#The List Eleanor (Ellie) Rose Marsh, born c. 1992, and Amy Elizabeth Youll, born 17/02/1992, both of Todmorden Road, Bacup OL3 – both pleaded guilty to not taking reasonable steps to ensure the needs of the eight dogs and three cats were met.
Sentencing: Both women were ordered to pay a total of £180 and banned from keeping animals for just 12 months. Deprivation order on all of the animals.
Prosecutions: Latvian nationals Inga Ozola, aged 43, and partner Arunas Venslovas, 50, both of 12 Seven Stars Road, Leyland PR25 1AL – charged with animal cruelty after a severely injured puppy is found buried alive in a field
Spencer, a nine-week-old Pomeranian puppy, had suffered two fractured limbs before he was buried, and later had to be put to sleep, Preston Magistrates’ Court was told.
Inga Ozola denies causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal between April 24 and 27, 2019, by burying the animal while he was still alive.
Ozola and her partner, Arunas Venslovas both deny failing to ensure Spencer received appropriate veterinary care for his injuries.
The trial of the Latvian couple, who were assisted by interpreters throughout the proceedings, was due to start on Thursday 23 January 2020, but Venslovas applied to delay the case as he had attended without representation.
He has since obtained legal aid but further arrangements need to be made.
Prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, Carmel Wilde accepted it was potentially an imprisonable matter, but indicated he should have done something about it sooner.
However the bench agreed to the adjournment and the case will now take place on April 27 and 28, 2020. A case management hearing will take place on February 25, 2020.
#TheList badger digger/baiter and bloodsports fanatic Jack Starkey, born 12/10/1990, of Bold Street, Fleetwood FY7
Father-of-two Jack Starkey admitted two offences under the Protection of Badgers Act and one under the Animal Welfare Act. He was due to stand trial for a number of offences under both Acts but pleaded guilty before the trial was set to commence.
Starkey was caught badger baiting in Bluebell Wood in Denton, Greater Manchester on January 3, 2019.
Two dog walkers came across Starkey and three other men digging a badger out of its sett. The men then let a dog attack it.
The walkers called police and a local animal welfare group, who found the badly injured badger.
Sadly, the badger’s injuries were so serious he couldn’t be saved.
The following day, Chris Heyworth, an officer from the Special Operations Unit – a team of specialist officers tasked with investigating serious and organised animal crime such as animal fighting and wildlife offences – was contacted by Lancashire Badger Group who had been made aware of the incident.
Inspector Heyworth went to the scene, which was located just 70 yards from a road.
He said: “Unfortunately I’ve seen many disturbed badger setts and examples of badger digging in my 28 years as an RSPCA officer and it was clear this sett had been recently dug.
“In badger digging, a terrier is typically sent into the sett wearing a tracking collar and will corner the badger so the people above ground can dig them out.
“A large hole is dug – commonly referred to as a crowning point – and the badger is pulled out often by a large bull lurcher type dog.
“A seriously injured badger was discovered at the scene the previous day and taken to a vet but, sadly, had to be put to sleep due to the severity of the wounds.”
Information led to a suspect and the RSPCA approached Lancashire Police for assistance executing a warrant on February 12, 2019, at an address in Hodder Avenue, Fleetwood. Three dogs were found inside, two with extensive scarring and one with an open sore on his leg.
Occupants at the address said the dogs belonged to Starkey and he was contacted for interview.
Inspector Heyworth added: “We took DNA swabs from the badger’s wounds and these were later compared with DNA taken from the three dogs seized from Mr Starkey.
“Two were ruled out but results showed that a rare type of DNA – found in only one in 100 dogs – which was found on the badger was also present in the third dog.”
Starkey was charged with offences of attempting to kill a badger, digging a sett and causing suffering to one of the dogs in his care.
Starkey, who has links with the travelling community, eventually pleaded guilty to the charges against him.
The dogs remain in RSPCA care and will now be rehomed.
#TheList Simon L Broscombe, born 11/10/1984, of Bela Grove, Blackpool FY1 – had his dog’s ears cruelly and illegally mutilated.
Wannabe hardman Simon Broscombe had his six-month-old American bulldog’s floppy ears cut back to short points so that the animal would look more intimidating.
