#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 Annette Nally, born 18/03/1969, of Pryor Road, Oldbury B68 9QJ – kept rescued horses in filthy ‘death camps’
In a case brought by the RSPCA, Annette Nally was found guilty on four charges, three of causing unnecessary suffering and one of failing to take reasonable steps to care for an animal. The charges related to eight horses found at a yard off Astwood Lane in Stoke Prior, Worcestershire on July 14, 2018, and others at another yard in Solihull.
Nally had worked with charities and organisations to provide homes for neglected and retired thoroughbreds.
Inspectors found one dead horse and 12 emaciated animals in Stoke Prior. Two of the emaciated horses were later put down.
The RSPCA later visited two other sites in Nally’s control in Lapworth, Warwickshire, and Old Green Lane, Solihull. Seven more horses were found there in a poor condition.
District Judge Ian Strongman told the court how a mare called Ruby and her foal Rebecca were found in a barn by concerned members of the public.
He said: “The floor was made up of urine and faeces, it was a filthy stinking mess.
“In the stable next door a stallion Rocky, who a year before was a fine stallion in prime condition, was in the same situation, skin and bone, living in absolute filth.”
The court was told Ruby, who was starving to death, was put down 24 hours after being found at Stoke Prior and Rebecca had survived because she had still been feeding from her mother.
The shocking evidence included post mortem reports showing animals starved to death. In one case string was found in a gelding’s small intestine which the judge concluded may have been eaten in desperation.
The animal was found dead in a barn at Stoke Prior and the court heard marks in filth on the floor by its head indicated it had thrashed as it struggled to get to its feet during its final hours.
The judge told Nally: “You saw animals deteriorating in front of you and did nothing to stop it.”
He added that RSPCA inspectors had been so traumatised by what the had seen at the yard they were unable to continue working on the investigation.
Nally, who had denied all the charges, claimed the horses in her care had been unable to eat properly because the hot summer had cause grass in the fields not to grow.
She also denied the animals had been left without water and claimed three horses had been affected by a mystery illness which caused their faeces to become bright yellow.
The judge dismissed her explanation as “entirely bogus and untrue”.
In mitigation her solicitor, who wished only to be known as Ms Whitehead, told the court her client has debts including a £2,000 vet’s bill, now works a courier and “just about manages to survive”.
Ms Whitehead added Nally was of previous good character and described the case as a “blip”.
The judge said Nally’s reputation for caring for horses meant the public and the Retraining of Racehorses charity send animals to her in good faith and the breach of trust was an aggravating feature of the case.
#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.
#TheList illegal dog breeder and trader Kevin Bramwell, born 21/02/1957, of John Street, Cannock WS12 2RL
Kevin Bramwell, who gave his address in court as Leathermill Road, Rugeley but actually lives in John Street, Cannock, with his partner, admitted 11 charges – eight of causing unnecessary suffering to animals, one running a breeding establishment without licence, one of having an unlicensed pet shop and one of fraud by false representation
Officers from Cannock Chase Council found 27 dogs and two raccoons inside vehicles and sheds at the premises of KV Plant & Machinery on Power Station Road, Rugeley, Staffordshire, which is operated by Bramwell.
They say the animals were overcrowded, surrounded by faeces and flies, and showing signs of disease.
A local vet was engaged to assess them, and they were taken into the Council’s possession.
The authority cared for the animals, some of which required treatment, whilst the Dogs Trust volunteered to find permanent homes for them.
The subsequent investigation showed that Bramwell was breeding dogs and selling them through several websites.
Adverts were traced back to 2014 and totalled almost £50,000.
By not having the required licences Bramwell was able to operate under the radar.
The Council say Bramwell preyed on unsuspecting members of the public who were unwittingly buying from this illegal puppy farm, in the mistaken belief that he was a legitimate vendor.
Councillor John Preece, Environment Portfolio Leader said “To anyone looking to have a puppy, please consider rehoming a rescue dog from one of the recognised charities that specialise in caring for stray or abandoned dogs.
“If you do decide to buy privately or from a breeder, please make reasonable enquiries about the vendor, ensure you see the mother and puppies together at the place where they were born and raised.
“Check for proof of vaccinations, microchipping and worming.
“If it’s a breeder, check they have the appropriate licence from the Council for breeding dogs or selling pets.
”The best outcome from this case is that the 29 animals were successfully rehomed.
“I must thank the Dogs Trust for their support in achieving this.
“To anyone considering operating an illegal puppy farm within the District, this case shows you will be found and you will be prosecuted as demonstrated today.”
