#TheList Kieran John Jerome Mitchell, born 27/05/1995, of Keswick Crescent, Plymouth PL6 – punched and slapped his pet dog 36 times causing him to suffer wounds to his head and ears
Convicted cannabis dealer Mitchell, formerly of Penrose Street, Stonehouse, Plymouth, was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to the bull terrier Hugo in November 2017. He was convicted in his absence back in July 2018 and a warrant issued for his arrest the following month.
Mitchell surrendered to custody in March 2020. He was released on bail but failed to turn up at the next hearing. Magistrates have now issued a further arrest warrant.
The RSPCA, which brought the case, said concerns were raised about the welfare of Hugo, after they were sent an anonymous audio recording of him being beaten and taunted by Mitchell.
RSPCA prosecutor Lindi Meyer told the court it was a “nasty sustained attack” with a total of 36 hits, punches or slaps heard on the recording.
As Mitchell attacked the dog he can be overheard goading him, asking him: “Are you crying now? Whimpering?”
The RSPCA seized Hugo from Mitchell and took him to a vet for examination. The vet found three lesions on his face, one of which was near an eye. The vet said that the beating would have been a traumatic experience for Hugo, causing him to feel “terror, fear, pain and anxiety”.
Mitchell admitted in his interview that he smacked Hugo and would rub his nose in it if he fouled on the floor.
The presiding magistrate told Mitchell: “You acted in anger against an innocent animal.”
Sentencing: 24 weeks in prison. £115 victim surcharge. Banned from owning animals for ten years.
#TheList 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 Ian Ware, born 13/05/1946 , and Ann Ware, born c. 1960, both of Holly Road, Tiverton EX16 6HZ – failed to take their badly injured cat to the vet
The RSPCA visited the home of Ian and Ann Ware in September 2019 after receiving a call from a concerned member of the public.
The grey and white cat, known as Snowball, was rushed to a vet by RSPCA Inspector Charlotte Coggins where he had to be put to sleep because of the severity of his condition.
Inspector Coggins said: “The pinna was damaged, leaving the cartilage of the ear canal exposed.
“Around the ear canal there was a deep deficit in the skin and underlying muscle to the extent that the bone of the skull could be seen rostral to the ear canal.
“The diagnosis from the vet was of a chronic severe deep infection of the ear canal and surrounding tissues. The exact cause could not be ascertained on clinical examination but it may have resulted from a bite to the area from another cat or rodent.
“As a result of this infection, the vet found Snowball to be suffering severe pain and that the infection had been present for some time based on the severity and extent of tissue destruction including damage to the cartilage of the ear canal.”
The defendants admitted causing unnecessary suffering to Snowball by failing to provide prompt or effective professional veterinary care and attention for the severe and chronic infected wound of the left ear canal and surrounding tissue.
Sentencing: four-week curfew order; £110 each in court costs. Banned from keeping animals for three years.
#TheList Peter Dunn aka Peter James, born 06/03/2002, of Lord Nelson House, 170 High Street, Swansea SA1 1NE – beat up a French bulldog puppy on at least two occasions causing her to suffer multiple broken bones
The trauma inflicted on the 10-month-old dog, who is now known as Betty, was so severe that she would not even look at her fosterer for three weeks after being temporarily rehomed by the RSPCA.
Dunn injured the puppy by “doing an act, namely the infliction of blunt force trauma and physical violence”.
He also “knew or ought reasonably to have known that that act would have the effect of causing unnecessary suffering or be likely to do so”.
The acts of violence occurred over two separate dates in 2019, on July 30 and September 24, and veterinary checks on the puppy revealed that her injuries were non-accidental.
Betty had suffered a swollen face, a fractured humerus, a fractured ulna and radius and a fractured femoral head.
The injuries were inflicted at a time when Dunn was the only person to have been alone with the dog.
Betty continues to recover from her ordeal and recently underwent an operation to remove wires from her leg. She has undergone several operations, and her care has cost the RSPCA around £8,000.
Her fosterer has described the little dog as a “bundle of joy” after at first being reticent in their company.
The fosterer said: “When she first came to me in October she had shut down and she wouldn’t look at me for three weeks. But now she is a beautiful bundle of joy. She is just amazing and she loves everybody and she is great with other dogs.”
