Tag Archives: multiple abusers

Aston, Birmingham: Robert Iordan, Florin Nutu and Viorel Manu

#TheList Robert Iordan, born 28/05/1996, Florin Nutu, born 11/01/1984, and Viorel Manu, born c. 1980, all of 41 Dunsink Road, Birmingham B6 6PL – killed and butchered around 350 sheep in Northamptonshire over four months.

Police mugshots of Robert Iordan and Florin Nutu

Between June 22 and October 7, 2019, the three Romanian nationals travelled across rural areas in the county, killing and butchering sheep in order to steal the meat and profit from it.

The trio’s attacks on sheep and lambs, which all took place in the dead of night, had the county’s livestock farming community gripped in fear.

But they were hunted down by Northamptonshire Police’s rural crime team, acting on key information from NFU members and farmers, and arrested.

All three eventually pleaded guilty and were sentenced at Northampton crown court.

In a hearing in October 2019, the court heard the gruesome details of how the alleged operation was carried out.

The prosecution lawyer said: “The conspiracy involved the slaughter of about 350 sheep, all that have been slaughtered inhumanely.

“Vehicles and weapons have been taken to the location on local farmers’ fields, the sheep are captured and a knife is taken to their throats and they suffer a slow and painful death.

“A pipe is then inserted into the throat of the sheep which are blown up, they are skinned and their remains are left at the scene.”

NFU county adviser for Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland, Harriet Ranson, who was involved in the case from the beginning and liaised with police throughout, said she was delighted with the outcome.

“These crimes were horrific, barbaric and unprecedented and had the whole livestock farming community in Northamptonshire and neighbouring counties living in fear that they would be next for months,” she said.

“It is fantastic to see the courts treating these appalling crimes with the seriousness they deserve and handing down suitably lengthy prison terms to these dangerous men.

“This case really highlights how important local information from farmers, the NFU and the public is in helping to bring offenders before the courts.

“We’d like to thank Northamptonshire Police, their rural crime team and the police and crime commissioner for their relentless pursuit of these criminals and we hope this case sends out a clear message to anyone planning to do something similar – you will get caught and you will get punished.”

Sentencing: Iordan and Nutu were both handed jail terms of four years and four months and Manu was ordered to serve two years and 11 months inside.

Warwickshire Rural Crime Team (Facebook post)

Whitby, North Yorkshire: Lesley and Alexander Cameron

#TheList Lesley Cameron (aka Lesley Grimshaw), born 01/04/1960 of 30 Dundas Gardens, Whitby YO21 1HD and Alexander Cameron, born 08/10/88 of 2 Greens Yard, Church Street, Whitby YO22 4AY – left their pet dog suffering in pain with a foul-smelling infection

Dog abuser Alexander Cameron from Whitby
Alexander Cameron and his mother Lesley Cameron are banned from keeping animals until 2030 after being convicted of cruelty to their pet Akita

Lesley Cameron and her son Alexander Cameron pleaded guilty to offences related to causing unnecessary suffering to their pet dog, Tigerlilly The Akita was suffering from a painful uterus infection but her owners failed to take her to the vet for treatment.

The court heard that an RSPCA inspector visited the pair’s home on November 28, 2019, after concerns were raised that the dog had missed her last three vet appointments.

Upon arrival, the RSPCA, along with North Yorkshire Police, found Tigerlily in a sorry state and suffering from pyometra.

Abused Akita Tigerlilly
A deprivation order was placed on neglected Akita Tigerlilly who will now be rehomed

RSPCA inspector Claire Little said: “I’ve met Tigerlily many times over many years and she’s a very friendly dog who has always come to the door to meet me.

“Upon entering the room where Tigerlily was lying on the floor, there was a noticeable and unpleasant smell, and she didn’t get up which worried me.

“I encouraged her to stand up so I could check her over, which she did, and she had lost weight from my last visit.

“Immediately I could see that the fur around her back end was wet and dirty.