Sentencing: 18-week prison sentence for animal welfare and licensing offences and a further 52 weeks for fraud. A minimum 35 weeks of the sentence to be served in custody with the remainder on licence. Disqualified from keeping any animal for 10 years with no review for five years.
Additional info: we understand that Smyth may have moved out of Larkhall in May 2019 and may be living in Burnbank, Hamilton. He is said to be a bit of a drifter who moves around constantly. He has apparently been in and out of jail for years, for all different offences. He has a lengthy criminal record, much of it involving violence against women. He also has drug and alcohol issues.
#TheList Lee Martin Boyle, born c. 1977, and partner Dawn Nixon, born c. 1980, both of 11 Pendower Way, Newcastle upon Tyne NE15 6SN – allowed their pet dog to become so malnourished he couldn’t stand
Lee Boyle was already banned from keeping animals for life following a conviction in 2006 alongside mother Alice Edgar and junkie brother David Boyle. That case involved the appalling neglect and starvation of a rottweiler named Bella, who had to be put to sleep due to her poor condition, and a crossbreed named Buster.
This time Boyle was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a Staffordshire bull terrier/American bulldog cross known as Troy along with his partner Dawn Nixon.
The RSPCA was called in to investigate after a witness spotted Troy looking so skeletal he was described as a “dead dog walking”.
The dog was emaciated and suffering from such bad malnutrition he was trembling and unable to stand, the court heard. He had wounds on his front paws, hip bones and on the back of his legs which were red raw and bleeding when he was found.
Boyle told RSPCA Inspector Kirsty Keogh-Laws Troy had not seen a vet for two years.
And after examining the evidence collected by the RSPCA, vets concluded that Troy had been suffering from malnutrition and emaciation for more than five weeks.
The case against them had been proved in their absence after they failed to attend an earlier hearing.
In mitigation the court heard Boyle had been forced to leave the family home and Troy’s condition had arisen whilst not in his care. Nixon stated she could not look after Troy to the extent she would have liked to due to work commitments.
Sentencing the pair, District Judge Begley called it an “appalling case of cruelty”.
Inspector Keogh-Laws said: “It was heartbreaking to see the photos of Troy in such an awful condition when he was found. There is no excuse to allow an animal to get into such an appalling condition and not seek help.
“There is always help available for those people who need it and we encourage people to seek out this help to prevent animals suffering.
“Owning an animal is a privilege – but this couple’s failure to address the causes of Troy’s poor bodily condition meant that was clearly not appreciated in this case.”
Sentencing: Boyle – 24-week jail sentence, total of £225 costs and charges. New disqualification for life from keeping animals.
Nixon – 18-month community order including 200 hours of unpaid work; total of £285 costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping animals for life.
#TheList Steffan Lee Harris, born 17/12/93, and Barbara Ray Howell, born 21/08/93, of Gorwyn, Tenby Road, St Clears, Carmarthen SA33 4JN – kept dozens of dogs in shocking conditions at illegal puppy farm
Steffan Lee Harris and partner Barbara Ray Howell pleaded guilty to animal welfare offences, running a dog breeding business without a licence, and consumer offences relating to the advertising of dogs online.
Animal inspectors found starving and sick dogs being held in sheds and barns at premises operated by the couple who sold puppies online while pretending to be private sellers.
Paul Hobson, prosecuting, told the court how the couple advertised on a website called, ironically, he said, preloved.co.uk.
One buyer paid £225 for a puppy from a caravan the pair rented at Waun Dwni farm, Tanygroes. The animal became ill before the buyer got back home to Cardiff and they ended up paying £700 in vet’s bills.
Mr Hobson said the puppy had not been microchipped, vaccinated or treated for fleas as the couple had claimed in their advertisement.
A major investigation followed, first by Ceredigion County Council and then by the RSPCA.
Inspectors found 82 dogs being kept in poor conditions – 49 breeding females, 12 males and 21 puppies ready for sale.
Many of the dogs were kept in small enclosures with little light or access to fresh air with poor or muddy bedding and sharp corners and low-hanging electrical cables across the pens.
A lurcher could hardly move, a terrier was tied to a breeze block and a collie had a body score of one out of nine and was close to death.
Another dog was kept in a sealed container and it appeared impossible for anyone to get in to feed or water her, said Mr Hobson.
Inspectors also found pigs squealing through lack of food and water, and chickens that appeared not to have been fed or given access to water. One chicken collapsed in front of them.
The court heard Harris, who was present during the inspection, was “less than cooperative” during the process.
Harris and Howell both admitted cruelty offences in relation to the pigs and Harris to the chickens.