The RSPCA are hoping that a ‘forever home’ will soon be found for Betty.
“I would very much like to thank the member of the public who alerted us to what was going on so we could promptly remove the puppy and give her the veterinary treatment she desperately needed,” said RSPCA Cymru inspector Gemma Cooper.
“I am so thankful she has recovered and is doing really well with one of our fantastic fosterers.”
Dunn pleaded guilty to two animal welfare offences and was given a nine-month referral order. He was told to pay costs and charges totalling £321. He was banned from keeping any animals for five years.
#TheList Carl Anthony Dyson, born 03/04/1979, of 90 Belmont Avenue, Blackpool FY1 4BG – killed a cat by dropping a concrete slab onto her head to “put it out of its misery”
Father-of-two Dyson admitted killing the female black and white long-haired cat, called Paddy, at an address on Salthouse Avenue, Blackpool, on October 23, 2019.
The court heard how Dyson had been seen by a neighbour carrying Paddy, wrapped in a pink towel, into his friend’s back garden, where he dropped a large concrete slab twice on the animal’s head.
The witness said they saw the cat trying to wriggle free before Dyson let go of the slab.
Paul Ridehalgh, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said the witness “saw Dyson drop a slab as thick as a laptop on the cat’s head as it lay in the yard”, and added: “She saw the cat try and escape from the blanket before Dyson did the same thing again.”
The neighbour alerted the RSPCA and inspectors found “a plethora” of traumatic injuries to Paddy’s head.
Mr Ridehalgh said: “The inspector observer a black and white plastic cat carrier that appeared to have blood on it. Inside he found the body of a black and white cat.
“The cat appeared to have suffered massive injuries to her head, as it was crushed on one side, with its eye bulging.
“The defendant said he believed the cat may have been hit by a car.”
After telling Paddy’s owner, Anthony Johnson, what had happened, the cat’s body was taken away for further inspection.
Mr Ridehalgh said: “The cat had suffered traumatic injuries to its head. The conclusion was that these injuries were caused by forceful, violent compression of the cat’s head. The death could have been very quick.
“The cat could have been suffering from some cancerous lumps in the head area. Vets also examined the cat and found it to be in a poor condition, it was severely underweight with fleas jumping off her. The fur was matted and covered in faeces.
“The cat’s head had clearly been crushed. The vet’s opinion was that the cat’s injuries were unsurvivable. In her opinion, the cat’s death would have certainly caused suffering… the dropping of a concrete slab on a cat is not an acceptable method of euthanasia, and any reasonable person would have taken the cat to a vet.”
A veterinary examination found the cat had been suffering from a cancerous tumour in the mouth and was severely underweight.
When interviewed by the RSPCA, the defendant claimed he thought the cat had been injured in a road accident and he “panicked”.
Dyson’s lawyer Gary McAnulty of Fylde Law told the court his client “was suffering at the time with some mental health problems, anxiety and depression.”
Sentencing Dyson, magistrate Ed Beaman said: “The cat was trying to escape the blanket and was not so ill as to be accepting of its fate.
“There’s evidence that the cat was distressed while in the blanket prior to the first impact. We believe the cat was still alive prior to the second impact, and this caused distress to both the cat and the witnesses who saw the offence.”
Sentencing: 12 weeks in jail (released on bail after lodging an appeal). Ordered to pay a total of £200 coss and charges. Banned from owning, keeping or managing animals indefinitely.
#TheList Paul Scotty Murray, born 21/11/1999, of 10 Gartmorn Road, Sauchie, Alloa FK10 3NX – inflicted a catalogue of injuries on a pup and stuffed him into a tiny drawer
The badly injured dog, known as Tyson, was left in agony with no access to food, water, light or room to move after being stuffed into a drawer by his twisted owner, Paul Scotty Murray. The four-month-old dog had to be euthanised on humane grounds.
Murray only admitted causing Tyson unnecessary suffering by failing to get him treated for a catalogue of horrendous injuries. The court did not address how he came to be injured in the first place.
Tyson had sustained a fractured elbow and injured hip, and was suffering from a painful ear condition between February 21-28, 2019.
Instead of taking the stricken dog to a vet, Murray left him to suffer in agony at his property on Gartmorn Road during that period.
He also admitted cramming Tyson into a tiny drawer under a bed on February 28.