“As she stood up I could smell the unpleasant smell more strongly and upon closer examination, I saw a greeny milky coloured discharge from her body

“The fur around there was soaked and appeared sticky when touched and her fur was matted.”

Dog abuser Alex Cameron with victim Tigerlilly

She added: “Ms Cameron allowed me to take Tigerlily to the vets for examination and she was taken into possession by police on vet advice and placed in RSPCA care pending the outcome of my investigation.

“Tigerlily is doing really well with a foster family at the moment I am really happy that we’ll now be able to find a permanent home for her, where her needs will always be met.”

Dog abuser Alexander Cameron from Whitby

In addition to the disqualification, a deprivation order was placed on Tigerlily whose care will now pass to the RSPCA.

Sentencing:
Alexander Cameron – 12-month community order with 10 rehabilitation activity requirement days; 140 hours of unpaid work; total of £290 in costs and charges.

Lesley Cameron 12-month community order with 10 rehabilitation activity requirement days; £290 in costs and charges.

Both were banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

TeessideLive

Shrewsbury, Shropshire: Steven To and Charlotte Plimmer

#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

Cat killers Steven To and wife Charlotte Plimmer
Cat killers Steven To and wife Charlotte Plimmer. Sadist To is banned from keeping animals for life while Plimmer received a seven-year ban

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.”

Cat killers Steven To and wife Charlotte Plimmer.

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.”

2011 photo of Charlotte Plimmer
2011 photo of Charlotte Plimmer

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.

Shropshire Star

Tiverton, Devon: Ian and Ann Ware

#TheList Ian Ware, born 13/05/1946 , and Ann Ware, born c. 1960, both of Holly Road, Tiverton EX16 6HZ – failed to take their badly injured cat to the vet

Ann Ware from Tiverton, Devon
Ann Ware and husband Ian are banned from keeping animals until March 2023

The RSPCA visited the home of Ian and Ann Ware in September 2019 after receiving a call from a concerned member of the public.

The grey and white cat, known as Snowball, was rushed to a vet by RSPCA Inspector Charlotte Coggins where he had to be put to sleep because of the severity of his condition.

Inspector Coggins said: “The pinna was damaged, leaving the cartilage of the ear canal exposed.

“Around the ear canal there was a deep deficit in the skin and underlying muscle to the extent that the bone of the skull could be seen rostral to the ear canal.

“The diagnosis from the vet was of a chronic severe deep infection of the ear canal and surrounding tissues. The exact cause could not be ascertained on clinical examination but it may have resulted from a bite to the area from another cat or rodent.

“As a result of this infection, the vet found Snowball to be suffering severe pain and that the infection had been present for some time based on the severity and extent of tissue destruction including damage to the cartilage of the ear canal.”

The defendants admitted causing unnecessary suffering to Snowball by failing to provide prompt or effective professional veterinary care and attention for the severe and chronic infected wound of the left ear canal and surrounding tissue.

Sentencing: four-week curfew order; £110 each in court costs. Banned from keeping animals for three years.

DevonLive

Malton, North Yorkshire/Hunslet, Leeds: Michael Price and Shannon Hanrahan

#TheList Michael Patrick Price, born 07/05/1991, of 24 Lime Tree Avenue, Malton YO17 7BZ, and partner Shannon Hanrahan (aka Shannon Price) born 04/06/1993, of Kidacre Park travellers site, Kidacre Street, Leeds LS10 1BD – abandoned several animals at Appleby Horse Fair

Animals abandoned and mistreated by gypsies Michael Price and Shannon Hanrahan
Gypsies Michael Price and Shannon Hanrahan mistreated animals and birds in their care

RSPCA inspectors were alerted after a passer-by saw that a pony had been left tethered beside the A685 just outside of Kirkby Stephen while two dogs were running loose near to two empty kennels.

None of the animals were being supervised or looked after, and the pony had no access to drinking water. Another dog – found in a cage without bedding – had no clean drinking water.

