#TheList breeder and kennel owner Wilfried Frederik Anna Vangenechten, born September 1959, of Avon Bridge Lodge, Old Avon Road, Ferniegair, Hamilton ML3 7UH – neglected dogs so badly they had to be put down
Wilfried Vangenechten’s kennels business was raided by the Scottish SPCA responding to a tip-off about distressed animals being kept there. Officers discovered a total of 17 dogs including Cairn terriers, West Highland terriers, Lhasa Apsos, Miniature Schnauzers and Shih Tzus being kept in horrific conditions.
Some of the dogs were underweight with matted fur and suffering skin complaints. Sadly four of the dogs were so poorly they had to be put to sleep.
Belgian national Vangenechten admitted causing the dogs unnecessary suffering between February and March 2019.
It also emerged that he was operating the business without an appropriate licence.
The sheriff banned him for five years and acknowledged that her decision would shut his business down but allowed him to keep a pet dog and a flock of chickens.
She added: “As I had indicated previously, I have considered all of the matters and information before the court and I have no option but to impose a disqualification order for a period of five years.
“The order will prohibit you keeping any animals apart from your pet dog and the six poultry birds, but you cannot deal, work with or take possession of animals over that period.
“I have given careful consideration to whether any other disposal would be appropriate but after considering all before me I’m not going to impose anything further.
“I acknowledge that the sentence of the court today will shut down your business and livelihood”.
Sentencing: banned from keeping animals for five years.
#TheList Alison Maria Chesterman, born 16/03/1965. of Victoria Street, Millom Cumbria LA18 5AS – failed to treat her pet dog’s flea infestation
Chesterman was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to her dog, known as Doodles, who was badly affected by flea bites.
RSPCA inspectors who visited Chesterman’s home found that Doodles had extensive fur loss and his skin had become inflamed and darkened. Veterinary examination showed that he was also suffering a heart murmur, arthritis, conjunctivitis and a chronic skin condition.
He was living in an unhygienic environment which smelled of animal faeces and ammonia. Nine cats were also removed from the property
The court heard RSPCA inspectors visited the house a number of times following an anonymous tip-off and urged Chesterman to take Doodles to the vet.
Eventually, Doodles was taken to a vet by the RSPCA after inspectors found Chesterman still had not acted on urgent advice to do so.
Chesterman, who represented herself in court, said she had tried to rehome her dog so Doodles could live away from her flea-infested home but had not found anyone to take him.
Sentencing: four-week curfew. Banned from keeping any animals for just two years.
#TheList Leighton Marc Donnelly, born c. 1984, of Maes Glas, Pontyates, Gwendraeth Valley SA15 – abandoned snakes to starve to death
Leighton Donnelly pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal – contrary to the Animal Welfare Act 2006 – when he appeared before magistrates.
The court heard that he fled a property in Baptist Well Street, Waun Wen, Swansea after falling behind on his rent. When the landlord entered the house after weeks of failing to make contact, he found a starving boa constrictor loose in a bedroom.
A dead snake was found in a vivarium in the property.
Jon Tarrant, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, told the court the grim discovery was made on April 14, 2019.
Mr Tarrant said the boa constrictor was examined by a vet who said the animal was in a very emaciated state, and had lost a significant amount of body weight.
The vet concluded the snake “would have needed a prolonged period of starvation” to end up in such a poor physical state.
In his interview Donnelly admitted that last time he had seen the snakes was in “February or March”.
The defendant, who represented himself in court, apologised for actions.
Magistrates told him courts took animal offences seriously and he had shown a “flagrant disregard for the welfare” of the snakes.
Sentencing: 12-month community order with a rehabilitation course and 60 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay £400 towards costs. Banned from keeping any animal for two years.
#TheList for multiple cruelty charges Jodie Annabel Fairbrother (aka Jodie Lewis), born 30/09/1978, and husband Paul Jack Fairbrother, born 10/07/1969, formerly of Immingham, Lincolnshire, but now said to be living in Nar Fokak, Cyprus, with daughter Libby-Jo Fairbrother who was also initially charged.
Mother-of-four Jodie Fairbrother, whose last known UK address was Aberdovey Drive, Eaglescliffe, Stockton-on-Tees TS16 9EZ admitted 10 offences of animal cruelty at 4Paws veterinary clinic – six which related to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
Her husband, Paul Fairbrother, admitted three offences of animal cruelty, including one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a British bulldog and two charges relating to animal welfare.
The charges were brought by the RSPCA after it conducted one of its largest raids in March 2018 at 4Paws in Killingholme, North Lincolnshire.
More than 60 staff from multiple agencies worked throughout the day to remove 160 animals.
4Paws, which imported 4,600 dogs from overseas over a 15-month period, operated an unlicensed boarding kennels and veterinary clinic after their licence expired.
The animals were found in “abhorrent” conditions.
Some animals were left unattended in baskets and cages for up to 95 hours. Many were kept in cramped kennels with no access to food or water.
