Tag Archives: Hertfordshire

Hatfield, Hertfordshire: Daniel Stasik

#TheList Daniel Stasik, born c. 1988, of 6 Walker Grove, Hatfield AL10 9PL – allowed his banned-breed ‘fighting’ dog to savage a pet cat and failed to get help for the stricken animal

Shelly, a cat that was fatally injured by a dog in Hatfield, just before she died.
Pet cat Shelly suffered horrific injuries in a dog attack from which she would never recover

At around 11am on June 23, 2018, a pitbull-type dog owned by Daniel Stasik chased a cat named Shelly into an alleyway in Walker Grove and attacked her. Stasik grabbed the dog, but was unable to keep control of him.

He did not attempt to assist the cat or find her owners to get medical assistance.

Around 1am the following morning, Shelly was found by her owner in a nearby garden covered in blood and faeces and unable to place any weight on her hind legs.

Due to the length of time she had been left, there were maggots around her wounds.

Over the next few days, Shelly’s condition deteriorated and following multiple treatments and attempts at resuscitation, she died from her injuries on July 1, 2018.

On July 20, officers from the Welwyn Hatfield Safer Neighbourhood Team and the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Dog Unit attended Stasik’s address to execute a warrant to seize his dog.

The dog was examined and confirmed to be substantially a pit bull-type.

Stasik was reported to court for possessing a fighting dog under Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act and causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal under Section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act.

At court, Stasik pleaded guilty to possessing a fighting dog and, while initially pleading not guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to Shelly, was found guilty of that offence.

PC Gavin Richardson, from the Welwyn Hatfield West Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “Pit bulls are banned in the UK and Stasik’s dog posed a very serious danger to public safety.

“Not only did Stasik have possession of a banned dog breed, but he made no attempts to help save the cat and instead simply left her to die.

“This was extremely distressing for her owners who found their beloved pet in an incredibly distressed state with horrendous injuries.

“I hope that this sentence provides some justice for the victims and that the public feel safe knowing that Stasik will not be allowed to have dog for another decade.”

Sentencing: 240 hours of unpaid community work. Ordered to pay compensation to Shelly’s owners for vet costs and to the police for kenneling costs. Banned from having custody of a dog for 10 years. Stasik’s dog was ordered to be put down, unless an appeal is lodged within 21 days.

Welwyn Hatfield Times

We’re building quite a profile on this piece of filth. He is from Poland. He came to the UK in 2009 to work as a painter/decorator but is now living on benefits. He showed no remorse in court and he and his friend seemed to find the proceedings amusing. He freely admitted in court that he beat his dog. Another cat belonging to Shelly’s heartbroken owner died after being deliberately poisoned. This happened just after Stasik was charged. Coincidence? Stasik has another address in Prayle Grove, London NW2 1BD 

Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire: Alexander Phillips

#TheList Alexander Phillips, aged 18, of Barrells Down Road, Bishop’s Stortford CM23 – kicked, strangled and suffocated a family’s pet cat to “teach it a lesson”

Phillips, then a sixth-form boarder at Old Swinford Hospital School, Stourbridge, West Midlands,  abducted and tortured a school friend’s 10-year-old cat Mollie after she had scratched him.

Phillips repeatedly kicked Mollie, tried to strangle and drown her, before finally suffocating her and hiding her body behind a sofa.

The prosecutor said the sinister attack had ‘overtones of a Stephen King novel’, while District Judge Steven Jonas described Phillips’ actions as ‘one of the worst cases of animal cruelty I have ever come across’.

Mr Stephen Blower, prosecuting, said it was thought Phillips provoked the 10-year-old rescue cat into scratching him.

Phillips returned to the house in Stourbridge a few days later and sneaked Mollie out in a bag.

Back at his school accommodation, he ‘kicked the cat as hard as he could until he saw blood coming from her mouth’ said Mr Blower.

Then he grabbed the animal by the neck and tried to strangle her.

Half dead, the cat was put in a drawer so she would not be found while he went to play on his Xbox with the owner’s son.

Phillips later told police he also placed the animal under a tap of running water.

The court heard that when he returned to his room, the cat was dead in the drawer, either from her injuries or having suffocated.

