#TheList Lesley Cameron (aka Lesley Grimshaw), born 01/04/1960 of 30 Dundas Gardens, Whitby YO21 1HD and Alexander Cameron, born 08/10/88 of 2 Greens Yard, Church Street, Whitby YO22 4AY – left their pet dog suffering in pain with a foul-smelling infection
Lesley Cameron and her son Alexander Cameron pleaded guilty to offences related to causing unnecessary suffering to their pet dog, Tigerlilly The Akita was suffering from a painful uterus infection but her owners failed to take her to the vet for treatment.
The court heard that an RSPCA inspector visited the pair’s home on November 28, 2019, after concerns were raised that the dog had missed her last three vet appointments.
Upon arrival, the RSPCA, along with North Yorkshire Police, found Tigerlily in a sorry state and suffering from pyometra.
RSPCA inspector Claire Little said: “I’ve met Tigerlily many times over many years and she’s a very friendly dog who has always come to the door to meet me.
“Upon entering the room where Tigerlily was lying on the floor, there was a noticeable and unpleasant smell, and she didn’t get up which worried me.
“I encouraged her to stand up so I could check her over, which she did, and she had lost weight from my last visit.
“Immediately I could see that the fur around her back end was wet and dirty.
“As she stood up I could smell the unpleasant smell more strongly and upon closer examination, I saw a greeny milky coloured discharge from her body
“The fur around there was soaked and appeared sticky when touched and her fur was matted.”
She added: “Ms Cameron allowed me to take Tigerlily to the vets for examination and she was taken into possession by police on vet advice and placed in RSPCA care pending the outcome of my investigation.
“Tigerlily is doing really well with a foster family at the moment I am really happy that we’ll now be able to find a permanent home for her, where her needs will always be met.”
In addition to the disqualification, a deprivation order was placed on Tigerlily whose care will now pass to the RSPCA.
Sentencing: Alexander Cameron – 12-month community order with 10 rehabilitation activity requirement days; 140 hours of unpaid work; total of £290 in costs and charges.
Lesley Cameron 12-month community order with 10 rehabilitation activity requirement days; £290 in costs and charges.
Both were banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
The court was told how neighbours called the RSPCA to Tolley’s flat, as they were concerned her dog had been left unattended in the property for some time. They said they had not seen Tolley for several days.
Inspector Emma Dingley was sent to the address and knocked on the door but when she got no reply she looked through the letterbox and could see Roo collapsed on the hallway floor in her own faeces.
She was in an emaciated state and Emma could see a huge tumour on her front leg.
She called the police for assistance so she could enter the property and rescue Roo.
The poorly dog was extremely cold and was too weak to stand or lift her head. Emma carried her out of the property and rushed her to the RSPCA’s Greater Manchester Animal Hospital.
Staff at the centre placed heat pads on Roo as she was suffering from hypothermia and gave her fluids as she was severely dehydrated. Her body temperature was found to be just 33.8C where the normal body temperature should be around 39C.
The veins were very collapsed, which made placement of a catheter for fluid replacement very difficult. It was thought the collapse of the veins was due to both dehydration and hypothermia.
A vet also found a large mass, approximately 12cm by 20cm which was ulcerated and would have been present for weeks causing intense suffering to the dog but Tolley had not sought veterinary treatment.
Emma said: “Roo was in an awful state when I went to rescue her. She was laid in her only faeces and couldn’t stand as she was so weak and in poor health
“She was freezing as there was no heating in the property so I wrapped her in a blanket and comforted her.
“She was clearly starved and as I cradled her in my arms to carry her to the van she knew I was trying to help her and she tried to wag her tail. It was heart-breaking.
“Staff at the animal hospital were doing all they could to save her but she was basically dying in front of our eyes and there was nothing we could do. She refused to eat even though she was starving.
“Sadly the following day she had deteriorated further so the vet made the decision to put Roo to sleep to end her suffering.
“It was so upsetting for us all – I just take some comfort from the fact she had kind people with her when she died and was not frightened and alone in the flat.
