#TheList traveller Joe Orchard, born c. 1980, of Apondarose Minorca Lane, Bugle, St Austell Cornwall PL26 8QN – mistreated two Labradors and a terrier
Orchard, who is from a notorious family of travellers based in Cornwall, pleaded guilty to failing to provide a suitable environment for three dogs and two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
The first charge related to December 16, 2019, when Orchard failed to ensure that the needs of black and white terrier Candis and Labradors Roxy and Lady were met.
Between December 1 and 17, 2019, Orchard caused unnecessary suffering to Candis by failing to investigate and address her poor body condition and weight loss.
Prior to December 16, Orchard caused Candis unnecessary suffering by failing to provide a suitable environment whilst she was of a poor body condition resulting in hypothermia.
The three dogs were removed from his care by the RSPCA and Orchard was banned from keeping dogs for two years.
Sentencing: a total of £580 in fines, costs and charges. Banned from keeping dogs for just two years (expires July 2022).
#TheList Michael Rodger Warren, born 20/06/1985, of Avondale Close, Grangetown, Middlesbrough TS6 9SD and with links to Guildford, Blackpool, Whitstable and Worthing – let a German Shepherd starve to death and left another with severe muscle wastage in squalid faeces-littered house
When RSPCA inspectors visited Michael Warren’s filthy home on June 27, 2020, they discovered the stricken dogs, Bolt and Panther. Very sadly, Bolt had already died from malnutrition while Panther had been starved to the point of emaciation. He weighed just 17.5kg, which is around half the weight of a healthy German Shepherd.
He had also suffered hair loss and was riddled with fleas.
When interviewed Warren was said to show “very little remorse” for what happened and “at one point he got up to make a cup of tea”.
Warren was charged with two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal but didn’t even turn up to his trial at the Magistrates’ Court.
He was found guilty in his absence and also appeared on Thursday 10 July 2020 to be sentenced for breaching a suspended sentence order relating to an offence he was sentenced for in 2019.
Nicci Horton, mitigating, said her client had a diagnosis of dyslexia, had attended special needs schools in his youth and was taken into foster care at the age of six.
Ms Horton told the court that the puppies were bred by Warren’s mother, prolific backyard greeder Lucy Koca of Redcar. In June 2018 Koca had given her son two of the puppies as a birthday present but when he tried to return them, she refused to take them back.
Ms Horton agreed her client had been “negligent” in his actions, adding that he had been mostly living at another address at the time.
Warren has six previous convictions for eight offences.
#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.
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.
#TheList Nick Holley, born 23/07/1968, of Tramside Farm, Nancekuke, Portreath, near Redruth TR16 5UF – banned from keeping farm animals after sheep were found starved and mutilated at his smallholding
Holley pleaded guilty to the following charges:
• Failing to provide adequate food to his flock of sheep
• Allowing sheep to have access to collapsed fencing and broken machinery that could have injured them
• Mutilating a sheep by docking its tail so short that the tail did not cover its vulva
• Failing to shear or provide shade to sheep in August 2019
• On 10 September 2019 caused unnecessary suffering to a sheep by failing to notice it was trapped or to release it from being trapped
Kevin Hill, prosecuting, told the court that Holley had gone on holiday and left a friend caring for 50 sheep at the smallholding, despite the friend having no previous experience of sheep husbandry.
Many of the sheep were emaciated yet had no supplementary feed, and the sheep had access to scrap and collapsed fencing. On a revisit, council officers found a sheep trapped in a fence; it had been trapped for at least 24 hours and once released was hungry and thirsty.
In January 2020 the sheep were not being fed hay and had strayed onto neighbouring land and roadside verges to forage. Holley had been cautioned for similar offences in 2018.
The magistrates gave credit for the early guilty plea and genuine remorse.
Sentencing: two-year conditional discharge; £5,000 costs. Banned from keeping farm animals for five years.
#TheList Robert ‘Bobby’ Evans, born c. 1984, of 9 Thompson Close, Rawmarsh, Rotherham S62 7LY – illegally kept 10 unringed goldfinches and neglected their needs
Gypsy traveller Bobby Evans, whose numerous previous convictions include cannabis farming and making threats of violence towards a female, admitted one offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and one offence under the Animal Welfare Act relating to 10 unringed goldfinches in his possession. He also admitted a further offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of possessing a wild bird trap.