“But the unsavoury aspects of this case don’t end there as he took the cat back to the house and placed it behind the sofa in the living room,” said Mr Blower.

Expert opinions were sought from two vets. One said the animal had suffered ‘intolerable and extreme pain and suffering’ while the other described the cat’s fate as a ‘prolonged, sadistic attack amounting to torture.’

Phillips, who continued to visit his friend’s home in Stourbridge while the cat was missing, finally confessed what he had done to the school matron who informed the family.

He claimed to love the cat but told police he ‘felt rejected’ by her after she scratched him.

Mr Patrick Currie, defending, said Phillips suffered from mental health problems, including Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD.

His father’s death from suicide had had a ‘substantial’ impact on him, leading to anger issues. Phillips had killed the cat on an ‘impulse’, he claimed.

Phillips pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering and to criminal damage by destroying the animal.

17 weeks in a young offenders institution.

Express & Star

Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire: Christopher Mason

#TheList Christopher Benjamin James Mason, born 24/11/1996, of 10 Cloverfield, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire AL7 1EG – pleaded guilty to possession of extreme pornographic images involving an animal, causing unnecessary suffering for an animal and conspiracy to destroy property.

Sick dog abuser Christopher Mason,from Welwyn Garden City
Dog abuser and sexual deviant Christopher Mason,from Welwyn Garden City. He and mother Kim Taylor, are allowed to keep their three rescue dogs and other animals.

The charges involved Mason punching and burning a dog’s stomach with hot blades, as well as destroying a load of signs and property all to do with animals.

Mason was given an 18-month community order, a rehabilitation order, an 18-month mental health treatment requirement and 50 hours of unpaid work.

Mason’s mother Kim Taylorwas also sentenced for causing damage to signs and property to do with animals. She was given a six-month community order, a 15-day rehabilitation requirement and a £50 fine.

Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield News

St Albans, Hertfordshire: Anne-Marie Fleming

#TheList Anne-Marie Fleming, born c. 1986, of Gillian Avenue, St Albans AL1 2QH – for cruelty offences involving four dogs

Fleming caused unnecessary suffering to a dog known as Lady (also known as Elsa) – by failing to adequately explore and address her ear condition between 10 and 24 December 2017.

She also failed to ensure her four dogs were provided with a suitable environment that was hygienic and/or free from hazards between the same dates.

Total fines and costs of £460. No ban.

Herts Advertiser

Wickford, Essex: Tyler Gilford-Farley

#TheList Tyler Gilford-Farley, born c. 1999, most recent known address Alderney Gardens, Wickford, Essex SS11 – failed to seek treatment for his pet cat’s (unexplained) burn injuries

Police mugshot of drug dealing animal abuser Tyler Gilford-Farley.

Convicted drug dealer Tyler Gilford-Farley, who has links to London, Welwyn Garden City, Basingstoke and the West Midlands, was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a cat named Haze.

Farley, a father of one with another child on the way, had failed to seek urgent veterinary care after Haze had suffered significant burns to his face and eyes on October 3, 2017. The cause of Haze’s terrible injuries are not explained.

Haze and a second cat, named Kush, are to be rehomed by the RSPCA.

Sentencing: 18 months’ detention, suspended for 12 months. 25 days of probationary activity. 100 hours of unpaid work. Compensation of £1,062, £200 court costs and £115 victim surcharged. Banned from keeping any animal for just two years (expires April 2020).

Welwyn Hatfield Times

In December 2018 Gilford-Farley was sentenced to four years and nine months for drug dealing offices alongside partner Faith Willis and accomplice Ian Brown. The trio were part of a violent drugs syndicate known as the WEZ network which had been operating in Basingstoke and Dean.

Basingstoke Gazette

Aspenden, Hertfordshire: Neil Forrest

#TheList Neil Forrest, born 26/06/1974, of Meadow View, Aspenden, Buntingford SG9 9PB – ran an abhorrent dog fighting yard at his home

Dog fighter Neil Forrest from Aspenden, Hertfordshire
Dog fighter, heroin addict and all-round pathetic loser Neil Forrest lives to see another day while 3 of his ‘fighting’ dogs weren’t so lucky and were destroyed.

