#TheList Kieran John Jerome Mitchell, born 27/05/1995, of Keswick Crescent, Plymouth PL6 – punched and slapped his pet dog 36 times causing him to suffer wounds to his head and ears
Convicted cannabis dealer Mitchell, formerly of Penrose Street, Stonehouse, Plymouth, was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to the bull terrier Hugo in November 2017. He was convicted in his absence back in July 2018 and a warrant issued for his arrest the following month.
Mitchell surrendered to custody in March 2020. He was released on bail but failed to turn up at the next hearing. Magistrates have now issued a further arrest warrant.
The RSPCA, which brought the case, said concerns were raised about the welfare of Hugo, after they were sent an anonymous audio recording of him being beaten and taunted by Mitchell.
RSPCA prosecutor Lindi Meyer told the court it was a “nasty sustained attack” with a total of 36 hits, punches or slaps heard on the recording.
As Mitchell attacked the dog he can be overheard goading him, asking him: “Are you crying now? Whimpering?”
The RSPCA seized Hugo from Mitchell and took him to a vet for examination. The vet found three lesions on his face, one of which was near an eye. The vet said that the beating would have been a traumatic experience for Hugo, causing him to feel “terror, fear, pain and anxiety”.
Mitchell admitted in his interview that he smacked Hugo and would rub his nose in it if he fouled on the floor.
The presiding magistrate told Mitchell: “You acted in anger against an innocent animal.”
Sentencing: 24 weeks in prison. £115 victim surcharge. Banned from owning animals for ten years.
#TheList Robert Iordan, born 28/05/1996, Florin Nutu, born 11/01/1984, and Viorel Manu, born c. 1980, all of 41 Dunsink Road, Birmingham B6 6PL – killed and butchered around 350 sheep in Northamptonshire over four months.
Between June 22 and October 7, 2019, the three Romanian nationals travelled across rural areas in the county, killing and butchering sheep in order to steal the meat and profit from it.
The trio’s attacks on sheep and lambs, which all took place in the dead of night, had the county’s livestock farming community gripped in fear.
But they were hunted down by Northamptonshire Police’s rural crime team, acting on key information from NFU members and farmers, and arrested.
All three eventually pleaded guilty and were sentenced at Northampton crown court.
In a hearing in October 2019, the court heard the gruesome details of how the alleged operation was carried out.
The prosecution lawyer said: “The conspiracy involved the slaughter of about 350 sheep, all that have been slaughtered inhumanely.
“Vehicles and weapons have been taken to the location on local farmers’ fields, the sheep are captured and a knife is taken to their throats and they suffer a slow and painful death.
“A pipe is then inserted into the throat of the sheep which are blown up, they are skinned and their remains are left at the scene.”
NFU county adviser for Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland, Harriet Ranson, who was involved in the case from the beginning and liaised with police throughout, said she was delighted with the outcome.
“These crimes were horrific, barbaric and unprecedented and had the whole livestock farming community in Northamptonshire and neighbouring counties living in fear that they would be next for months,” she said.
“It is fantastic to see the courts treating these appalling crimes with the seriousness they deserve and handing down suitably lengthy prison terms to these dangerous men.
“This case really highlights how important local information from farmers, the NFU and the public is in helping to bring offenders before the courts.
“We’d like to thank Northamptonshire Police, their rural crime team and the police and crime commissioner for their relentless pursuit of these criminals and we hope this case sends out a clear message to anyone planning to do something similar – you will get caught and you will get punished.”
Sentencing: Iordan and Nutu were both handed jail terms of four years and four months and Manu was ordered to serve two years and 11 months inside.
#TheList persistent thug Dalton Prior, born 13/02/1996, of 8 Luggiebank Place, Bargeddie, near Coatbridge G69 7SE – kicked and terrorised his pet dog
Heartless Dalton Prior, who has numerous previous criminal convictions, including some for violence, caused the distressed five-year-old dog, known as Jock, unnecessary suffering by kicking him and pulling him harshly by the lead on November 7, 2019.
Earlier that day, he broke into a house on Drumpark Street with the intention of committing theft. The thug’s catalogue of crime continued when he assaulted a police officer by attempting to headbutt him.
Prior was on bail when he committed the offences.
He also admitted being in possession of a knife in public at Whifflet Court in June 2019.
Prosecutor Jamie Dunbar produced a list of Prior’s previous convictions, which were admitted.
The fiscal depute told Airdrie Sheriff Court: “It was a two-storey house. The householder and his daughter were within.
