#TheList Justin Williams, born 10/05/1995, of 7G Elders Court, Dundee DD2 3UJ but with links to Basildon, Essex – starved his dog and kept her in squalid conditions
The Scottish SPCA discovered Staffy Keira in a “severely emaciated” condition and living in squalor at Williams’ flat. She weighed just 9.5kg, with little muscle mass and overgrown nails.
The court heard how the alarm was raised by neighbours who became concerned about the dog’s condition.
Fiscal depute Lynne Mannion told the court: “The employees of the SSPCA saw that the flat itself was in squalor. The hallway had bare floorboards and a dirty dog bowl.
“The dog was clearly emaciated. They asked the accused about the dog and he confirmed it had been losing its body condition.
“An examination found that the dog was severely emaciated and weighed 9.5kg which was half its original body weight.”
The court heard that Keira’s nails were overgrown due to a lack of exercise. There were no other abnormalities found during the examination with the SSPCA officers concluding that Keira’s issues were due to inadequate nutrition.
Keira was taken to the SSPCA’s local rescue centre where she recovered. She has since been rehomed.
Scottish SPCA inspector Alastair Adams said: “This was a case of serious neglect and Keira would not have survived for much longer had we not intervened.
“We welcome this sentence. Williams was not capable of meeting Keira’s most basic of needs.”
Sentencing: ordered to pay £250 and banned from keeping animals for just two years.
#TheList Owen Anthony Gillespie, born 09/02/1979, of 17 Westwood Gardens, Paisley PA3 1NA – left a desperately ill dog in agony and locked in a cage
Gillespie failed to take his pet Staffy, Stella, to the vet to treat a chronic ear condition and an injured foot.
The nine-year-old dog was also suffering from a severe oesophageal condition which left her vomiting violently and in pain.
This resulted in her having to be euthanised by the Scottish SPCA as her condition was too severe to be treated.
The SSPCA attended at Gillespie’s home on April 25, 2019, after they received a call to say a dog could be heard screaming in pain at the property.
When they arrived around 10.45am they found the bull terrier vomiting in a cage in the living room and Gillespie told the officers she had been sick for a few days.
The court heard that Gillespie had not taken the dog to the vet as he couldn’t afford it.
Procurator fiscal depute Laura Wilcox said: “The SSPCA officer explained to Gillespie the reason for her visit and asked if she could view the dog.
“He agreed and invited her into the property where she saw the dog in a cage in the living room.
“The dog was in a good bodily condition and seemed bright but she was concerned because the flooring of the cage was covered in watery vomit and the dog was retching as if it was going to be sick.
“He informed the officer that she had eaten the outer covering of a tennis ball a few days prior.
“He let her out of the cage and the officer saw that the dog was lame on her right leg.”
Gillespie was told that the dog would have to receive treatment and that he would qualify for financial help from PDSA as he was unemployed.
It was once the dog was treated by the animal charity’s vet that the full extent of her condition was discovered.
Ms Wilcox added: “Her right front foot was inflamed and there was a nail that was loose. Both ear canals were inflamed, thickened, narrowed and were infected by bacteria and yeast. There was a smell coming from both ears.
“Her abdomen was tense and uncomfortable and it was found that her stomach wall was thickened and that her oesophagus was inflamed and flaccid.
“This meant it was ineffective at propelling food to her stomach.
“Her condition continued to worsen and she continued to vomit and at this point it was decided the best course of action was to euthanise her.”
The court heard the vet had concluded that if Gillespie had sought vet treatment for his dog within an appropriate time, he would have lessened the suffering.
However, prosecutors could not say whether the dog would have survived due to the severity of the stomach condition.
Gillespie pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to his dog between February and April 2019 by failing to seek adequate care to treat an injured foot, persistent vomiting and an ear condition.
His lawyer, Amy Spencer said: “He has already paid a penalty in regards to this as he has lost his much-loved dog.
“This is a heartbreaking case for him. He is still completely traumatised.
“He is embarrassed by his actions and he knows he ought to have sought treatment for Stella. He has worked his whole adult life and recently lost his job.
“He really was hoping she would have made a recovery.”
Sentencing: ordered to pay a £500 fine. Banned from keeping dogs for just one year.
#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 farmer William Martin Brown, born 16/01/1961, of Herbertshaw Farm, Howgate, near Penicuik EH26 8QA – filmed by undercover officer punching and kicking sheep
William Brown was filmed violently abusing two male sheep by a PETA officer posing undercover as a farmworker.
In the footage, Brown can also be heard shouting “Come on ya fucking cunt” and “fucking bastards” at the frightened animals.
Brown pleaded guilty to causing the protected animals unnecessary suffering by repeatedly punching and kicking them and was fined. He was not banned from owning or working with animals
The Scottish SPCA said it was pleased Brown admitted the offence, but was disappointed that no ban was imposed on him by the court.
Scottish SPCA chief inspector John Chisholm said: “This is a serious case of animal cruelty by an experienced farmer. He will be fully aware that sheep experience fear and can perceive humans as a threat.
“Violently lashing out at the sheep will spread fear amongst the rest of the flock.
“We would expect anyone involved in the rearing of livestock for commercial purposes to have the highest standards of welfare and treatment.
“We are disappointed that Brown wasn’t banned from owning or working with animals but we hope this will serve as a warning that this behaviour is unacceptable and we will fully investigate any reports of cruelty towards livestock.
“We would welcome the opportunity to discuss welfare practice with the wider industry.”
