#TheList persistent thug Dalton Prior, born 13/02/1996, of 8 Luggiebank Place, Bargeddie, near Coatbridge G69 7SE – kicked and terrorised his pet dog
Heartless Dalton Prior, who has numerous previous criminal convictions, including some for violence, caused the distressed five-year-old dog, known as Jock, unnecessary suffering by kicking him and pulling him harshly by the lead on November 7, 2019.
Earlier that day, he broke into a house on Drumpark Street with the intention of committing theft. The thug’s catalogue of crime continued when he assaulted a police officer by attempting to headbutt him.
Prior was on bail when he committed the offences.
He also admitted being in possession of a knife in public at Whifflet Court in June 2019.
Prosecutor Jamie Dunbar produced a list of Prior’s previous convictions, which were admitted.
The fiscal depute told Airdrie Sheriff Court: “It was a two-storey house. The householder and his daughter were within.
“At 2.20pm, they heard a door handle move and being forced by a shoulder. They shouted and saw a man running from the door holding a dog. He shouted back, ‘I must be at the wrong door’, and left the area.
“At 2.45pm, witnesses heard a dog yelp and saw a dog on a lead.
“The man with the dog, the accused, was very unsteady on his feet, pulling the dog behind him.
“He turned and kicked the dog. It cried out. He continued to pull the dog harshly.
“The dog was clearly frightened and distressed.
“At 3.05pm, police saw Prior. His speech was slurred. He was detained and searched.
“He became aggressive and motioned his head towards a police officer.
“He was restrained and taken into custody.”
The fiscal depute added: “In another matter at 5.45pm, the accused was known to the complainer.
“He heard a buzzer at his door and shouted to Prior you are not allowed in.
“He replied, ‘I’ve nowhere else to go. He lifted up his top and a black-handled kitchen knife was in the waistband of his trousers.
“Police were contacted and he was arrested.”
Defence lawyer Fraser McKinnon said, in mitigation of his client: “He has been on remand since November 8.
“His record does him no favours, caused by his drug addictions.
“He has several previous convictions.”
Sheriff Derek O’Carroll told Prior: “Given your record, which is very poor, and the nature of the offences, there is no alternative to a custodial sentence.
“You were also on licence at the time. You will return to prison for four months.
“For the incident with the dog, this was unpleasant cruelty.”
Sentencing: jailed for a total of 19 months on all of the charges. Banned from owning or being in control of an animal for three years (expires March 2023).
#TheList Perparim Tahiraj, born 21/09/1970, of 36 Williamson Drive, Helensburgh G84 87LH – failed to get veterinary treatment for his five horses and left them to fly-graze
Perparim Tahiraj, who is originally from Kosovo, told Scottish SPCA inspectors he would not feed or care for horses Al, Africa, Cinderella, Song, and Tia, but refused to sign them over
Tahiraj, who has previously been convicted of domestic violence let the horses roam on land he did not have permission to use. The muddy ground in Helensburgh was unsuitable for grazing, with no shelter from the elements, and the horses became emaciated.
For a year the horses were left to try to fend for themselves on land which was littered with broken fencing and poisonous rhododendron bushes.
Shockingly, on Christmas Eve 2018, Tahiraj announced to inspectors from the Scottish SPCA that he would not feed or care for his horses. But he also refused to hand them over into their care.
Tahiraj was found guilty under Section 24 of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 for failing to provide a suitable environment, adequate diet and protection from suffering, injury and disease.
He was banned from keeping horses for five years.
Further sentencing was deferred for six months, meaning if he stays out of trouble for that period of time, he will likely face no further punishment.
Following the sheriff’s verdict, it was disclosed that Tahiraj, who is unemployed, is already using some of his benefits to pay back outstanding fines.
He also claimed he was unable to work due to various alleged health complications, including depression, anxiety, and arthritis, which meant he would be unable to complete a community payback order of unpaid work.
Scottish SPCA inspector Gillian Dick said: “We are pleased Tahiraj has been handed a ban for this level of neglect.
