#TheList Daniel Ashleigh Williams, born c. 1989, of Garden Suburbs, Trimsaran, Wales SA17 – threw a pet dog 30 feet out of a window, causing him to suffer serious leg and hip injuries.
Williams threw four-year-old chihuahua/Jack Russell crossbreed Dobbie out of a two-storey high window after breaking into his owner’s flat. The tiny dog fell 30 feet onto the ground below and suffered injuries to his legs and hip.
Williams pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage and a further count of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
A victim impact statement was read out in court on behalf of Dobbie’s owner Jordanna Davies, which revealed that since the incident, Dobbie had been taken to the vets for an operation on his leg and hip.
Ms Davies had paid immediate emergency vet fees amassing £2,222.21, and was told if she could not raise the funds required, Dobbie would have to be put to sleep.
Dobbie is still to undergo further leg surgery which will cost £3,000, and a hip operation. Until then, he is currently in plaster.
“It caused me great stress and anxiety,” the statement read.
“I don’t feel safe living there anymore after knowing he was able to smash the window and get in. I was settled before the incident took place. I had to live with my window boarded up for a while.
“Dobbie is a small, defenceless pup who would not hurt anyone.”
Williams’ lawyer, Rebecca Carter told the court that her client had “substantial mental health difficulties and suffers from borderline personality disorder, depression and anxiety.”
Sentencing: Jailed for 18 weeks and ordered to pay £1,587.61 compensation to Dobbie’s owner. Banned from keeping animals for two years
#TheList Andrew Lee Jones, born 08/03/1981, of Ynscynon Road, Tonypandy CF40 2LN – kicked and killed a seagull
A driver witnessed Jones kicking the bird before finding it dead on 1 May 2019.
An RSPCA appeal resulted in CCTV showing the incident being provided by the council.
Jones pleaded guilty to one offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison.
RSPCA inspector Simon Evans thanked the witness for coming forward, adding: “This horrific incident was also caught on CCTV where the defendant was seen kicking the bird and using his foot to direct it into a corner of the car park.
“The bird had sustained other injuries before this attack – however, a post-mortem examination found that it would have been the blunt trauma injuries from the defendant’s kick that would have been the most likely cause of death.
“There is no excuse for this kind of deliberate cruelty.”
Sentencing: Jailed for 12 weeks. Ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £115.
#TheList Sean D Wisbey, born 25/05/1968, of no fixed address but with links to St Helens and Prenton in Birkenhead – attacked and killed partner’s dogs ‘to get back at her’
Sean Wisbey callously killed his partner’s Yorkshire Terrier and injured another so badly she had to be put to sleep.
His cruelty came to light when his on-off partner, with whom he had had a row, returned home and was horrified to find what he had done to her beloved pets.
After finding seven-year-old Rosie dead, the heart-broken victim, Brenda Prescott, eventually found the other dog, Tricker, hiding under a pile of laundry.
She desperately tried to keep her alive but the animal later had to be euthanised by a vet.
Wisbey pleaded guilty to two offences of destroying property, namely the dogs.
Judge Rachel Smith said that he had done it to get back at Ms Prescott, and had carried out two acts of extreme violence intended to shock and hurt her.
Ember Wong, prosecuting, told the court that the couple had had an on-off relationship over the years.
A few days before the offences they rowed and he threatened to cut her dogs’ throats, a threat he had also made previously. She left and when she returned he had gone.
He called at her St Helens home on April 11, 2019, and she allowed him in to have a shower and change his clothes and she went out shortly before 6 pm.
When she returned about three hours later she saw the curtains were shut and the dogs were not barking.
Miss Wong said: “She got in and shouted their names but there was no answer. She looked around but could not find them and asked a neighbour to help her look for them.
“In the lounge she lifted up some curtains and a blanket on the floor and found Rosie lying lifeless and covered in blood.
“One of her back legs was facing the wrong way and she knew she was dead.”
Ms Prescott eventually found Tricker hiding under some laundry upstairs and for the next few days looked after her by feeding her by hand and giving her water from a spoon.
She eventually took her to the RSPCA where she was examined and found to have a broken pelvis. The distraught owner agreed she should be put to sleep to end her suffering.
Post-mortem examinations revealed that Rosie’s injuries included multiple skull fractures caused by blunt force trauma and a lacerated liver. Her skull injuries are believed to have been caused by pressure being applied on both sides of her head.
Two-year-old Tricker was also found to have suffered blunt force trauma and had various bruises and abrasions to her body and legs and a number of fractures to her pelvis.
