Tag Archives: repeat offender

Poole, Dorset: Scott Cochrane

#TheList serial wildlife persecutor Scott Matthew Cochrane, born 09/11/1989, of 4 Yarrow Close, Poole BH12 4FL – found with dead rabbits, lurcher-type dogs and steel ball bearings

Scott Matthew Cochrane from Poole routinely hunts wild animals with dogs

Repeat offender Cochrane was back in court after breaching a five-year criminal behaviour order imposed in September 2015 after a video of him pulling the head off a live wood pigeon was uploaded to Facebook. He admitted being in possession of a wild animal and for hunting a wild mammal with a dog, an offence under Section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004.

Cochrane, whose Facebook account is riddled with boasts about his ‘kills’, is now prohibited from entering many rural areas in Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire. The areas include south of the A35 in the Purbeck and Dorchester area, rural northeast Dorset up to the M4 corridor in north Wiltshire and parts of the New Forest in Hampshire.

Scott Matthew Cochrane from Poole routinely hunts wild animals with dogs

This will prevent him from using routes such as the A338 from Ringwood into Wiltshire, A354 from Puddletown to Salisbury and A350 from Wimborne to parts of Wiltshire, which all feature in hotspots for such rural crime.

At 11.41pm on Saturday October 5, 2019, officers were called to a rural location in the Blandford area in relation to suspected poaching in fields. They located a van and saw two men – one of whom was the defendant.

There were two lurcher-type dogs with them and they had a high powered lamp. They were also found to be carrying dead rabbits. A search of their vehicle located a catapult and steel ball bearings, as well as further dead rabbits.

The new criminal behaviour order will last for three years.

Cochrane must not:

• Act or incite others to behave in an anti-social manner, that is to say a manner that causes harassment, alarm or distress to any persons.

• Use or incite others to use threatening, intimidating, insulting or abusive words or behaviour in any place to which the public has access.

• Be in possession of a wild animal, wild bird or part of a wild animal or bird living or dead.

• Be in possession of a catapult or shot, such as ball bearings, or to be in a vehicle with a catapult or such shot in a place to which the public have access or private land as a trespasser.

• Allow a dog under his control off a lead, except on private land with the land owners written permission.

• Be in a vehicle with a dog traditionally used for the purpose of hare and deer coursing, such as a Lurcher, Greyhound, Saluki, or a cross breed of these varieties unless travelling to an emergency vets appointment.

• Own dogs traditionally used for the purposes of hare and deer coursing such as Lurchers, Greyhounds, Saluki or a cross breed of these varieties.

Police Constable Claire Dinsdale, Rural Crime Co-ordinator for Dorset Police, said: “Coursing with dogs and poaching is a national priority for both rural and wildlife crime and there are many repeat victims across the UK.

“This issue is not about ‘one for the pot’ but part of a network of persistent criminals who will threaten and intimidate our rural communities if challenged and cause thousands of pounds worth of damage to crops, gates and other property.

“They train their dogs on rabbits, hares and even on deer, with no regard for the welfare of wildlife or their dogs and they are willing to travel vast distances into other counties.

“Dorset Police is part of the national strategy between 22 police forces, Operation Galileo, where civil and criminal powers will be used to prevent such offending by hare coursers and protect vulnerable victims.

“I hope this sends a clear message that coursing and other such crimes are not tolerated and we will take robust action against anyone suspected of such an offence.

“This now varied order is a first of its kind for rural crime, in that it bans the defendant from large areas of rural land across three counties and it restricts his ownership of certain dog breeds and cross breeds.”

Sentencing: eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months. Victim surcharge of £122 and £85 costs. The other man was given a caution. Three-year criminal behaviour order.