Police discovered Tyson in the drawer and immediately seized him from Murray.
The court heard a vet found “evidence of definite trauma to the head, neck and femur”.
The injuries were likely to have been a result of “separate incidents” of trauma, and the pain the dog was in would have been obvious to any owner.
Sadly, Tyson was euthanised on welfare grounds on March 1.
Murray’s solicitor, Grazia Robertson of Glasgow law firm L and G Robertson, said her client was barely able to care for himself, let alone an animal.
She said this was due to a troubled upbringing, and asked for unpaid work or a curfew to be imposed on Murray.
She added: “Clearly, some punishment is required.”
A furious Sheriff Craig Harris warned Murray of how seriously he viewed the offences.
He said: “You put this animal through absolute hell. You should be nowhere near animals.
“I’ve given serious consideration as to whether you should go to prison for this.”
Instead, Murray walked free from court with a community order.
Sentencing: 150 hours of unpaid work and a one-year supervision order. He is banned from owning, keeping, or taking charge of any animal for a period of seven years.
Prosecution: Stephen R Bouquet, born 05/01/1967, of 31B Rose Hill Terrace, Brighton BN1 4JJ – accused of killing and injuring 16 cats
Steve Bouquet, who is originally from Chelmsford in Essex, has denied killing and injuring cats in Brighton.
He faces 16 counts of criminal damage, relating to the deaths of nine cats, and injuries to seven others.
The 53-year-old was brought into court as the first case before District Judge Tessa Szagun at Brighton Magistrates’ Court today.
He wore a black leather jacket, white polo shirt, and black trousers as he appeared in the dock.
Bouquet spoke to confirm his name, address and nationality. He was represented by Kirsty Craghill, while David Holman prosecuted.
Mr Holman said the total cost of the criminal damage in the charges was £32,000.
Judge Szagun said the offences are either way offences and released Bouquet on bail.
He was ordered not to enter York Road at the junction with Queen’s Road and North Gardens, not to enter Church Street at the junction of Queen’s Road and Dyke Road, and not to enter Crown Gardens at the junction with Kew Street.
Bouquet will next appear before the Crown Court at either Lewes, Hove, or Brighton on February 20, 2020.
#TheList Stephen Carr, born 11/11/1986, of 10 Munroe Avenue, Millom LA18 5AL – failed to get veterinary care when two of his dogs suffered facial injuries consistent with wild animal fighting
Married father-of-two Carr pleaded guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering.
The court heard Cumbria Police executed a warrant at Carr’s home on August 14, 2019, accompanied by RSPCA officers.
Three dogs were found in kennels at the bottom of the garden, and two of them were found to have facial injuries
A vet who examined Toby, a bull lurcher, found a lower lip laceration which was about a month old which was still healing and there was no sign of an attempt to repair it.
Boots, a Patterdale Terrier, was found to have an old ‘degloving injury’ on her jaw which was caused by ‘traumatic tearing forces’.
The vet report said ‘these injuries are incredibly painful,’ and there was no evidence it had been treated and had instead been ‘left to heal’.
RSPCA Inspector Ian Briggs, said: “As a dog owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure your pet gets vet treatment when they need it so they do not suffer.
“We are pleased that Boots, Toby and Blaze, will be looking for loving new homes soon.”
Copeland Neighbourhood Police Officer Marie Carter said: “This is a welcome result which enforces the message that mistreatment or abuse of animals will not be tolerated and will result in robust action being taken. We continue to work with our partners in the RSPCA in order to bring these offenders to justice.
“Anyone with any information in relation to this type of offence is asked to contact Cumbria Constabulary on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
Sentencing: 12-week suspended prison; ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and to pay £622. Disqualified from keeping dogs for 10 years. Boots, Toby and a third dog Blaze are in RSPCA care and will be looking for new homes soon.
#TheList Gary David Bell, born 09/09/1969, of 54 Coronation Way, Keighley BD22 6HH – forced his pet dog to have a bath in bleach, rubbed it into her eyes and battered her over the head repeatedly
Gary Bell battered and abused nine-year-old American bulldog Smiler, leaving her bloodied and barely conscious in the bathroom
RSPCA inspectors were called to Bell’s home over concerns for the dog’s welfare.
They attended the property with police and could hear heavy breathing through the ground-floor bathroom window.