“This was a very upsetting case to deal with and there is never any excuse to abandon a pet – particularly in such a callous way.”
Sentencing: six-week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months; 20 days of rehabilitation activity requirement; £100 costs. Five-year ban on keeping animals.
#TheList serial domestic abuser Samuel Thomas Johnson, born 04/06/1985, of Ashwell Drive, Shirley, Solihull B90 3LR – kicked a dog repeatedly during a drunken and drug-fuelled attack on his girlfriend; traumatised dog put to sleep weeks later
Former soldier Johnson, who was previously cautioned for domestic violence against another woman, threw his girlfriend to the floor and strangled her before kicking Staffy Rosie as she desperately tried to protect her owner
The woman’s young son was upstairs while Johnson battered her and Rosie. The brave and loyal dog was left so traumatised by the vicious attack, she had to be put down by the vets just months later.
In passing sentence, the judge said Johnson had the power to inflict serious damage with his fists along with an issue with his temper.
He touched upon his ‘worrying’ history of two other actual bodily harm (ABH) offences, one inflicted upon a previous partner, and said future girlfriends needed ‘protecting’.
Despite this the judge concluded by wishing Johnson “all the best” as he passed a suspended sentence.
The court heard Johnson is now seeing a psychiatrist in relation to his time in the army, though his defence solicitor said the most recent assault could not entirely be attributed to his traumas.
Sentencing: four-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months. 30 days of rehabilitation activity and a structured intervention for domestic abuse course. 10-year restraining order. No ban on keeping animals was imposed.
#TheList Anthony Bittlestone, born 28/12/1970, of Lilywhite Terrace, Easington Lane, Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland DH5 – banned from keeping animals after his dog was found starving.
Jack Russell Riley was described as “emaciated” and weighed just 3kg when found, which was less than half of the recommended weight for his breed. His nails were overgrown and he was also shedding fur. The floor of the kitchen where he was kept was littered faeces.
His owner Anthony Bittlestone pleaded guilty to two offences of causing unnecessary suffering and failing to ensure the dog’s welfare.
RSPCA prosecutor Stewart Haywood told the court that an inspector first visited Bittlestone’s house on September 30, 2019, but was not allowed in. He did, however, see Riley and noticed that his hips, ribs and spine were clearly visible. Inspector Haywood gave Bittlestone advice on improving the dog’s body condition.
The RSPCA paid further visits to Bittlestone’s home in October 2019 but there was no answer at the door.
After receiving no contact from Bittlestone, the RSPCA gained access to the property and found Riley in a “shocking condition”.
Mr Haywood said: “Riley was extremely thin and very lethargic. The kitchen floor was littered with faeces and the smell was described as disgusting.”
The pet was taken to a vet and examined. Blood tests were also carried out.
“Riley had a weight of 3.09kg, an emaciated body condition,” said Mr Haywood. “A dog of that type should weigh about 7kg.
“The dog was shedding fur and its nails were too long. Blood test results showed that Riley had simply been starved.”
Jason Smith, representing Bittlestone, said this happened at a time when the defendant, who worked as a milkman, was experiencing difficulties.
His partner had left him and his father had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Bittlestone found himself struggling to look after his parents and the dog as well as keeping up with his work, it was said.
Mr Smith added: “While Riley was clearly underweight, there was actually no long-term deficit at all. There was no internal damage, no veterinary or medical condition to show that Riley will be adversely affected.
“Mr Bittlestone was feeding Riley. The reality is that Riley was clearly not getting the nutritional value from the food that has been given to him.”
Sentencing: 18-month community order, 25 days of rehabilitation activities and 150 hours of unpaid work; £490 in costs. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
#TheList Steven Sai Chong To, born 21/03/1992, and wife Charlotte Plimmer, born 15/11/1996, both of 13 Theatre Royal Apartments, 15 Shoplatch, Shrewsbury SY1 1HR – for cruelty offences relating to four kittens
Takeaway worker Steven To killed two kittens and inflicted months of abuse on two others while his wife, Charlotte To (née Plimmer) failed to react to the ongoing cruelty.