Former heroin addict Forrest trained dogs to fight and had images of dog fighting on his phone. He admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a Staffordshire bull terrier and for possessing three pit bull terrier-type dogs which he used to fight.

Druggy and dog fighter Neil Forrest
Druggy and dog fighter Neil Forrest

District Judge Derek French told Forrest: “You have shown little or no remorse about what these dogs have gone through. These dogs were used by you as fighting dogs.

“This was clearly done with a view of commercial gain.”

On 5 March 2017 a badly injured young female Staffordshire bull terrier was found cowering in a garden by a member of the public in Aspenden, after she managed to escape from Forrest’s home.

Prosecuting, Mark Jones, said: “She was found cowering in a garden with numerous open wounds and scars to her body. There were numerous bite injuries to the muzzle, the mouth, her legs, and near the left eye of the dog.

“The vet who looked at the dog said that the wounds were between three and four days old.”

RSPCA inspector Cliff Harrison said: “This poor dog was absolutely covered in wounds – both fresh and historic – with bite marks, scratches and puncture wounds predominantly around her muzzle, ears and legs.

“These sorts of injuries are exactly the sort of thing we see when dogs are forced to fight another dog and the vet agreed that the injuries were consistent with dog fighting.”

A number of calls were made by Forrest to vets and dog wardens, including from Forrest’s mobile, while they tried to find the missing bull terrier that was being treated at a Buntingford vets.

Dogfighter Neil Forrest from Aspenden, Hertfordshire
Staffy Kali had more than likely been used as a bait dog by lifelong smackhead Neil Forrest

After concluding that the dog belonged to Forrest, who admitted having a 20-year addiction to heroin, the police and RSPCA launched a raid in Aspenden on 19 May 2017, finding books on pit bulls and dog fighting as well as three bull pit type dogs. Two of the dogs were extremely athletic and there were weighing scales and a treadmill to run dogs on in a garage next to the kennels.

Mr Harrison said: “It appears he has tried to run his own dog fighting yard – called Neil’s Yard – but it’s unclear whether he’s had much if any success with that.

“What is clear is that his dogs have significant injuries consistent with dog fighting and have clearly been caused suffering due to his pastime.

“We believe he has been involved in this abhorrent, secretive bloodsport for years.” Judge French said: “These dogs were being used and kept as a livelihood for you. These dogs were going to suffer seriously.”

Forrest was due to stand trial but pleaded guilty just before it was about to start to one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, keeping or training animals for use in dog fights and possessing dogs which were banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

24 weeks in prison; costs of £750. Banned from owning animals for life. The three pit bull type dogs were ordered to be destroyed.

Hertfordshire Mercury
Vet Times

St Albans, Hertfordshire: Gary McPhail

#TheList Gary Ian McPhail, born 01/09/1989, previously of Peveril Road, Tibshelf, Alfreton, and now 1 Grafton Close, St Albans AL4 0EX – left a rabbit to starve to death in his cage.

McPhail pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the grey rabbit named Bugsy.

The court heard that Bugsy died after not being fed any food for a week at McPhail’s previous home in Alfreton.

RSPCA inspector Rachel Leafe, who investigated, said: “McPhail was well aware that he wasn’t feeding the rabbit and he knew that as a result, the rabbit was suffering a great deal. He said that he could tell the rabbit wasn’t well as he wasn’t moving much.

“When I interviewed McPhail about this, he said he did not have any money to feed the rabbit – yet he did not make any attempt to contact any organisations for help. Instead he left Bugsy to starve to death.

“He actually had a lawn of grass which would have provided some free food for the rabbit. So there was food there for him, but he did not provide it for Bugsy.

“Rabbits have sensitive stomachs and going without food for even just 12 hours can cause them to suffer. The fact that Bugsy went without food for a whole week is unbearable.

“It’s unbelievably cruel to simply leave an animal to slowly die in a cage without the care they need and deserve to survive.”

Sentencing: eight-week curfew; ordered to pay £385. Banned from keeping animals for five years (expires August 2022).

Derby Telegraph (warning – news article contains graphic image).