Broscombe, who is apparently a hairdresser by profession, paid £2,000 for the puppy, known as Tyson, who came into the country from Holland.
He bought the dog, described as his pride and joy, a £3,000 gold neck collar.
In the first case of its type in the UK the RSPCA prosecuted Broscombe over the ear cropping.
Broscombe admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the champagne-coloured dog by having his ears cropped.
He also admitted permitting another person to carry out a prohibited procedure on Tyson.
Broscombe admitted a third charge of failing to protect Tyson from pain and suffering.
District Judge Jane Goodwin heard that dogs’ears can only be cropped for medical reasons and the cutting done by a qualified vet.
The procedure can cause pain to the animal involved and in Tyson’s case, an examination of his ears revealed scarring and holes.
He was in otherwise good condition.
The ears are a very sensitive organ of dogs but some owners have the dog’s natural ears cut back almost to the skull for purely cosmetic reasons designed to give breeds like the Bully a “street cred “look.
When Broscombe was confronted by RSPCA officer Amy McIntosh at his home, she says he grabbed his phone and she believed she was trying to delete Whatsapp pictures from it.
However, the investigators did trace messages from Broscombe one stating….”With big floppy ears.He not the kind of dog I want.”
RSPCA prosecutor Paul Ridehalgh told the court:”This dog is a cross between an American pit bull and American staffie.”
“The investigators found pictures of Tyson with his ears intact and the defendant knew that ear cropping in the UK is illegal.”
“Owners want cropped ears because it makes the animal more intimidating”
“These ears were mutilated and he would not say who did it which obstructed the RSPCA investigating.”
Probation officer Amanda Kenyon said that Broscombe-who has facial tattoos- was devastated to have been split up from Tyson, who is being kept in kennels by the RSPCA.
Trevor Colebourne, defending, told the judge:”My client bought the dog via a breeder thinking it had had his ears cropped in Holland before being brought into the UK.”
“He would not name the person who carried out the procedure as he had been given a threat to keep his mouth shut and not be a grass.”
Sentencing Broscombe the judge told him: ”Despite your claim to be a responsible animal lover you became involved in a seedy operation which was a deliberate attempt to cause suffering.”
“You will not name the vet you claim was involved and this dog will have suffered for up to five days.
Sentencing: 12-week jail term suspended for 18 months. Ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work and to pay £715 court costs. Banned from keeping any animal for seven 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.
Tracy Yates, prosecuting, said the incident started at 8.30am on May 19 at an address in New Wellington Street, Blackburn.
Witnesses saw Hibbert leave the address and kick two cars. He was also seen to punch his dog before the police arrived.
“A witness said he was clearly heavily under the influence of something,” said Mrs Yates. “He was covered in blood and was placed in the back of the van with the dog. She said he was screaming in the dog’s face and she then witnessed the most horrific behaviour she could imagine.”
Mrs Yates said Hibbert punched the dog in the side, kicked it repeatedly and then swung it round by the chain.
“Just when she thought it couldn’t get any worse he picked the dog up by the throat and started to throttle it,” said Mrs Yates. “By this stage the dog, which had been agitated, was completely silent.”
The dog was eventually removed from the van.
“The officer said she had never seen such an aggressive act towards an animal in her career,” said Mrs Yates. “She said if that was how he behaved in public she couldn’t imagine how the dog was treated behind closed doors.”
When he was interviewed about the incident Hibbert said the officers were lying and he would never lay a finger on the dog. When the witness statements were read to him he told the officers to shut up.
Jonathan Taylor, defending, said his client clearly had problems and could benefit from the assistance of the probation service. He said Hibbert had been drinking all night and had fallen out with his brother. As he left the house he kicked out at the cars in frustration.
“He has always tried to look after the dog as best he can,” said Mr Taylor. “It is a highly strung animal and matters were not helped when its owner was irate. What is certain is that it should never have been placed in the back of the police van with him.”
He said Hibbert was deeply ashamed of what happened next.
“He doesn’t have a clear recollection of the matter but he is deeply apologetic,” said Mr Taylor.
Sentencing: 12-month community order with 40 days of rehabilitation activity. Curfew. Total of £285 compensation and charges. Banned from keeping animals for three years.
