#TheList Kieran John Jerome Mitchell, born 27/05/1995, of Keswick Crescent, Plymouth PL6 – punched and slapped his pet dog 36 times causing him to suffer wounds to his head and ears
Convicted cannabis dealer Mitchell, formerly of Penrose Street, Stonehouse, Plymouth, was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to the bull terrier Hugo in November 2017. He was convicted in his absence back in July 2018 and a warrant issued for his arrest the following month.
Mitchell surrendered to custody in March 2020. He was released on bail but failed to turn up at the next hearing. Magistrates have now issued a further arrest warrant.
The RSPCA, which brought the case, said concerns were raised about the welfare of Hugo, after they were sent an anonymous audio recording of him being beaten and taunted by Mitchell.
RSPCA prosecutor Lindi Meyer told the court it was a “nasty sustained attack” with a total of 36 hits, punches or slaps heard on the recording.
As Mitchell attacked the dog he can be overheard goading him, asking him: “Are you crying now? Whimpering?”
The RSPCA seized Hugo from Mitchell and took him to a vet for examination. The vet found three lesions on his face, one of which was near an eye. The vet said that the beating would have been a traumatic experience for Hugo, causing him to feel “terror, fear, pain and anxiety”.
Mitchell admitted in his interview that he smacked Hugo and would rub his nose in it if he fouled on the floor.
The presiding magistrate told Mitchell: “You acted in anger against an innocent animal.”
Sentencing: 24 weeks in prison. £115 victim surcharge. Banned from owning animals for ten years.
#TheList serial domestic abuser Samuel Thomas Johnson, born 04/06/1985, of Ashwell Drive, Shirley, Solihull B90 3LR – kicked a dog repeatedly during a drunken and drug-fuelled attack on his girlfriend; traumatised dog put to sleep weeks later
Former soldier Johnson, who was previously cautioned for domestic violence against another woman, threw his girlfriend to the floor and strangled her before kicking Staffy Rosie as she desperately tried to protect her owner
The woman’s young son was upstairs while Johnson battered her and Rosie. The brave and loyal dog was left so traumatised by the vicious attack, she had to be put down by the vets just months later.
In passing sentence, the judge said Johnson had the power to inflict serious damage with his fists along with an issue with his temper.
He touched upon his ‘worrying’ history of two other actual bodily harm (ABH) offences, one inflicted upon a previous partner, and said future girlfriends needed ‘protecting’.
Despite this the judge concluded by wishing Johnson “all the best” as he passed a suspended sentence.
The court heard Johnson is now seeing a psychiatrist in relation to his time in the army, though his defence solicitor said the most recent assault could not entirely be attributed to his traumas.
Sentencing: four-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months. 30 days of rehabilitation activity and a structured intervention for domestic abuse course. 10-year restraining order. No ban on keeping animals was imposed.
#TheList Steven Sai Chong To, born 21/03/1992, and wife Charlotte Plimmer, born 15/11/1996, both of 13 Theatre Royal Apartments, 15 Shoplatch, Shrewsbury SY1 1HR – for cruelty offences relating to four kittens
Takeaway worker Steven To killed two kittens and inflicted months of abuse on two others while his wife, Charlotte To (née Plimmer) failed to react to the ongoing cruelty.
Between August 2018 and March 2019, the Tos inflicted abuse which RSPCA veterinarian Dr David Martin said was the worst he had seen in his 22 years of practice.
The court heard how eight-week-old kittens Jin and Sun, and two-month-old pets Moon and Mew, suffered seizures, broken bones, infections, hair and skin loss, multiple amputations and tail lacerations which left one “hanging on by a thread”.
Steven To pleaded guilty to three animal cruelty charges relating to harming the cats, and Charlotte To pleaded guilty to four charges of failing to provide a safe environment and veterinary care.
Prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, Sara Pratt, said: “The defendants lived together with their kittens in a flat in Shrewsbury.
“Over the period of August 2018 and March 2019, they acquired a total of four kittens, two of which were killed while in the care of the defendants, as a result of the actions of Steven To – Jin was almost 12 weeks old and Mew was just five months old at the time of their deaths.”
The court heard Jin and Sun were registered at Animal Trusts Vets and deemed healthy in August 2018, before Moon and Mew were registered at a different practice, Copthorne Veterinary Clinic, in November 2018.
Ms Pratt added: “On September 14, 2018, a phone call was made to Animal Trust Vets reporting that Jin had been playing, knocked over some recycling, started having a seizure and died.
“On September 21, Sun was anaesthetised and X-rays revealed a fresh fracture to her right tibia.”
The court heard in October 2018, Sun was taken to the vets with two “kinks” in her tail, before returning three days later with it “hanging off”.
The defendants bought Moon and Mew in November 2018, before Sun was taken to the vets again with hair and skin loss.
Mew then suffered an injury to her chin where the skin had become detached from her jaw bone and required surgery, the court heard.
Ms Pratt said: “Just seven days after surgery to her avulsed chin, Mew was returned to Copthorne Vets with an extreme fracture dislocation midway down the tail – all tendons had been ripped.”
Mew was found dead on the kitchen floor days after returning from the vets following a tail amputation.
The court heard that an RSPCA post mortem found evidence of blunt trauma to the right side of the cat’s thorax and neck, as well as evidence that the cat had lost blood externally through the nose.
The court then heard how in February 2019, Moon was taken to Abbey Veterinary Centre starved, and again with a leg fracture in March.
Following concerns raised by the veterinary practices and the RSPCA, later that month Moon and Sun were seized by police and a full investigation was launched.
A report by Dr Martin stated that it was “clear” all four cats sustained “serious injuries” and that two died from “traumatic incidents”.