“At 2.20pm, they heard a door handle move and being forced by a shoulder. They shouted and saw a man running from the door holding a dog. He shouted back, ‘I must be at the wrong door’, and left the area.
“At 2.45pm, witnesses heard a dog yelp and saw a dog on a lead.
“The man with the dog, the accused, was very unsteady on his feet, pulling the dog behind him.
“He turned and kicked the dog. It cried out. He continued to pull the dog harshly.
“The dog was clearly frightened and distressed.
“At 3.05pm, police saw Prior. His speech was slurred. He was detained and searched.
“He became aggressive and motioned his head towards a police officer.
“He was restrained and taken into custody.”
The fiscal depute added: “In another matter at 5.45pm, the accused was known to the complainer.
“He heard a buzzer at his door and shouted to Prior you are not allowed in.
“He replied, ‘I’ve nowhere else to go. He lifted up his top and a black-handled kitchen knife was in the waistband of his trousers.
“Police were contacted and he was arrested.”
Defence lawyer Fraser McKinnon said, in mitigation of his client: “He has been on remand since November 8.
“His record does him no favours, caused by his drug addictions.
“He has several previous convictions.”
Sheriff Derek O’Carroll told Prior: “Given your record, which is very poor, and the nature of the offences, there is no alternative to a custodial sentence.
“You were also on licence at the time. You will return to prison for four months.
“For the incident with the dog, this was unpleasant cruelty.”
Sentencing: jailed for a total of 19 months on all of the charges. Banned from owning or being in control of an animal for three years (expires March 2023).
#TheList Nisar Hussain, born 12/10/1984, formerly of 70 Morgan Road, Sheffield S5 8QT and more recently 203 Emerson Crescent, Sheffield S5 7SY – left a dog to starve to death in his back yard
Nisar Hussain is finally behind bars – more than four years after first appearing in court after evading capture.
Hussain, who has links to St David’s in Pembrokeshire, Wales, pleaded guilty to two offences relating to a Bully Kutta dog called Bella in August 2016.
The case was adjourned for sentencing but he didn’t show up and a warrant had been out for his arrest since.
RSPCA chief inspector Lynsey Harris said: “It has been almost four years since Hussain failed to appear for sentencing in relation to what happened to this dog, the previous September.
“Bella’s body was discovered in the backyard of Hussain’s then Sheffield address (his foreign-born wife and mother of his children, Saiqa Nisar, still lives there) by the dog warden, who had been called the previous night under the guise that Hussain had taken the dog in as a stray.
“She was emaciated, covered in dirt, her face was in a pool of vomit and she was surrounded by mud, faeces and a large number of dog biscuits.
“However several witnesses, including myself, had seen the dog at the property going back to August 10 tethered in the yard, and had given advice on her care.”
Bully Kutta are a very large breed originating in Pakistan and not commonly kept in the UK.
Nisar Hussain was implicated in a 2013 high-profile ‘crash for cash’ case alongside others, but was ultimately acquitted
Sentencing: jailed for 18 weeks with a further 14 days for non-RSPCA related matters, plus 21 days for failing to surrender but to run concurrently. Ordered to pay £615 in costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping animals for life.
#TheList Ian Mark Reidy, born 10/01/1989, of 32 Springfield Avenue, Hereford HR2 7JH – left his horse to suffer with a broken leg for two months
The court heard Reidy failed to act on veterinary advice in relation to his 11-year-old horse, Brownie’s, broken leg between July 26 and September 19, 2019.
RSPCA Inspector Suzi Smith investigated after the animal welfare charity received a call about a horse with a severe untreated leg injury.
Ms Smith said: “Initially it appeared Brownie had collapsed. He seemed unable to get up. The foot was worn at the toe from the continued dragging of it over the weeks. He was wearing a thick rug in warm weather.
“Once we did get him up, he was non-weight bearing on the front leg. Upon removal of the rug it showed he was underweight with muscle atrophy to the broken leg where the muscle had wasted away over the weeks from his inability to use the leg. He had a pressure sore on his hock from the excessive time he had been spending laid down due to the pain.
“An x-ray showed his elbow to be in three pieces and vets found it was too late to perform any surgery to help.
“Reidy had initially called a vet when the injury occurred but refused to follow their advice before putting them off when they called to request a check-up of Brownie on eleven occasions, instead telling them he was getting better, rather than seeking the help Brownie desperately needed.”
Sentencing: 12-week custodial sentence. Ordered to pay a £122 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping any equine for life.