Mr Hobson said further investigation showed that Harris had a flock of 110 sheep on nearby land, which he rented.
The owner became concerned because he did not seem to be there to look after them and inspectors found sheep carcasses that should have been disposed of properly.
After Harris was made aware of their concerns the sheep disappeared, apart from 19 which he seemed to have simply abandoned.
Mr Hobson said an initial financial investigation suggested the couple had banked £150,000 between 2013 and 2018 through the sale of puppies.
A Proceeds of Crime Act investigation is underway to determine how much money could been confiscated from them. That matter will be settled at a court hearing on 15 November, 2019.
After his arrest Harris said he wanted to get the puppy farm up and running before applying for a licence.
Howell said she only looked after the paperwork.
For Harris and Howell James Hartson said he accepted that anyone seeing the photographs of the dogs could not fail to be mortified.
“They had ambitions for a business but lost control. It is likely the financial consequences will be punitive,” he added.
Mr Hartson urged the judge not to impose banning orders preventing the defendants from owning or being concerned in the care of dogs as that would effectively stop Harris from carrying out his work as a herdsman.
Judge Peter Heywood said animals were defenceless and Harris and Howell had housed them in totally inappropriate surroundings.
“This was a significant commercial enterprise and Harris was the driving force,” he added.
“You were in it to make money and had no regard for the welfare of the animals.”
The judge said Harris, who cannot read or write, had been the “driving force” behind the enterprise while Howell had assisted him.
He said he would be failing in his public duty if he suspended Harris’ sentence, but took into account that Howell had a young child when sentencing her.
Sentencing: Harris was jailed for six months (half to be served on licence) while Howell was given a four-month suspended sentence and ordered to complete a rehabilitation activity requirement. Both were made the subject of banning orders preventing them from owning or being concerned in the care of dogs, chickens, and sheep for the next five years.
#TheList Jacob Peter Marshall, born 14/02/1996, of 27 Harrowins Farm Drive, Queensbury, Bradford BD13 1DQ – killed his pet dog Lucy by stabbing her seven times and shooting her three times in the head with an airgun
Marshall, who is originally from Burnley Road, Sowerby Bridge, Calderdale, West Yorks, videoed some of his attack on German Shepherd cross Lucy (pictured) and sent the footage to his ex-partner.
RSPCA investigators found the knife Marshall used on Lucy covered in blood in a locked safe in his house.
A neighbour of Marshall’s commented on the CLUK FB page that she had witnessed him beating Lucy on a regular basis and had reported him to the authorities.
It has also been alleged that Marshall – apparently a drug and alcohol abuser – had killed a dog previously by deliberately running her over in his car.
Sentencing: Jailed for 26 weeks. Fine to be paid. Five-year restraining order. Banned from keeping an animal for life.
#TheList Roma gypsies from Hungary Norbert Farkas, born 25/09/1989, and Leila Katalin Horvath, born c. 18/02/1991, previously of Parkside Road, Birkenhead CH42 – struck a mother dog with a metal bar, fed her sausages laced with anti-freeze, left her to suffer for three days in agony and finally stabbed her to death.
Wirral Magistrates’ Court heard how on April 5, 2019 RSPCA inspector Anthony Joynes was contacted by environmental health officers to attend an alleyway off Parkside Road in Birkenhead.
Chris Murphy, prosecuting, told the court how Inspector Joynes found a dead American bulldog wrapped in bin bags and a paddling pool.
Mr Murphy said that the dog’s body was covered with live maggots.
The court heard how Inspector Joynes then went to question Norbert Farkas about the dead dog as his home overlooked the alleyway.
Farkas initially said that that the dog was not his, but then admitted ownership.
He said that the dog, an American bulldog named Luna, who had recently given birth to 12 puppies, had attacked him. He said he hit the dog with a metal bar in self-defence and to protect his partner Leila Horvath.
When Inspector Joynes later questioned Horvath, she admitted that she fed the dog anti-freeze and then stabbed her.
Farkas pleaded guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
Horvath pleaded guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, one count of poisoning and failing to see that the dog received proper medical attention.
Mr Murphy later provided graphic details of the events that led up to the dog’s death.
He explained how Farkas struck the dog with a weights bar.
After going online to research how to kill a dog, Horvath fed the animal chicken land sausages aced with anti-freeze.
The court heard that Horvath thought the dog would die quickly but the animal lay in the alleyway lingering to life.
On the third day Horvath took a large knife and later stabbed the animal in the throat.
Mr Murphy made it clear that the couple would have been able to see the dog as it lay whimpering in the alleyway over a three day period.
