#TheList Jacob Peter Marshall, born 14/02/1996, of 27 Harrowins Farm Drive, Queensbury, Bradford BD13 1DQ – killed his pet dog Lucy by stabbing her seven times and shooting her three times in the head with an airgun
Marshall, who is originally from Burnley Road, Sowerby Bridge, Calderdale, West Yorks, videoed some of his attack on German Shepherd cross Lucy (pictured) and sent the footage to his ex-partner.
RSPCA investigators found the knife Marshall used on Lucy covered in blood in a locked safe in his house.
A neighbour of Marshall’s commented on the CLUK FB page that she had witnessed him beating Lucy on a regular basis and had reported him to the authorities.
It has also been alleged that Marshall – apparently a drug and alcohol abuser – had killed a dog previously by deliberately running her over in his car.
Sentencing: Jailed for 26 weeks. Fine to be paid. Five-year restraining order. Banned from keeping an animal for life.
#TheList Roma gypsies from Hungary Norbert Farkas, born 25/09/1989, and Leila Katalin Horvath, born c. 18/02/1991, previously of Parkside Road, Birkenhead CH42 – struck a mother dog with a metal bar, fed her sausages laced with anti-freeze, left her to suffer for three days in agony and finally stabbed her to death.
Wirral Magistrates’ Court heard how on April 5, 2019 RSPCA inspector Anthony Joynes was contacted by environmental health officers to attend an alleyway off Parkside Road in Birkenhead.
Chris Murphy, prosecuting, told the court how Inspector Joynes found a dead American bulldog wrapped in bin bags and a paddling pool.
Mr Murphy said that the dog’s body was covered with live maggots.
The court heard how Inspector Joynes then went to question Norbert Farkas about the dead dog as his home overlooked the alleyway.
Farkas initially said that that the dog was not his, but then admitted ownership.
He said that the dog, an American bulldog named Luna, who had recently given birth to 12 puppies, had attacked him. He said he hit the dog with a metal bar in self-defence and to protect his partner Leila Horvath.
When Inspector Joynes later questioned Horvath, she admitted that she fed the dog anti-freeze and then stabbed her.
Farkas pleaded guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
Horvath pleaded guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, one count of poisoning and failing to see that the dog received proper medical attention.
Mr Murphy later provided graphic details of the events that led up to the dog’s death.
He explained how Farkas struck the dog with a weights bar.
After going online to research how to kill a dog, Horvath fed the animal chicken land sausages aced with anti-freeze.
The court heard that Horvath thought the dog would die quickly but the animal lay in the alleyway lingering to life.
On the third day Horvath took a large knife and later stabbed the animal in the throat.
Mr Murphy made it clear that the couple would have been able to see the dog as it lay whimpering in the alleyway over a three day period.
District Judge Nicholas Sanders told the court that the case was one of “unimaginable cruelty”.
Horvath told probation officers that Luna’s behavior began to deteriorate after she gave birth to puppies.
She said that she bought anti-freeze from a nearby garage and laced it on sausages, which were fed to the dog.
Horvath said that she thought the dog would die quickly but she did not.
She said that the dog was making “strange noises” and she was concerned that neighbours might call the police. She then decided to grab a large kitchen knife and stab the dog to death.
She told probation officers that they had been reviled by the local community after the incident and had to move to a new address.
Farkas said he had been advised by health professionals to buy a large dog to help treat his mental health problems and stress.
Farkas also claimed that Luna became aggressive toward them after she gave birth to puppies. He claimed that this aggressive behaviour led up to the attack on him.
He claimed to have suffered a panic attack after the dog attacked him and said that was why his partner decided to kill her.
Thomas Hanlon, defending, said that Horvath took full responsibility for her actions.
He said that the couple arrived in the UK from Hungary in 2010 and had both worked full time since arriving, contributing to society.
Mr Hanlon said that the couple had been targeted after their animals were seized by the RSPCA, and that a petrol bomb was thrown at their home.
He said the couple were forced to leave their home in the night after the attack.
Mr Murphy said that a vets report found that if the dog had attacked Farkas in the way he claimed he would have suffered serious injuries which he did not have.
District Judge Sanders told the couple: “You struck the dog with a metal bar, and then you poisoned it with anti-freeze before stabbing it.
“It is hard to imagine a more cruel way of dealing with an animal.”
Speaking after the case, RSPCA inspector Joynes told the ECHO: “Farkas said that Luna had ‘gone for’ his foot and that although there was no injury, it hurt and he felt fear for his and his partner’s life. He described using a metal weightlifting bar to forcefully strike Luna two to three times on the head.