#TheList for cruelty to sheep at a halal abattoir – Dale Valley Rossendale Ltd (Malik Foods), Malik Halls, 47 Great Horton Road, Bradford BD7 1AZ (director Junaid Imtiaz Malik, born April 1979 and recent ex-director and previous offender Stephen Lee Riley, born July 1980, of Dunnockshaw Farm, Burnley BB11 5PP), employees Imdad Ali of 31 Park Road, Accrington BB4 1SU, Joseph Bell of Carr Bank Farm, Crawshawbooth, Rossendale BB4 8UE, David Hargreaves of Adelaide Street, Crawshawbooth, and Elizabeth Bennett of 26 Humber Street, Preston PR3 3WD
The brutal treatment of sheep at a halal non-stun abattoir was caught on covert CCTV installed by animal welfare charity, Animal Aid.
Blackburn magistrates heard how it showed animals having their throats hacked at repeatedly by a slaughterman responsible for ‘sticking’ them.
Animals were not correctly restrained or loaded during the slaughter process causing greater distress.
The court was told when the overseeing vet was present all procedures were carried out correctly.
Howard Shaw, prosecuting, said: “It is not that they were ignorant of the regulations, these were deliberate breaches.”
Abattoir operator Dale Valley Rossendale Limited pleaded guilty to eight offences under Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing Regulations for England and was fined £5,000 plus £2,000 costs.
Imdad Ali, aged 47, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure sheep were not moved, shacked or hoisted after they had been stuck and before it was unconscious, failing to ensure a sheep was killed by severance of its carotid arteries and jugular veins by rapid, uninterrupted movements of a knife, excessive flexing of the neck of a sheep during sticking, failing to ensure sheep were moved with care, and sticking a sheep while it was not properly restrained causing it to fall to the floor while being bled.
He was sentenced to eight weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £200 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.
Joseph ‘Joe’ Bell, born 09/06/96, pleaded guilty to four charges relating to the improper handling of the sheep prior to slaughter. He was given a community order for 12 months with 120 hours’ unpaid work and ordered to pay £150 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.
David Hargreaves, 35, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that every animal was moved with care by lifting ten sheep by their fleeces and/or tails when loading them into restrainers. He was fined £200 and ordered to pay £130 costs.
Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Bennett, 21, pleaded guilty to offences under the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing Regulations. She was fined £120 and ordered to pay £100 costs.
Mr Shaw said the prosecution case was that a large number of sheep were caused to suffer unnecessarily during slaughter operations at the Dunnockshaw Farm abattoir on two days in March 2017.
Animal Aid commissioned two freelance investigators to install covert cameras in the killing room.
The investigators secretly entered the premises at night and installed the cameras which eventually provided the evidence on which the Foods Standards Agency based the prosecution.
Mr Shaw said over two days of filming 94 per cent of the sheep killed by non-stun halal methods were not slaughtered in compliance with the welfare requirements.
He said sheep were thrown into restraints and roughly handled prior to slaughter.
Ali failed to carry out the slaughter in the approved manner – a single rapid cut – and animals were moved after the cut before they had lost consciousness.
A Food Standards Agency spokesperson said: “The Food Standards Agency takes animal welfare at slaughterhouses very seriously and we investigate all reported breaches. We welcome that the business and individuals have been convicted and sentenced for their actions.
“Where abattoirs fail to uphold animal welfare standards, the FSA will investigate and seek to have prosecutions brought against those responsible.”
An Animal Aid spokeswoman said:‘While it is positive that this long-running case has finally concluded, we certainly do not feel that justice has been adequately served. These lenient sentences in no way reflect the gravity of the terrible suffering that was inflicted on gentle animals at the most vulnerable time of their short lives.
“It is important to emphasise the shocking scenes we filmed at this slaughterhouse were by no means unique. We have filmed inside 15 slaughterhouses, and found law-breaking in almost every case. Incidents filmed at other slaughterhouses include animals being beaten, kicked and burnt with cigarettes.
“But even when the law is followed to the letter, slaughter can never be cruelty-free. Slaughterhouses are merciless places, where animals’ lives are brutally taken from them.
“We would urge anyone who is shocked by this case to try a cruelty-free diet. Going vegan is the single best thing we can all do to help animals.”
