#TheList Anton Boston, born c. 1994, of Habershon Street, Splott, Cardiff CF25 2DY – convicted of illegal dog breeding and fraud
Anton Boston was prosecuted following a multi-agency investigation into his dog breeding business, Boston Bullies Wales
In May 2019 Shared Regulatory Services, RSPCA and police officers raided Boston’s house and found six adult dogs and five puppies.
Boston did not have a licence to breed dogs and was breeding more than the permitted levels. Officers found two fraudulent canine passports but no paperwork at all for the other animals.
Cllr Michael Michael, Cabinet Member responsible for Shared Regulatory Services, said: “Our officers were investigating Anton Boston for some time, due to the complaints that we received from a number of sources.
Cllr Michael continued: “At the request of the judge and the fact that a suspended sentence has been given in this case, we will be keeping a very close eye on Anton Boston to ensure he doesn’t breach any of the conditions of his sentence.”
Sentencing: 32 weeks’ custody, suspended for 18 months with a requirement to carry out 20 days of rehabilitation activities, as well as a 16-week tagged curfew. A forfeiture and destruction order was obtained for the passports and £350 costs was awarded to the Shared Regulatory Service.
#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 Jayde Melanie Ross (aka Jayde Davies), born c. 1993, of Monnow Way, Bettws, Newport NP20 – left two bearded dragons in an abandoned property
Jayde Ross pleaded guilty to two animal welfare offences after leaving two bearded dragons in an empty property without appropriate heat, light, food or water. Very sadly, one of the animals perished.
The RSPCA was contacted after the bearded dragons – one male, and one female – were found abandoned at the property, “in a shocking state”.
One was severely emaciated while the other had suspected renal disease, parasitic infections and conjunctivitis.
The reptiles have complex needs, including a high requirement for heat and UVB lighting.
The RSPCA said the lizards’ condition suggested they had been without necessary food and water for some time.
One of the bearded dragons had to be put to sleep due to the extent of his injuries, while the other was transferred to a specialist wildlife centre for rehoming.
Sophie Daniels, RSPCA Inspector, said: “We found these poor bearded dragons in a shocking state – with one barely moving as a consequence of her condition; and both appearing very lethargic, depressed and with their bones prominent.
“Bearded dragons have very complex needs – and Wales’ cool climate means heating facilities are essential. Leaving these animals without heat placed them in grave danger, and it beggars belief that more effort had not been made to retrieve these animals or make sure they were safe after the tenant left the property.
“Owning pets is a privilege – but what we saw here was a derelict of duty that sadly resulted in one bearded dragon losing his life; and another suffering unnecessarily for a prolonged period of time.
“Thankfully, it wasn’t too late for the other lizard – but this sad case is a stark reminder as to the complex needs these animals have; and the responsibilities of owners to meet those needs.”
Sentencing: ordered to pay a total of £821 in fines, costs and charges. Banned from keeping animals for just three years.
#TheList Ieuan Batten, born 23/10/1996, of Forest Avenue, Cefn Hengoed, near Ystrad Mynach CF82 – beat up his mother after she intervened to stop his savage attack on a dog
Prosecutor Leah Pollard told the court that 23-year-old Batten had a history of violence against his mother, with previous assault convictions recorded against him.
She said this latest attack happened just before Christmas 2019 when Batten came home “under the influence and in an aggressive mood”.
Judge Daniel Williams was told of how Batten’s mother and two women, one of whom was pregnant with his child, were in her house when he went “completely mad”.
After two dogs began fighting, he took one of them into the kitchen and repeatedly punched and kicked him.
Batten’s mother covered the animal to protect him before her son turned his attention to her.
Miss Pollard said: “He was in a complete rage. He grabbed her by the hair and dragged her into the living room.
“He started punching her and stamping on her all over her body.”
One of the women told police: “It lasted for about half an hour. I have never seen such violence in my life and I was shocked – especially when it was carried out by someone against their own mother.”
The victim was taken to hospital with her face “totally swollen and black and her body covered in bruises”.
Batten pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
The court was told he had 20 previous convictions for 49 offences.
Nik Strobl, mitigating, said: “The defendant wishes to express his remorse and he can’t believe what he has done to his own mother.
“He has little recollection of what happened.”
Judge Williams told Batten, who was high on alcohol and drugs during the attack, that: “This was a savage assault. You used dreadful violence.”
Sentencing: jailed for two years and given a five-year restraining order preventing him from contacting his mother. He must pay a victim surcharge upon his release from custody. He was not banned from keeping animals.
#TheList Mathew Howell Jones, born 30/05/1981, of Jones Street, Tonypandy CF40 2BY – for badger baiting and failing to take his injured dog to the vet
Mathew Howell Jones pleaded guilty to one Protection of Badgers Act 1992 offence and one Animal Welfare Act 2006 offence.