RSPCA inspector Claire Little said: “On Friday 31st May, whilst on duty in Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, my colleague and I received a request from the police to help with some animals.

“As we arrived at the location I saw a brindle lurcher-type dog and what appeared to be a collie-type dog amongst the traffic and the police were trying to catch them.

“We pulled over and I managed to secure the dogs and get them into our van for safekeeping whilst we approached the police officers.

“It was explained to us that the owners of the dogs were believed to be the occupants of a caravan on the side of the road and that they were in Bradford.

“The dogs were wearing collars but there was no tethering equipment of any kind and a small caged area measuring approximately 2 ft x 2 ft x 2 ft with no lid was the only possible living area I could see for them. There was no shelter available for the cage.

“The police were concerned regarding some birds in cages they had seen inside a van next to the caravan so my colleague went to look at those – they turned out to be wild goldfinches.

“I then saw a small cream Lhasa Apso-type dog that appeared young, inside a metal cage at the side of the road. The cage had a lid that was secured but there was no shelter and the dog was laying on wet grass with no access to water. As the weather was wet I was concerned about the dog as they appeared to be shivering.

“A grey shetland pony tethered with a length of blue nylon rope tied around their neck was nearby. The rope was so tight that I couldn’t get my finger between the rope and the neck and I was concerned that this may start to injure the pony if they remained in this situation. The rope was tied to a nearby branch of a hedge that was quite flimsy. The pony’s hooves appeared overgrown.

“The police took the three dogs and pony into possession and placed them in RSPCA care.”

Michael Patrick Price admitted not ensuring the needs of the pony were met, and the same charge for a lurcher dog and a collie cross.

He also admitted having two goldfinches.

His co-accused Shannon Hanrahan admitted failing to ensure the proper care of the caged dog, and illegally having the two goldfinches.

A deprivation order was placed on the pony and two dogs who will now pass into RSPCA care and be rehomed. The birds were released back into the wild.

Sentencing:
Price was given 60 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs and charges totalling £690. He was banned from owning or keeping any animal for four years.

Hanrahan was given a 14-day curfew at an address in Byker, Newcastle. She must pay also £250 costs and a £32 victim surcharge.

News and Star
RSPCA News

New Barn, Longfield, Kent: John and William Cook

#TheList John Benjamin Cook, born 13/11/1993, and his brother William Cook, born 11/07/1989, both of Little Acres, Longfield Avenue, New Barn, Longfield, Dartford DA3 7LA – ran a puppy farm and a cock-fighting ring

William 'Billy' Cook (left) and brother John Cook
Dogs and puppies were kept in deplorable conditions at a puppy farm operated by William Cook (left) and his brother John. The pair also hosted cruel cock-fights for other gypsies.

Gypsy travellers John and William Cook were convicted of a number of animal welfare offences.

In July 2018 RSPCA officers executed a warrant at the sprawling property in New Barn the brothers share with their extended family, including wives, children and parents, after a member of the public who had bought puppies from them raised concerns.

Deplorable conditions at the puppy farm operated by  gypsy brothers William and John Cook from New Barn, Longfield, Kent
Deplorable conditions at the puppy farm operated by gypsy brothers William and John Cook from New Barn, Longfield, Kent

In total, 18 dogs, including spaniels and beagles were removed along with two cockerels.

Officers also seized a number of mobile phones from the site and a suspecting cock-fighting pit was uncovered. Analysis of the mobiles showed the brothers were involved with fighting and later forensics tests found the blood of at least four cockerels on the pit.

Deplorable conditions at the puppy farm operated by  gypsy brothers William and John Cook from New Barn, Longfield, Kent

During the four-day trial the court heard how John Cook was accused of causing suffering to a number of dogs, failing to provide them with vet care for stomach and teeth problems and keeping them in unsuitable conditions.

Animal abuser William Cook from Longfield, Kent
William Cook, who is now banned from keeping all animals for three years. His equally twisted brother is only banned from keeping dogs.

