Tag Archives: Pre-2010 cases

Ystradgynlais, Swansea: Brandon Woods

#TheList Brandon Woods, born c. 1994, previously of Merthyr Tydfil and now Swansea – set fire to a neighbour’s budgie using an aerosol at the age of 14.

Brandon Woods
Brandon Woods’ sadistic behaviour against a helpless budgie was a red flag for the long history of violent crime to come

This is a horrific case of (non animal) violence from August 2020 but it’s mentioned in the newspaper report that Woods’ first offence was in 2008 when he set fire to a neighbour’s budgie using an aerosol so that earns him an entry on #TheList.

I can’t find the original media but I would imagine he was never named as he was only around 14 at the time.

Woods now has been sentenced to 15 months in jail (half in custody and the remainder on licence) after attacking a young woman.

The woman was left with more than 60 bruises and scratches on her face and body after the “cowardly” assault.

Some of the wounds left by Woods were described as looking like “claw marks”.

Woods; offending began in 2008 when he was a young teenager and he set fire to a neighbour’s budgie.

A judge said at the time that Woods’ pattern of offending demonstrated a “worrying personality trait” and he said he had concerns the defendant would go on to become a “very dangerous man” unless he changed his ways.

Woods’ convictions include spitting at a police officer, battery, criminal damage, drink-driving, driving while disqualified, witness intimidation, drugs matters, and two for assault occasioning actual bodily harm – one of these had seen him attack his mother and then go on to squirt ketchup around the house.


Carluke, North Lanarkshire: Margaret Thomson Forsyth

#TheList Margaret Thomson Forsyth, born 1962, of 9x Unitas Crescent, Carluke, North Lanarkshire ML8 5AP – breached a 15-year ban on keeping animals imposed in 2006 following a case of appalling pet neglect

Margaret Forsyth from Carluke breached a 15-year ban on keeping animals imposed on her in 2006
Margaret Forsyth from Carluke breached a 15-year ban on keeping animals imposed on her in 2006

In August 2006 Margaret Forsyth was banned from keeping animals for 15 years after admitting to causing suffering to three toy poodle dogs, two of whom had to be destroyed.

Forsyth kept the dogs locked in her kitchen and refused to walk, groom or clip them. The poodles were described as being “in a terrible state” when found living in squalor. All of them had advanced dental problems: their teeth were loose, one poodle’s jaw had disintegrated and another had a hole in the roof of hear mouth. Two of the dogs had to be euthanised to end their suffering.

Forsyth pleaded guilty to causing the dogs unnecessary suffering by failing to provide grooming and veterinary treatment.

Twelve years on and Forsyth was found to have breached her ban after Scottish SPCA officers discovered a 12-year-old Jack Russell dog, a 15-year-old female domestic short haired cat and a budgie at her property.

In December 2018 she was ordered to pay a £360 fine. An additional 21 month disqualification order was add on to her existing 15 year ban, which will now expire around May 2023.

Scottish SPCA news

Chorley, Lancashire: Arlene Ashcroft

#TheList animal hoarder Arlene Barbara Ashcroft, born 07/08/1952, most recently of Harewood, Chorley PR7 1XL – banned for keeping 11 dogs in appalling conditions; repeatedly flouted her ban

In June 2008 Arlene Ashcroft was banned from keeping animals for life after neglecting 11 dogs in her care. The lifetime ban was later reduced on appeal to just five years.

The RSPCA originally took action against Ashcroft after finding the dogs infested with fleas and living in squalor at her then property in Pennine Avenue, Chorley.

RSPCA inspector Lisa Lupson said: “The conditions these animals were living in were absolutely shocking. There was faeces and urine all over the house. We had to put wellingtons on to go in, and of course the smell was horrendous.

“These were all very young animals, being forced to live in incredibly awful conditions, and suffering as a result. It’s taken a very long time to rid them of some of the infections they picked up whilst in Mrs Ashcroft’s care.”

Ashcroft had been due to stand trial but pleaded guilty at the eleventh hour to failing to meet the needs of nine of her dogs and causing unnecessary suffering to two of them.

At the time Ashcroft’s neighbours spoke of their relief that the dogs had been found a new home because they said their constant barking and noise made their lives hell.

Her next door neighbour said: “I never saw the dogs because they were always in the house, I’m glad something has been done to end this.”

Another neighbour said: “She has had dogs taken off her before but it is about time she was banned for life. Seven dogs in a semi-detached house with a small garden is not right and they are stuck in that house permanently.”

The cruelty first came to light in July 2007 when a one-year-old shih-tsu dog was found tied up inside Ashcroft’s garage – the dog was underweight and police were called to seize him.

