#TheList Paul Underwood, born c. 1972, and Nicola Muca (aka Nicki Underwood), born 20/01/1975, of Balmoral Avenue, Rushden NN10 – owners of an unsocialised Alaskan Malamute puppy who bit neighbours after straying twice from his home
Underwood and Muca were each given community orders and banned from keeping dogs for five years after being found guilty of having a dog dangerously out of control.
The one-year-old dog, known as Thor, first came to the attention of police after biting a neighbour who tried to return him home in August 2019, before the same thing happened to a different neighbour three months later.
Thor was seized from owners Underwood and Muca under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
Following an investigation and assistance from specially trained police officers, it became apparent that he hadn’t been socialised properly – he didn’t know how to play with dog toys, wasn’t toilet trained and was clearly used to an abusive environment where raised voices were the norm.
He was in danger of being put to sleep but officers from Northamptonshire Police’s Dog Section persevered and successfully rehabilitated him. A rehoming centre is now in the process of finding him a home.
PC Eva Horn, who assisted the investigating officers, said: “Thor certainly didn’t have the best start in life and we were determined to try our hardest to ensure he could get to a place where he was able to live the life he deserves. No-one invested in Thor to be a family dog and he was denied socialisation and training.
“Thor reacted so well to our training and has now become a much more well-rounded dog – all he needed was some love and attention.”
Sentencing: Underwood and Muca were each given 12-month community orders and banned from keeping dogs for five years.
#TheList Reece Reed (aka Reece Howard-Reed), born c. 2000, most recently of Club Street, Kettering NN16 8RP – mutilated a prize-winning miniature horse by stabbing him 20 times; ripped the wings off three chickens
Reed, who has previous convictions for burglary and vehicle theft, attacked the animals in April 2018 after breaking into a Wellingborough farm. The farm owner was alerted by a burglar alarm at 07:30 a.m.
Prosecutor Priya Bakshi told the court: “He ran to the summer house to investigate. There he found a shovel, and saw one window had been pried open and another had been smashed.
“He peered through the window. There, he saw a man with a six-inch kitchen knife inside the chicken coop.”
The farmer scared off the armed man – Reed, who was naked from the waist down – before searching his stables to see if any animals had been hurt.
It was then that he found his daughter’s prize-winning miniature show horse Sol. His back legs and rear had been stabbed 20 times and he was bleeding heavily.
Additionally, Reed had cut the wings off of three chickens. They had to be put down.
In court, the judge heard how Sol was a prize winner worth over £3,000 and was on track to becoming a champion show horse. But following the attack, Sol was rendered unfit to compete ever again.
In a victim impact statement read out in court, Sol’s owner said: After I learned that Sol had been hurt I was devastated and heartbroken.
“Sol was and is my best friend and he will always be part of the family.”
Reed later pleaded guilty to the offence.
His defence barrister, Osmun Munir, said the 19-year-old was “remorseful and expresses sympathy for the family”.
But in sentencing, Judge Fowler was unable to jail Reed for more than two months over the mutilations – because the attacks were charged as “criminal damage” rather than, for example, animal cruelty.
He told Reed: “This episode can only be described as wholly despicable. The charges that you face today do not reflect the wickedness of your behaviour.
“This has been treated as if it were criminal damage against two inanimate objects. It isn’t. And it is in my view and error that ought to be corrected.”
#TheList Thomas J Keenan, born 1972, of Hamsterly Park, Northampton NN3 5DX – failed to get treatment for his pet cat’s serious leg injury; leg amputated
Keenan pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to his cat, Beauty, when he appeared before magistrates.
The court heard how the RSPCA were called in after receiving reports from a concerned member of the public who said Beauty had a serious leg injury that had not been treated.
RSPCA Inspector Michelle Hare visited on July 13, 2019, and could see that there was a problem with Beauty’s back left leg.
The leg was twisted inwards and looked floppy, the cat was unable to put any weight on it so, with Keenan’s permission, she took Beauty for veterinary treatment.
The vet said that Beauty had a broken femur and the bone had rubbed on her skin causing an abscess that had become infected.