Wisbey was arrested on the night of the incident after Ms Prescott called the police after finding Rosie. He was found near the house and said, “What are you on about?”.
Miss Wong said that he was handcuffed and taken to a police car but tried to smash a window in the vehicle with the cuffs, having to be taken to the floor and restrained until back-up arrived. When interviewed he made no comment.
Claire Jones, defending, said Wisbey, who has committed 78 previous offences, mainly for dishonesty, had taken a cocktail of drink and drugs and had not taken his prescribed medication for his mental health problems at the time of the offences.
Sentencing: jailed for two years; five-year restraining order
#TheList Harry Thompson, born 19/09/2001, of Burton Road, Woodville, Swadlincote DE11 – put a cat inside a washing machine overnight until she suffocated; laughed about what he had done
Thompson appeared at the youth court at North Staffordshire Justice Centre where he admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the cat, known as Squeak.
The court was told the next day when the cat was found dead there was “hilarity and mocking” from Thompson.
The court heard that between November 12 and November 14, 2018, at a house in Jennings Way, Burton, Thompson caused unnecessary suffering to Squeak by throwing her and placing her in a washing machine.
Magistrates noted that Thompson’s actions would have caused the cat prolonged suffering.
Sentencing: four-month detention training order – half to be spent in custody and the other under supervision. Ordered to pay £230 compensation and charges. Banned from owning animals for five years.
#TheList badger baiters Christian Adam Latcham, born 02/09/87, of Cymmer Road, Porth CF39 9BE, Jamie Richard Rush, born 13/03/92 of Church View, Talgarth, Brecon LD3 0DG, Cyle Jones, born 09/11/87, of Cwrt Tarrell, Newgate Street, Brecon, Powys LD3 8ED, and Tomas/Thomas Young, born c. 1993, of East Pentwyn, Blaina, Abertillery, Monmouthshire NP13
Latcham, Jones, Rush and Young were caught badger baiting by an undercover journalist working for BBC Wales. All four denied the charges against them, but were found guilty following a trial.
The four men loaded a pick-up van with shovels and dogs to go to a “pre-arranged” location to dig for badgers in the countryside.
Prosecutor Jon Tarrant said: “They were attempting to take a badger.”
The group did not know they had been joined by the undercover investigator – known as John.
Giving evidence, a BBC researcher said Young introduced him to three other men before they set off on the hunt on March 24, 2018.
He said: “The discussions were that Thomas, Christian and two other individuals were going to West Wales to a pre-designated location and that they were going to be digging for badgers.”
He added that the men met at Latcham’s house where he had a garage transformed into “kennels” – with cages and dogs.
They then set off from the Rhondda Valleys, South Wales, to Llanddewi Velfrey in Pembrokeshire.
The undercover investigator said the men discussed that they would “dig for billies/badgers” on the journey.
He said when the men arrived at a field they donned “wellies and country wear” and put collars on the dogs to track their whereabouts.
He said: “They explained to me what would happen when they put the dogs down into the tubes, as they called it. Into the set.
“They explained about monitoring the dog in the ground.”
The court heard that when the dog stopped underground the men began to dig.
He added: “When it stopped I was told that was when we would dig down.
“When we dug down there wasn’t anything with that dog.
“We repeated this cycle for a number of hours.”
The court heard that larger dogs were brought to the holes “in readiness” to attack the badgers.
One hole was so deep that Latcham’s head could not be seen above the ground as he stood in it.
Christian Latcham has 12 previous convictions for 24 offences, including for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
Cyle Jones has 13 previous convictions for 18 offences, including animal cruelty.
Rush has eight previous convictions for nine offences and has previously been sentenced to two years in prison.
Of the four defendents only Rush gave evidence during the four day trial in front of District Judge Neil Thomas.
Judge Thomas said: “I have no difficulty coming to the unreserved conclusion, that he was not telling the truth.”
When Cyle Jones was taken away, someone in the public gallery shouted “keep your head up love”, he was previously jailed in June 2019 for 18 weeks after admitting unnecessary cruelty to animals, relating to two dogs who were injured.
Sentencing: Latcham was jailed for 26 weeks, Jones and Rush for 22 weeks. Tomas Young was sentenced to 20 weeks in custody, suspended for 12 months and will be subject to a curfew between 9 pm and 6 am. Young and Jones are already banned from keeping dogs for life and Latcham has an indefinite ban following a 2011 cruelty conviction.
#TheList Gary McDonald, born c. 1990, of 64 Mungalhead Road, Bainsford, Falkirk FK2 7JG – attacked a nesting swan in a public park
Gary McDonald pleaded guilty to a charge under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 at Falkirk Sheriff Court.