RSPCA inspector Sarah Bagley said: “I was horrified to see Smiler in the bath with a bloodied tea towel on her head.
“A friend of Bell’s let us into the property and we found Smiler barely conscious. She and the bath were wet and there was a bottle of human shampoo and Flash household cleaner which appeared to have been used on her.
“Between us we were able to get her out of the flat and I rushed her straight to a local vet practice.
“By the time I got her there her eyes were swollen shut. She was found to have multiple injuries including two large wounds to the top of her head which needed to be stitched, bruising to the head and a loose tooth that needed to be removed. Her eyes were flushed to get rid of any cleaning product.”
A veterinary examination ruled that the injuries were not accidental and attempts to clean Smiler afterwards would have caused pain and suffering.
Smiler spent a week under treatment and supervision at the vets during which time she slowly started to physically recover.
Bell, who has previous convictions for assault and heroin possession, was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to the dog by inflicting trauma on her, failing to provide veterinary attention for her injuries and applying cleaning products to her head and eyes.
He was due to attend Bradford Magistrates Court on January 7, but failed to appear and was arrested on warrant.
Inspector Bagley said: “Bell didn’t offer any plausible explanation for Smiler’s predicament – in interview he said that she had probably cut her head on barbed wire during a walk in the woods.
“She is recovering well, gaining weight, her skin and coat are improving and she seems to be a much brighter, happier dog. The cherry eye is being monitored on vet advice at the moment.
“Smiler is currently being cared for by the great staff at RSPCA Sheffield where everyone absolutely loves her and she will be put up for adoption soon.
“She is a very sweet dog who loves people and I can’t wait to hear that she’s thriving in a loving new home.”
Sentencing: 16 weeks in prison. Disqualified from keeping animals for life.
#TheList Matthew David Benjamin, born 18 May 1982, previously of Earlswood, Chepstow but currently (June 2020) of no fixed abode – kicked his pet dog repeatedly until he died in extreme pain and distress
The Staffordshire bull terrier, known as Diesel and estimated to be aged between one and two years old, was killed in the early hours of December 4, 2019 at the home builder Shepherd shared with housemate Phillip Moseley.
Prosecutor Paul Ricketts read the court a witness statement taken from Moseley in which he described how he had heard Benjamin walk into the property and call the dog “in a soft voice” three or four times.
The dog then ran out of the housemate’s bedroom.
“I heard Matthew and the dog go into the kitchen because I could hear two claws on the kitchen floor,” Moseley said.
“The kitchen door was closed and there was silence for a few minutes. Then suddenly I heard Matthew scream.”
He said he heard Benjamin shout “stop pissing on the f***ing floor” before the dog began to “scream and yelp”.
“I could hear every impact against the dog’s body,” he said.
Moseley said the noise was so distressing “I was sick in the bedroom because of the trauma”.
Mr Ricketts said Moseley went to the kitchen door but he was unable to push it open.
Moseley then said he heard Benjamin say: “This f***ing thing is going to die”.
“The attack felt like it lasted forever,” he said.
“I honestly believe Mathew kicked the dog more than one hundred times.”
Mr Ricketts said the police were called and Benjamin was arrested.
Moseley said: “It is so upsetting to think about the suffering the dog went through.
“It was a lovely dog and it was defenceless.”
Judge David Parsons heard how a vet recorded that Diesel suffered wounds to his head and shoulders and “lacerations to the face”.
The dog had died after sustaining blunt trauma to his abdomen and head.
Mr Ricketts said: “After the defendant was arrested, he told the police he had completely lost his head and that the red mist descended.”
Andrew Twomlow of Twomlows Solicitors, mitigating, said his client entered his guilty plea on the basis Diesel was kicked six or seven times, which was accepted by the court. In his probation report, the defendant said he was stressed at the time of the attack and was “gutted” adding that “the dog didn’t deserve to die”.
The court was told that the case had attracted considerable interest on social media.
Mr Twomlow told the judge: “The public outrage is understandable. The defendant has had his property and car damaged.
“He has been subject to a degree of vilification.”
The court heard Benjamin had only had Diesel for five weeks after being given the dog by a friend and didn’t know to train him. The defendant said his new pet had destroyed his house and his property but added that the dog could be “quite pleasant” and had taken it to work with him.