He added that he estimated the pet had suffered for about three weeks.
Beauty had her leg amputated but has made a great recovery and has now been rehomed by the RSPCA.
Inspector Hare said: “We still are not sure how Beauty came to be injured but believed she may have been involved in a car accident.
“She had a nasty injury and she was struggling to walk so should have been taken to the vets straight away. Many vets will offer a payment plan to help spread the cost and there are charities who can help with vet bills.”.”
His other two cats will also be rehomed by the RSPCA.
In mitigation, the court was told that Keenan was aware of the injury but could not afford veterinary treatment.
Sentencing: 120 hours of unpaid work; £385 costs. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
#TheList Lorna Farrar, born c. 1992, of Wellingborough – neglected and starved two dogs, one of whom had to be put to sleep
Lorna Farrar allowed her dogs, Staffies Panda and Budz, to become malnourished, underweight and in generally poor condition with their coats covered in faeces and urine.
When the mother-of-two took the dogs to the vet Panda collapsed and had to be put down. Budz was given food and water and immediately began eating. Six weeks later he had put on four times his body weight after being put on a normal diet.
The court heard that the examining vet had never seen a dog as emaciated as Panda whom she believed had been starved for three weeks .
There was no underlying medical condition that could have caused the dogs to become emaciated.
Farrar’s lawyer told the court her client was “well-intentioned” but “incompetent” when it came to care.
A post-mortem examination of Panda revealed she had undigested penne in her stomach – because Farrar had been feeding the dogs a “pasta diet”.
Sentencing: Farrar was originally jailed for 18 weeks but this was reduced to a 12-month community order on appeal. Banned for life from keeping animals.
#TheList Brendan Gaughan, born c. 1986, most recently of Mendip Road, Duston, Northampton NN5 – dismembered seven pet cats and left remains in plastic bags on their owners’ driveways
Serial arsonist and cat mutilator Brendan Gaughan was sentenced at Northampton Crown Court for a campaign of attacks across the town in the past two years.
Gaughan was caught after an overnight arson spree in June 2018 in which he caused at least £375,000 of damage that destroyed family cafe The Arc, three rough sleepers’ tents and a disused office.
But when he came to court, he asked that 15 other offences were taken into account when he was jailed – namely, a debauched series of cat mutilations and a string of arson attacks in Duston.
The court heard how between August and November 2017 Gaughan targeted and killed seven family pets across Northampton.
He claims the first two were out of ‘spite’ for the owners – but he found the attacks left him ‘satisfied’ and he went on to kill four more in the space of just 10 days.
Nearly every time, Gaughan would set out between 1am and 2am searching for cats, before encouraging them to come near.
He then strangled them, dismembered the bodies and left them on their owner’s driveways or front gardens in plastic bags for them to find.
The body of Rusty was left in a bag on the owner’s doorstep in Northampton
Cat Topsy was left outside the owner’s home in the Kingsley area
Dead cat in a plastic bag was found in a garden in Chewton Close Duston
Mutilated body of a cat was found in Duston
Dismembered cat was discovered in Duston
Dismembered cat was found in a plastic bag on a doorstep in Mendip Road
Cat mutilated and left on car roof in Northampton
Prosecutor Matthew Rowcliffe QC said: “After doing it, he would feel satisfied for hurting [the families].
“But in November 2017, he ‘got bored of harming animals’ and turned his interests to starting fires.”
During an arson spree, Gaughan destroyed three tents, damaged the Outpost Café and its recycling bins and The Ark floating restaurant, both on Bedford Road, set fire to wheelie bins at the Edward Green Shoe Factory, a Vauxhall van and the Bray Learning and Development Centre at St Andrews Hospital.
In court today, the prosecutor shared something Gaughan said during a psychiatric assessment while he was in custody.
Mr Rowcliffe QC said: “[Gaughan] told his psychiatrist he had had thoughts of other kinds of offending, like entering women’s houses, raping them and killing them. He has never done this, but had had thoughts of doing it.”