The court also made a seizure order for the remaining horses Reidy owned, but he told the court he had given them away.
#TheList Carl Anthony Dyson, born 03/04/1979, of 90 Belmont Avenue, Blackpool FY1 4BG – killed a cat by dropping a concrete slab onto her head to “put it out of its misery”
Father-of-two Dyson admitted killing the female black and white long-haired cat, called Paddy, at an address on Salthouse Avenue, Blackpool, on October 23, 2019.
The court heard how Dyson had been seen by a neighbour carrying Paddy, wrapped in a pink towel, into his friend’s back garden, where he dropped a large concrete slab twice on the animal’s head.
The witness said they saw the cat trying to wriggle free before Dyson let go of the slab.
Paul Ridehalgh, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said the witness “saw Dyson drop a slab as thick as a laptop on the cat’s head as it lay in the yard”, and added: “She saw the cat try and escape from the blanket before Dyson did the same thing again.”
The neighbour alerted the RSPCA and inspectors found “a plethora” of traumatic injuries to Paddy’s head.
Mr Ridehalgh said: “The inspector observer a black and white plastic cat carrier that appeared to have blood on it. Inside he found the body of a black and white cat.
“The cat appeared to have suffered massive injuries to her head, as it was crushed on one side, with its eye bulging.
“The defendant said he believed the cat may have been hit by a car.”
After telling Paddy’s owner, Anthony Johnson, what had happened, the cat’s body was taken away for further inspection.
Mr Ridehalgh said: “The cat had suffered traumatic injuries to its head. The conclusion was that these injuries were caused by forceful, violent compression of the cat’s head. The death could have been very quick.
“The cat could have been suffering from some cancerous lumps in the head area. Vets also examined the cat and found it to be in a poor condition, it was severely underweight with fleas jumping off her. The fur was matted and covered in faeces.
“The cat’s head had clearly been crushed. The vet’s opinion was that the cat’s injuries were unsurvivable. In her opinion, the cat’s death would have certainly caused suffering… the dropping of a concrete slab on a cat is not an acceptable method of euthanasia, and any reasonable person would have taken the cat to a vet.”
A veterinary examination found the cat had been suffering from a cancerous tumour in the mouth and was severely underweight.
When interviewed by the RSPCA, the defendant claimed he thought the cat had been injured in a road accident and he “panicked”.
Dyson’s lawyer Gary McAnulty of Fylde Law told the court his client “was suffering at the time with some mental health problems, anxiety and depression.”
Sentencing Dyson, magistrate Ed Beaman said: “The cat was trying to escape the blanket and was not so ill as to be accepting of its fate.
“There’s evidence that the cat was distressed while in the blanket prior to the first impact. We believe the cat was still alive prior to the second impact, and this caused distress to both the cat and the witnesses who saw the offence.”
Sentencing: 12 weeks in jail (released on bail after lodging an appeal). Ordered to pay a total of £200 coss and charges. Banned from owning, keeping or managing animals indefinitely.
#TheList Aaron James Williamson, born 12/08/1999, of 33B Westerdale Way, Grimsby DN37 9BY – subjected a kitten to regular beatings and bit off his ear
Aaron Williamson was banned from owning animals for life after a court heard about his sickening catalogue of abuse against the young cat, known as Litten.
The thug admitted he had lost count of how many times he had punched Litten, and said he did so whenever he was angry. He also bit the kitten’s ear multiple times, removing most of it.
Williamson admitted one offence of causing unnecessary suffering to a kitten. Sentencing William, the judge described his actions as “sickening”.
The RSPCA confirmed three kittens were rescued from Williamson’s home on September 11, 2019, following a tip-off.
RSPCA inspector Kate Burris said: “Williamson tortured this kitten. He admitted repeatedly biting Litten’s ear, which resulted in the loss of most of it, and that he had lost count of the times he had punched Litten. He said he did it when he was angry.
“District Judge Curtis said his daily abuse of small, defenceless animals who were unable to harm him and were at his mercy was sickening.
“He said that Williamson had called himself a monster in interview, and that was accurate as to how he behaved.
“We are extremely grateful to the witnesses who contacted us, and got these kittens out of this situation despite the position that put them in. It was very brave.
“I was surprised how friendly Litten was when I first met him given the abuse he had suffered, he was so affectionate and loving and was rubbing his face against mine during his veterinary examination.
“I just knew he was going to make a perfect addition to any family.
“I am so happy that he has found a fantastic new home, with people who love him and are caring for him in the way he always should have been cared for. It could have been a very different outcome for him if we hadn’t been able to intervene when we did.”