They also had untreated health conditions such as respiratory problems or ear infections and untreated wounds.
The body of a deceased dog was found at the clinic and it was later discovered the dog had distemper, a lethal viral disease.
One dog was kept in a cage for four days without food and water and then ‘euthanised’ by Fairbrother, who had no veterinary qualifications.
Three dogs had to be put to sleep and two had Brucella canisa, a serious contagious disease that can be passed onto humans. Another tested positive for distemper.
A total of 144 dogs and 16 cats were then taken in by the RSPCA and Dogs Trust.
Other charges against the Fairbrothers were dropped at an earlier hearing and all 17 charges were dropped against daughter Libby-Jo Fairbrother.
The volunteer also said that the animals had been “living in their own filth” as the kennels were never cleaned properly, and the animals were never looked after, with around 80 new dogs arriving at the kennel every week.
They said: “I used to help out at the clinic and some of the things that I have seen were just disgusting.
“There were 10 to 15 dogs all into one pen, and just roaming about. There was not one bed for a dog.
“Thursday is delivery day, when they get usually around three vans full of dogs from Romania brought to the site. But the most horrible thing is to see them left outside the clinic, sometimes for over a day, just sitting in those vans howling.
“The animals are always getting out and running loose about the place.”
Other local residents hit out at the treatment of horses at the centre, saying they had been left in a field during the heat of the summer without food or water. Residents said they had intervened to feed the animals themselves claiming that clinic staff had informed them they were “too busy”.
Numerous other residents alleged that after speaking out about the conditions at 4Paws, they received threats.
Sentencing: Jodie Fairbrother – jailed for 18 weeks, suspended for 12 months. Paul Fairbrother – jailed for 12 weeks, suspended for 12 months. Both were ordered to pay £500 costs and a £115 victim surcharge each. Both were banned from keeping or trading in animals for five years.
#TheList breeder/hoarder Lynn Stoker, born c. 1957, of Raw Farm House, Byrness Village, Newcastle upon Tyne NE19 1TR – jailed for cruelty to more than 100 dogs and puppies
Stoker was found guilty of 11 charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and four counts of failing to ensure an animal’s welfare needs were met. Her conviction came after 107 dogs and six puppies were found living in cramped cages and with no fresh drinking water.
She had denied all charges but was found guilty after a four-day trial.
Stoker was breeding dogs but struggled to sell them on and ended up with a house full of animals. She initially asked for help re-homing the pets but began behaving ‘evasively’ and ‘aggressively’ so a search warrant was issued in May 2018.
The RSPCA told the court that “not a single dog was in a healthy condition” when they were discovered locked up in cramped cages at Stoker’s home in May 2018.
The animals were suffering from a range of untreated health problems including chronic dental disease, eye infections and hip injuries. Stoker also failed to provide them with sufficient water.
Three dogs had a level of dental disease so high it resulted in a fractured jaw, and one of them only had three teeth as all the rest had fallen out because of severe disease.
Some animals were in such a bad state they needed to be put down.
The dog breeder claimed that her pets were never neglected and she had been doing the job for 25 years.
The pets at her home also included two cats and a tortoise.
Sentencing Stoker, district judge Bernard Begley said: “This is a particularly serious type of offence. Significant costs have been incurred.
“I really can’t find any redeeming features. This was a high level of suffering – some animals were euthanised.
“You have not shown a shred of remorse or contrition.”
Sentencing: jailed for 21 weeks; ordered to pay £50,000. Disqualified from keeping or breeding animals for at least 15 years.
#TheList Simone Maughan, born 23/06/1992, previously of Westlea in Clowne and now of 38 Scarsdale Street, Bolsover, Chesterfield S44 6JW – kept two starving dogs in a small cage; neglected a bearded dragon
Mother-of-three Simone Maughan pleaded guilty to three animal welfare offences when she appeared at Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court.
The court heard how she had left Staffordshire Bull Terrier-type dogs Zena and Lola – mother and daughter – in a tiny cage in the kitchen of her house.
The RSPCA were alerted after a member of the public reported the starving pets.
Inspector Helen Mead arrived at the address and found the two emaciated dogs locked in the cage.
She also found a bearded dragon lizard in the living room with no light source or heat source, leaving the reptile close to death.
She immediately took the pets for emergency veterinary treatment and all have now recovered from their ordeal in RSPCA care.
Inspector Mead said: “I was really worried when I saw how frail the dogs were with all their bones protruding, they were in a very poor condition but were so friendly.
“Through normal feeding, they were able to return to their healthy body weight. But it could have been so different if this situation had been allowed to continue.
“There is no excuse not to provide the basics of food and water for pets so anyone who is struggling should ask for help at an early stage.”
In defence of Maughan, who now lives in Creswell, the court heard that she was suffering from depression at the time and was of previous good character.