The court heard that on May 6, 2018, McDonald entered Crownest Park in Stenhousemuir and approached a group of teenagers saying, “Watch this, I’m going to snap the swan’s neck”. He also asked the group to film him.
Members of the group shouted at him to leave the swan alone as he approached the nest site and took out their phones to film his actions.
McDonald climbed down the verge on the east side of the pond, known as the Lido”, and sat next to the nest.
The swan became alarmed and stood up, stretching out its wings and neck in warning.
McDonald then grabbed the bird by the neck and held it for several seconds before it escaped by entering the pond.
The witnesses uploaded their footage to social media and a witness appeal by Police Scotland resulted in McDonald being identified.
This was the second year that the swan had nested at the side of the Lido.
Sara Shaw, head of the wildlife and environmental crime unit, said: “This was a callous act against a nesting swan.
“Wild birds are protected under our wildlife laws and those who choose to commit acts of violence against them can expect to be held to account.”
Sentencing: three-year community payback order with supervision and conduct requirements.
#TheList Tyler Rhys Earwaker, born c. 2000, of 32 Shalfleet Close, Eastbourne BN23 8DU & Liam Smith, c. 1999, of 43 Kensington Way, Polegate BN26 6FH – laughed as they set packs of dogs on captured wild rabbits
Earwaker pleaded guilty to six offences and Smith pleaded guilty to two. The pair were prosecuted by the RSPCA following an investigation which included examination of horrific mobile phone footage.
RSPCA inspector Carroll Lamport launched the investigation in May 2019 following a tip-off. She said, “When we checked [their] phones we found lots of videos of Earwaker and Smith releasing captured wild rabbits and setting their dogs on them.
“Some of the videos show the chase taking place across fields while others take place in fenced areas such as a basketball court and a children’s playground meaning the rabbits had no real chance of escape.
“It’s really upsetting to watch the footage and the rabbits must have been extremely distressed before being released. The chase would have been terrifying for them and the manner in which they were killed would have resulted in unnecessary suffering.”
The videos show the pair encouraging the dogs to chase down the rabbits – some of which are clearly in shock – and in one case the rabbits are kicked and thrown onto the ground.
A warrant was executed by police on May 14 at an address in Eastbourne. RSPCA officers joined police and a number of mobile phones were seized.
Five dogs were found at the premises – belonging to Earwaker’s family – and the RSPCA said all appeared in good condition. A number of hutches and cages were located in the garden, some with ferrets inside.
Inspector Lamport said, “We found long hunting nets, often used for catching animals, and a number of animal carriers in the shed and Earwaker told me he used the large trap for rabbits, using carrots as bait.
“Some of his coats were bloodstained and a number of phones and an iPad were seized.”
Four dogs – two lurchers and two terriers – were seized by police and Earwaker was interviewed.
Inspector Lamport later received a call from Smith’s father claiming one of the dogs seized belonged to him.
She said, “Mr Smith told me he’d bought the terrier for his son, We discovered that his son, Liam Smith, had been going out with Earwaker rabbiting and ferreting.
“They were catching rabbits and ‘dropping’ them in front of their dogs for the dogs to chase in order to train the dogs they thought the latter was legal.”
The court determined the four dogs should be returned to their owners.
Sentencing: Earwaker – 12-month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work. He was disqualified from keeping rabbits for five years and ordered to pay £300 costs and £85 victim surcharge.
Smith – 12-month community order with 100 hours of unpaid work. He was disqualified from keeping rabbits for five years and ordered to pay £300 costs and £85 victim surcharge.
#TheList Mark Cuthbert, born 07/03/1977, of 82 Thornyflat Place, Ayr KA8 0NE – set his dogs on wildlife including badgers; bought cats online to use as live bait for his dogs; failed to get vet treatment for his dogs’ fighting injuries
Mark Cuthbert pleaded guilty to keeping dogs for the purpose of an animal fight and killing a cat at home and at another premises.
Cuthbert used the selling website Gumtree to purchase the cats – with many owners believing their animals were going to a safe home.
The Scottish SPCA’s special investigations unit (SIU) received intelligence in March 2018 that Cuthbert had dogs for animal fighting. The SIU obtained a warrant to search Cuthbert’s address and, upon inspection, found his pets had injuries consistent with animal fighting.
They also suspected he had been self-medicating his dogs to avoid drawing attention to his illegal activities.
Investigators seized an electronic device that contained video and images of animal fights. The clips included Cuthbert’s dogs killing badgers and domestic cats.