A German shepherd puppy, a spaniel puppy, and a mastiff puppy, all aged 12 weeks, as well as a mastiff aged six months and a shih-tsu aged nine months were rescued the following week.

In September 2007 another three dogs were seized: a German shepherd puppy, a Border terrier-type aged two years and a Jack Russell puppy.

In January 2017 Ashcroft was back in court after being found found in possession of a rabbit. Six months later in June she was given a community order with a curfew for breaching her banning order by keeping a lurcher dog.

Lancashire Post – June 2017
Lancashire Post – January 2017
Chorley Guardian – March 2009
Chorley Guardian – June 2008

Darlington, County Durham: Pearl Barker

#TheList Pearl Barker of Ardmore Drive, Darlington DL1 3QB – neglected a German Shepherd dog, breached disqualification order twice

Pearl Barker and the German Shepherd dog she allowed to become thin and flea-ridden.
Negligent Pearl Barker and the German Shepherd dog she allowed to become thin and flea-ridden.

Barker had a cat and dog removed from her property in 2008 after an RSPCA vet found her German Shepherd had been neglected.

The dog weighed around 10kg less than the normal weight for his breed and he was found to have a severe flea problem which had not been treated.

Convicted animal abuser Pearl Barker from Darlington, UK

The RSPCA issued a disqualification order to stop Barker from keeping any animals from 2008 until November 2018.

But two inspections at Barker’s flat in 2012 and 2015 found she had rabbits, cats and goldfish in her property.

Her original ten-year ban was extended by one year, but in 2016 Barker appealed to have her disqualification overturned.  She told the court she missed the company of animals and hoped magistrates could see she had turned her life around.

But the RSPCA recommended that the ban should remain in place while Barker continues to adjust aspects of her life.

Prosecutor Kevin Campbell said: “This application is premature.

“The law is here to protect the animals and this case is not about her, it’s about the animals – we’re looking out for them.”

Chairman of the bench, Ruth Dent, said: “We’ve judged your application very carefully and while we realise you’ve made changes we feel this application is premature.”

Barker was told she must serve the rest of the ban until at least November 2017 before she can apply to own animals again.

Northern Echo

Marc Ian Young from Ferryhill, Co Durham, and Paul Nigel Brown from Redcar, Teesside

#TheList Marc Ian Young, born 07/02/1980, from 9 Hawthorne Terrace, Ferryhill DL17 9AX and Paul Nigel Brown, born 27/04/1953, of 18 Lorton Road, Redcar TS10 4LY – kept dozens of diseased and injured dogs in appalling conditions on a farm.

Marc Ian Young of Ferryhill, who together with his boss Paul Nigel Brown, was convicted of cruelty to 144 dogs
Marc Ian Young of Ferryhill, who together with his boss Paul Nigel Brown, was convicted of cruelty to 144 dogs

Young and Brown were together convicted of 16 animal cruelty offences after 144  dogs were found mangy and unfed at  Bog Hall Farm, Mordon, near Sedgefield, County Durham.

Prosecutor John Ellwood told the court how an investigation by the RSPCA led to a raid on Brown’s Bog Hall Farm in the spring of 2008.

More than 144 cross-breeds, lurchers and terriers  were found living in cages, animal stables and even in the back of unused vehicles.

Dirt and faeces were compacted on floors, and the animals had what little sustenance they could get when dried food was thrown on top of this.

Seven dogs had infected wounds, 26 had dental problems and 13 dogs were close to death through emaciation.

All the animals had the parasites living in their fur.

Horrifyingly, dead dogs were being burned on a rubbish heap, and inspectors found the charred remains of one animal during a visit.

Brown would also apparently sell the dogs when he could for commercial gain and was seen as the leader of the enterprise, with Young in his pay.

Some 35 of the dogs had to be put down following the discovery.

In all, the case cost the RSPCA approximately £29,000 in veterinary bills, £14,000 in legal fees and an estimated £15,000 to investigate.

Brown pleaded guilty to charges of animal cruelty between February 27 and April 24, 2008.

His offences ranged from failing to provide sufficient food and veterinary care to a “catch-all” charge of failing to provide adequate care, said prosecutor John Ellwood.

Young had denied 11 of the animal welfare charges against him, which included:

  • Failing to give 102 dogs a wholesome diet;
  • Failing to provide necessary care for 144 dogs with flea and lice infestation;
  • Failing to give veterinary care to 26 dogs suffering from severe dental disease;
  • Failing to treat infected wounds on eight dogs;
  • Failing to obtain veterinary treatment for a dog with a fractured leg.