“Tahiraj is well known to the Scottish SPCA, we have had countless dealings with him and removed animals from his care a number of times.
“We tried on several occasions to provide him with guidance and advice on how to care for his animals.
“Tahiraj did not have permission to graze his horses on the land and had effectively been fly grazing within the field and surrounding grass area since January 2018.
“On 24 December 2018 he stated he would no longer attend to his horses or provide feed for them.
“We then asked him to sign the horses over in to our care, which he refused to do. “When we attended horses we discovered them all to be underweight and in poor body condition.
“Four of the five horses were suffering from skin infections, which needed veterinary treatment.
“The field offered inadequate grazing for equine animals and conditions were muddy, with little appropriate shelter from adverse weather conditions.
“The horses were exposed to poisonous rhododendron bushes and discarded fencing material.
“In one corner of the field the fence was broken and taped up, which was not suitable to contain the horses from the nearby busy road. We welcome this sentence. Tahiraj was not capable of meeting the most basic of needs for the horses in his care.
“We hope this sentence makes Tahiraj consider his ability to look after any animal in the future.”
Sentencing: banned from keeping any equine animals for a period of five years.
#TheList Andrew William Beech, born 31/05/1986 of 64a Kingsfield Road, Biddulph ST8 6DR – subjected his pet dog to repeated violent attacks over several months, finally killing her
Neighbours of Andrew Beech had witnessed him screaming and swearing at his blue Staffordshire bull terrier, Millie, many times in the months leading up to her violent death on 19 August 2019.
One witness described seeing Beech throw Millie’s bed into the communal yard and yelling at her aggressively. He then kicked her hard, causing her to cry out. The witness tried to confront him but Beech disappeared inside his flat before she could do so.
On the evening of Millie’s death horrified neighbours heard Beech yelling “you shit all over the flat” followed by sounds of a dog in severe distress, crying and screaming.
On August 21, Beech wrote the following on Facebook: “my Millie moo died, completely shocked, RIP”.
Rumours emerged on social media that Beech had killed Millie and one local animal lover, Nicola, decided to go to his house to confront him. Beech told Nicola that Millie had died from natural causes and said he had buried her body in local woods. However, Nicola had noticed bloodstains on the walls of his hallway and was unconvinced by his lies. She went through his bins and was horrified to discover remnants of a blood-soaked dog bed.
Police were called but were reluctant to investigate so Nicola, determined to get justice for Millie, decided to take matters into her own hands.
She posted an appeal for information on Facebook and was soon contacted by someone who said they would show her where Beech had buried Millie’s body – actually in a small plot in the car park to the rear of his flat.
Nicola took a shovel and found Millie’s battered body in a cardboard box. She was wrapped in what remained of her dog bed.
The box contained a message that said “Millie, I’m going to miss you every day” with dog biscuits, and a deflated ball.
Nicola contacted the RSPCA who collected Millie’s remains and took her to a vet for examination. There it was discovered that she had died from a blunt trauma. She had several other traumatic injuries including a punctured liver and lung, a broken hip and internal bleeding. Almost every rib was broken.
Some injuries were older and had been inflicted on her months earlier, proving that this attack had not been a one-off.
The RSPCA prosecuted Beech but he denied the charges and continued to scream about his innocence to his friends and family and publicly on Facebook.
Faced with overwhelming evidence against him, however, Beech eventually pleaded guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal as well as harassing an ex-partner.
The court heard Beechhad lost his job at a builders’ merchant following the social media backlash in the wake of Millie’s death.
Beech’s lawyer, Peter Howland of Turnocks Defence Solicitors, told the court that his client became frustrated with Millie following a change in his working hours causing him to be away most of the day and that “he kicked her because of her behaviour”.
Speaking about the fatal attack Howland said that his client “kicked the dog a number of times and, as a result of that, it died within a matter of minutes. He was shocked and didn’t know what to do.”
Howland claimed that Beech had been in the Army and had served in Basra “which has had an effect on his mental health.”
