#TheList Wilfred Francis, born c. 1981, and his brother Ian Martin Francis, born c. 1983, both of Yr Ackery Farm, Dark Lane, Burton, Rossett, Wrexham LL12 0AE – for the mistreatment of cattle on their farm
Wilfred and Ian Francis pleaded guilty to a number of offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
On February 5, 2019, an unannounced visit by Wrexham Council was made to the farm after receiving a complaint of a dog eating a dead calf.
On arrival at the farm officers of the Food and Farming team accompanied by an Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) Vet found dead cattle and calves, animals with none or insufficient bedding. Some were without food and water and had access to hazardous object around the premises.
Ian Dillon, acting on behalf of the council, told the court: “Two dead cattle were being picked at by chickens. One had been unlawfully killed by Wilfred Francis by injecting it with anaesthetic.
“One cow had to be put to sleep after because it was left without medication after breaking its hip calfing two weeks previously.”
Mr Dillon said: “There were other cows with no access to water or food, some kept near to scrap metal which could have caused them harm and a general failure to clean and disinfect to keep away flies and disease.
“Waste food products had been left on the farm. Mince pies, cup cakes and ice cream was fed to the cattle. Some animals were left lying in slurry.”
Photographs taken by animal welfare officers showed animals living in squalid conditions. The officers made subsequent visits to the farm.
Mr Dillon said: “One calf was drowning in slurry. Another had been born the previous evening and had little bedding that was filled with slurry. The cow that had given birth was exhausted and had been given no food or water.
“Another newborn calf seen on March 5 was only just able to keep its nose above the slurry.”
Conditions did improve said Mr Dillon but eventually, the council applied to seize animals in May 2019 to stop unnecessary suffering. The herd reduced from 140 down to 40 head of cattle.
Sentencing: 16-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months. Ordered to pay £3,000 costs each to Wrexham County Council – at a minimum rate of £50 per month. There was no order against the brothers keeping animals in the future.
#TheList Natasha J Brown, born 03/11/1993, of 6 Lumsden Terrace, Stanley DH9 8EQ – killed a dog by punching her four times to the head
The court heard how Brown, accompanied by her female terrier dog, had met up with her ex-partner to discuss the return of some items and the pair had gone to the home of her great uncle in Washington.
Oriana Frame, prosecuting, said everything was fine at first, but after Brown had consumed lager and a bottle of wine, she tried to kiss and cuddle her ex, who said no and asked her to leave.
However, she wouldn’t and the situation escalated with Brown becoming aggressive.
Reading from a statement by Brown’s former partner, Ms Frame said they were in the sitting room trying to calm her down and Brown was threatening to smash the great uncle’s phone if he called the police.
The statement went on: “Her dog was sitting on the sofa, she picked up her dog and punched it four times to the head with force. It was screaming. It went limp and lifeless.”
She said Brown then grabbed her ex by the throat and hit her head against the wall. She also bit her finger.
The statement said: “I was trying to comfort the dog and [my great uncle] was telling her to get out and she clenched her fist and told said ‘shut up or I will hit you as well’. Natasha pushed him in the chest causing him to fall back.”
Ms Frame said Brown’s former partner managed to phone the police and when they arrived the dog appeared to be having a fit and was shaking uncontrollably. She was taken to the PDSA where vets said she had a bleed on her brain and an injured leg and they couldn’t save her.
Ms Frame said Brown told police: “I punched the dog because I couldn’t punch my ex – I’m sorry I didn’t mean to hurt her.”
In his statement, the elderly man said at 82-years-old he couldn’t stop the defendant and was frightened at what she would do next, during the incident on October 1, 2019.
#TheList Andrew Lee Jones, born 08/03/1981, of Ynscynon Road, Tonypandy CF40 2LN – kicked and killed a seagull
A driver witnessed Jones kicking the bird before finding it dead on 1 May 2019.
An RSPCA appeal resulted in CCTV showing the incident being provided by the council.
Jones pleaded guilty to one offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison.
RSPCA inspector Simon Evans thanked the witness for coming forward, adding: “This horrific incident was also caught on CCTV where the defendant was seen kicking the bird and using his foot to direct it into a corner of the car park.
“The bird had sustained other injuries before this attack – however, a post-mortem examination found that it would have been the blunt trauma injuries from the defendant’s kick that would have been the most likely cause of death.
“There is no excuse for this kind of deliberate cruelty.”
Sentencing: Jailed for 12 weeks. Ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £115.
#TheList Arthur Donaldson, born 18/02/1977, of 68 Parkmore, Knockmenagh, Craigavon, Co Armagh BT64 2AF – failed to seek veterinary care for his dog’s (unexplained) head injury
Donaldson was convicted of failing to ensure the welfare of an unnamed 19-month-old female German Shepherd in his care.
The case against Donaldson was heard at Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Friday, October 18, 2019.
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council brought the case against Donaldson under the provisions of the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 following a report from a member of the public who was concerned about the dog’s welfare.
An Animal Welfare Officer visited the defendant’s property in July 2017 and spoke to him regarding a head injury the dog had sustained.
He was then advised to ensure the dog received veterinary treatment as a matter of urgency which he failed to do.
The Animal Welfare Officer later returned to the property with a veterinary surgeon who assessed the dog as being likely to suffer as the wound had become infected. The dog was taken into the care of the council and subsequently rehomed.
Sentencing: fined £500 and ordered to pay a further £424 in fees.