Objects in the footage matched animal fighting paraphernalia discovered at his home. Among the items seized were tracking collars, nets, live animal traps, syringes, superglue, and pet carriers.
DNA analysis of these supported the case that many of the items were used for animal fighting.
The dogs involved in the case were black and white Patterdale terrier, Billy, and two brown female Patterdale terriers known as Digger and Tally.
Cuthbert pleaded guilty to keeping dogs, cats and a rat for an animal fight contrary to the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 under Section 23 (1) (a), for procuring cats for the purpose of animal fighting and arranging, participating and causing animal fights to take place under Section 23 (2) of the Act.
Commenting on the investigation and court case, a Scottish SPCA undercover special investigation unit (SIU) officer said, “This is a truly horrific case of animal cruelty, where we suspect dozens of animals have suffered mentally and physically at the hands of Mark Cuthbert. His inhumane treatment of animals is completely unacceptable.”
“We investigate reports of animal fights every week and the imagery and videos we discovered on his phone are some of the most depraved and upsetting we have seen. One harrowing video shows the three dogs attacking a domestic cat in a field which is fighting for its life. It’s clear the cat was caused horrendous suffering and many of the cats he purchased will have suffered long, torturous deaths.
“Cuthbert had been picking up the cats for his dogs to attack from the online selling site, Gumtree.
“After contacting Gumtree, we found correspondence between Cuthbert and people who had listed their cats on the site which led us to believe large numbers of cats were uplifted from pet owners who trusted their cats were going to a good, safe home.
“As well as the cats he purchased under false pretence, his own dogs have been treated appallingly. When we visited Cuthbert, two of his dogs had very obvious facial injuries and scars to the face, nose and jaw. Digger had a healed injury to the lower lip which had caused a v-shaped deformity and Billy was very aggressive when approached.
“If you are using an online service to find a new home for, or sell, your pet, please be vigilant and ensure your pet is going to a safe environment. If you are suspicious, do not continue with the sale and notify the Scottish SPCA as soon as possible.”
The Scottish SPCA’s special investigations unit are experts in investigating animal fighting offences and rely on information from the public to continue to put a stop to this horrific activity. All information shared with the Scottish SPCA can be treated with confidentiality and can be reported to the animal helpline on 03000 999 999.
Sentencing: ten months’ imprisonment. Ten-year ban on owning or keeping any animal.
#The List badger baiters Murphy James Ian Thorne, born 16/04/1997 of 5 Grey Street, Gainsborough DN21 2PS and Dale Shields, born 13/03/1997 of 3 Laburnum Avenue, Gainsborough DN21 1ET
Gainsborough men Murphy Thorne and Dale Shields pleaded guilty to interfering with a badger sett and attempting to kill a badger, when they appeared at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court.
The court heard how the pair were among three people who were spotted by a gamekeeper on land near Beckingham, Nottinghamshire, on Sunday, April 7, 2019 at 3pm.
The gamekeeper suspected they were badger baiting – which is where a dog is sent into a sett to flush out the badger and attack it for the handler to then dig the badger out and kill it or take it away for it to be killed at a later date.
He alerted the police who arrested Thorne and Shields close to the scene and the court heard how Thorne told police: “I don’t get paid for doing it, but do it as a sport and it is something I enjoy”.
A six-foot hole had been dug into the badger sett and both men had spades. They also had a net which is often used to capture badgers.
Two dogs, wearing radio collars, were also seized from the men by police and were taken to a nearby vets in Retford for treatment as they had facial and dental injuries. One dog was in a collapsed state at the scene due to exhaustion.
The RSPCA were alerted to the incident and inspector Keith Ellis began an investigation.
He called the help of an expert badger witness who said the badger sett was active and had been disturbed. No dead badger was recovered but Inspector Ellis said it is possible the badger had died in the sett.
A veterinary expert who examined both Patterdale Terriers said the facial wounds were consistent with them been involved in a fight with another animal of a similar size and stature.
Inspector Ellis said: “The gamekeeper said he could see the men jump into a six-foot hole which they had dug down into the badger sett so he called the police.
“When they attended the scene it was clear that the sett had been interfered with and there were spades nearby.
“The dogs were wearing radio-collars which are used so the owners can locate where they are underground and when the dogs locate the badger the handlers dig down and usually kill the badger.”
A third man, who was arrested by police on the same day, denied the offences and his trial will take place at a later date.
The forfeiture of the dogs to the RSPCA was ordered and the animal charity will re-home them.
Sentencing: 18-week jail sentence suspended for 12 months; ordered to each pay costs and charges totalling £415. Five-year ban on keeping dogs.