christmas Day.”
Many of the animals taken into care by the RSPCA were in a dreadful state.
One Newfoundland was found with seriously deformed legs and couldn’t walk. Others suffered from severe dental disease, some with docked tails and many had eye infections and ears clogged with built-up hair and wax.
Inspector Lamport added: “These dogs were living amongst absolute chaos, there was filth and mud everywhere, and many of the animals had no access to water.
“Away from all of this mayhem, the living room was kept in absolutely pristine condition. We suspect this is the room in which members of the public were invited to meet their new puppy in order to convince them that the dogs were raised in high-quality conditions.
“The truth of what lay beyond that living room door, was far from the image they painted to the public.”
Co-defendant Glen Hayes who pleaded not guilty is due to stand trial in November 2018.
Sentencing: 20-week suspended prison sentence; costs of £2,000. Banned from keeping animals for life