This cut little ice with the judge who told Beech: “You could not cope with owning the dog but you made excuses – it would not have taken a genius to give the dog to the RSPCA.
“Instead you subjected the dog to cruelty on a regular basis. This was not a one-off – and then you kicked this dog to death.”
Sentencing: jailed for 24 weeks and banned indefinitely from keeping animals.
Lindi Meyer, prosecuting, said the defendant lived with Rocco and his partner Hilson. Both accepted responsibility for the pet.
The RSPCA and police went to the house on September 2, 2019, after reports of an injured dog. Initially the pair did not answer but Hilson let them in just as police were about to force entry.
The dog had obvious leg and head injuries, said the prosecutor.
Hilson said Rocco had hurt his leg trying to get over a gate almost a month before. She confirmed he had not seen a vet.
“There was a strong smell of ammonia and faeces on the floor,” added Ms Meyer.
A police officer said the injured state of the dog was ‘heartbreaking’ and he had never seen such a badly injured animal before.
Rocco had multiple cuts, dislocated femur, swelling, two large head wounds that were so severe vets were unable to examine his right eye, a fractured tooth, cheek, three fractured ribs, and a fracture to the right hock which was several weeks old and so severe the leg had to be amputated.
There were stains on the carpets which Hilson said Rocco had left after he injured his head trying to escape from his cage.
Dolling said the injury to Rocco’s leg happened about one and a half months before when he tried to jump over a door. Both denied mistreating him and Dolling said he didn’t take him for treatment because he thought the vet might think he had beaten him. He couldn’t explain the fracture to the dog’s eye and denied beating him. He said he thought the animal would die without vet attention.
Texts between the two revealed more of what really happened to the dog.
Hilson demanded to know what had happened to Rocco’s face. Dolling replied: “I just went mad on him earlier. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it. I’m f****d.”
Hilson said the dog was ‘only a baby’ and hadn’t done anything to deserve such treatment.
Dolling answered: “You know what I get. I get what you’re saying. I’m sorry, I’m a nasty c**t.”
Hilson said there was a history of domestic violence in the relationship. Dolling now accepted responsibility for what he had done.
Nobody was present at the time Dolling injured the dog and the court was not told what triggered his violence. A vet found the injuries had been sustained by blunt force trauma on at least two occasions. They would have caused considerable pain for Rocco for at least six weeks. The skull fracture was caused by being struck with a ‘heavy linear object’ not consistent with Dolling’s explanation about the door. Injuries to the ribs were caused by kicks, stamps, or throwing against an object, said the vet.
Ms Meyer said Dolling’s actions had been ‘deliberate, gratuitous and caused suffering and pain on a number of occasions’. There had been prolonged neglect over months and no vet treatment despite both being aware of the injuries.
The court was played a video of Rocco in the care of the RSPCA, running and chasing a ball. “He’s doing really well,” after learning to walk again, said the prosecutor.
Hilson has yet to sign him over to the RSPCA’s care and has stated she wants him back.
Ben Darby, defending, said Dolling accepted full responsibility for the injuries and was ‘tearful’ and sorry for what he had done. He wanted help for his anger management issues and was motivated to change.
“These are pretty horrendous offences,” said Mr Darby. But he said Dolling had held his hands up and admitted his crime, even though nobody saw him cause the injuries and for that he should be given credit.
Hilson, who did not cause injuries to Rocco, admits a lesser charge under the Animal Welfare Act. She will be sentenced at a later date.
Sentencing: suspended four-month jail sentence. He was told to do up to 10 days anger management with probation and 60 hours of unpaid work. He was banned from keeping all animals for life but can appeal after just five years.
Natasha Rose Hilson, born 10/08/1994, also of 24A Briseham Road, Brixham, Torbay, Devon TQ5 9NS, has been sentenced for failing to seek veterinary care for Rocco while he was suffering from his injuries.
She must carry out 10 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days and 240 hours’ unpaid work.