#TheList Sean D Wisbey, born 25/05/1968, of no fixed address but with links to St Helens and Prenton in Birkenhead – attacked and killed partner’s dogs ‘to get back at her’
Sean Wisbey callously killed his partner’s Yorkshire Terrier and injured another so badly she had to be put to sleep.
His cruelty came to light when his on-off partner, with whom he had had a row, returned home and was horrified to find what he had done to her beloved pets.
After finding seven-year-old Rosie dead, the heart-broken victim, Brenda Prescott, eventually found the other dog, Tricker, hiding under a pile of laundry.
She desperately tried to keep her alive but the animal later had to be euthanised by a vet.
Wisbey pleaded guilty to two offences of destroying property, namely the dogs.
Judge Rachel Smith said that he had done it to get back at Ms Prescott, and had carried out two acts of extreme violence intended to shock and hurt her.
Ember Wong, prosecuting, told the court that the couple had had an on-off relationship over the years.
A few days before the offences they rowed and he threatened to cut her dogs’ throats, a threat he had also made previously. She left and when she returned he had gone.
He called at her St Helens home on April 11, 2019, and she allowed him in to have a shower and change his clothes and she went out shortly before 6 pm.
When she returned about three hours later she saw the curtains were shut and the dogs were not barking.
Miss Wong said: “She got in and shouted their names but there was no answer. She looked around but could not find them and asked a neighbour to help her look for them.
“In the lounge she lifted up some curtains and a blanket on the floor and found Rosie lying lifeless and covered in blood.
“One of her back legs was facing the wrong way and she knew she was dead.”
Ms Prescott eventually found Tricker hiding under some laundry upstairs and for the next few days looked after her by feeding her by hand and giving her water from a spoon.
She eventually took her to the RSPCA where she was examined and found to have a broken pelvis. The distraught owner agreed she should be put to sleep to end her suffering.
Post-mortem examinations revealed that Rosie’s injuries included multiple skull fractures caused by blunt force trauma and a lacerated liver. Her skull injuries are believed to have been caused by pressure being applied on both sides of her head.
Two-year-old Tricker was also found to have suffered blunt force trauma and had various bruises and abrasions to her body and legs and a number of fractures to her pelvis.
Wisbey was arrested on the night of the incident after Ms Prescott called the police after finding Rosie. He was found near the house and said, “What are you on about?”.
Miss Wong said that he was handcuffed and taken to a police car but tried to smash a window in the vehicle with the cuffs, having to be taken to the floor and restrained until back-up arrived. When interviewed he made no comment.
Claire Jones, defending, said Wisbey, who has committed 78 previous offences, mainly for dishonesty, had taken a cocktail of drink and drugs and had not taken his prescribed medication for his mental health problems at the time of the offences.
Sentencing: jailed for two years; five-year restraining order
#TheList Brian Medler, born c. 1944, of London Road, Kessingland, near Lowestoft NR33 7PN – failed to treat his dog’s aggressive tumour.
Medler pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal after his border collie, known as Leo, developed an aggressive tumour which was not properly treated for four months. The pensioner claimed to have mistaken a cancerous ulcer on the dog’s back for a tick bite.
The court heard the RSPCA had been contacted by a concerned member of the public and following two unsuccessful attempts to visit Medler’s home eventually saw Leo in June 2019. The stricken pet had a lump the size of a hand on his back which was clearly “infected and weeping”. There were also fly eggs in the centre of the wound.
Leo was taken to a vet for further examination where it was concluded that he had been caused unnecessary suffering.
Medler claimed to have taken the dog to a vet in Ireland but could provide no record of this. He also claimed that he was given cream to apply to the dog’s tumour twice a day but as the ulcer was cancerous this was not effective.
Calvin Saker, for Medler, said the 75-year-old had been looking after dogs since the age of 10 and was “hugely remorseful” about the incident.
Mr Saker said: “He saw the injury, took his pet to the vet and followed the advice he was given.”
Medler hoped his dog’s condition would improve and planned to take it to the vets two weeks after the RSPCA inspectors became involved.
Mr Saker said Medler had learnt “a very harsh lesson” but highlighted that he looked after another dog which was in a good condition.
Following the intervention of the inspectors, Leo had the tumour removed and is recovering well.
Sentencing: total of £625 in fines and costs. Deprivation order on Leo.
#TheList Gary McDonald, born c. 1990, of 64 Mungalhead Road, Bainsford, Falkirk FK2 7JG – attacked a nesting swan in a public park
Gary McDonald pleaded guilty to a charge under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 at Falkirk Sheriff Court.
The court heard that on May 6, 2018, McDonald entered Crownest Park in Stenhousemuir and approached a group of teenagers saying, “Watch this, I’m going to snap the swan’s neck”. He also asked the group to film him.
Members of the group shouted at him to leave the swan alone as he approached the nest site and took out their phones to film his actions.
McDonald climbed down the verge on the east side of the pond, known as the Lido”, and sat next to the nest.
The swan became alarmed and stood up, stretching out its wings and neck in warning.
McDonald then grabbed the bird by the neck and held it for several seconds before it escaped by entering the pond.
The witnesses uploaded their footage to social media and a witness appeal by Police Scotland resulted in McDonald being identified.
This was the second year that the swan had nested at the side of the Lido.
Sara Shaw, head of the wildlife and environmental crime unit, said: “This was a callous act against a nesting swan.
“Wild birds are protected under our wildlife laws and those who choose to commit acts of violence against them can expect to be held to account.”
Sentencing: three-year community payback order with supervision and conduct requirements.