Williamson’s two other kittens found a new home together in Derbyshire.
Sentencing: 12 weeks in jail. Ordered to pay £250 costs and a £120 victim surcharge. Lifetime ban on keeping animals.
#TheList Sean Ronald Burns, born 15/08/1970, of Rosehill Lodge, Ferry Lane, Pembroke SA71 4RG, Kenneth Darren Evans, born 09/10/1975, of 28 Llys Caermedi, Carmarthen SA31 1GX, and John A Clayton (dob tbc) of 17 Rhos Las, Carmarthen SA31 2DY – convicted on charges relating to cruelty to animals at Bramble Hall Farm in Pembroke Dock and operation of an illegal slaughterhouse
Sean Burns was convicted of multiple cruelty charges in relation to 215 animals at Bramble Hall Farm, Ferry Lane, Pembroke Dock SA71 4RG.
The charges included the unlicensed breeding of dogs, welfare and animal-keeping regulation charges relating to sheep, horses, dogs, pigs, and goats.
A total of 53 pigs, 80 sheep, three goats, 58 dogs, 20 horses and one donkey were removed from the smallholding after being found living in squalor and without adequate space, food or water.
District Judge Christopher James told Burns he had “deliberately” inflicted suffering over a “significant period of time”.
He told Burns the condition of the animals was “extremely poor”, and that some dogs and puppies had “died due to the neglect suffered at your hands”.
One horse was found with a pipe stuck in its hoof and two horses were found with no access to food or water.
They also found 10 newborn puppies in a plastic food bowl, two of which were dead.
Prosecutor Alexander Greenwood said the dogs were kept in a “hazardous environment”, with no bedding, and the floor wet with urine and faeces.
The court was told the animals displayed signs of “bullying behaviour” as food was so scarce and the bigger animals were keeping the smaller animals away from food.
The prosecution said this case of animal neglect was “one of the worst examples of its kind.”
The court heard Burns failed to provide documentation for any of the animals.
Defending, Aled Owen told the court Burns “has not got the skills to manage this farm efficiently”.
“Quite frankly, my client is illiterate,” he said.
The prosecution followed an investigation by public protection officers from Pembrokeshire Council, supported by Dyfed-Powys Police’s rural crime team.
Sean Burns’ mother Pamela Burns (born 12/08/1945) had faced 24 charges but the case against her ultimately did not proceed because she is said to be suffering from dementia.
Sean Burns was also convicted alongside associates John Clayton and Kenneth Evans on a string of charges relating to food hygiene, operating an illegal slaughterhouse and being involved in the illegal slaughter of sheep to produce ‘smokies’ – a West African delicacy where meat is cooked using a blow torch.
The illegal slaughterhouse operated in one of the agricultural outbuildings, with Clayton and Evans caught in the act by horrified inspectors.
The unit had been set up as a makeshift slaughter hall with six slaughtered sheep at various stages of preparation and further penned sheep awaiting the same fate.
The court was told that conditions in the slaughter hall were insanitary and the floor awash with blood from the slaughtered animals as well as by-products from the slaughter process.
A herd of pigs was seen wandering among suspended sheep carcasses, feeding on the remains of the slaughtered animals.
Approximately six further carcasses of smoked sheep were found bagged in the boot of Evans’ car, ready for onward supply.
Evidence was gathered by officers and the carcasses were seized for condemnation.
A number of sheep were subsequently euthanized for humane reasons and restrictions were placed on the herd of pigs, preventing their movement off-site to address the potential disease risk and to protect the human food chain.
Clayton was convicted in 2002 for the same offence alongside David Jones of Moelfre Farm in Llanwnnen, John Beddows of Tregaron, Ceredigion, Trefor Williams of Llandysul, Ceredigion, Alun Evans and his brother Richard Evans both of Abernewrig, Lampeter, Malcolm Taylor of Oldbury, in the West Midlands, and Alun Lloyd of Llanfrynach, Pembrokeshire
Sentencing for these offences is to follow.
Magistrates in Court in Llanelli formalised that order for the removal of the animals owned by Pamela and Sean Burns of Bramble Hall.
Sentencing: Sean Burns was given 20 weeks in prison for illegal dog breeding, animal welfare charges and other summary matters. Although Pembrokeshire Council have incurred thousands of pounds in costs, Burns was only ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge at this stage. He was handed an indefinite ban from keeping animals, including having any involvement or influence over the care or welfare of animals.