#TheList Matthew David Benjamin, born 18 May 1982, of Yew Tree Bungalow, Earlswood, Chepstow NP16 6AN – kicked his pet dog repeatedly until he died in extreme pain and distress
The Staffordshire bull terrier, known as Diesel and estimated to be aged between one and two years old, was killed in the early hours of December 4, 2019 at the home builder Shepherd shared with housemate Phillip Moseley.
Prosecutor Paul Ricketts read the court a witness statement taken from Moseley in which he described how he had heard Benjamin walk into the property and call the dog “in a soft voice” three or four times.
The dog then ran out of the housemate’s bedroom.
“I heard Matthew and the dog go into the kitchen because I could hear two claws on the kitchen floor,” Moseley said.
“The kitchen door was closed and there was silence for a few minutes. Then suddenly I heard Matthew scream.”
He said he heard Benjamin shout “stop pissing on the f***ing floor” before the dog began to “scream and yelp”.
“I could hear every impact against the dog’s body,” he said.
Moseley said the noise was so distressing “I was sick in the bedroom because of the trauma”.
Mr Ricketts said Moseley went to the kitchen door but he was unable to push it open.
Moseley then said he heard Benjamin say: “This f***ing thing is going to die”.
“The attack felt like it lasted forever,” he said.
“I honestly believe Mathew kicked the dog more than one hundred times.”
Mr Ricketts said the police were called and Benjamin was arrested.
Moseley said: “It is so upsetting to think about the suffering the dog went through.
“It was a lovely dog and it was defenceless.”
Judge David Parsons heard how a vet recorded that Diesel suffered wounds to his head and shoulders and “lacerations to the face”.
The dog had died after sustaining blunt trauma to his abdomen and head.
Mr Ricketts said: “After the defendant was arrested, he told the police he had completely lost his head and that the red mist descended.”
Andrew Twomlow of Twomlows Solicitors, mitigating, said his client entered his guilty plea on the basis Diesel was kicked six or seven times, which was accepted by the court. In his probation report, the defendant said he was stressed at the time of the attack and was “gutted” adding that “the dog didn’t deserve to die”.
The court was told that the case had attracted considerable interest on social media.
Mr Twomlow told the judge: “The public outrage is understandable. The defendant has had his property and car damaged.
“He has been subject to a degree of vilification.”
The court heard Benjamin had only had Diesel for five weeks after being given the dog by a friend and didn’t know to train him. The defendant said his new pet had destroyed his house and his property but added that the dog could be “quite pleasant” and had taken it to work with him.
#TheList Lisa Maria Rayner, born 29/01/1982, of Pontnewydd Walk, Cwmbran NP44 -allowed her pet shih-tzu to become emaciated
Rayner pleaded guilty to one animal welfare offence in relation to a shih-tzu type dog named Buster, who was found to be in an emaciated condition.
RSPCA inspector Izzi Hignell said: “When I found this poor little guy he was in an emaciated condition. He looked thin but as he is really fluffy you can’t really tell how bad his condition was. But when I felt him he was skeletal to touch. He weighed just 4.85 kilos. There was just no excuse for leaving him in this poor condition.
“Since he has been fed appropriately and has been wormed he has put on weight and is now around double the size and is looking really healthy. He is such a lovely little dog and now following this outcome of this case, he will soon be made available for rehoming. He now weighs a healthy 8.950 kilos.
Buster is currently at RSPCA Newport Animal Centre and once he is ready for rehoming his details will be uploaded to Find A Pet.
Sentencing: ordered to pay £600. Deprivation order for Buster. Banned from keeping animals for just three years.
#TheList Ryan William Harrison, born 08/07/1994, of Green Lane, Caldicot, Monmouthshire NP26 4HH, Tomas Young, born c. 1993, of East Pentwyn, Blaina, Abertillery, Monmouthshire NP13, and Cyle Jones, born 09/11/1987, of Cwrt Tarrell, Newgate Street, Brecon, Powys LD3 8ED – for the barbaric persecution of wildlife, which included skinning alive a baby badger, and cruelty including violence to dogs
Ryan Harrison, Cyle Jones and Tomas Young were jailed for badger baiting and animal cruelty following a probe by a BBC Wales TV programme.
The court was told that an RSPCA inquiry was launched following an undercover investigation by BBC Wales Investigates. The programme entitled The Secret World of Badger Baiters was shown in May 2018 and is currently available to watch on YouTube.
Following the programme’s broadcast warrants were executed at the addresses of the three individuals identified, being Young, Harrison and Jones
A phone seized from Harrison contained numerous videos, text messages and images depicting hunting and animal cruelty offences. Video clips alone amounted to 447 with the majority of the material extreme in its nature.
The animal cruelty footage showed wildlife being killed and dogs with extensive injuries from being used to hunt animals. The voice of Harrison was heard and there were videos and pictures showing Young.
The RSPCA special operations unit also were able to view footage obtained by the BBC.
One particular horrific incident involved a baby badger which had been skinned alive by dogs.
The badger’s skin was split down the middle and pulled back from the body.