William Cook was accused of a number of offences relating to cockerel fighting.

John Cook pleaded guilty to the offences, while William Cook was convicted of the offences under the Animal Welfare Act.

Animal abuser William Cook from Longfield, Kent

RSPCA inspector Carroll Lamport, from the charity’s special operations unit, said: “Many of the dogs being kept at the site had health and welfare problems, including untreated gastrointestinal and dental issues.

William Cook is a leading member of a cock-fighting ring. Here, he is pictured with brother-in-law, Owen Lee
William Cook is a leading member of a cock-fighting ring. Here, he is pictured with brother-in-law, Owen Lee

“We also had serious concerns over the conditions they were being kept in. The dogs and puppies were being kept in dirty, wet conditions with no bedding.”

Sentencing:
William Cook – 120-day prison term – suspended for two years. Ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work. Disqualified from keeping any animals for three years.

John Cook – 90 days in prison – also suspended for two years; 160 hours of unpaid work. He was disqualified from keeping dogs for three years.

Both men were ordered to pay £1,000 in costs plus a £115 victim surcharge.

Kent Online

Leeds, West Yorkshire: Victoria Brooksbank and Richard Marnick

#TheList Victoria Catherine Brooksbank, born c. 1977, of 42 Severn Drive, Garforth Leeds LS25 2BB and Richard Marnick, born 19/06/1995, of The Marsh, 70 Uppermoor, Pudsey LS28 7EX – allowed a horse to “deteriorate” and suffer

Horse abusers Richard Marnick and Victoria Catherine Brooksbank from Leeds

The court heard that Marnick had been loaned a thoroughbred gelding called Archie and he paid Brooksbank, who is an experienced trainer trading under the name VB Equestrian, £80 a week to look after him at her stables in Garforth.

Archie appeared to be healthy when he arrived at the stables and Marnick paid for the full livery package, that included hay and hard feed, but after 18 months the horse was found to have deteriorated and had lost a lot of weight.

In July 2019, Archie’s original owner saw a photograph of him on social media and arranged for him to be examined by a vet.

Archie was very thin and given a body condition score of one out of five, meaning he was emaciated. The RSPCA then decided to prosecute Marnick and Brooksbank.

The court heard there had been “inadequate nutrition” and the suffering may have gone on “for weeks, possibly months”.

Archie was very thin and was given a body condition score of one out of five, meaning it was poor.

Marnick, who pleaded guilty to the offence at an earlier hearing, told the court he usually checked in on Archie once a week, but was preoccupied as he was working six days a week as a courier.

He said: “I pleaded guilty because I should have done something about it sooner. I should have removed Archie (from Brooksbank) a lot sooner than I did.”

He also said he had been speaking to a nutritionist and trying to figure how to help Archie, but the horse was taken away before he had the opportunity to help.

Horse abuser Richard Marnick from Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK

A probation worker, who interviewed Brooksbank, said: “She believed the horse belonged to Mr Marnick and continuously contacted him, saying he needed more exercise, hard feed and for a nutritionist to look at the horse.”

The probation worker also said that Brooksbank “wishes she had been more forceful” with Marnick and convinced him to contact a nutritionist sooner.

Horse abuser Victoria Catherine Brooksbank from Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK

The court that Brooksbank, who denied the offence but was convicted at an earlier hearing, has taken good care of the other horses in her stable for years and this case was “an anomaly”.
‘There was no desire to neglect the horse’

Presiding justice Richard Powell said: “This was unintentional.
“There was no desire to neglect the horse but I think I need to make a point now – there is only one victim in this whole affair and that’s the horse called Archie, who has been neglected.”

Addressing Marnick, he said: “You were the owner of the horse and you had taken your eye off the ball.

“You were busy with your job and you did not give enough attention to the horse.”

Mr Powell said Brooksbank had “no intention to harm the horse” but was an experienced professional who should have taken better care of the animal.