“Farkas stated that Luna had been alive in the garden for around an hour. Horvarth admitted that she had then gone outside and given Luna antifreeze in sausages.”
“Horvath said she had researched the cost of getting a dog euthanised and had also researched poisoning dogs and what chemical to use. Over the next few days, Luna was in the garden slowly dying from poisoning until she was stabbed to death three days later.
“It is absolutely horrific to think what Luna went through. Luna was caused suffering on multiple levels over several days, which was unnecessary and cruel.
“Horvath and Farkas knew Luna could have been put to sleep humanely by a vet but evidence shows that she was killed in her own way over a period of several days, leaving her to suffer greatly.”
A male American bulldog and 12 puppies were seized from Horvath’s and Farkas’ address by police while an investigation was carried out.
Vet examinations of the puppies showed that they were suffering from respiratory illnesses.
All 12 puppies have now been rehomed. The male dog is now in RSPCA care and will be re-homed.
Sentencing: jailed for 10 weeks. Banned from keeping animals for life with minimum of 10 years.
#TheList Carl Kawka, born c. 1962, of 19 Channing Court, Rochdale OL16 4QG – for shocking neglect of ten ponies, only two of whom survived
Kawka pleaded guilty to two animal welfare offences.
The court heard how the RSPCA investigated Kawka over concerns about ten horses he had in his care in stables off Duchess Street in Oldham.
Inspector Danni Jennings and officers from World Horse Welfare found eight horses had severely overgrown and deformed hooves which had left them crippled.
Five of the horses were in such a suffering state that an independent vet decided the kindest thing was to put them to sleep.
Three more horses were sent for emergency veterinary treatment, but they were in such poor condition the independent equine vet also decided these needed to be put to sleep to end their suffering.
All the horses were found in a stable block which was piled high with faeces.
The conditions were so bad two horses had to be dug out of the stable as the filth had piled up so high rescuers were unable to open the stable door.
The court heard the horses had not had a farrier to trim their hooves for at least 12 months, when this should take place about every six weeks. This had caused the hooves to grow out of control leaving the horses crippled and struggling to walk.
Inspector Jennnings said: “Because of the filth in the stables it was difficult to see how bad the hooves were but then it soon became apparent when we led them outside.
“This is the worst case of horse neglect I have seen in my 11-year career as an RSPCA inspector.
“The horses were clearly suffering and were crippled, they were struggling to walk, and it was obvious they had not seen the light of day for a long period of time.
“The way they were neglected was horrific – it was a really sad and depressing day for all involved.”
Following lengthy treatment, two of the horses are on the road to recovery; one, called Ronnie, has now been rehomed, and another, Celine, is recovering well and will be due for re-homing soon.
Sentencing: 18-week custodial sentence suspended for 12 months; five-month curfew; total of £515 costs and charges. Banned from keeping all animals for life.
#TheList puppy farmer Frank James, born 05/04/1967, of 105 Coronation Way, Montrose, Angus DD10 9DW, and accomplice Michelle Wood, born c. 1989, of Berrymuir Road, Macduff AB44
Frank James and Michelle Wood caused dogs, ferrets and rabbits suffering at East Mains of Ardlogie Farm near Fyvie, Aberdeenshire AB53 8PH.
The Scottish SPCA and police raided the farm in November 2017, removing 105 animals including 87 dogs, the youngest being a few days old.
The animals were taken to Scottish SPCA animal rescue and rehoming centres for treatment and rehabilitation.
An undercover investigator for the Scottish SPCA described the conditions as “absolutely disgraceful”.
The investigator said: “We believe this was the largest scale puppy farming operation in Scotland.
“The conditions these dogs were being kept in were absolutely disgraceful. It fell far below the minimum standard in terms of animal welfare and, given the environment and sheer volume of puppies, it was immediately evident these were not being kept as pets and the premises was effectively a battery farm for pups.
“Our investigation revealed dogs on site were being intensively bred with little to no regard for their welfare.
“On site, we found a burnt out van which had dog carcasses within, suggesting this was a means of disposing dead pups.”
Frank James and his brother were banned from keeping more than two dogs for three years.
Sean James, who was 18 at the time, was ordered to carry out 50 hours of community service and banned from keeping more than two dogs for three years
In September 2016 a planning application in the name of Frank James’ daughter Elizabeth James (now Elizabeth Sutherland of Hillhead Caravan Park, Kintore, Inverurie AB51 0YX) with Sean James as the named agent was submitted to Aberdeen Council for the East Mains of Ardlogie farm to be used as breeding kennels. Following a huge wave of public objections the application was rejected at the eleventh hour.