Southern Daily Echo

Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria: Wayne Moffatt and Ian Henry

Animal abusers Wayne Moffatt and  Ian Henry of Barrow in Furness, Cumbria, UK, pictured outside court
Animal abusers Wayne Moffatt and Ian Henry pictured outside court

#TheList reptile retailer Wayne P Moffatt, born c. 1961, of 10 Storey Square, Barrow in Furness LA14 2HU and his employee Ian Henry, born c. 1969, of St Vincent Street, Barrow in Furness LA14 – for neglecting more than 60 exotic animals at the store store

Animal abuser Wayne Moffatt of Barrow in Furness, Cumbria, UK
Wayne Moffatt

Wayne Moffatt, the owner of the Living World pet shop in Barrow, was found guilty of animal neglect charges alongside his friend Ian Henry. The verdict followed a two-day trial.

The pair had denied charges of causing unnecessary suffering and failing to meet the needs of animals including several species of snakes, frogs, geckos and monkeys at the Dalton Road store.

Animal abuser Wayne Moffatt of Barrow in Furness, Cumbria, UK

The judge also ordered animals in the store to be taken away by the RSPCA. The court heard a number of animals, including several species of snakes, frogs, geckos and monkeys were previously taken away by the RSPCA when a warrant was executed in February 2019.

Ordering the ban, Mr Chalk said: “I have no doubt that you have a keen interest in exotic animals but I do not think you have the necessary qualifications and understanding to deal with these animals.

“You need to think very carefully about whether you should keep animals of that type again unless you have the knowledge to deal with them appropriately.”

The shop licence to sell animals was refused by Barrow Council in 2018.

Living World premises at 228 Dalton Rd, Barrow in Furness
The Living World store at 228 Dalton Rd, Barrow in Furness

RSPCA inspectors and vet Victoria Temple had told the court a number of the animals were being kept at temperatures too low or too high and in spaces too small.

In court, Moffatt, who has previous convictions for drug offences, said he disputed those findings and insisted the animals were being kept at appropriate ‘winter’ temperatures – and in enclosures big enough.

He repeatedly told the court: “In my 20 years of keeping animals I have never knowingly let an animal suffer or be in pain under my care.”

But the court was told the temperatures still fell short of legal guidelines.

Henry’s solicitor Maureen Fawcett had argued her client was only a friend of Moffatt’s and should not be deemed responsible for the welfare of the animals because he was not employed at Living World.

Moffatt said in his closing statement: “I’m very sorry Mr Henry is here.”

Ms Fawcett said: “It was Mr Moffatt that owned the pet shop and was responsible.

“In my respectful submission there isn’t sufficient evidence that Mr Henry had knowledge of the needs and upkeep of the animals.”

RSPCA prosecutor Steven Marsh said: “There is overwhelming evidence that Mr Henry was responsible for the animals.”

The court heard Henry had been on his own in the shop during a number of official visits, including the day the animals were taken in the execution of a warrant.

Sentencing:
Moffatt – 300 hours of unpaid work ; total of £885 costs and charges. Henry – 240 hours of unpaid work; costs and charges totalling £585.
Both were banned from keeping primates, reptiles and amphibians for the next two years (expires October 2021).

The Mail

Forfar, Angus: Mark Findlater

#TheList animal porn offender Mark Findlater, born c. 1987, of Mains of Coul Cottages, Forfar DD8 3TX

Animal porn offender Mark Findlater of Forfar, Angus, Scotland

Mark Findlater was convicted in 2016 for possessing images and videos depicting sex acts between adults and dogs, cows, pigs and horses on his home computer.

Colleagues at an animal sanctuary where Findlater was working, had found a link to a bestiality website on a computer he used.

A search warrant at his home uncovered over 1,000 images and 400 videos of the sex acts. He was given a community payback order and banned from keeping animals for three years after admitting the offence, but flouted the latter restriction.

He was originally given a community payback order after he admitted possessing the extreme material between March 2011 and November 2013, but he repeatedly breached it and was warned by a sheriff he was “sorely trying” the patience of the court.

Animal porn offender Mark Findlater of Forfar, Angus, Scotland

The breaches included continuing to keep animals in defiance of the ban.

Findlater’s lawyer told the court that her client recognised his failure to comply with the community order had left little option other than prison.