#TheList unlicensed animal trader Bradley Michael Tomes, born 27/04/1995, of Moss Lane, Hesketh Bank, Preston PR4 – kept dozens of exotic animals in filthy conditions and with untreated injuries
Tomes pleaded guilty to 15 offences under the Animal Welfare Act after dozens of neglected exotic animals had to be rescued by the RSPCA.
The offences relate to six iguanas; two mara (large rodents from South America); 16 peafowl; two pelicans; three agouti (a rodent native to America and South America); five porcupines; one green parakeet; two jardine parrots; one golden pheasant; one green winged macaw; one white necked raven and one cape parrot.
In January 2019 the RSPCA were called by police to a farm on Taylors Meanygate in Tarleton and found the animals being kept in squalid and unsuitable conditions. The charity then attended a second address on Moss Lane, Tarleton where a shed-type building at the back of the premises contained a number of animals.
RSPCA Deputy Chief Inspector Alison Fletcher said: “Some of these animals were species we as RSPCA inspectors of many years’ experience had never dealt with before, and it was a shock to see them kept in such conditions.
“Both locations were filthy. Many of the animals were in accommodation that was obviously completely unsuitable, did not have access to food or water, or were suffering.
“At the farm, we found two mara inside a small plastic transportation crate on the floor of one of the make-shift buildings. Mara are a large rodent who stand up on their hind legs. The height of the crate was 300mm, or just 12 inches. The depth of the crate was 560mm, and the length was 870mm giving no real room for them to move around.
“A squalid enclosure at the same location housed three agoutis, two pelican and 13 peafowl (pictured above).
“Four porcupines (pictured right) were in a pen which was wet and muddy with just a small structure for shelter – temperatures on site were close to freezing with snow and driving rain.
“At the second address a macaw was found in a black crate, similar to a dog crate. The bird’s tail feathers were touching the sides of the crate.
“The iguanas were at this location too – all six of which were in poor body condition and four had injuries to their tails.”
Two animals, an Agouti and a Mara, have subsequently died, and the court heard further dead birds and animals were discovered at the same locations but are not subject to charges, as the cause of death cannot be established.
In mitigation the court heard that Tomes had an interest in animals all of his life and had been employed as a zoo keeper.
He had signed all of the animals over in February and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. He had gone through a difficult break up but had now turned his life around and had a new job and new relationship.
The surviving animals have been rehomed to specialist keepers.
Sentencing: 20 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months; 25 rehabilitation days; 120 hours of community service; total of £615 costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping all animals for five years with no appeal for two years.
#TheList horse breeder Nicola Jane Haworth, born 4 February 1961, of The Sycamores, Jubilee Lane, Marton, Blackpool FY5 4ER – kept horses in such squalor that 11 had to be put down
Haworth was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to 24 horses and failing to meet the needs of 31 horses.
Carmel Wilde, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said that the charity’s inspectors had found the animals living in dilapidated stables – some without doors or missing wooden panels.
The horses’ bedding was covered in months of urine and droppings, the court heard.
Ms Wilde added: “The evidence shows the conditions were horrendous. Six animals were such an appalling condition they had to be put to sleep by the vet immediately.
“Five more were euthanased later. Others have behaviour problems and will never be ridden as they are dangerous.
“These were the worst conditions the vets and RSPCA inspectors have ever seen. Basics tasks were not carried out for a prolonged time. It was neglect.”
Some of the horses’ hooves were so overgrown the animals could hardly move because they were in so much pain, the court was told.
There was evidence that some had not been out of their stables for some time to use nearby sand and grass paddocks.
The remaining 20 horses were taken away for care and re-homing.
Writing about the case, which he said was the culmination of over 10 months of hard work and dedication by the RSPCA, World Horse Welfare, HAPPA, Lancashire Constabulary and others, RSPCA inspector Carl Larsson said:
In September 2018 a magistrates warrant was executed and I walked onto a stable yard in Blackpool. I was horrified by the scale and level of suffering one individual could cause to so many horses.
I saw 31 horses in stables which had not had the doors opened in months. Dirty bedding was stacked half way up the doors. Once opened they wouldn’t close again because months worth of muck spilled out.