Shortly after the baby badger is seen to be still alive and is killed by Young hitting it with a shovel.
District Judge Neil Thomas described the trio’s offences as “medieval barbarity”.
Harrison and Young pleaded guilty to six joint offences in that they did wilfully kill, injure or take a badger on four different occasions.
They also admitted attempting to take or kill a deer in the Forest of Dean, and causing unnecessary suffering to a boar by letting it be attacked by dogs and by stabbing the animal with a knife.
Harrison also pleaded guilty to another nine offences.These were:
Attempting to take or kill a deer
Attempting to wilfully kill, injure or take a badger on two occasions
Causing unnecessary suffering to a terrier dog called Ted by failing to obtain professional veterinary care for injuries to the dog’s lip and chin
Causing unnecessary suffering to a terrier by failing to obtain professional veterinary care for injuries to the dog’s chin area
Causing unnecessary suffering to a boar by causing the said animal to be attacked by dogs and by stabbing the said animal with a knife
Causing unnecessary suffering to terrier called Brock by failing to obtain professional veterinary care for injuries to the dog’s neck area
Two other charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a boar, by causing the animal to be attacked by dogs
Jones admitted two charges of unnecessary cruelty to animals, relating to two dogs that were injured.
He was given a custodial sentence because he was not allowed to keep dogs, having been previously convicted of having a dog dangerously out of control.
In their defence, the men said they had grown up with countryside pursuits.
There was no mitigation, said the judge, as far as he could see.
“The absence of remorse was obvious,” he said.
Chief inspector Ian Briggs, from the RSPCA’s special operations unit, said: “The RSPCA’s special operations unit has to investigate some truly gruesome acts on animals. But the prolific nature of these horrific crimes are some of the worst I – and my inspectors – have ever had the displeasure of witnessing.
“This barbaric, deliberate and calculated torture has caused wildlife and dogs to suffer immeasurably, solely for the sadistic pleasure of a handful of depraved individuals.
“BBC Wales’ initial work on this case was very important, and firmly in the public interest – paving the way for the RSPCA to undertake this investigation and bring these perpetrators to justice.
“Sadly, people who enjoy inflicting such pain and suffering on wildlife continue to offend in Wales. The RSPCA will not rest in bringing people like these to justice.
“As well as BBC Wales, we’d also like to thank the police forces who assisted us on this case – Gwent Police, South Wales Police, Dyfed Powys and Gloucestershire Police.”
Sentencing: Ryan Harrison was jailed for 22 weeks, Thomas Young got 20 weeks and Cyle Jones was given 18 weeks. All three defendants were banned from keeping dogs for life.
#TheList Kathleen Davidson (DoB 06/10/1953) of 173 Newport Road, Caldicot, Monmouthshire, SE Wales – failed to appropriately care for 11 horses, and caused unnecessary suffering to two of the horses and a dog.
On Monday 02/07/2018 Davidson pleaded guilty to three offences of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
They were that she caused unnecessary suffering to a chestnut gelding called Zorro and a chestnut mare called Cassie by failing to address the cause of their poor body condition, weight loss and ailments, did not provide a suitable environment and diet including access to fresh drinking water to 11 horses and also caused unnecessary suffering to a black terrier type dog named Millie by failing to address her poor body condition.
When RSPCA inspector Emma Smith attended the location in Magor in December 2017 she found 11 horses in conditions that were not suitable. Between then and January RSPCA inspectors issued multiple warning notices. When they attended they always found a group of horses which were locked in a barn without food and water and others were loose outside and were close to a hazardous river.
Sadly, despite these warnings, and offers of help and guidance, the situation did not improve and at the end of January, RSPCA inspectors attended with a vet, who confirmed that it was not suitable for the horses to be there and the horses were removed.
Cassie was found to be very skinny with arthritis and Zorro was found to be thin and had an infected sheath – which is the area around his genitals.
A few days later a call came into the RSPCA reporting concerns of a dog at Davidson’s home and officers attended her address. They found Millie who was thin, had a skin condition, and a urine infection.
Inspector Smith said: “This was a classic example of someone who had taken on too much, and did not have the time or resources to care for their animals properly.
“It is frustrating as she was given lots of opportunities to turn things around and to make things right and we offered our assistance to help her reduce her animals. But she chose not to and we were left with no option than to remove the animals for their safety. It was a hazardous situation as it had been reported that horses had previously drowned in the river.
“Shockingly after removing the horses, a few days later we received a call to say she had a dog in a bad condition in her home. It is just a very sad situation, but there is no excuse for not caring for your animals properly.”
The 11 horses and Millie are in RSPCA care and are doing well. They will be placed into the rehoming system so they can find their forever homes.
Sentence: £832 fine plus £41 victim surcharge and £840 costs. Banned from keeping any animal for 10 years (expires July 2028).
=== July 2019 update: Davidson was back in court having breached her 10-year ban on keeping animals. Following a tip-off, the RSPCA found two lurcher-type dogs at Davidson’s home. Her ban was extended by a further 10 years and she was given a curfew and ordered to pay costs and charges of £325.