Between August 2018 and March 2019, the Tos inflicted abuse which RSPCA veterinarian Dr David Martin said was the worst he had seen in his 22 years of practice.
The court heard how eight-week-old kittens Jin and Sun, and two-month-old pets Moon and Mew, suffered seizures, broken bones, infections, hair and skin loss, multiple amputations and tail lacerations which left one “hanging on by a thread”.
Steven To pleaded guilty to three animal cruelty charges relating to harming the cats, and Charlotte To pleaded guilty to four charges of failing to provide a safe environment and veterinary care.
Prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, Sara Pratt, said: “The defendants lived together with their kittens in a flat in Shrewsbury.
“Over the period of August 2018 and March 2019, they acquired a total of four kittens, two of which were killed while in the care of the defendants, as a result of the actions of Steven To – Jin was almost 12 weeks old and Mew was just five months old at the time of their deaths.”
The court heard Jin and Sun were registered at Animal Trusts Vets and deemed healthy in August 2018, before Moon and Mew were registered at a different practice, Copthorne Veterinary Clinic, in November 2018.
Ms Pratt added: “On September 14, 2018, a phone call was made to Animal Trust Vets reporting that Jin had been playing, knocked over some recycling, started having a seizure and died.
“On September 21, Sun was anaesthetised and X-rays revealed a fresh fracture to her right tibia.”
The court heard in October 2018, Sun was taken to the vets with two “kinks” in her tail, before returning three days later with it “hanging off”.
The defendants bought Moon and Mew in November 2018, before Sun was taken to the vets again with hair and skin loss.
Mew then suffered an injury to her chin where the skin had become detached from her jaw bone and required surgery, the court heard.
Ms Pratt said: “Just seven days after surgery to her avulsed chin, Mew was returned to Copthorne Vets with an extreme fracture dislocation midway down the tail – all tendons had been ripped.”
Mew was found dead on the kitchen floor days after returning from the vets following a tail amputation.
The court heard that an RSPCA post mortem found evidence of blunt trauma to the right side of the cat’s thorax and neck, as well as evidence that the cat had lost blood externally through the nose.
The court then heard how in February 2019, Moon was taken to Abbey Veterinary Centre starved, and again with a leg fracture in March.
Following concerns raised by the veterinary practices and the RSPCA, later that month Moon and Sun were seized by police and a full investigation was launched.
A report by Dr Martin stated that it was “clear” all four cats sustained “serious injuries” and that two died from “traumatic incidents”.
He added: “It is exceptionally unusual to have such a significant incidence of serious trauma in four cats over such a short period of time, to the extent that in 22 years of veterinary practice, I have never seen or heard of such a high incidence of serious injury.”
District Judge Kevin Grego said there was “no doubt” a lifetime ban was necessary for Mr To, and that Mrs To should not have “covered her eyes” to the ongoing abuse.
He said: “The penny must have dropped after a short period of time. She [Mrs To] either should have got those animals out of the house or at the very least ensured it wasn’t going to happen again.”
Judge Grego added: “Animal cruelty is incisive of a mindset that’s corrosive and damaging – that’s what makes this so serious.
“There should be no doubt the animals that died and suffered did so as a result of deliberate cruelty from you, Steven.
“That cruelty and death could have been avoided if you, Charlotte, didn’t frankly cover your eyes and accept what your husband told you when you knew what you were being told was unsustainable
Sentencing: Steven To was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, with 200 hours of unpaid work, 25 days of rehabilitation, a lifetime ban on keeping animals and was ordered to pay £5,000 court costs, more than £3,500 in vets’ fees and a £122 surcharge.
Charlotte To was given a 12-month community order, with 25 days of rehabilitation, 40 hours of unpaid work, a seven-year ban on owning animals and was ordered to pay £390 costs.