There were horses with such crippling lameness from overgrown hooves that their legs were shaking with pain. They were unable to step down off the pile of muck out of their stables. One collapsed as it reluctantly made the step off.
Of these horses 6 were immediately euthanised on veterinary advice to end their suffering. Since then a further 5 have been euthanised on welfare grounds. Despite reports to the contrary none of the horses were killed because the RSPCA didn’t know how to handle them. Every decision to euthanise was made on Veterinary advice using police powers.
Since that time the individual involved has offered no defence for her deplorable actions. She actually hasn’t turned up to court yet. Instead she has taken to the internet and launched a smear campaign against the RSPCA and more specifically myself.
I personally will never lose any sleep over what she or her friends may think of me however I will always defend my charity!
Unfortunately, until this point I have been unable to respond to posts on forums, Facebook or wherever else lies have been spread due to the matter being an active case.
However with today’s verdict I can now say that the conditions at this yard were the most horrendous I have ever seen in my time investigating animal cruelty. Furthermore the severe and obvious pain visible in many of these horses was sickening.
Today the overwhelming evidence was presented to a District Judge who had no hesitation in find the defendant guilty on all charges.
Sentencing: £4,000 in legal costs; six-month curfew. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
#TheList John Chris Joshua Bunting (DoB 24/03/1995) of Garstang Road North, Wesham, Preston PR4 – caught on camera beating his pet dog.
Bunting pleaded guilty to one offence of causing unnecessary suffering to the dog, known as Disco, under the Animal Welfare Act.
The RSPCA was called by police on 8 September 2018 after they had arrested Bunting, seized the dog, and taken him to a vet practice.
RSPCA inspector Alison Fletcher said: “I met Disco before I saw the footage, which is distressing to watch.
“He was brought into the room by a male vet and he was extremely frightened. He had no obvious injuries but it was impossible to touch him without causing him distress.
“When I attempted to pick him up to place him in the kennel at the rear of my van and take him to the animal centre he went into blind panic. I did eventually manage to coax him inside after around 20 minutes of sitting with him and calmly reassuring him.”
In the first of three video clips Bunting can be seen entering the rear garden of a property on Garstang Road North, Wesham and walk over a grassed area partially out of view. A dog can be heard to cry out. He then appears at the corner of the house holding Disco in his left hand, by the scruff of the neck. He strikes the dog with his right hand a number of times while carrying him into the house. Disco can be heard to cry out again a number of times.
A second clip shows shadowy figures behind the frosted glass of the rear house door. Noises consistent with a slap and a dog vocalising can be heard. The door opens, a man’s voice can be heard to shout “Get out” and Disco runs out into the garden followed by Bunting. The dog runs onto the grassy area and sits down with his back to the garden wall and facing the house. The dog remains in the garden and Bunting returns back into the house.
A third clip shows Bunting standing over Disco before picking him up by the neck. Bunting carries Disco over to a brick-built outhouse within which the dog is placed. Bunting picks up a long piece of polystyrene and repeatedly hits something inside the outhouse. It is not clear whether he is striking Disco, though this was admitted by Bunting in interview.
The court heard that Bunting handled Disco in the manner seen in the footage because Disco wouldn’t go to the toilet, and would sit on the grass and not want to come in, then when he came back into the house he would urinate and defecate there. He said that he was trying to move Disco from behind the door to mop the floor.
Veterinary opinion was that it was likely that Disco had been subjected to shouting or violence when urinating and defecating, which caused him to become anxious when performing these bodily functions. It continued that this had led to him associating the garden with a place in which he experienced anxiety. In a similar way, when Disco urinated or defecated in the house and he was punished, there would be an association with an unpleasant experience in the house.
“This poor dog was in turmoil, caused to suffer physically and mentally,” said Inspector Fletcher.
“It has taken a great deal of love, patience and training from the wonderful staff caring for him at RSPCA Southport, Ormskirk and District Branch Animal Centre, but I saw him today and he’s like a different dog.
“I’m very happy to say that he’ll be looking for a new home soon.”
Sentence: 18-month community order, 15 rehabilitation action requirement days, 300 hours of unpaid work, ordered to pay £500 costs and £85 victim surcharge. Disqualified from keeping animals for four years