He added: “We find you more culpable, because you had day to day concern with the horse and watched it deteriorate.”

Marnick was fined a total of £532 and £300 of that money will be sent to the RSPCA.

Brooksbank was fined a total of £982 of which £750 will be sent to the RSPCA.

Neither was disqualified from owning animals.

LeedsLive

West Wales: Sean Burns, Kenneth Evans and John Clayton

#TheList Sean Ronald Burns, born 15/08/1970, of Rosehill Lodge, Ferry Lane, Pembroke SA71 4RG, Kenneth Darren Evans, born 09/10/1975, of 28 Llys Caermedi, Carmarthen SA31 1GX, and John A Clayton (dob tbc) of 17 Rhos Las, Carmarthen SA31 2DY – convicted on charges relating to cruelty to animals at Bramble Hall Farm in Pembroke Dock and operation of an illegal slaughterhouse

Sean Burns (left) pictured outside court with his solicitor
Sean Burns (left) pictured outside court with his solicitor

Sean Burns was convicted of multiple cruelty charges in relation to 215 animals at Bramble Hall Farm, Ferry Lane, Pembroke Dock SA71 4RG.

The charges included the unlicensed breeding of dogs, welfare and animal-keeping regulation charges relating to sheep, horses, dogs, pigs, and goats.

A total of 53 pigs, 80 sheep, three goats, 58 dogs, 20 horses and one donkey were removed from the smallholding after being found living in squalor and without adequate space, food or water.

Sean Burns pictured outside court

District Judge Christopher James told Burns he had “deliberately” inflicted suffering over a “significant period of time”.

He told Burns the condition of the animals was “extremely poor”, and that some dogs and puppies had “died due to the neglect suffered at your hands”.

Atrocious conditions for the animals on Sean Burns' smallholding in Pembroke Dock

One horse was found with a pipe stuck in its hoof and two horses were found with no access to food or water.

They also found 10 newborn puppies in a plastic food bowl, two of which were dead.

Prosecutor Alexander Greenwood said the dogs were kept in a “hazardous environment”, with no bedding, and the floor wet with urine and faeces.

Atrocious conditions for the animals on Sean Burns' smallholding in Pembroke Dock

The court was told the animals displayed signs of “bullying behaviour” as food was so scarce and the bigger animals were keeping the smaller animals away from food.

The prosecution said this case of animal neglect was “one of the worst examples of its kind.”

The court heard Burns failed to provide documentation for any of the animals.

Defending, Aled Owen told the court Burns “has not got the skills to manage this farm efficiently”.

“Quite frankly, my client is illiterate,” he said.

The prosecution followed an investigation by public protection officers from Pembrokeshire Council, supported by Dyfed-Powys Police’s rural crime team.

Sean Burns is pictured alongside his mother Pamela Burns.
Sean Burns is pictured alongside his mother Pamela Burns. Although she initially faced similar charges to her son, the case against her was dropped because of her apparent ill health

Sean Burns’ mother Pamela Burns (born 12/08/1945) had faced 24 charges but the case against her ultimately did not proceed because she is said to be suffering from dementia.

Sean Burns was also convicted alongside associates John Clayton and Kenneth Evans on a string of charges relating to food hygiene, operating an illegal slaughterhouse and being involved in the illegal slaughter of sheep to produce ‘smokies’ – a West African delicacy where meat is cooked using a blow torch.

The illegal slaughterhouse operated in one of the agricultural outbuildings, with Clayton and Evans caught in the act by horrified inspectors.

The unit had been set up as a makeshift slaughter hall with six slaughtered sheep at various stages of preparation and further penned sheep awaiting the same fate.

Conditions inside the illegal slaughterhouse being operated on Sean Burns' smallholding in Pembroke Dock, Wales

The court was told that conditions in the slaughter hall were insanitary and the floor awash with blood from the slaughtered animals as well as by-products from the slaughter process.