#TheList Amy Woodhouse, born 02/06/1985, of 152 Holmfield Close, Pontefract WF8 2NE – left her pet dog to suffer in agony for weeks with an infected ear
RSPCA inspector Kris Walker said: “I first saw Max in May of last year. He was in good body condition, bright and alert, but was a little scabby down his back. His left ear appeared infected, it was oozing yellow pus-like liquid and seemed to be very sore as he cried when I touched it.
Inspector Walker continued: “A little over a month later I spoke to her on the phone and she said she had only just got the money together to take Max to the vets and that he was booked in for the next day.
“I spoke to her again a few days later and was told he’d been given some medication and needed to go back in another seven days so I stressed again how important it was that he go.
“I tried to reach her on the phone after that and got no reply and when I contacted the vets was told she hadn’t returned with Max so I went back to the property to check on him, however his owner wouldn’t let me in.
“I attended with police on the following day, 13th July, almost two months since I’d first seen Max. He was crying as soon as I touched his ear, it was swollen, smelled strongly and appeared yellow and thickened. He was scratching and shaking his head.
“His owner gave permission for me to take him to the vets where his ears were causing him so much pain that I couldn’t get photos of inside them as it was just too much for him.”
Max was taken into possession by police on veterinary advice and kept at the vets overnight for treatment.
In court, Woodhouse admitted three offences under the Animal Welfare Act.
In mitigation, the court heard that the defendant recognised that she was failing to cope but at least made one attempt to take the dog to the vets.
Sentencing: 12-month community order including 20 rehabilitation activity days; ordered to pay £85 victim surcharge. Disqualified from keeping animals for 10 years.
A deprivation order was placed on Max who will now pass into RSPCA care for rehoming.
#TheList Paula McNeil, born 06/01/1981, of 30 Yew Tree Road, Moreton, Wirral CH46 8UB – failed to take her desperately ill dog to the vet and left her to suffer for months in agony
Paula McNeil was banned from keeping animals for six years after “one of the worst cases” an RSPCA inspector said they had come across.
Inspector Anthony Joynes said the dog – a bull terrier cross known as Sahara – was “completely let down by her owner, became emaciated and was and left to suffer” with an untreated burst abscess on her neck and chin. She was in such a bad way vets had no choice but to put her to sleep on humane grounds.
McNeil admitted neglecting Sahara and pleaded guilty to one charge of causing unnecessary suffering.
Inspector Joynes was first called to investigate after McNeil had taken Sahara to the vets to be put down on September 11, 2019.
Seeing that the dog was in pain, the vet complied but alerted the RSPCA.
Inspector Joynes was sent to collect the body of Sahara and a detailed veterinary examination was carried out the following day.
He said: “As soon as I entered the surgery I was met with an incredibly strong and unforgettable smell of necrosis and infection.
“I described the dog as being emaciated with the bones of the ribs, pelvis and spine being clearly visible.
“There was clear muscle atrophy and the coat was dull, sticky and stained throughout, particularly the rear legs, with faeces and urine.
“I observed a large melon-sized open necrotic mass which appeared to cover the whole of the dog’s neck under the chin.
“There was pus clearly visible oozing out of this area as it was manipulated and the smell was overpowering. I noted two other severe, deep open sores to the front right leg which had the appearance of pressure sores.
“Both of these wounds appeared to be right down to the bone and pus was present.
Hollie Jones, a vet at Upton Veterinary Centre, who carried out a detailed veterinary examination said in her medical report that the most notable abnormality was a very large ulcerated ruptured mass present on the jaw and neck extending into the right side of the face.
Part of it was exposing underlying tissues where the mass had burst and there was a large amount of pus coming from the area and parts of the skin were necrotic. She said Sahara would have suffered with this wound for months.
She also found severe pressure sores on her right side – these were full thickness through the skin to the bones – exposing tendons and other joints.
Faeces and urine had caused an infection in the sores suggesting that Sahara had been left in a collapsed state laying on her side for at least a week.
She was also severely emaciated with all her bones protruding and weighed 18.2 kgs.
The vet said she would have expected a dog of this type to weigh around 39kg and added the wound to her neck would have made eating in the latter stages impossible
McNeil claimed during her interview that the abscess was caused by a bee sting just weeks before.