She was also disqualified from owning any animal for 15 years, with no application to lift this for five years, and must pay £200 costs.
Lahey had provided a foster home for the dog, after completing a charity’s home checks. But months later charity volunteers discovered Rex’s starved body in a black bag.
The chef told RSPCA investigators that he had not buried the rescue dog because he could not afford a spade.
North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard Lahey took Rex home on December 1, 2018. For the first few months, Lahey sent the charity regular updates, including photographs and videos of Rex’s progress. But the charity was later unable to contact the defendant and then received a call from a relative to collect Rex’s body on April 2, 2010.
Vets discovered that the rescue dog was emaciated – weighing just 12.35 kilograms. A post-mortem examination gave the cause of death as emaciation.
The vet’s report stated: “There is a strong possibility that he was left without food for a few days. During this time he would be hungry, potentially cold at night as he was confined to a shed, and possibly psychologically distressed as scratch marks were found in the shed along with soiling.”
Lahey told the RSPCA that Rex had struggled to put on weight and that he had left the dog with someone else when he went away for a few weeks last March. He said he returned to find Rex dead.
Following the case, RSPCA inspector Charlotte Melvin said: “It is horrendous to think of the suffering which poor Rex went through during the period leading up to his death.
“The vet’s report states he had been left in the shed for a number of days at least as scratch marks could be found near the door as Rex had desperately tried to get out.
“There is never an excuse not to feed a pet or seek veterinary treatment – if people are in need of help there are also plenty of animal charities that can help or in this case the animal rescue centre where Rex had come from would have taken him back.”
A spokesman for Pebbles Legacy, which placed Rex with Lahey, said: “We are so upset about what has happened to Rex and the suffering he must have endured. He was fostered by Lahey so he could have allowed us to take him back at any time if he was struggling but there was no indication of this at all.
“We carried out a number of home checks on Lahey which he passed and he sent us weekly updates, including videos and photographs, showing how well Rex was doing. There was even one of him looking so happy playing in the snow.
“We have no idea why this changed and it was awful to go the property and find a dog who we had cared for dead in such awful circumstances.
“It has been terribly upsetting for all our volunteers.”
Sentencing: ordered to pay a total of £850. Banned from keeping animals for life.
#TheList lifelong loser Niall Martin, born c. 1990, previously of Speedwell Road, Colchester and now the Strand in Ipswich – threw a police dog against a car, tried to choke her and wrenched her jaw open
Police were called after a row broke out between Niall Martin and his partner in Colchester and officers attended along with police dog, Ivy.
Martin was hiding and when the highly trained German Shepherd bit him. He reacted by hurling her against the car, choking her and pulling apart her jaws.
In a statement read out in court, Ivy’s dog handler said she genuinely feared for the animal’s life.
She said: “She bit him on the arm and then Martin threw Ivy against a parked car.
“I heard Ivy yelp with pain, he was trying to choke her.
“I punched him to the back of the head with all my force to try to get her free.
“I have never heard her make a noise like that before.
“I genuinely believe he was trying to kill or seriously injure her.”
Martin was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal following a trial. He admitted a charge of possessing cannabis.
Katie Armstrong-Mason, mitigating said: “On this particular day he had consumed alcohol and had an argument with his partner.
“The dog runs after him and bites him on the leg.
“The only reason he grabs the dog’s mouth is because he had been bitten and was in a lot of pain.
“He didn’t want to be arrested – the last time he was he got a four-week prison sentence.
“He has a borderline personality disorder and alcohol exacerbates his mental health problems – he gets in trouble when he drinks.”
Police dog Ivy retired from active duty earlier in January 2020. She was not badly hurt in the incident with Martin.
Chairman of the bench Don Wicks said: “This is a crossroads for you.
“It is a last chance scenario to change your life for the better.”
Sentencing: ten-week prison term suspended for a year. He must attend an accredited programme and 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days. Ordered to pay £300 costs, and £50 to the dog handler who suffered back pain during the incident.
#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.
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.
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  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.”
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.
“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.