Updates: in August 2018 the Herts Advertiser reported that McPhail had breached a restraining order. He was fined £120 plus £85 costs and £30 towards victim services. The newspaper gave his address as Cairns Close, St Albans.

Puppy farmers Louise St John Poulton and Sean Kerr

#TheList puppy farmers Louise St John Poulton, born 06/03/1974, most recently of High Grove, St Albans AL3 5SU, and Sean Kerr, born 05/12/1964, of Pastures Farm, Coventry Road, Bickenhill, near Solihull B92 0HH – involved in mass-scale breeding of sick and dying puppies

RSPCA inspectors found almost 40 dogs living in squalid conditions at a puppy farm operated by Louise St John Poulton and Sean Kerr., Some were locked in dark rooms or sheds with no ventilation.
RSPCA inspectors found almost 40 dogs living in squalid conditions at a puppy farm operated by Louise St John Poulton and Sean Kerr., Some were locked in dark rooms or sheds with no ventilation.

Poulton pleaded guilty to six counts of causing unnecessary suffering to dogs and three offences of failing to meet the needs of a number of dogs.

Her partner in crime and cruelty, Sean Kerr, was found guilty of six counts of causing unnecessary suffering to dogs and three offences of failing to meet the needs of a number of dogs.

Sean Kerr and Louise St John Poulton
Puppy farmer Sean Kerr courtesy of campaign group Puppy Love Campaigns
Sean Kerr courtesy of Puppy Love Campaigns

An RSPCA investigation was launched after heartbroken owners reported buying sick and dying dogs including  schnauzers, Westies and pugs from Poulton and Kerr.

RSPCA inspectors found almost 40 dogs living in squalid conditions at a puppy farm operated by Louise St John Poulton and Sean Kerr., Some were locked in dark rooms or sheds with no ventilation.

RSPCA inspector Herchy Boal said: “Many of [the puppies] had fallen ill within just a few hours and, tragically, some of them died within just a few days.

“Not only did the new owners have to cover hefty vet bills but they also had to deal with the trauma and heartbreak of watching their new puppies die in front of their eyes.”

On 22 December 2015, the RSPCA and police executed a warrant and raided a property in Solihull.

RSPCA inspectors discovered a number of different breeds at the premises, all living in appalling, filthy conditions

A whiteboard on the wall gave a glimpse into the lives of the dogs on this farm. There were instructions to keep the dogs quiet by squirting water at them, cracking a whip or shouting.

“The dogs were being kept in disgusting conditions and were absolutely terrified,” inspector Boal said.

“Some were being kept locked in rooms inside the house, including a frightened pregnant Shih Tzu who was being kept in a cold downstairs loo. And four dogs – three of which were pregnant – had been locked in an outbuilding in total darkness, there was no light or ventilation whatsoever. In fact, we didn’t even realise they were there until a few hours into our search of the property.

“All of the dogs were petrified. The minute you touched them they froze from fear.”

Thirty-seven dogs and puppies were removed and 27 further pups were later born in RSPCA care.

Some of the dogs had injuries and health problems and officers also recovered the body of a dead Shih Tzu puppy wrapped in a plastic carrier bag in the footwell of a van, parked at the farm.

On a whiteboard in one of the stables, officers found a whiteboard with instructions for the daily care of the dogs, including: ‘Keep puppies quiet, do not let them bark. Squirt them or use whip to crack in yard.’

Paperwork found at the house tied the couple to the sales of puppies and 17 mobile phones were removed and analysed which revealed texts from some of the buyers who had contacted the RSPCA.

RSPCA inspectors found almost 40 dogs living in squalid conditions at a puppy farm operated by Louise St John Poulton and Sean Kerr., Some were locked in dark rooms or sheds with no ventilation.
Puppy farmer Louise St John Poulton now of St Albans, Hertfordshire

“The health and welfare of these dogs isn’t important to the sellers who see them just as commodities to be brought and sold,” inspector Boal added.

“The breeding stock are kept in inadequate conditions and used to produce litter after litter with little or no regard for their welfare. And puppies are born with deformities or health problems as a result of poor breeding and don’t get the appropriate care in their formative weeks which means they can have serious health problems or behavioural issues.”