Undeterred, the James family continued to operate their puppy farm illegally and Frank James flouted his ban on selling puppies.
Sentencing: James was jailed for nine months and banned from owning animals for life. Wood was given 300 hours of unpaid work and placed under supervision for two years. She was banned from keeping animals for ten years.
#TheList Sean McKay, born c. 2000, of Stranraer – stabbed girlfriend’s American Bulldog
Vicious thug Sean McKay was on bail when he attacked the dog, named Hooch, with a knife. Hooch is believed to have survived the incident though details are sketchy.
McKay lashed out after falling out with girlfriend Melissa Johnstone and two women on February 5, 2019, in Girvan, South Ayrshire.
Although he had denied the charge, he was convicted of causing a protected animal unnecessary suffering by repeatedly striking him on the body with a knife.
Troubled McKay appeared in the dock handcuffed to a prison officer, with a bandaged right hand.
It is understood he has mental health issues which cause him to harm himself.
Sentencing:12 months in custody for the animal cruelty offence with a further three months added for committing it while on bail. He was given seven months for using threatening behaviour to three women. All sentences are to run consecutively.Lifetime ban on keeping an animal.
#TheList Carla Marie Freer, aka Carla Jackson, born c. 1978, of High Street, Loftus TS13 – neglected her Shih Tzu to the point where the dog’s feet had dissolved under her matted fur and Freer didn’t even notice
The RSPCA was called in March 2019 after the dog, known as Lola, was taken to a vet practice by a concerned member of the public.
RSPCA Inspector Clare Wilson said: “Lola was in a shocking condition, her fur was extremely matted and covered in urine and faeces and she was struggling to walk.
“Unfortunately when vets put her under anaesthetic to clip her fur what they found was worse than anyone could have imagined.
“Her hind feet had literally dissolved under the matting, and her back legs were just stumps with exposed bone.
“The vet decided that the only humane thing to do was to put her to sleep to prevent further suffering which took place with her owner’s consent.”
Lola’s owner, mother-of-three Carla Marie Freer pleaded guilty to one offence under the Animal Welfare Act.
Veterinary evidence produced in court said that it was highly likely that the matting – which in extreme cases can restrict blood supply – had caused Lola’s feet to be destroyed.
The expert vet said that in 30 years’ experience, and dealing with many cases of matting including where limbs had been lost, it was “without doubt…the worst case of a matted animal I have seen”.
In mitigation the court was told that Freer’s personal circumstances had dramatically changed resulting in her not having so much time for Lola. It wasn’t deliberate cruelty, and she didn’t know the extent of the injuries or she would have acted.
Sentencing: four-month prison sentence suspended for two years; two-year community order comprising 150 hours of unpaid work, 10 days of rehabilitation requirement days, and an eight-week curfew. Freer was ordered to pay a total of £515 costs and charges. She was disqualified from keeping all animals for life.
#TheList Melvyn Hall, born 02/04/1948, of Ashfield Mews, Wallsend NE28 7RG – hit German Shepherd rescue dog over the head with a hammer and strangled her with a piece of washing line, before dumping her body in the River Tyne
Melvyn Hall struck six-year-old German Shepherd Molly on the head before strangling her with a piece of washing line.
He then dumped her into the River Tyne. She was found washed up on December 6 2018 and the RSPCA were alerted.
RSPCA inspector Rowena Proctor said: “When the rescue called Hall he told them that Molly had died of a ruptured aneurysm and had been seen by a local vet but he couldn’t remember the name, which he re-iterated when I visited him the next day.
“However, in the interview that followed he said he had gone to the shop and come home to find her dead before going on to admit hitting Holly on the head with a hammer, strangling her with the washing line that was around her neck when her body was found and dumping her in the River Tyne.
“He said he did it because she was following him around and getting on his nerves and he lashed out.
“He showed me where he had done it, in his garden shed, and gave me the hammer he had used.”
Hall admitted two offences of causing unnecessary suffering to Molly under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
Inspector Proctor said: “A post-mortem found that Molly had several fractures to skull and evidence of haemorrhaging however it was unlikely these injuries would have caused immediate death.
“The vet said that the attack on Molly from the person who cared for her would have caused immediate distress, which would have quickly passed into suffering when she received the blow from the hammer.