#TheList Perparim Tahiraj, born 21/09/1970, of 36 Williamson Drive, Helensburgh G84 87LH – failed to get veterinary treatment for his five horses and left them to fly-graze
Perparim Tahiraj, who is originally from Kosovo, told Scottish SPCA inspectors he would not feed or care for horses Al, Africa, Cinderella, Song, and Tia, but refused to sign them over
Tahiraj, who has previously been convicted of domestic violence let the horses roam on land he did not have permission to use. The muddy ground in Helensburgh was unsuitable for grazing, with no shelter from the elements, and the horses became emaciated.
For a year the horses were left to try to fend for themselves on land which was littered with broken fencing and poisonous rhododendron bushes.
Shockingly, on Christmas Eve 2018, Tahiraj announced to inspectors from the Scottish SPCA that he would not feed or care for his horses. But he also refused to hand them over into their care.
Tahiraj was found guilty under Section 24 of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 for failing to provide a suitable environment, adequate diet and protection from suffering, injury and disease.
He was banned from keeping horses for five years.
Further sentencing was deferred for six months, meaning if he stays out of trouble for that period of time, he will likely face no further punishment.
Following the sheriff’s verdict, it was disclosed that Tahiraj, who is unemployed, is already using some of his benefits to pay back outstanding fines.
He also claimed he was unable to work due to various alleged health complications, including depression, anxiety, and arthritis, which meant he would be unable to complete a community payback order of unpaid work.
Scottish SPCA inspector Gillian Dick said: “We are pleased Tahiraj has been handed a ban for this level of neglect.
“Tahiraj is well known to the Scottish SPCA, we have had countless dealings with him and removed animals from his care a number of times.
“We tried on several occasions to provide him with guidance and advice on how to care for his animals.
“Tahiraj did not have permission to graze his horses on the land and had effectively been fly grazing within the field and surrounding grass area since January 2018.
“On 24 December 2018 he stated he would no longer attend to his horses or provide feed for them.
“We then asked him to sign the horses over in to our care, which he refused to do. “When we attended horses we discovered them all to be underweight and in poor body condition.
“Four of the five horses were suffering from skin infections, which needed veterinary treatment.
“The field offered inadequate grazing for equine animals and conditions were muddy, with little appropriate shelter from adverse weather conditions.
“The horses were exposed to poisonous rhododendron bushes and discarded fencing material.
“In one corner of the field the fence was broken and taped up, which was not suitable to contain the horses from the nearby busy road. We welcome this sentence. Tahiraj was not capable of meeting the most basic of needs for the horses in his care.
“We hope this sentence makes Tahiraj consider his ability to look after any animal in the future.”
Sentencing: banned from keeping any equine animals for a period of five years.
#TheList Charlotte Amy Roberts, born 03/03/1991, of 274 Beech Avenue, Galashiels TD1 2LG – neglected a lizard to the extent it almost died
Roberts, who together with wife Vickie Roberts (née Hay) is a notorious pet peddler with a history of allegedly selling on poorly kittens riddled with parasites, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the pet.
Animal welfare officers said the Bosc monitor lizard was close to death when they raided the flat following the tip-off.
In addition to the lizard they found 13 cats, two dogs and a rabbit.
Roberts avoided a ban from owning all animals and has signed over her dogs and cats to the Scottish SPCA.
But there are are still two dogs, five cats and a fish living in the property as they are in the ownership of her 23-year-old wife Vickie Roberts.
Vickie Roberts’ not guilty plea to causing unnecessary suffering to the lizard was accepted by the Crown.
The court heard was told how a complaint was made to the Scottish SPCA about animal neglect at the property.
Charlotte Roberts admitted the lizard was in a “very bad” condition.
The court heard how it was motionless and in a state of collapse and had no access to water. The water dish was dry and was full of wood shavings.
Officers immediately removed the lizard for veterinary attention and it was found to be very weak and emaciated.
Its weight was 1.68 kilogrammes when it should be a healthy weight of between 2.5 and three kilogrammes.
The lizard had seven days of treatment which proved to be successful as the lizard was “fed back to life”. It has now been signed over to the Scottish SPCA.
The Crown had originally called for a ban on Charlotte Roberts owning all animals.
But after consulting the Scottish SPCA – who told them Roberts had been engaging well with them and also Lothian Cat Rescue – the motion was restricted to reptiles.
Depute fiscal Anna Robertson told the latest hearing the Scottish SPCA had spoken highly of Roberts’ attitude and that she had understood their stance over the lizard.
Ms Robertson said that as a result Charlotte Roberts had signed over her cats and one dog to the Scottish SPCA but said there were still animals in the Beech Avenue flat that had not been signed over as they belonged to Vickie Roberts.
She said there were still concerns as all the animals in the house had to be treated for fleas, the landlords Waverley Housing had a policy on the number of pets in their property and all vets in the area had indicated there were outstanding bills to be paid.
The fiscal added that it was understood there was a Go Fund Me page for a dog which had an ear infection.
Defence lawyer Colin Severin said that there were now two dogs, five cats and a fish in the property but added: “All remaining animals are in the ownership of her partner.”
As regards Charlotte Roberts he said, ‘she had taken on more than she could handle’, and there had been no malice involved.
He said a ban on keeping all animals would not be appropriate.
Sheriff Peter Paterson fined Charlotte Roberts £200 for causing unnecessary suffering to the lizard and banned her from keeping reptiles for two years.
But after hearing Charlotte Roberts has a joint Employment Support Allowance of £275 per fortnight with her partner, the sheriff said he found it “difficult to comprehend” how they could afford to keep the amount of cats and dogs they have.
Sentencing: fined £200. Banned from keeping reptiles for two years.