#TheList traveller Joe Orchard, born c. 1980, of Apondarose Minorca Lane, Bugle, St Austell Cornwall PL26 8QN – mistreated two Labradors and a terrier
Orchard, who is from a notorious family of travellers based in Cornwall, pleaded guilty to failing to provide a suitable environment for three dogs and two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
The first charge related to December 16, 2019, when Orchard failed to ensure that the needs of black and white terrier Candis and Labradors Roxy and Lady were met.
Between December 1 and 17, 2019, Orchard caused unnecessary suffering to Candis by failing to investigate and address her poor body condition and weight loss.
Prior to December 16, Orchard caused Candis unnecessary suffering by failing to provide a suitable environment whilst she was of a poor body condition resulting in hypothermia.
The three dogs were removed from his care by the RSPCA and Orchard was banned from keeping dogs for two years.
Sentencing: a total of £580 in fines, costs and charges. Banned from keeping dogs for just two years (expires July 2022).
#TheList Michael Rodger Warren, born 20/06/1985, of Avondale Close, Grangetown, Middlesbrough TS6 9SD and with links to Guildford, Blackpool, Whitstable and Worthing – let a German Shepherd starve to death and left another with severe muscle wastage in squalid faeces-littered house
When RSPCA inspectors visited Michael Warren’s filthy home on June 27, 2020, they discovered the stricken dogs, Bolt and Panther. Very sadly, Bolt had already died from malnutrition while Panther had been starved to the point of emaciation. He weighed just 17.5kg, which is around half the weight of a healthy German Shepherd.
He had also suffered hair loss and was riddled with fleas.
When interviewed Warren was said to show “very little remorse” for what happened and “at one point he got up to make a cup of tea”.
Warren was charged with two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal but didn’t even turn up to his trial at the Magistrates’ Court.
He was found guilty in his absence and also appeared on Thursday 10 July 2020 to be sentenced for breaching a suspended sentence order relating to an offence he was sentenced for in 2019.
Nicci Horton, mitigating, said her client had a diagnosis of dyslexia, had attended special needs schools in his youth and was taken into foster care at the age of six.
Ms Horton told the court that the puppies were bred by Warren’s mother, prolific backyard greeder Lucy Koca of Redcar. In June 2018 Koca had given her son two of the puppies as a birthday present but when he tried to return them, she refused to take them back.
Ms Horton agreed her client had been “negligent” in his actions, adding that he had been mostly living at another address at the time.
Warren has six previous convictions for eight offences.
#TheList Lauren Jane Eliot (aka Lauren Purvis), born 02/08/1997, of 5 Thomas Street, Annfield Plain, Stanley, Co Durham DH9 7SN – left a poorly British bulldog puppy to live in a yard full of rubbish and a mouldy sofa.
Eighteen-month-old British bulldog Royston was underweight, had skin and ear conditions and was living in a cluttered yard full of hazards when the RSPCA rescued him from his heartless owner, Lauren Jane Eliot.
The single mother-of-one was banned from keeping animals for five years after she was convicted of one offence under the Animal Welfare Act.
She failed to appear before Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court but was convicted in her absence of not taking reasonable steps to ensure the dog’s needs for a suitable environment were met and not seeking veterinary attention for his various ailments.
RSPCA inspector Cathy Maddison said: “I had been to this property in April and given advice to the couple living there to clean up the yard where they said Royston – an 18-month-old British bulldog – was living in the daytime.
“I got another call about him in August and when I went the situation had deteriorated.
“Royston was lying on a mouldy sofa in the yard, which was full of hazards.
“He had lost weight, had red skin and his nails were long.
“Eliot said she was taking him to the vets so I advised that needed to happen and the yard needed to be tidied up but unfortunately when I went back over a week later neither had.
“The yard was even worse, with faeces everywhere, and the shed Royston was using for shelter had been filled with chairs so his only resting place was the now very wet sofa.
“Eliot agreed I could take Royston to the vets to be checked over where he was found to be underweight.
“The skin under his chin and neck appeared red raw, his ears were very dirty and he smelled bad.
“He was taken into possession by police on vet advice and placed in our care pending the outcome of our investigation.”
The court heard that the defendant had been left with the dog when she broke up with her partner and was not in a position to care for him.
Inspector Maddison said: “Royston is now fully recovered and doing great.
“He’s a fantastic dog, and I’m really happy that we’ll now be able to find a fantastic new forever home for him.”
Sentencing: ordered to pay a total of £400. Five-year ban on keeping animals.
The court was told how neighbours called the RSPCA to Tolley’s flat, as they were concerned her dog had been left unattended in the property for some time. They said they had not seen Tolley for several days.
Inspector Emma Dingley was sent to the address and knocked on the door but when she got no reply she looked through the letterbox and could see Roo collapsed on the hallway floor in her own faeces.
She was in an emaciated state and Emma could see a huge tumour on her front leg.
She called the police for assistance so she could enter the property and rescue Roo.