A herd of pigs was seen wandering among suspended sheep carcasses, feeding on the remains of the slaughtered animals.

Approximately six further carcasses of smoked sheep were found bagged in the boot of Evans’ car, ready for onward supply.

Evidence was gathered by officers and the carcasses were seized for condemnation.

A number of sheep were subsequently euthanized for humane reasons and restrictions were placed on the herd of pigs, preventing their movement off-site to address the potential disease risk and to protect the human food chain.

Conditions inside the illegal slaughterhouse being operated on Sean Burns' smallholding in Pembroke Dock, Wales

Clayton was convicted in 2002 for the same offence alongside David Jones of Moelfre Farm in Llanwnnen, John Beddows of Tregaron, Ceredigion, Trefor Williams of Llandysul, Ceredigion, Alun Evans and his brother Richard Evans both of Abernewrig, Lampeter, Malcolm Taylor of Oldbury, in the West Midlands, and Alun Lloyd of Llanfrynach, Pembrokeshire

Sentencing for these offences is to follow.

Magistrates in Court in Llanelli formalised that order for the removal of the animals owned by Pamela and Sean Burns of Bramble Hall.

Sentencing: Sean Burns was given 20 weeks in prison for illegal dog breeding, animal welfare charges and other summary matters. Although Pembrokeshire Council have incurred thousands of pounds in costs, Burns was only ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge at this stage. He was handed an indefinite ban from keeping animals, including having any involvement or influence over the care or welfare of animals.

Milford Mercury
BBC News
Western Telegraph

Brixham, Torbay, Devon: Craig Dolling

#TheList Craig Anthony Dolling, born 21/04/1993, of 24A Briseham Road, Brixham, Torbay, Devon TQ5 9NS – subjected his pet dog to a savage beating, causing him to lose a leg

Violent dog abuser Craig Dolling from Devon

Rocco, a young Staffordshire bull terrier, suffered a catalogue of horrific injuries at the hands of his owner Craig Dolling.

The pet was left bloodied with cuts, a broken leg, fractured ribs, cheek bone and skull. Dolling and his girlfriend, Natasha Hilson, 25, then let the animal suffer by not taking him to a vet.

Abused dog Rocco suffered an appalling catalogue of injuries

When asked to explain the injuries Dolling told his partner: “I just went mad on him earlier. You know what I get.”

The RSPCA said Dolling’s behaviour was ‘tantamount to torture’.

Father-of-one Dolling, who has previous convictions for violence, admitted two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to Rocco when he appeared in court.

Lindi Meyer, prosecuting, said the defendant lived with Rocco and his partner Hilson. Both accepted responsibility for the pet.

The RSPCA and police went to the house on September 2, 2019, after reports of an injured dog. Initially the pair did not answer but Hilson let them in just as police were about to force entry.

The dog had obvious leg and head injuries, said the prosecutor.

Hilson said Rocco had hurt his leg trying to get over a gate almost a month before. She confirmed he had not seen a vet.

“There was a strong smell of ammonia and faeces on the floor,” added Ms Meyer.

A police officer said the injured state of the dog was ‘heartbreaking’ and he had never seen such a badly injured animal before.

Rocco had multiple cuts, dislocated femur, swelling, two large head wounds that were so severe vets were unable to examine his right eye, a fractured tooth, cheek, three fractured ribs, and a fracture to the right hock which was several weeks old and so severe the leg had to be amputated.

Abused dog Rocco suffered an appalling catalogue of injuries

There were stains on the carpets which Hilson said Rocco had left after he injured his head trying to escape from his cage.

Dolling said the injury to Rocco’s leg happened about one and a half months before when he tried to jump over a door. Both denied mistreating him and Dolling said he didn’t take him for treatment because he thought the vet might think he had beaten him. He couldn’t explain the fracture to the dog’s eye and denied beating him. He said he thought the animal would die without vet attention.

Texts between the two revealed more of what really happened to the dog.