District Judge Nicholas Sanders told the court that the case was one of “unimaginable cruelty”.
Horvath told probation officers that Luna’s behavior began to deteriorate after she gave birth to puppies.
She said that she bought anti-freeze from a nearby garage and laced it on sausages, which were fed to the dog.
Horvath said that she thought the dog would die quickly but she did not.
She said that the dog was making “strange noises” and she was concerned that neighbours might call the police. She then decided to grab a large kitchen knife and stab the dog to death.
She told probation officers that they had been reviled by the local community after the incident and had to move to a new address.
Farkas said he had been advised by health professionals to buy a large dog to help treat his mental health problems and stress.
Farkas also claimed that Luna became aggressive toward them after she gave birth to puppies. He claimed that this aggressive behaviour led up to the attack on him.
He claimed to have suffered a panic attack after the dog attacked him and said that was why his partner decided to kill her.
Thomas Hanlon, defending, said that Horvath took full responsibility for her actions.
He said that the couple arrived in the UK from Hungary in 2010 and had both worked full time since arriving, contributing to society.
Mr Hanlon said that the couple had been targeted after their animals were seized by the RSPCA, and that a petrol bomb was thrown at their home.
He said the couple were forced to leave their home in the night after the attack.
Mr Murphy said that a vets report found that if the dog had attacked Farkas in the way he claimed he would have suffered serious injuries which he did not have.
District Judge Sanders told the couple: “You struck the dog with a metal bar, and then you poisoned it with anti-freeze before stabbing it.
“It is hard to imagine a more cruel way of dealing with an animal.”
Speaking after the case, RSPCA inspector Joynes told the ECHO: “Farkas said that Luna had ‘gone for’ his foot and that although there was no injury, it hurt and he felt fear for his and his partner’s life. He described using a metal weightlifting bar to forcefully strike Luna two to three times on the head.
“Farkas stated that Luna had been alive in the garden for around an hour. Horvarth admitted that she had then gone outside and given Luna antifreeze in sausages.”
“Horvath said she had researched the cost of getting a dog euthanised and had also researched poisoning dogs and what chemical to use. Over the next few days, Luna was in the garden slowly dying from poisoning until she was stabbed to death three days later.
“It is absolutely horrific to think what Luna went through. Luna was caused suffering on multiple levels over several days, which was unnecessary and cruel.
“Horvath and Farkas knew Luna could have been put to sleep humanely by a vet but evidence shows that she was killed in her own way over a period of several days, leaving her to suffer greatly.”
A male American bulldog and 12 puppies were seized from Horvath’s and Farkas’ address by police while an investigation was carried out.
Vet examinations of the puppies showed that they were suffering from respiratory illnesses.
All 12 puppies have now been rehomed. The male dog is now in RSPCA care and will be re-homed.
Sentencing: jailed for 10 weeks. Banned from keeping animals for life with minimum of 10 years.
#TheList donkey ride operator Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Wheeler, born c. 1977, of Haydn Road, Liverpool L14 – let his horse die slowly and painfully from poisoning
Ronnie Wheeler admitted three charges of animal neglect at Liverpool Magistrates Court.
Wheeler left his horse Oscar grazing in a field in Fazakerley which contained the poisonous weed ragwort – which is deadly to horses – despite being warned by Liverpool council to remove it.
The RSPCA were called to the field on August 6, 2018, after receiving reports from members of the public who were concerned about the horse’s welfare.
When inspector Joanne MacDonald arrived at the scene with a veterinary surgeon they could see the horse was staggering around and collapsing.
They realised he was blind, was struggling to stand and was unable to swallow.
The vet decided Oscar needed to be put to sleep to end his suffering and a post-mortem examination confirmed he had been poisoned by ragwort after being exposed to it for many weeks or even months.
The vet also described Oscar as having a low body score for his physical condition, and also revealed a significant worm burden.
The court heard two months before, on June 15, the council had sent a letter to Wheeler urging him to remove the weed which in some places had grown to three feet tall.
Inspector MacDonald said: “It was an awful case to deal with as poor Oscar was clearly suffering. He was collapsing and the ragwort had caused his blindness which meant he was walking into things and was clearly in a distressed state.
“To make matters worse Wheeler had been told previously to remove the ragwort by the council but he had failed to do this.
“Responsible horse owners should know ragwort is damaging to the horse’s liver when eaten. The toxic effect builds up over time, causing irreparable damage.”
Sentencing: jailed for 12 weeks; ordered to pay £786 costs and a £115 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping equines for 10 years.