“Unfortunately, criminal justice feel they can no longer work with Mr Findlater and I think that decision has been made with a heavy heart,” she said.

“They really feel they are at the end of the road.”

She added: “He would be someone who would be very vulnerable in a custodial setting.

“Custody is something that frightens him, he is honest about that,” added the solicitor, who asked the court to consider a restriction of liberty order curfewing Findlater to his mother’s home.

Sheriff Murray told the accused: “When I first sentenced you I said these were horrendous offences.

“I said then that the choice was between what would be, because of the number of images, a relatively brief custodial sentence, or a lengthy community payback order.

“I think you understand a restriction of liberty order is nowhere near serious enough to deal with this, and in my mind there is no alternative to custody,” said the sheriff.

He jailed Findlater for seven months and placed him on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.

The Courier
Metro

Ipswich, Suffolk: Stacy Humphrys

#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

Serial animal abuser Stacy Humphrys from Ipswich
Serial animal abuser Stacy Humphrys from Ipswich is now banned indefinitely from keeping animals.

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.

Some of the neglected animals found at the travellers site where Humphrys resides
Some of the neglected animals found at the travellers site where Humphrys resides

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.

Serial animal abuser and gypsy Stacy Humphrys

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 right to appeal after five years. In November 2019 the indefinite banning order was reduced to five years with the right of appeal after one year.

Ipswich Star

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In March 2014 Stacy Humphrys was jailed for two years after his horses wandered onto the A14 at Sproughton in Suffolk, causing the death of a driver when four vehicles ploughed into them.

Three horses were killed and 23-year-old Thomas Allen of Soham, Cambridgeshire, died a couple of days later.

Benwell, Newcastle Upon Tyne: Lee Martin Boyle and Dawn Nixon

#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 Martin Boyle and partner Dawn Nixon, from Benwell, were found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to Staffordshire bull terrier/American bulldog cross Troy
Lee Martin Boyle and partner Dawn Nixon, from Benwell, were found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to Staffordshire bull terrier/American bulldog cross Troy

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.

Lee Martin Boyle and partner Dawn Nixon, from Benwell, were found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to Staffordshire bull terrier/American bulldog cross Troy

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.

Dog abuser Dawn Nixon from Newcastle upon Tyne
Dawn Nixon

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”.

Lee Martin Boyle and partner Dawn Nixon, from Benwell, were found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to Staffordshire bull terrier/American bulldog cross Troy
Serial dog abuser Lee Boyle

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.

ChronicleLive

Chatham, Kent: Keeley Boswell and Paul Flemming

#TheList serial animal abuser Keeley M Boswell, born 18/09/1986, and partner Paul M Flemming, born c. 1991, both of Gerald Avenue, Chatham ME4 5TF – banned from keeping animals for 10 years after their dog’s broken leg had to be amputated

Victims of convicted animal abusers Keeley Boswell and Paul Flemming of Chatham in Kent
Rottweiler Bella and Chihuahua are victims of serial pet abuser Keeley Boswell, shown here with her latest partner in animal crime, Paul Flemming

Keeley Boswell was already disqualified from keeping animals alongside previous partner James ‘Jimmy’ Moore for the severe neglect of an emaciated and flea-riddled Rottweiler named Bella and a Staffy, Rizla, with the latter having to be put to sleep.

James Moore was convicted of animal cruelty alongside Keeley Boswell in 2015
Keeley Boswell’s previous partner Jimmy Moore was convicted of animal cruelty alongside her in February 2015

In June 2018 RSPCA inspectors visited the home Boswell shares with latest partner Paul Flemming and discovered two flea-infested pets: 10-month-old Chihuahua Sandie and a cat called Princess Sandie also showed signs of a deformed forelimb.

Convicted animal abusers Keeley Boswell and Paul Flemming of Chatham in Kent

Both animals were taken to a veterinary surgery, where Sandie was found to have suffered a painful leg fracture, which would have occurred at least three weeks earlier and been caused by “great force”.