Hilson demanded to know what had happened to Rocco’s face. Dolling replied: “I just went mad on him earlier. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it. I’m f****d.”

Hilson said the dog was ‘only a baby’ and hadn’t done anything to deserve such treatment.

Dolling answered: “You know what I get. I get what you’re saying. I’m sorry, I’m a nasty c**t.”

Hilson said there was a history of domestic violence in the relationship. Dolling now accepted responsibility for what he had done.

Violent dog abuser Craig Dolling from Devon

Nobody was present at the time Dolling injured the dog and the court was not told what triggered his violence. A vet found the injuries had been sustained by blunt force trauma on at least two occasions. They would have caused considerable pain for Rocco for at least six weeks. The skull fracture was caused by being struck with a ‘heavy linear object’ not consistent with Dolling’s explanation about the door. Injuries to the ribs were caused by kicks, stamps, or throwing against an object, said the vet.

Ms Meyer said Dolling’s actions had been ‘deliberate, gratuitous and caused suffering and pain on a number of occasions’. There had been prolonged neglect over months and no vet treatment despite both being aware of the injuries.

Abused dog Rocco with his sister Lyla
Rocco with his sister Lyla

The court was played a video of Rocco in the care of the RSPCA, running and chasing a ball. “He’s doing really well,” after learning to walk again, said the prosecutor.

Hilson has yet to sign him over to the RSPCA’s care and has stated she wants him back.

Ben Darby, defending, said Dolling accepted full responsibility for the injuries and was ‘tearful’ and sorry for what he had done. He wanted help for his anger management issues and was motivated to change.

“These are pretty horrendous offences,” said Mr Darby. But he said Dolling had held his hands up and admitted his crime, even though nobody saw him cause the injuries and for that he should be given credit.

Hilson, who did not cause injuries to Rocco, admits a lesser charge under the Animal Welfare Act. She will be sentenced at a later date.

Sentencing: suspended four-month jail sentence. He was told to do up to 10 days anger management with probation and 60 hours of unpaid work. He was banned from keeping all animals for life but can appeal after just five years.

DevonLive

====
Update 06/03/2020:

Natasha Rose Hilson, born 10/08/1994, also of 24A Briseham Road, Brixham, Torbay, Devon TQ5 9NS, has been sentenced for failing to seek veterinary care for Rocco while he was suffering from his injuries.

Natasha 'Tasha' Hilson and Craig Dolling who both faced charges in relation to the cruelty and neglect of Rocco
Natasha ‘Tasha’ Hilson and Craig Dolling who both faced charges in relation to the cruelty and neglect of Rocco

She must carry out 10 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days and 240 hours’ unpaid work.

She was also disqualified from owning any animal for 15 years, with no application to lift this for five years, and must pay £200 costs.

ITV News

Annan, Dumfries-Shire and Bishopbriggs, Glasgow: Marco Tondo and Nadine Campbell

#TheList puppy farm dealer Marco Tondo, born 18/10/1987, currently of 18 Shawfield Court, Annan, Dumfries-shire DG12 6JB but with links to the Shettleston area of Glasgow, and partner Nadine Campbell, born 07/12/1988, of 39 Colston Avenue, Bishopbriggs G64 1SL – sold sick puppies and ran an illegal ‘pet shop’

Scottish puppy farm dealers Marco Tondo and Nadine Campbell
Puppy farm dealers Marco Tondo and Nadine Campbell pictured outside Glasgow Sheriff Court

Wannabe gangster and alleged drug dealer Marco Tondo kept several dogs in cramped conditions at partner Campbell’s address in Bishopbriggs in October 2018.

The Scottish SPCA said the puppies were suffering from a number of serious health problems, including worm and flea infestations, parvovirus and coccidiosis – a parasitic infestation.

Investigating officers determined they had come from “suspected puppy dealers”.

Five puppies were sold at the “pet shop” where eight other young dogs were kept.

Two dogs had to be put down, one of which had suffered organ damage. Other dogs there were also poorly and underweight.