Gaughan’s defence barrister, Mr Guy Williamson QC, told the judge: “He has expressed extreme regret and is ashamed of his actions, and understands the psychological, financial and physical harm and distress he has caused.
“This is a case of a man with mental health issues that feels isolated and vulnerable in the community in which he lives.
“He felt nothing towards the cats he was killing and he denies feeling any pleasure derived from these crimes.”
But His Honour Judge Roger Tregilgas-Davey said: “The starting of fires by you was deliberate. And in every case, you did nothing but watch. You failed to help extinguish them or alert emergency services.
“These were deliberate and persistent. When a fire did not take, you would make more effort to relight it.”
However, at sentencing, the judge did not rule Gaughan as ‘dangerous’ – and could only add three months to his jail term for the cat killings.
Judge Tregilgas-Davey said: “Any violence has been towards animals and not towards humans.
“In regard to the cat mutilations… I want to make it clear they are they are distasteful. They are distressing. I do not lose sight of that. But any sentence I can impose is limited no matter how many [you killed].”
Sentencing: Jailed for 44 months including just 3 months for killing the seven cats.
#TheList Kevin Charles Howard and wife Christine Anne Howard (née Walker), Park Street, Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire PE8 6XN – battered a border terrier puppy named Winston with a gun and strangled him to death supposedly as an act of self-defence
Kevin Charles Howard, aged 57 (b. July 1961), faced magistrates with wife Christine, aged 71 (b. March 1947). Both were charged with causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
The court heard the Howards saw their neighbours’ border terrier puppy Winston with one of their chickens in his mouth on August 1, 2017 in a scene described as ‘carnage’.
Mrs Howard caught the dog and shouted at her husband to ‘get the gun’ before passing Winston to her husband as he bit him.
An eyewitness said she heard Howard hit Winston with the barrel of his gun ‘eight or nine times’ as he sat on him, although Mr Howard said he only hit the dog three times.
Former company director Howard held Winston by the scruff of his neck in an attempt to prise his jaw off him but strangled him in the process. He carried the dog out to the drive by his legs, covered in blood from a chicken, as the dog’s owner and his 10-year-old son arrived.
He then said: “I doubt it will survive.”
A vet said the dog died from strangulation.
In a victim statement read out in court, Winston’s owner described Howard’s actions as ‘unspeakable’ and a ‘cruel way to kill a puppy’.
The court heard the dog had previously killed 16 of the Howards’ chickens – which the dog’s owner had compensated them for – and chased a cat inside their house.
Mitigating, Andy Cave said the Howards were not animal abusers but animal lovers. He said: “They’ve spent years rescuing animals, looking after stray animals and cats and dogs at their own expense.
“Their chicken coup could be described as a five star chicken coup.”
Mr Howard reported the incident to the police himself and said he was distraught at what had happened. He told officers he had killed the dog with his bare hands but the court heard police initially told him he had done nothing wrong as he was protecting his livestock.
Mr Cave added: “They did not try to shoot the dog because that’s not in their nature.
“He had to try and get the dog off him. They’ve never done anything like this before and they will never do it again.”
The Howards denied the charges they faced but were found guilty after a day-long trial earlier this year. The court heard the trial placed such a strain on Mrs Howard she collapsed outside court and had to be resuscitated.
Sentence: Kevin Howard – 12-month community order with 10 days of rehabilitation requirements; ordered to pay compensation to the family of £212.50, £75 to the 10-year-old boy and a victim surcharge of £85. Christine Howard – fined £98 plus victim surcharge of £30. The pair must also pay trial court costs of £775 between them.
#TheList former company director William G Woodward, born 18/01/1986, of Redhouse Farm, Catesby, Daventry NN11 6LW and employees Artur Lewandowski, born c. 1984, of Ribble Drive, Darlington DL1, Kabeer Hussain, born c. 1964, of 58 Brantwood Road, Bradford BD9 6QA, and Kazam Hussain, born c. 1973, of 179 Haworth Road, Bradford BD9 6NT – caused suffering to sheep as they were killed
Abattoir boss William Woodward and slaughtermen Artur Lewandowski, Kabeer Hussain and Kazam Hussain admitted causing unnecessary suffering to animals after secret footage of halal killing showed workers HACKING and SAWING at sheep’s throats. The secret filming by Animal Aid also showed sheep being kicked in the head and hurled into metal walls.