Young told the court he was overwhelmed with the workload and was following the orders of his boss, Paul Nigel Brown, who was the farm’s tenant at the time.

Finding Young guilty on all charges, Judge Simon Hickey said: “Mr Young admitted he knew it was wrong to throw food on the filthy floor of the pens. He knew he was failing to provide adequate care for the animals. He was embarrassed by the finding of excrement and smell of urine.

“This was prolonged neglect over a period of eight weeks. There must have been commercial motivation.

“You have to face up to the consequences of these animals suffering.”

He told Young: “I don’t accept the defence of only doing what you were told to do.”

Speaking after the hearing, RSPCA inspector Lucy Hoehne said: “We are happy with the sentences and happy they won’t be able to keep dogs for a number of years.”


Brown and Young were each sentenced to eight weeks in jail, suspended for 12-months. 

They were both ordered to carry out 100 hours of community service and pay £260 costs.

Brown was banned from keeping dogs for 10 years (expires December 2019). Young was banned from keeping dogs for five years (expired December 2014).

BBC News
Northern Echo

Caerphilly: Joel Joshua White

#TheList Joel Joshua White, born 29/08/1989, of Graig Terrace, Senghenydd, Caerphilly CF83 4HN – tormented a 10-week-old kitten whom he eventually strangled to death.

Kitten killer and sadistic bully Joel Joshua White, who now runs a photography business in Senghenydd, Caerphilly with wife Sinead White.
Kitten killer and sadistic bully Joel Joshua White, who now runs a photography business in Senghenydd, Caerphilly with wife Sinead White.

In November 2008 White strangled a 10-week-old male kitten named Pepsi before putting his tiny body in a plastic bag in the freezer.

Aside from a penchant for animal cruelty White is by all accounts a nasty piece of work who used the much older woman with whom he was living – Pepsi’s owner – for money, food and shelter. There is a suggestion that he physically abused her.

The court heard that White was bisexual and that he enjoyed taunting the woman about his sexual exploits with men.

White had bought the kitten, along with two others, for the woman and it was just a few days later when the cruelty began.

Giving evidence from behind a screen, the woman told how White picked up Pepsi and threw him against a curtain. He then put the kitten into a lampshade “to see if he could do any tricks”. The animal fell down, seriously injured, and started to crawl across the floor. White picked Pepsi up once more and snapped his neck. He then wrapped him up in a pillow case and a plastic bag and put him in the freezer.

Despite the appalling cruelty he had inflicted on the tiny, defenceless animal, White received a pitifully short custodial sentence.

As at August 2018 White runs a photography business with wife Sinead. The latter is standing by her man despite being aware of his history of animal cruelty and psychological abuse.

Sentence: 16 weeks in a young offenders’ institution. Disqualified from owning or keeping an animal for 10 years (expires December 2019).

BBC News

Bournemouth, Dorset: Harry Clay

#TheList Harry Clay, born 22/09/1989, of Darracott Road, Bournemouth BH5 – tormented a hamster and eventually killed her by throwing her against a wall

Harry Clay

Ever heard the saying “pick on someone your own size”? Well it’s a pity that Harry Clay from Bournemouth and one-time student of fishery management at Sparsholt College in Hampshire didn’t take heed. The tiny creature he tortured to death was a dwarf hamster named Smudge.

Clay began by tormenting Smudge, who belonged to another student, throwing her up in the air several times and catching her, before dropping her to the ground from a height of 15 feet. Another student picked up the stricken hamster, but Clay grabbed her back and threw her against a wall, finally killing her.

Finally he picked up the little corpse and dropped it into a dustbin.

After a three-day trial, Clay was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a hamster under section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2007.

The principal of Sparsholt College said that they viewed “any form of animal cruelty with the utmost seriousness”. They did not, however, expel Clay but instead said they would try to ensure that “he re-learns the vital lessons of care and respect for all animals”.

Let’s hope they got through to him.

Sentencing: 12-month supervision order; 150 hours of community work. Banned from keeping hamsters for a year.

Daily Mail

Walsall, West Midlands: Jacqueline Hurst and Katie Hurst

#TheList Jackie Hurst, born c. 1961, of  103 Southbourne Avenue, Walsall WS2 9TE and Katie Hurst, born c. 1988, of 39 Manor Road, Walsall WS2 9PU – failed to seek immediate treatment for pet dogs infested with worms and suffering skin disease

Walsall dog abusers Jacqueline Hurst and daughter Katie Hurst
Dog abusers Jacqueline and Katie Hurst were banned for life from keeping animals. Photo also shows Stan Bates who was prosecuted separately for cruelty to two dogs named Lady and Bella.