He added: “It is exceptionally unusual to have such a significant incidence of serious trauma in four cats over such a short period of time, to the extent that in 22 years of veterinary practice, I have never seen or heard of such a high incidence of serious injury.”
District Judge Kevin Grego said there was “no doubt” a lifetime ban was necessary for Mr To, and that Mrs To should not have “covered her eyes” to the ongoing abuse.
He said: “The penny must have dropped after a short period of time. She [Mrs To] either should have got those animals out of the house or at the very least ensured it wasn’t going to happen again.”
Judge Grego added: “Animal cruelty is incisive of a mindset that’s corrosive and damaging – that’s what makes this so serious.
“There should be no doubt the animals that died and suffered did so as a result of deliberate cruelty from you, Steven.
“That cruelty and death could have been avoided if you, Charlotte, didn’t frankly cover your eyes and accept what your husband told you when you knew what you were being told was unsustainable
Sentencing: Steven To was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, with 200 hours of unpaid work, 25 days of rehabilitation, a lifetime ban on keeping animals and was ordered to pay £5,000 court costs, more than £3,500 in vets’ fees and a £122 surcharge.
Charlotte To was given a 12-month community order, with 25 days of rehabilitation, 40 hours of unpaid work, a seven-year ban on owning animals and was ordered to pay £390 costs.
#TheList Peter Dunn aka Peter James, born 06/03/2002, from Swansea – beat up a French bulldog puppy on at least two occasions causing her to suffer multiple broken bones
The trauma inflicted on the 10-month-old dog, who is now known as Betty, was so severe that she would not even look at her fosterer for three weeks after being temporarily rehomed by the RSPCA.
Dunn injured the puppy by “doing an act, namely the infliction of blunt force trauma and physical violence”.
He also “knew or ought reasonably to have known that that act would have the effect of causing unnecessary suffering or be likely to do so”.
The acts of violence occurred over two separate dates in 2019, on July 30 and September 24, and veterinary checks on the puppy revealed that her injuries were non-accidental.
Betty had suffered a swollen face, a fractured humerus, a fractured ulna and radius and a fractured femoral head.
The injuries were inflicted at a time when Dunn was the only person to have been alone with the dog.
Betty continues to recover from her ordeal and recently underwent an operation to remove wires from her leg. She has undergone several operations, and her care has cost the RSPCA around £8,000.
Her fosterer has described the little dog as a “bundle of joy” after at first being reticent in their company.
The fosterer said: “When she first came to me in October she had shut down and she wouldn’t look at me for three weeks. But now she is a beautiful bundle of joy. She is just amazing and she loves everybody and she is great with other dogs.”
The RSPCA are hoping that a ‘forever home’ will soon be found for Betty.
“I would very much like to thank the member of the public who alerted us to what was going on so we could promptly remove the puppy and give her the veterinary treatment she desperately needed,” said RSPCA Cymru inspector Gemma Cooper.
“I am so thankful she has recovered and is doing really well with one of our fantastic fosterers.”
Dunn pleaded guilty to two animal welfare offences and was given a nine-month referral order. He was told to pay costs and charges totalling £321. He was banned from keeping any animals for five years.
#TheList Michael ‘Mick’ Lingen, born 11/07/1967, of 29 Northfield Street, Worcester WR1 1NS – killed a Yorkshire terrier by hitting him on the head with an axe
Lingen admitted two charges – one of destroying the dog, who belonged to his former partner, and another of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal by striking him in the head with an axe.
Magistrates said the offence was so serious they had to impose a sentence of 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months.
Lingen must carry out 200 hours unpaid work within the next twelve months.
He must also pay £135 costs and a £122 victim surcharge.
Lingen was also disqualified for life from owning or keeping all animals or being involved in any arrangement in which he could control or influence their care – made under Section 34 Animal Welfare Act 2006.
#TheList Aaron James Williamson, born 12/08/1999, of 33B Westerdale Way, Grimsby DN37 9BY – subjected a kitten to regular beatings and bit off his ear
Aaron Williamson was banned from owning animals for life after a court heard about his sickening catalogue of abuse against the young cat, known as Litten.
The thug admitted he had lost count of how many times he had punched Litten, and said he did so whenever he was angry. He also bit the kitten’s ear multiple times, removing most of it.
Williamson admitted one offence of causing unnecessary suffering to a kitten. Sentencing William, the judge described his actions as “sickening”.
The RSPCA confirmed three kittens were rescued from Williamson’s home on September 11, 2019, following a tip-off.
RSPCA inspector Kate Burris said: “Williamson tortured this kitten. He admitted repeatedly biting Litten’s ear, which resulted in the loss of most of it, and that he had lost count of the times he had punched Litten. He said he did it when he was angry.
“District Judge Curtis said his daily abuse of small, defenceless animals who were unable to harm him and were at his mercy was sickening.
“He said that Williamson had called himself a monster in interview, and that was accurate as to how he behaved.
“We are extremely grateful to the witnesses who contacted us, and got these kittens out of this situation despite the position that put them in. It was very brave.
“I was surprised how friendly Litten was when I first met him given the abuse he had suffered, he was so affectionate and loving and was rubbing his face against mine during his veterinary examination.
“I just knew he was going to make a perfect addition to any family.
“I am so happy that he has found a fantastic new home, with people who love him and are caring for him in the way he always should have been cared for. It could have been a very different outcome for him if we hadn’t been able to intervene when we did.”
Williamson’s two other kittens found a new home together in Derbyshire.
Sentencing: 12 weeks in jail. Ordered to pay £250 costs and a £120 victim surcharge. Lifetime ban on keeping animals.
#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.