The poorly dog was extremely cold and was too weak to stand or lift her head. Emma carried her out of the property and rushed her to the RSPCA’s Greater Manchester Animal Hospital.
Staff at the centre placed heat pads on Roo as she was suffering from hypothermia and gave her fluids as she was severely dehydrated. Her body temperature was found to be just 33.8C where the normal body temperature should be around 39C.
The veins were very collapsed, which made placement of a catheter for fluid replacement very difficult. It was thought the collapse of the veins was due to both dehydration and hypothermia.
A vet also found a large mass, approximately 12cm by 20cm which was ulcerated and would have been present for weeks causing intense suffering to the dog but Tolley had not sought veterinary treatment.
Emma said: “Roo was in an awful state when I went to rescue her. She was laid in her only faeces and couldn’t stand as she was so weak and in poor health
“She was freezing as there was no heating in the property so I wrapped her in a blanket and comforted her.
“She was clearly starved and as I cradled her in my arms to carry her to the van she knew I was trying to help her and she tried to wag her tail. It was heart-breaking.
“Staff at the animal hospital were doing all they could to save her but she was basically dying in front of our eyes and there was nothing we could do. She refused to eat even though she was starving.
“Sadly the following day she had deteriorated further so the vet made the decision to put Roo to sleep to end her suffering.
“It was so upsetting for us all – I just take some comfort from the fact she had kind people with her when she died and was not frightened and alone in the flat.
“This was a very upsetting case to deal with and there is never any excuse to abandon a pet – particularly in such a callous way.”
Sentencing: six-week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months; 20 days of rehabilitation activity requirement; £100 costs. Five-year ban on keeping animals.
#TheList Nick Holley, born 23/07/1968, of Tramside Farm, Nancekuke, Portreath, near Redruth TR16 5UF – banned from keeping farm animals after sheep were found starved and mutilated at his smallholding
Holley pleaded guilty to the following charges:
• Failing to provide adequate food to his flock of sheep
• Allowing sheep to have access to collapsed fencing and broken machinery that could have injured them
• Mutilating a sheep by docking its tail so short that the tail did not cover its vulva
• Failing to shear or provide shade to sheep in August 2019
• On 10 September 2019 caused unnecessary suffering to a sheep by failing to notice it was trapped or to release it from being trapped
Kevin Hill, prosecuting, told the court that Holley had gone on holiday and left a friend caring for 50 sheep at the smallholding, despite the friend having no previous experience of sheep husbandry.
Many of the sheep were emaciated yet had no supplementary feed, and the sheep had access to scrap and collapsed fencing. On a revisit, council officers found a sheep trapped in a fence; it had been trapped for at least 24 hours and once released was hungry and thirsty.
In January 2020 the sheep were not being fed hay and had strayed onto neighbouring land and roadside verges to forage. Holley had been cautioned for similar offences in 2018.
The magistrates gave credit for the early guilty plea and genuine remorse.
Sentencing: two-year conditional discharge; £5,000 costs. Banned from keeping farm animals for five years.
#TheList Anthony Bittlestone, born 28/12/1970, of Lilywhite Terrace, Easington Lane, Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland DH5 – banned from keeping animals after his dog was found starving.
Jack Russell Riley was described as “emaciated” and weighed just 3kg when found, which was less than half of the recommended weight for his breed. His nails were overgrown and he was also shedding fur. The floor of the kitchen where he was kept was littered faeces.
His owner Anthony Bittlestone pleaded guilty to two offences of causing unnecessary suffering and failing to ensure the dog’s welfare.
RSPCA prosecutor Stewart Haywood told the court that an inspector first visited Bittlestone’s house on September 30, 2019, but was not allowed in. He did, however, see Riley and noticed that his hips, ribs and spine were clearly visible. Inspector Haywood gave Bittlestone advice on improving the dog’s body condition.
The RSPCA paid further visits to Bittlestone’s home in October 2019 but there was no answer at the door.
After receiving no contact from Bittlestone, the RSPCA gained access to the property and found Riley in a “shocking condition”.
Mr Haywood said: “Riley was extremely thin and very lethargic. The kitchen floor was littered with faeces and the smell was described as disgusting.”
The pet was taken to a vet and examined. Blood tests were also carried out.
“Riley had a weight of 3.09kg, an emaciated body condition,” said Mr Haywood. “A dog of that type should weigh about 7kg.
“The dog was shedding fur and its nails were too long. Blood test results showed that Riley had simply been starved.”
Jason Smith, representing Bittlestone, said this happened at a time when the defendant, who worked as a milkman, was experiencing difficulties.
His partner had left him and his father had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Bittlestone found himself struggling to look after his parents and the dog as well as keeping up with his work, it was said.
Mr Smith added: “While Riley was clearly underweight, there was actually no long-term deficit at all. There was no internal damage, no veterinary or medical condition to show that Riley will be adversely affected.