Inspector Joynes said: “The vet report shows Sahara had been suffering from this abscess in her neck for months without treatment and because of this it had broken down and become necrotic.
“This had led to her collapsed state and pressure sores on her body indicate she was left like this for weeks. She was also unable to eat because of the severity of the wound.
“There is never an excuse to deprive any pet in need of veterinary attention and in this case Sahara was neglected for such a long period of time. Photographs show how she was a healthy dog before.
“In my 11 years as an inspector it was one of the worst cases of its type I have come across – she was completely let down by her owner and left to suffer. Even when she had collapsed help was not sought for her immediately.”
Sentencing: 12-month community order for a period of 12 months, with 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days; 160 hours of unpaid work. Ordered to pay a total of £1,395.86 in costs and charges. Six-year ban on keeping animals.
Lindi Meyer, prosecuting, said the defendant lived with Rocco and his partner Hilson. Both accepted responsibility for the pet.
The RSPCA and police went to the house on September 2, 2019, after reports of an injured dog. Initially the pair did not answer but Hilson let them in just as police were about to force entry.
The dog had obvious leg and head injuries, said the prosecutor.
Hilson said Rocco had hurt his leg trying to get over a gate almost a month before. She confirmed he had not seen a vet.
“There was a strong smell of ammonia and faeces on the floor,” added Ms Meyer.
A police officer said the injured state of the dog was ‘heartbreaking’ and he had never seen such a badly injured animal before.
Rocco had multiple cuts, dislocated femur, swelling, two large head wounds that were so severe vets were unable to examine his right eye, a fractured tooth, cheek, three fractured ribs, and a fracture to the right hock which was several weeks old and so severe the leg had to be amputated.
There were stains on the carpets which Hilson said Rocco had left after he injured his head trying to escape from his cage.
Dolling said the injury to Rocco’s leg happened about one and a half months before when he tried to jump over a door. Both denied mistreating him and Dolling said he didn’t take him for treatment because he thought the vet might think he had beaten him. He couldn’t explain the fracture to the dog’s eye and denied beating him. He said he thought the animal would die without vet attention.
Texts between the two revealed more of what really happened to the dog.
Hilson demanded to know what had happened to Rocco’s face. Dolling replied: “I just went mad on him earlier. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it. I’m f****d.”
Hilson said the dog was ‘only a baby’ and hadn’t done anything to deserve such treatment.
Dolling answered: “You know what I get. I get what you’re saying. I’m sorry, I’m a nasty c**t.”
Hilson said there was a history of domestic violence in the relationship. Dolling now accepted responsibility for what he had done.
Nobody was present at the time Dolling injured the dog and the court was not told what triggered his violence. A vet found the injuries had been sustained by blunt force trauma on at least two occasions. They would have caused considerable pain for Rocco for at least six weeks. The skull fracture was caused by being struck with a ‘heavy linear object’ not consistent with Dolling’s explanation about the door. Injuries to the ribs were caused by kicks, stamps, or throwing against an object, said the vet.
Ms Meyer said Dolling’s actions had been ‘deliberate, gratuitous and caused suffering and pain on a number of occasions’. There had been prolonged neglect over months and no vet treatment despite both being aware of the injuries.
The court was played a video of Rocco in the care of the RSPCA, running and chasing a ball. “He’s doing really well,” after learning to walk again, said the prosecutor.
Hilson has yet to sign him over to the RSPCA’s care and has stated she wants him back.
Ben Darby, defending, said Dolling accepted full responsibility for the injuries and was ‘tearful’ and sorry for what he had done. He wanted help for his anger management issues and was motivated to change.
“These are pretty horrendous offences,” said Mr Darby. But he said Dolling had held his hands up and admitted his crime, even though nobody saw him cause the injuries and for that he should be given credit.
Hilson, who did not cause injuries to Rocco, admits a lesser charge under the Animal Welfare Act. She will be sentenced at a later date.