Victims of convicted animal abusers Keeley Boswell and Paul Flemming of Chatham in Kent
Princess was covered in fleas

The couple’s solicitor told the court that Boswell was aware she had been banned from keeping animals but she wasn’t sure if the ban was still in force.

Keeley Boswell is a serial animal abuser
Keeley Boswell is a serial animal abuser

She also admitted when asked by inspectors that Sandie’s leg did not look straight.

Flemming said he hadn’t noticed any issue with the dog’s leg but admitted that he ought to have taken her to the vets.

Convicted animal abusers Keeley Boswell and Paul Flemming of Chatham in Kent

Their solicitor asked magistrates to give the couple community orders rather than a custodial sentence, as they had multiple children in their care and Flemming was named as the household’s only breadwinner.

In addition to the animal cruelty charges, Boswell was convicted of breaching a disqualification order, whilst Flemming was convicted of aiding and abetting this.

Sentencing: 18-week suspended sentence; ordered to take part in a total of 400 hours of unpaid work and supplementary rehabilitation sessions; £450 in costs. Banned from keeping animals for ten years.

Kent Online

Stapleford Abbotts, Romford: Edwin Harris

#TheList persistent hoarder Edwin Harris, born c. 1939, of Murthering Lane, Stapleford Abbotts, Romford RM4 – kept 13 dogs, six pigs, six cockerels, two ducks, four cats, a pigeon and a rook in foul conditions; breached previous ban

Edwin Harris continued to acquire animals despite being disqualified for life from having any. He then kept them in appalling conditions.
Edwin Harris continued to acquire animals despite being disqualified for life from having any. He then kept them in appalling conditions.

Harris was banned from keeping animals for life for a second time after he admitted breaching a previous ban when he was found to be keeping a large number of animals in appalling conditions.

He also admitted failing to provide the animals with a suitable environment and causing unnecessary suffering to Bella, a Shar Pei-type dog, by failing to adequately investigate and address the cause of her ear and skin conditions.

The RSPCA attended the address in May 2018 with the police and found a large number of animals being kept in appalling conditions.

Edwin Harris continued to acquire animals despite being disqualified for life from having any. He then kept them in appalling conditions.
A Jack Russell rescued from a life of misery at the hands of her cruel owner Edwin Harris

Dogs were found in small cages covered in mess and faeces with little or no water, and one was even found locked inside a cupboard which had been turned into a makeshift cage.

Six pigs were kept in a narrow space in an outbuilding with hardly any room to turn round.
Six pigs were kept in a narrow space in an outbuilding with hardly any room to turn round.

The cockerels, pigeon and rook were also kept in small cages covered in faeces, and the pigs were kept in a small narrow space within an outbuilding with hardly any room to turn round or exercise.

RSPCA Inspector Adam Jones said: “The conditions were appalling, most of the small animals and dogs were kept in cages and probably had not known any other life. They had obviously never been socialised and were scared.

“The cages had not been cleaned out and the animals were surrounded in their own faeces and dirt. If they did have water it was usually filthy. I was horrified to find one small Jack Russell being kept in a cupboard that the defendant had converted into some kind of makeshift cage.

“By his own admission the defendant had claimed he had a compulsion to keep animals because he loved them and he couldn’t stop taking them in. Had we not removed these animals it’s likely the numbers would have only increased – one of the pigs we removed had later had a litter of piglets.

“I hope that now he has been sentenced by the court the defendant will learn his lesson and not get animals which he clearly is unable to look after properly.”

Although the matter had crossed a custody threshold the bench said they had taken into account the defendant’s age and vulnerability and the fact that he has never been to prison before, but were keen for him to have some rehabilitation

In 2014 Harris was disqualified from keeping animals for life following a prosecution by the RSPCA.

Sentencing: Two-year community order with the requirement to carry out 135 hours of unpaid work and 60 days of Rehabilitation Activity Requirement; costs of £1,300 and a £85 victim surcharge. Lifetime ban on keeping animals.