Sentencing: 40 hours of unpaid work and eight-day rehabilitation order; £300 costs and a £150 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping animals for five years.
#TheList Robert Jason High, born 20/12/1996, and Damien Robert Beales, born 16/04/1998, both currently of 17 James Street, Barrow-in-Furness LA14 1EH – neglected and starved a large number of cats; desperate animals resorted to cannibalism.
Robert High and his partner Damien Beales left cats to starve at a property in Northgate Road, Stoneycroft, Liverpool L13
RSPCA officers discovered starving cats eating the decomposing remains of others when they visited the house on 25 April 2019.
They found up to ten cats who were so desperate and hungry that they had shockingly resorted to cannibalism.
Five dead cats were in the process of being eaten.
The grim remains were discovered by the property’s landlord who was so disturbed that he contacted the police who next alerted the RSPCA.
Beales and High both pleaded guilty to one charge of cruelty.
The men are due to be sentenced later on in September 2019 at Liverpool Magistrates Court.
The prosecution has been previously adjourned after both men, Beales and High repeatedly failed to turn up.
High and Beales move around frequently. They only lived in Stoneycroft for five months. Prior to living there, they lived in Kirkdale, Liverpool. Neighbours of the Kirkdale property allege they overheard the couple accusing each other of raping cats.
High is said to have serious mental health issues, including self-harming. He has a YouTube channel called My Borderline LIfe on which he discusses his borderline personality disorder and also ‘sings’.
#TheList Edward ‘Eddie’ George Bath, born 04/06/1961, of 97 Arrael View, Abertillery NP13 1SU – for failure to care for a large number of horses, goats and poultry.
Bath pleaded guilty to four animal welfare offences after the RSPCA found significant failings in his care of 42 horses at a farm in Old Blaina Road, Abertillery
Two horses were found collapsed and were sadly put to sleep on the advice of a vet.
RSPCA inspector Christine McNeil said: “Sadly these animals were not cared for appropriately.
“The horses outside were not given enough food and were not provided for. The stables were filthy and it was just appalling to see these numbers of animals poorly being cared for.”
Inspector McNeil added: “We issued warnings to improve the conditions at the premises, which included a large number of horses, two goats and poultry.
“Sadly this advice was not taken on board and in March we returned and through a warrant, we removed 37 horses. One of these horses was put to sleep due to its condition on the advice of a vet. On this occasion, we also removed 20 poultry and two goats – one of which was pregnant.”
All animals are now signed over to the RSPCA and are being placed into the rehoming process.
Sentencing: 18-week custodial sentence for each offence (to run concurrently) suspended for 18 months; 10-day rehabilitation activity requirement; total of £1,675 costs and charges. Banned from keeping all animals for life.
#TheList Stacy Humphrys (aka Boogile Lee), born c. 1987, of West Meadows Travellers Site, Ipswich IP1 5NU – kept 17 dogs, 23 poultry and a young pony in terrible conditions
Humphrys admitted seven offences under the Animal Welfare Act. These included four counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a filly and seven dogs, and three of failing to meet the welfare needs of 17 dogs, 23 poultry and the filly pony.
The RSPCA were called to Humphrys’ home at the West Meadows travellers encampment in April 2019, following reports of an underweight whippet.
When Inspector Jason Finch arrived he discovered another dog with fur loss and two dogs in a room covered in old and fresh faeces.
After being shown around the rest of the location, Inspector Finch was concerned and alarmed for a number of animals he saw. He then contacted police, a vet and other RSPCA offers for assistance.
Speaking after the case, Inspector Finch said: “It was extremely disturbing to see so many animals living in such terrible conditions.
“As we proceeded round the property more and more dogs were found in runs that were too small. All were filthy with faeces, and had little or no water.
“Some of the dogs, particularly those with long coats, were also filthy with faeces, some dogs had fur loss, and live fleas could be seen on many of the dogs. Two dogs which were extremely thin, nervous and covered in faeces frantically drank a bowl dry when they were given fresh water at the vets.
“We and other organisations have tried to work with this defendant in the past in a bid to help him improve the welfare of all his animals.
“But despite the help and advice he has been given in the past, he failed to do what was right for these animals which led them to suffer.”
All the animals taken from the property were signed over by the defendant and have made a good recovery with many already in loving new homes.
Julie Harding, senior field officer of horse sanctuary Redwings, said: “We were hugely shocked and appalled to discover the unnecessary suffering of the little black filly, as we have previously worked with the owner in a bid to help him improve the welfare of his horses.
“When the young filly arrived at the sanctuary she was so weak and underweight that she couldn’t stand up without our help. Luckily, thanks to the dedication of our vets and care team, she has gone on to make a full recovery and she is guaranteed a safe home in Redwings’ care for the rest of her life.”
Sentencing: 16 weeks in prison. Total costs and charges of £989. Banned for an indefinite period from keeping all animals – with a condition of not being able to apply for the disqualification to be removed for five years.