“Mr Bittlestone was feeding Riley. The reality is that Riley was clearly not getting the nutritional value from the food that has been given to him.”
Sentencing: 18-month community order, 25 days of rehabilitation activities and 150 hours of unpaid work; £490 in costs. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
#TheList Justin Williams, born 10/05/1995, of 7G Elders Court, Dundee DD2 3UJ but with links to Basildon, Essex – starved his dog and kept her in squalid conditions
The Scottish SPCA discovered Staffy Keira in a “severely emaciated” condition and living in squalor at Williams’ flat. She weighed just 9.5kg, with little muscle mass and overgrown nails.
The court heard how the alarm was raised by neighbours who became concerned about the dog’s condition.
Fiscal depute Lynne Mannion told the court: “The employees of the SSPCA saw that the flat itself was in squalor. The hallway had bare floorboards and a dirty dog bowl.
“The dog was clearly emaciated. They asked the accused about the dog and he confirmed it had been losing its body condition.
“An examination found that the dog was severely emaciated and weighed 9.5kg which was half its original body weight.”
The court heard that Keira’s nails were overgrown due to a lack of exercise. There were no other abnormalities found during the examination with the SSPCA officers concluding that Keira’s issues were due to inadequate nutrition.
Keira was taken to the SSPCA’s local rescue centre where she recovered. She has since been rehomed.
Scottish SPCA inspector Alastair Adams said: “This was a case of serious neglect and Keira would not have survived for much longer had we not intervened.
“We welcome this sentence. Williams was not capable of meeting Keira’s most basic of needs.”
Sentencing: ordered to pay £250 and banned from keeping animals for just two years.
#TheList Robert ‘Bobby’ Evans, born c. 1984, of 9 Thompson Close, Rawmarsh, Rotherham S62 7LY – illegally kept 10 unringed goldfinches and neglected their needs
Gypsy traveller Bobby Evans, whose numerous previous convictions include cannabis farming and making threats of violence towards a female, admitted one offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and one offence under the Animal Welfare Act relating to 10 unringed goldfinches in his possession. He also admitted a further offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of possessing a wild bird trap.
The RSPCA, which brought the case, revealed that one of its inspectors visited Evans’ home with the local police wildlife crime officer in October 2019 following reports of bird trapping in local hedgerows.
RSPCA inspector and wildlife officer Sandra Dransfield said: “Evans had a legally ringed male bullfinch, two canaries and 10 unringed goldfinches in a small, dirty cage in a shed. The ten goldfinches, a cage trap – which wasn’t set – and other bird trapping paraphernalia were seized.
“The expert’s opinion was that the 10 goldfinches were wild-caught. Some of the birds had injuries from flying at the bars trying to get out, so after a short rehabilitation the birds were successfully released back to the wild, where they belong.”
In mitigation, the court heard that Evans had pleaded guilty and was a long-time breeder of birds.
Ms Dransfield added: “It is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to trap or attempt to trap wild birds and this type of trapping causes immense distress and suffering to them.
“The illegal trapping and trading in wild birds has long been a problem. Taking a wild bird from its natural habitat and shutting it in a tiny cage is cruel.
“These birds can suffer immeasurably, not only physically but also mentally, and they often die shortly after being captured.”
Sentencing: community order with a two-month curfew; ordered to pay £292. Disqualified from keeping birds for three years,
#TheList Nisar Hussain, born 12/10/1984, formerly of 70 Morgan Road, Sheffield S5 8QT and more recently 203 Emerson Crescent, Sheffield S5 7SY – left a dog to starve to death in his back yard
Nisar Hussain is finally behind bars – more than four years after first appearing in court after evading capture.
Hussain, who has links to St David’s in Pembrokeshire, Wales, pleaded guilty to two offences relating to a Bully Kutta dog called Bella in August 2016.
The case was adjourned for sentencing but he didn’t show up and a warrant had been out for his arrest since.
RSPCA chief inspector Lynsey Harris said: “It has been almost four years since Hussain failed to appear for sentencing in relation to what happened to this dog, the previous September.
“Bella’s body was discovered in the backyard of Hussain’s then Sheffield address (his foreign-born wife and mother of his children, Saiqa Nisar, still lives there) by the dog warden, who had been called the previous night under the guise that Hussain had taken the dog in as a stray.
“She was emaciated, covered in dirt, her face was in a pool of vomit and she was surrounded by mud, faeces and a large number of dog biscuits.
“However several witnesses, including myself, had seen the dog at the property going back to August 10 tethered in the yard, and had given advice on her care.”
Bully Kutta are a very large breed originating in Pakistan and not commonly kept in the UK.
Nisar Hussain was implicated in a 2013 high-profile ‘crash for cash’ case alongside others, but was ultimately acquitted
Sentencing: jailed for 18 weeks with a further 14 days for non-RSPCA related matters, plus 21 days for failing to surrender but to run concurrently. Ordered to pay £615 in costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping animals for life.