RSPCA inspectors found almost 40 dogs living in squalid conditions at a puppy farm operated by Louise St John Poulton and Sean Kerr., Some were locked in dark rooms or sheds with no ventilation.
Westie puppies Ben and Max had severe parvovirus and had to be put to sleep.

Most of the dogs rescued from the farm were fostered. Two of the puppies born in RSPCA care were fostered by Tom Mather, who lost his two Westies (Ben and Max, pictured above) to severe parvovirus five days after buying them from Poulton.

Poulton was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and was disqualified from keeping dogs for life. She was also ordered to pay £15,000 in costs.

Kerr was given a six-month prison sentence, ordered to pay £30,000 in costs and was disqualified from keeping dogs for life.

BBC News (Sean Kerr’s sentencing) 16/02/2017
Dog Magazine – Feb 2017
BBC News (Louise St John Poulton’s sentencing) 03/04/2017
BirminghamLive 03/04/2017
Dogs Today Magazine – April 2017

Redbourn, Hertfordshire: Julie Smith, Edward Smith, Patrick Smith and Michael Morley

#TheList Julie Smith (born 16/02/1956), Edward Smith (born 22/07/1953), Patrick Smith (born 12/02/1957) and Michael Morley (born 29/03/1978), all of White House Farm, Hemel Hempstead Road, Redbourn, St Albans AL3 7AQ – for the appalling neglect of horses, goats and dogs, which were kept in a “rubbish strewn holding teeming with rats”.

Animal abusers in the dock: Julie Smith, Edward Smith, Michael Morley and Patrick Smith all of Redbourn, Hertfordshire
Animals in the care of Julie Smith, Edward Smith, Michael Morley and Patrick Smith suffered shocking levels of neglect

All four defendants were convicted at St Albans Magistrates’ Court in relation to the welfare of dozens of animals at White House Farm in Redbourn.

The convictions came after the death of another defendant, Stephen Parkin, who took his own life during the trial in 2016.

Julie Smith, Edward Smith and Patrick Smith pictured outside court
Patrick Smith (front) with brother Edward Smith and his wife Julie Smith

Edward Smith and his wife, Julie Smith were both found guilty of 12 offences under the Animal Welfare Act.

These included causing unnecessary suffering to three horses and eight goats, and failing to provide a suitable environment for 14 horses.

Redbourn animal abusers Julie Smith and Michael Morley pictured outside court
Julie Smith and Michael Morley

Michael Morley was found guilty of nine offences, causing suffering to 10 dogs, and for failing to provide veterinary care for various conditions.

He had previously pleaded guilty to one offence of failing to meet the welfare needs of 42 dogs, by failing to provide a suitable environment for them.

Patrick Smith
“Not guilty”: Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith was found not guilty of 10 offences.

Judge Mellanby described the 17-acre White House Farm in Redbourn as a smallholding occupied by all five defendants.

On October 14, 2014, RSPCA inspectors visited the farm to follow up on some horses, in relation to the condition of their hooves.

But, as a result of what they found, three vets, the police, the fire brigade – which provided emergency lighting – and other RSPCA personnel were called to the scene.

By the time the RSPCA had left, well after 9pm, three horses had been removed, three horses and one goat euthanised, and at least 14 goats had their feet clipped.

Some of the animals that suffered at the hands of the Smith family and their employee Michael Morley

Twenty dogs were removed from the site, four of which were subsequently euthanised.

Some of the animals that suffered at the hands of the Smith family and their employee Michael Morley

The judgement described the RSPCA inspectors as “credible and thoroughly professional. Much of the cross examination of these two witnesses revolved around the suggestion that [the officers] attended the farm that day with a ‘mindset’ of gathering evident to support a prosecution and ensure Edward Smith and his family never showed horses again.

“There was a suggestion of a long held ‘hostility’ towards the Smiths. I find no evidence whatsoever that this was the case. In fact, quite the contrary.”

The judge added that “photographic evidence showed a lame horse with grossly overgrown hooves”.