Sentencing: suspended four-month jail sentence. He was told to do up to 10 days anger management with probation and 60 hours of unpaid work. He was banned from keeping all animals for life but can appeal after just five years.
Natasha Rose Hilson, born 10/08/1994, also of 24A Briseham Road, Brixham, Torbay, Devon TQ5 9NS, has been sentenced for failing to seek veterinary care for Rocco while he was suffering from his injuries.
She must carry out 10 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days and 240 hours’ unpaid work.
She was also disqualified from owning any animal for 15 years, with no application to lift this for five years, and must pay £200 costs.
#TheList lifelong loser Niall Martin, born c. 1990, previously of Speedwell Road, Colchester and now the Strand in Ipswich – threw a police dog against a car, tried to choke her and wrenched her jaw open
Police were called after a row broke out between Niall Martin and his partner in Colchester and officers attended along with police dog, Ivy.
Martin was hiding and when the highly trained German Shepherd bit him. He reacted by hurling her against the car, choking her and pulling apart her jaws.
In a statement read out in court, Ivy’s dog handler said she genuinely feared for the animal’s life.
She said: “She bit him on the arm and then Martin threw Ivy against a parked car.
“I heard Ivy yelp with pain, he was trying to choke her.
“I punched him to the back of the head with all my force to try to get her free.
“I have never heard her make a noise like that before.
“I genuinely believe he was trying to kill or seriously injure her.”
Martin was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal following a trial. He admitted a charge of possessing cannabis.
Katie Armstrong-Mason, mitigating said: “On this particular day he had consumed alcohol and had an argument with his partner.
“The dog runs after him and bites him on the leg.
“The only reason he grabs the dog’s mouth is because he had been bitten and was in a lot of pain.
“He didn’t want to be arrested – the last time he was he got a four-week prison sentence.
“He has a borderline personality disorder and alcohol exacerbates his mental health problems – he gets in trouble when he drinks.”
Police dog Ivy retired from active duty earlier in January 2020. She was not badly hurt in the incident with Martin.
Chairman of the bench Don Wicks said: “This is a crossroads for you.
“It is a last chance scenario to change your life for the better.”
Sentencing: ten-week prison term suspended for a year. He must attend an accredited programme and 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days. Ordered to pay £300 costs, and £50 to the dog handler who suffered back pain during the incident.
The ten-year-old dog, whom Henry had owned since she was a puppy, was found by the RSPCA in a “dreadful condition”, weighing just 16kg and having no body fat.
Police were called to Henry’s previous address in Eaglescliffe, Stockton, after an RSPCA inspector saw Shadow looking starved in the garden through slots in the fence. The inspector found two empty dog bowls.
Stuart Bennett, prosecuting, told the court the dog would have been “in pain and suffering weakness” due to malnutrition.
Mr Bennett estimated that this suffering would have lasted around four weeks but “only occurred due to neglect which had obviously been far longer”.
Henry claimed she had fed Shadow but admitted it “probably wasn’t enough”.
Shadow was also found to have cataracts, which Henry had dismissed as “glazed eyes” due to her age. Henry agreed that she should have taken the dog to the vet and said she hadn’t done so as she “didn’t want to look like a bad person”.
The prosecution said that Henry had bought two kittens whom she had taken to the vet regularly, adding that this was “difficult to comprehend”.
The court was shown a series of photographs as evidence of Henry’s neglect. These included photos of Shadow with a protruding rib cage and spine.
A probation service report described how Henry’s personal circumstances had changed after the collapse of her marriage. They said that her neglect of Shadow was “a result of her burying her head in the sand with everything else going on in her life”.
Henry expressed remorse for her actions and agreed that she could have cared for Shadow “a lot better”.
Danielle Hewitt, defending, said that Henry’s two children would “suffer if a custodial sentence were to be imposed”.
Sentencing: 12 weeks in custody suspended for 12 months. 25 days of rehabilitation activity. Ordered to pay £522 costs. Banned from keeping animals for five years. Deprivation order on Shadow and her two kittens.