“The pain of a fracturing skull would be intense but the period of suffering wasn’t possible to establish from the post-mortem due to the decomposition of her body.
“They went on to say that the presence of the washing line and injuries to her neck, which were consistent with having been strangled, indicate that the owner was uncertain of the state of consciousness of Molly after she had been hit with the hammer.”
Sentencing: 18 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months; £1,000 costs. Lifetime disqualification on all animals.
#TheList Norfolk puppy farmers Jacob Murphy, born 14/06/1992, his partner Zoe Rushmer, born 10/02/1993, both of Poppys Place, The Street, Norton Subcourse, Norwich NR14 6RR, and Zoe’s brother Michael Rushmer, born 09/10/1991 of Home Farm, Low Road, Norwich NR14 6PZ. Also Jean Boyes, born c. 1951, of Church Farm Barns, The Street, Norwich NR14 7DW
Greedy and callous puppy farmers Jacob Murphy, Michael Rushmer and Zoe Rushmer kept 74 dogs and puppies, many of whom were sick or dying, in cages, dark sheds and a caravan in temperatures up to 30C.
The gang made £300,000 from selling dogs they claimed had been bred in a family environment.
But some of the “sickly and diseased” puppies died within days or cost their owners thousands of pounds in vet bills.
The trio admitted conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.
Judge Andrew Shaw described it “as callous and mean-spirited a fraud as I have come across for some time”.
The RSPCA, which brought the case, said the animals were kept in “disgusting conditions” at Home Farm, Low Road, Thurlton. The charity removed 74 dogs, some of which were pregnant and had 20 puppies.
Some of the animals suffered from the potentially fatal parvovirus but were advertised as being healthy, socialised and treated for worms and fleas.
Dogs had an average price of £675 and the defendants made £300,000 from the fraud, though they claimed it was nearer £150,000, prosecutor Hazel Stevens said.
She described how when one of the premises was raided in 2017, dogs were found in cages, some in “pitch-dark sheds with no access to light” and others “in a caravan at temperatures of up to 30C”.
Mitigating, Andrew Oliver said Michael Rushmer was a cocaine user and “foolishly” bought dogs from travellers, which introduced parvovirus to the farm.
At sentencing, Judge Shaw described Murphy, who admitted three animal welfare offences, as the “ringleader”, while Michael Rushmer was “[Murphy’s] deputy if not his equal”.
The latter also admitted 10 animal welfare offences, offending while on bail, and operating a pet shop and breeding establishment without a licence.
Zoe Rushmer would meet buyers with her four children, now aged between four and 10, and was the “legitimate face” of the criminal enterprise run by her brother and her partner.
Rushmer was said to be remorseful and admitted four animal welfare offences.
Judge Shaw told her: “It’s only your children that have spared you from going to prison.”
Jean Boyes admitted the same fraud charge but only once took a litter of seven puppies to be inoculated and received a two-year conditional discharge.
Conspiracy charges against David Green, born 09/11/69 of Homebred Lane, Loddon, Norwich NR14 6UY , and Carole Rushmer, born c. 1960, and also of Home Farm Low Road, Thurlton, were dropped in February 2019.
Judge Shaw said the fraud, which began as early as 2015, “strikes at the very heart of this nation’s love for its pets, dogs in particular”.
“To sell sickly and diseased dogs, so poorly that many do not survive, is about as callous and mean-spirited a fraud as I have come across for some time,” he said.
After sentencing, RSPCA Inspector Amy Pellegrini described the farm as a “puppy factory”.
“Families thought they were buying puppies who had been bred and reared in loving family homes but in reality they had been bred in disgusting conditions with little regard for their health or welfare but simply how much money they would bring in.”
Sentencing: Jacob Murphy and Michael Rushmer were each jailed for 42 months, while Zoe Rushmer was given a two-year suspended sentence and 250 hours of unpaid work. They were all banned from keeping animals for life. Jean Boyes was given a two-year conditional discharge.
=== On Friday 28 June 2019 “remorseful” Zoe Rushmer was hauled back before the court after Judge Andrew Shaw became aware of disrespectful social media posts she had made about the case. In one post she was pictured wearing the balaclava she wore outside court while boasting that she would “wing it”. Another showed her gloating about her “freedom” after being given a suspended prison sentence
The judge expressed concern about the balaclava photo, saying it “indicates someone who’s hoping to get away with it”.
Sadly he decided not to increase her sentence, telling her: “”I’m not going to further your sentence but you need to understand that I came very close to doing so.”