“[RSPCA] video footage speaks for itself. For anyone to suggest that these were anything other than appalling conditions in which to keep a horse would be deluding themselves, and against all common sense.”

“What was initially a routine visit commencing at about 11am that morning turned out to be a very large and time-consuming investigation revealing many instances of animal welfare and poor animal husbandry practices of an obviously longstanding almost overwhelming nature.”

There were “40 or so dogs found in an unlit, wet and cold outbuilding”.

Judge Mellanby added: “The photographs are truly shocking together with the deep mud and utterly squalid conditions beggars belief. For anyone to suggest these horses were not suffering is absurd.”

One horse was “so lame he was barely able to walk and was euthanased on site”.

Six horses were found in “appalling conditions” in a barn at the property.

In one barn, “horses must have suffered by being confined in such dreadful conditions with nowhere dry to lie down and scarcely able to move in the mud let alone the hazards of broken corrugated iron planks of wood, faeces, not to mention the rats which populated the entire site. Their needs were clearly not being met.”

There were goats with “grossly deformed and distorted long hooves”, but upon clipping, they began resuming normal walking.

The judge said: “The goats were hobbling and staggering around, I have no doubt that they needed to have their feet clipped to relieve their obvious suffering.”

In a prepared statement, Edward Smith said he was responsible for show horses in one barn and horses in the field, but the remaining ones belonged to Stephen Parkin. He also said his wife “gave the goats to Stephen”.

Julie Smith said: “I am not 100 per cent sure who owns which horses.”

But the judge said the couple had control of the horse passports and that Julie Smith must have known exactly who owned which horse and,

“Julie, Edward and Patrick have provided no evidence of how and when they were transferred to Stephen Parkin.”

Judge Mellanby said she did “not believe their written statements”. Furthermore, neither Edward nor Julie Smith “gave evidence at the trial”.

Michael Morley “was the only defendant to give evidence at the adjourned hearing. He unequivocally accepted full responsibility for each of the dogs, the subjects of the charges. He was clearly trying to care for ageing and sick dogs without any support from his employers Edward and Julie Smith. He did not go to them for help or money to take them to a vet.

“He was courageous in the way he gave his evidence and faced full responsibility for lack of care of the dogs … each dog was suffering without doubt.”

Morley – community order of 150 hours’ unpaid work; costs and charges of £2,060. Disqualified from keeping or owning any animals for two years (expired February 2019).

Edward and Julie Smith: 10-week custodial sentence suspended for two years. Costs and charges totalling £10,080 each. The couple were also disqualified from owning goats and horses for just three years (expires February 2020).

Patrick Smith was found not guilty of the 10 charges against him.

Herts Advertiser

Royston, Herts: David & Marilyn Govan

#TheList hoarders David Govan (DoB 19/11/1950) & wife Marilyn Govan (DoB 03/09/1953) of Windmill Close, Bassingbourn, Royston SG8 5FJ – prosecuted for antisocial behaviour relating to their 38 dogs.

Dog hoarders Marilyn and David Govan of Royston, Hertfordshire
Dog hoarders Marilyn and David Govan of Royston, Hertfordshire

The council had received regular complaints from neighbours of antisocial behaviour relating to the Govans’ dogs howling and barking, the smell of faeces, and dogs escaping from the property. In total, the couple kept 38 dogs of various breeds at their former property in Hay Green, Royston.

The local authority gave the couple two months to reduce the noise by reducing the number of dogs on the property.

Mrs Govan contacted the council to express displeasure with the way the couple had been treated, and informing officials that they wouldn’t reduce the amount of dogs at the property.

After a second order found the noise levels were still too high, the dogs were then seized from the home by the RSPCA and the police.

The raid was prompted after a neighbour  raised concerns about the welfare of the animals.

The council also made an application for a Criminal Behaviour Order against the couple, preventing them from having more than three dogs at the property, having any female dogs on any of the land comprising their property, and allowing dogs to bark, howl, yap or whine, whilst also being required to collect, bag and bin any faeces attributed to their dogs.

As far as we know the couple, who have sold the Hay Green property and moved into nearby Windmill Close,  still have custody of the dogs.

Sentence: total fines and costs of £18,249.00.

The Sun