The RSPCA, which brought the case, revealed that one of its inspectors visited Evans’ home with the local police wildlife crime officer in October 2019 following reports of bird trapping in local hedgerows.
RSPCA inspector and wildlife officer Sandra Dransfield said: “Evans had a legally ringed male bullfinch, two canaries and 10 unringed goldfinches in a small, dirty cage in a shed. The ten goldfinches, a cage trap – which wasn’t set – and other bird trapping paraphernalia were seized.
“The expert’s opinion was that the 10 goldfinches were wild-caught. Some of the birds had injuries from flying at the bars trying to get out, so after a short rehabilitation the birds were successfully released back to the wild, where they belong.”
In mitigation, the court heard that Evans had pleaded guilty and was a long-time breeder of birds.
Ms Dransfield added: “It is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to trap or attempt to trap wild birds and this type of trapping causes immense distress and suffering to them.
“The illegal trapping and trading in wild birds has long been a problem. Taking a wild bird from its natural habitat and shutting it in a tiny cage is cruel.
“These birds can suffer immeasurably, not only physically but also mentally, and they often die shortly after being captured.”
Sentencing: community order with a two-month curfew; ordered to pay £292. Disqualified from keeping birds for three years,
#TheList Sarah ‘Marie’ McGahan, born 11/11/1967 of 2 Belvedere Manor, Lurgan, Craigavon BT67 9NW – failed to ensure the welfare of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and her puppies.
In a case brought by Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council, Marie McGahan pleaded guilty to animal welfare offences relating to a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and her pups.
This followed an investigation in 2018 as a result of information from the public.
McGahan had failed to make the necessary improvements to the cleanliness of the area in which dogs were kept and a litter of pups were found in squalid conditions at her home.
McGahan was deemed to be in breach of a notice requiring her to maintain a clean environment for the animals in her care.
A council spokesperson said: “The judge in this case saw fit to impose a five-year ban from keeping animals because the defendant persistently neglected the needs of her dogs and flagrantly disregarded animal welfare legislation.
“This case serves as a reminder that the council will investigate complaints and bring forward legal proceedings against those who do not take reasonable steps to ensure the welfare of their animals.”
Sentencing: fined £150 and ordered to pay council costs of £226. Five-year Disqualification Order in respect of all animals.
#TheList puppy dealer Julie Michelle Ward, born 11/04/1983, previously of 26 Douglas Road, Leigh, Greater Manchester WN7 5HG and currently of Greenacres travellers site on Slapton Road, Little Billington, Leighton Buzzard LU7 9BP
Julie Ward was convicted of animal cruelty offences in September 2016 alongside husband Martin Ward and brother-in-law Patrick Oliver Ward after a dead pet was found at a home they were using as a puppy farm. None of the gang showed up for sentencing and warrants were issued for their arrest
In May 2018 Patrick Ward was jailed for 22 weeks and banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
The Wards sold the puppies from addresses on Douglas Road and Windermere Road, in Leigh, Wigan.
The RSPCA launched an investigation into the trio after eight people complained they received sick puppies.
Customers said the animals soon became ill after they arrived home.
Four of the pets died suddenly or were so poorly vets decided to put them down to end their suffering.
Back in April 2015 Ward sold a puppy when she was too young to leave her mother.
She also failed to provide a malti-poo with treatment for an ear mite infestation in November 2015, while in February 2016 she failed to provide a black and white puppy with treatment for parvovirus.
Inspector Pippa Boyd, who led the case, said: “We believe Ward, and two other people who were part of the operation and have been dealt with by the courts previously, were importing puppies and then selling them on from two addresses in Leigh.
“When we joined police to execute two warrants at the properties in February 2016 we found a number of dogs and other evidence.
“At one address – in Windermere Road – we found a number of phones labelled with different dog breeds.
“At the other – in Douglas Road – we found three dogs, one with an untreated broken pelvis, and the body of a dead Jack Russell terrier left in a kennel.”
Sentencing: 18 weeks in jail, £150 victim surcharge. Disqualified from keeping all animals for 10 years.
#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 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
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.