Scottish puppy farm dealer Marco Tondo

Tondo, who shares a baby daughter with co-accused Nadine Campbell, was set to face trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court but pleaded guilty to a charge of causing “unnecessary suffering” to the puppies.

Tondo and Campbell both admitted to operating a pet shop without proper authority involving the selling of five puppies and having eight other young dogs.

Scottish puppy farm dealer Nadine Campbell

The court heard Tondo put Jack Russell and Chihuahua puppies up for sale on Gumtree.

Two buyers came to the property in Bishopbriggs, where Campbell was living.

Tondo told them not to feed the puppy on the journey as it would be “sick due to travel.”

He claimed one dog had been wormed but failed to forward the paperwork to the buyers. It was later discovered that the puppy had not been wormed or microchipped.

The buyers paid £350 and Tondo did acknowledge that the puppy was “unwell” – it later vomited in the buyers’ car and its health deteriorated.

The puppy was taken to the vet for dehydration where its breathing became “laboured” and died.

Tondo could not be contacted and his phone appeared “out of service.”

The court heard of another incident when a vet and her daughter bought a dog from Tondo.

The vet noted that the dogs didn’t show typical puppy behaviour and were underweight – she also noted there was no food, beds or blankets for the animals.

The vet later bought the dog after discussing it with her daughter and was told by Tondo that the puppy had been vaccinated and microchipped.

The dog’s health deteriorated as it became dehydrated and was passing clear watery fluids.

The puppy was taken for veterinary treatment but did not respond to its medication.

A third puppy was then bought on October 21, 2018, at an address in Larbert, Stirlingshire.

Prosecutors said the dog – who also had fleas – then “collapsed, was pale and had a fever”.

Vets found it had signs of “organ damage”. The dog died on October 25, 2018.

A fourth puppy later sold also needed vet treatment.

The charge stated a number of puppies at the address in Bishopbriggs were “confined in a small cage” and others in a garden were “underweight”.

Despite all of this neither Tondo nor Campbell were banned from keeping animals an outcome with the Scottish SPCA greeted with disappointment.

An undercover special investigation unit (SIU) inspector said: “Whilst we welcome and respect the court’s judgment, we would have liked to see Tondo given a ban on owning or keeping animals. His disregard for the welfare of numerous dogs led to several puppies becoming unwell and, in two sorry cases, passing away.

“We became aware of Tondo and Campbell following reports by concerned members of the public who had purchased puppies from them that had subsequently become very ill and, sadly in two instances, passed away.

“Working on intelligence we were able to determine that both of the accused were supplied puppies from an unidentified puppy dealer, but failed to keep any form of register of sales carried out.

“Our investigation led us to the home of Campbell. With a warrant, we discovered evidence to support that they were selling puppies on behalf of a third party without the appropriate licence.

“The pups have come from suspected puppy dealers. These people are driven by profit and often have no regard for animal welfare.”

The inspector added: “The puppies were suffering from a number of serious health problems including worm and flea infestations, parvovirus and coccidiosis, a parasitic infestation. Tondo’s failure to provide veterinary care for these animals would have led to immeasurable suffering.

“Not only did they put the dogs in their care at risk but due to the contagious nature of the diseases the puppies had, they put domestic dogs in Scotland at great risk.

“This has been heart-breaking for the families who bought the puppies from the couple. Not only did it result in large veterinary bills, but also a lot of stress and heartache.

“Tondo has overlooked the most basic welfare standards in order that they can profit at the expense of these animals.

“This case shows that not only are we targeting puppy farmers but we are also taking on those buying puppies from dealers with successful results. This is a reminder that we will not overlook anyone involved in this barbaric trade.”

Sentencing: Marco Tondo was ordered to carry out 270 hours of unpaid work in the community while Nadine Campbell was tagged for three months for selling the pups from her home address without a licence. No ban on keeping animals was imposed on either of them.

Glasgow Evening Times
BBC News