The footage was passed on to the Food Standards Agency.
Howard Shaw, prosecuting for the CPS on behalf of Defra, told the court the footage revealed, “a large number of sheep were caused to suffer unnecessarily”.
Under the halal code, animals are supposed to be killed quickly, with a single sweep of a surgically-sharp knife. They should not see the knife before they are slaughtered, or witness the death of other animals.
But the Animal Aid video revealed how many of those practices were being flouted.
Its secretly installed spy cameras showed staff taunting the animals, waving knives in front of them, smacking them on the head and shouting at them.
The halal code also states that animals be allowed to lose consciousness for 30 seconds before being moved on to the next stage of slaughter in a bid to minimise suffering.
But footage showed slaughtermen Kazam Hussain and Kabir Hussain waiting between one and 11 seconds before the animals were sent on to be strung up by their back legs on the processing line, still conscious.
Animal Aid footage played to the court showed at one point Kazam and Kabir dancing and singing as they killed the sheep.
The footage also showed conveyor belt operator, Artur Lewandowski picking a sheep up by its fleece at the neck and at one point pulling his fist back as if to punch a sheep which was resisting, as it was sent towards the area where they were killed.
Mr Shaw told the court: “There’s one incident where the sheep is struggling. He draws back his fist in a punching motion but doesn’t actually punch the sheep.
“He almost throws the animal on to the conveyor belt by its fleece.”
The court heard that the two slaughtermen were professionally qualified and licensed and killed the sheep in accordance with regulations on halal slaughter when watched by the on-site vet, Pedro Benitez.
But Mr Benitez had witnessed animals being given less than 20 seconds to lose consciousness the previous year on the abattoir’s CCTV system and raised his concerns with director William Woodward.
Mr Woodward’s response was to accuse him of “spying” and lodge a complaint against Mr Benitez with the Food Standards Agency. He also refused to allow him further access to the room where the CCTV monitor was situated.
The undercover footage by Animal Aid provoked a national uproar, sparking protests outside the premises and condemnation from the Muslim Council of Britain.
The Government has now introduced legislation that makes CCTV mandatory in slaughterhouses.
In sentencing, District Judge Marie Mallon told former director Woodward: “It was your business. The suffering was extreme, and it wasn’t an isolated incident.”
Sentencing: William Woodward – 20-week suspended prison sentence; ordered to pay £5,080 towards prosecution costs.
Artur Lewandowski – 150 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay costs of £160.
#TheList Denise Smith, born c. 1959, of Axe Head Road, Briar Hill, Northampton NN4 8TF – used honey to treat cat’s cancer wound
Denise Smith was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to the cat, named Blacky, after treating a large cancerous wound on her leg with manuka honey. Blacky had to have her leg amputated.
While she survived surgery and was successfully rehomed, she had to be put to sleep a few months later when the cancer returned.
The court heard the RSPCA was contacted by a concerned member of the public on 30 August 2017.
Insp Michelle Hare said she found the cat with a heavily bandaged leg.
“When we took the bandages off I could see that Blacky had a large and cancerous wound on her leg which was so deep it had gone down to her tendons,” she said.
She said a vet recommended amputation.
“It turned out that Smith had been treating the wound with manuka honey, after reading online that it had anti-microbial properties – but it certainly isn’t something which should have been used on a wound like Blacky had,” she added.
Manuka honey is made from nectar collected by bees from the wild manuka tree, native to New Zealand.
An entry on the NHS Choices website says the effectiveness of manuka honey in combination with antibiotics has yet to be tested in clinical trials.
“People should not try using honey bought from supermarkets to treat wounds at home,” the site reads.
Sentencing: ordered to pay £615 in fines. Disqualified from keeping animals for 12 months.