Romford Recorder

Barlby, North Yorkshire: Keith Lewis

#TheList Keith Lewis, born c. 1948, of York Road, Barlby, North Yorkshire YO8 – a serial abuser with three separate convictions for neglect involving dozens of animals including dogs, rabbits, ferrets and birds

In December 2018 RSPCA officers discovered Lewis’s injured dog Meg tethered to a pipe with a chain inside a dark and muddy shed. She had an infected+- neck wound caused by embedded twine.

In the latest prosecution case against him serial abuser Keith Lewis admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a collie dog named Meg

The RSPCA attended Lewis’s property on 13 December 2018, along with police after a call from a member of the public and found Meg tethered to a pipe with a chain inside a dark and muddy shed.

RSPCA inspector Claire Mitchell said: “The chain and tether were absolutely filthy, caked in mud and faeces.

“You could see that whatever Meg had around her neck was really tight and there was an obvious smell of infection coming from her.

“On closer inspection it became clear that it was in fact bailer twine and she needed urgent veterinary attention.”

Meg was seized by police and taken to a vets who found the area around her neck was matted with pus.

The twine – which had been wrapped around her neck multiple times – was embedded in her skin and muscle and infected, and when the vet cut it off she found a wound all the way around her neck.

Meg’s temperature was high – most likely as a result of the infection – and her lower body was matted with dirt and faeces.

She was operated on to clip and clean the wound and stitch it up and hospitalised for five days.

Veterinary evidence suggested that Meg had suffered for at least two weeks.

Inspector Mitchell said: “This is the worst tethering injury I’ve ever seen in a dog. It was absolutely terrible and she suffered a great deal.

“The RSPCA does not agree with tethering dogs for long periods as it can cause distress and restrict natural behaviours but this in itself is not illegal providing that their needs are being met.”

Meg was signed over shortly afterward coming into RSPCA care and has been rehomed.

In mitigation the court heard that Lewis had pleaded guilty, that Meg had been moved to the shed following complaints about her continuously howling where she had been previously tethered near to a public footpath, that he had animals all his life and a disqualification would have a real impact on him.

However, the court remarked that he had previous animal cruelty convictions which were an aggravating factor.

Lewis was first prosecuted in 2016 when York magistrates heard how he kept 60 animals living in filthy, squalid and cramped conditions in former agricultural buildings in Barlby.

On that occasion he admitted neglect offences in relations to about 30 of the animals, mostly poultry and rabbits, and was banned from keeping caged animals for 10 years and ordered to do a 12-week curfew.

Three months after he appeared in court, police and an RSPCA inspector found two ferrets at his house in what the RSPCA’s prosecuting solicitor Phil Brown called “frankly appalling” conditions. They had no water, they were kept with piles of faeces and dirty bedding and three rotting rabbit carcasses.

Lewis was again taken to court and this time admitted breaching the 10-year animal ban, and failure to care for animals.

He received a second 10-year animal ban, preventing him having animals kept in cages.

But in December 2018, the RSPCA found Meg with the untreated wound round her neck.

At each of his three hearings, he claimed through his solicitors that the animals belonged to his son, claims that are not accepted by the RSPCA.

Sentencing (February 2019): 24-week prison sentence, suspended for two years; total of £415 costs and charges. Banned indefinitely from owning or having any part in the care of any animal of any species. A deprivation order was placed on any other animals in his care, including a number of dogs, cats, poultry, sheep, cows and pigs.

Yorkshire Post
York Press
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York Press

Lancaster, Lancashire: Andrew John Rooney

#TheList Andrew John Rooney, born c. 1973, of 26 Mayfield Avenue, Lancaster LA1 2NY – found with two dogs, a cat, a budgie, a hamster and a guinea pig in breach of a 1997 ban on keeping animals.

Serial animal abuser Andrew John Rooney breached a previous ban.
Serial animal abuser Andrew John Rooney breached a previous ban.

Serial animal abuser Andrew John Rooney admitted breaching the lifelong disqualification between January 17, 2016, and July 17, 2018, by keeping two dogs, known as Shadow and Max, a cat known as Magic, alongside a bird, hamster and guinea pig.