Two of four puppies belonging to Jacqueline and Katie Hurst died as they did not get veterinary care needed and  the pair instead tried to treat the pets themselves. They admitted five offences of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

Issues with mange and the eye conditions of the three-month-old rottweilers being looked after at two addresses in Forrester Street, Walsall, were raised after they finally took them for vet treatment.

Once the RSPCA became involved they had concerns about an adult rottweiler dog called Lady, four, and a Staffordshire bull terrier suffering similar ailments. Jacqueline Hurst’s partner Stanley Bates (pictured) was later convicted for neglect of those two dogs.

Mr Nick Sutton, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said: “These animals were suffering from a cocktail of ailments so serious they caused the death of two puppies. These people are not fit to have animals.”

The pair pleaded guilty to the charges.

£250 costs each. Jacqueline Hurst – supervision and curfew order. Katie Hurst – 120 hours of unpaid work plus supervision order. Both were disqualified from keeping animals for life.

Express & Star

Ashford, Kent: Melanie King

#TheList breeder Melanie Jean King, born 10/08/1954, of Station Farm, Station Road, Appledore, Ashford TN26 2DG – kept dozens of dogs in cramped and squalid conditions

Neglected puppy on Melanie King's farm

Melanie King, formerly of Whents Farm in Teynham, near Sittingbourne, was given a suspended prison sentence, ordered to undertake unpaid work and to pay over £1000 in costs to Swale Council after breaching the conditions of her dog-breeding licence.

She was sentenced at Sittingbourne Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to 24 offences under Section 1 of the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973.

The court was shown a number of images of 40 dogs on her farm kept in cramped and squalid conditions.

Vets inspecting the premises in December 2008 had raised serious concerns about breeding conditions at the establishment.

It was agreed a new licence would be granted to King for a temporary period. This was to allow her time to deal with hygiene issues raised.

But on three further inspections by council officers and the RSPCA between February and March 2009, numerous breaches of the breeding licence were discovered which led to the prosecution.

Neglected puppy on Melanie King's farm

In sentencing, magistrates told King that had she failed to plead guilty at an early stage, they would have imposed a custodial sentence.

Speaking after sentencing, Swale council’s environmental response manager, Alister Andrews, said: “This conviction is a significant victory not only for us, but also for the animals which were kept at this establishment.”

Sentencing: 140-day suspended prison sentence; 150 hours’ unpaid work; £1,100 costs. Banned for life from breeding dogs, although this was reduced on appeal to just seven years in 2011 (expired).


Rotherham, South Yorkshire: Dawn Rose

#TheList Dawn Elizabeth Rose, born 25/01/1960, previously of Llangolen, North Wales, and more recently Duncan Street, Brinsworth, Rotherham S60 5DE – allowed 72 horses on her failing stud farm to starve

RSPCA inspectors found desperately emaciated animals foraging for scraps of food on Dawn Rose's stud farm.
RSPCA inspectors found desperately emaciated animals on Dawn Rose’s stud farm.

Divorcee Dawn Rose set up a stud farm using a £300,000 pay-out from her ex-partner to fulfil her teenage daughter’s dream of breeding ponies.

But the business was a failure, and when inspectors raided it they found desperately emaciated animals foraging for scraps of food.

Rose pleaded guilty to six charges of causing unnecessary suffering to animals.

The mother-of-two wept as RSPCA prosecutor Glen Murphy said the experienced inspection team had been “stunned” by the appalling condition of the animals on her stud farm.

RSPCA inspector Chris Dunbar first visited Rose in March 2008 when she bought her 42-acre farm to start a stud.

Inspector Dunbar said: “We had concerns from the start as she wasn’t feeding the horses. We kept going back — she listened but did nothing.”

RSPCA inspectors found desperately emaciated animals foraging for scraps of food on Dawn Rose's stud farm.

One horse, a chestnut mare called Mist, was little more than a ‘skeleton with skin stretched over’, and the vet who treated her was amazed she could still stand up.

Three others were so weak that they died soon afterwards.

Rose, who had moved to the area from Norfolk, told investigators her money had run out and she could not afford to pay for the animals.

Sitting at Mold magistrates court, district judge Andrew Shaw told Ms Rose: “You neglected these horses in an obvious and shameful way.”

Mr Dunbar added: “We were happy with the ban. Our job is to stop cruelty and in this case that’s what we feel we’ve done.”

Sentencing: three-month sentence suspended for 12 months; 100 hours of unpaid community work. Banned from keeping or being involved with horses for 10 years (expired 2019).

As a bankrupt, Rose was only ordered to pay £250 of the RSPCA’s prosecution costs of £128,554.

Horse & Hound
Daily Mail