Serial animal abuser Andrew John Rooney breached a previous ban.

Rooney pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to one of the dogs, a Labrador, by failing to seek adequate veterinary treatment for her skin condition between February and April 27, 2018.

Sentencing:
14 -week jail term, suspended for two years; rehabilitation activity requirement; 150 hours of unpaid work. Total of £615 costs and charges.

Lancashire Post

Atherton, Wigan: Aithne and John Declan Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy

#TheList Aithne Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy, born 24/01/1995, of George Street, Atherton, Wigan M46 and brother John Declan Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy, born c. 1994, of Bolton Road, Atherton, Wigan M46 – allowed a pack of neglected ponies to roam on an industrial estate

Brother and sister John Declan Ashurst O'Shaughnessy and Aithne Ashurst O'Shaughnessy

In a prosecution brought by the RSPCA brother and sister Aithne and John Declan Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy, whose mother is convicted horse abuser Lorraine Ashurst, pleaded guilty to a string of cruelty offences.

Horses neglected by Aithne Ashurst-O'Shaughnessy and brother John Declan Ashurst-O'Shaughnessy, both of Atherton Wigan

Aithne Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy admitted seven offences related to the care of seven Welsh-type ponies while her brother pleaded guilty to four charges involving looking after the same animals.

A grey mare was found by RSPCA inspectors with her feet in terrible condition. The animal was lame from severely overgrown hooves, had an abscess and suffered from chronic laminitis.

Horses neglected by Aithne Ashurst-O'Shaughnessy and brother John Declan Ashurst-O'Shaughnessy, both of Atherton Wigan

Five of the ponies were also not protected from pain and suffering because a farrier was not employed to look after their hooves.

The seven animals were also not provided with a suitable living environment.

Horses neglected by Aithne Ashurst-O'Shaughnessy and brother John Declan Ashurst-O'Shaughnessy, both of Atherton Wigan

John Declan Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy, who has a previous conviction for horse cruelty, admitted failing to provide suitable accommodation for the ponies, not providing them with daily care and supervision to prevent harm coming to them, neglecting the grey mare and not getting a farrier for two grey mares.

Most of the animals were pregnant and one sadly died from complications giving birth after the RSPCA had rescued them.

Animal welfare inspectors found the terrified creatures causing chaos at a glass manufacturer’s site in Hindley after escaping from their grazing grounds.

They had also crossed a main road streaming with traffic during their wanderings.

RSPCA inspector Alison Fletcher said: “This case highlights the need for responsible equine ownership. Horses need to be contained in a suitable and secure environment.

“There have been a lot of problems with straying horses in Wigan over the years and it causes a risk to the animals and to people.

“The ponies had got off the land where they were originally being kept, gone down a main road and ended up on an industrial estate. It was extremely dangerous for them and they were very fearful.

“This case also highlights the basic needs horses have, like regular foot trimming. If this doesn’t happen it can cause them immense suffering.

“You can’t just have a pet horse in a field. The costs of looking after them are extremely high and people need to think through what they are going to need before they take on an equine.”

The animals were so frightened they had to be sedated for inspectors’ safety during the operation to remove them on February 2, a day after the welfare charity was called about them.

Defending Aithne Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy, Paul Blanchard said ownership of the horses had been transferred to her from other family members in December 2017 and she had to take responsibility for what subsequently happened to them.

Peter Leather, representing John Declan Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy, said his client admitted neglecting the ponies after being tasked with maintaining the fences and keeping their enclosure secure as well as feeding them hay each day.

Sentencing:
John Declan Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy – 120 hours of unpaid work; £2,400 costs plus £85 victim surcharge
Aithne Ashurst-O’Shaughnessy – 70 hours of unpaid work; £1,200 costs plus £85 victim surcharge.

Both were banned from keeping horses for two years and deprivation orders were made to take the six surviving ponies and their foals away from the Ashurst-O’Shaughnessys.

Wigan Today