The court heard that the father-of-three was caught using dogs to interfere with a badger sett on January 20, 2019.
Jones also admitted failing to get urgent veterinary treatment for his dog, with the black terrier struggling with serious injuries.
The unnamed dog had alopecia and skin lesions, caused by sarcoptic mange – with a wound to the eye consistent with a tear injury to the lower lid. Despite these problems, Jones had not taken him to the vet.
A veterinary professional said such injuries are “commonly seen following fighting” and would be “consistent with a face-to-face encounter with another dog or a fox or a badger”.
The dog – one of four initially seized as part of the investigation – was signed into the RSPCA’s care and ultimately put up for rehoming.
Police found blood-stained overalls in Jones’ van, though he denied ownership of the clothing. Testing of the blood confirmed it had come from a badger. RSPCA officers later found evidence of one large, freshly dug and back-filled hole at an active badger sett.
Chief inspector of the RSPCA’s special operations unit Ian Briggs said: “Interfering with a badger sett in this way is a very serious wildlife crime, and clearly had serious possible impacts both for the dogs involved and wildlife.
“One poor dog in this case was struggling with injuries that clearly needed urgent veterinary care. It’s very worrying that the injuries sustained by the dog are – according to veterinary opinion – consistent with fighting, and a face-to-face encounter with wildlife, such as a fox or a badger.
“This case is yet another example of the RSPCA’s efforts to tackle crimes against Wales’ wildlife.”
Sentencing: five-month prison sentence, suspended for 24 months; ordered to pay a total of £1,520. Disqualified from keeping all animals for four years.
Jones was also deprived by the court of all possessions related to the interference with a badger sett – including locating devices and netting.
#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.
#TheList Nicole Mireille Jones, born 01/01/1990, of 22 Brynglas Avenue, Pontllanfraith, Blackwood NP12 2DB – left her Husky dog to suffer in agony with multiple ailments
RSPCA Cymru had been seeking to help Jones, and made multiple visits to her property related to the condition of eight-year-old husky Chad.
Sadly, Jones failed to provide Chad – who ultimately had chronic ear infections and deteriorating physical condition – with the veterinary care he so badly needed. His skin condition was so bad that vets reported the skin “falling away” when touched. He had to be put to sleep due to the extent of his injuries.
Mother-of-one Jones pleaded guilty to an Animal Welfare Act offence of causing her Husky crossbreed to suffer.
Gemma Black, RSPCA inspector, said: “RSPCA repeatedly tried to help this individual; but they did not ensure the dog had appropriate veterinary care to tackle Chad’s dreadful physical conditions and painful ear infections.
“Sadly, poor Chad’s skin got so bad that vets told us it was beginning to fall away when touched. There was simply no choice but to put this poor, suffering Husky crossbreed to sleep.
“This sad story is a reminder that people should always seek help if they are struggling to look after their dog. The inaction of Chad’s owner cost this dog dearly, and has led to her being banned from keeping animals ever again.”
Sentencing: 18-week prison sentence, suspended for two years. Ordered to pay a total of £565. Banned from keeping animals for life with the right of appeal after five years.
==== Update June 2020: Nicole Jones was sent to prison after twice breaching the terms of her suspended sentence. Jones admitted stealing £175 of alcohol from Tesco in Ystrad Mynach on May 14, 2020, and shoplifting £275.50 of booze from Tesco in Upper Boat, Pontypridd, on June 13.
Jones was jailed for 12 weeks for being in breach of the suspended sentence and given consecutive terms of 12 weeks and six weeks for the two thefts.
The total sentence was 30 weeks in prison and she was ordered to pay £50 compensation.
#TheList Arron Lee Dixon, born 26/01/1992, of 17 Aberfan Fawr, Merthyr Tydfil CF48 4PE – neglected and beat his horses
Arron Lee Dixon was found guilty of a string of animal welfare offences relating to three ponies.
The father-of-one failed to provide a suitable diet and environment for the ponies, who were being kept at a site in Bryngoleu, and was even caught beating one of them.
All three animals – a grey gelding Welsh, a male skewbald native and a small male skewbald native – were found by RSPCA officers to be underweight and had little or no land to graze on or supplementary feed.
One skewbald pony was so underweight and in such poor condition that a vet said he had “suffered unnecessarily” while another pony had escaped from the field and was found grazing elsewhere.
On March 21, 2019, when RSPCA officers were carrying out a follow-up check on the welfare of the ponies, an officer also caught Dixon beating one of the animals.
The ponies were taken into the care of the RSPCA and were made available for rehoming.
Dixon, who runs a house and rubbish clearance business called Dixon’s Removals, was convicted of five animal welfare offences dating to February and March 2019. He had pleaded not guilty at an earlier hearing but was found guilty in his absence.
An RSPCA spokesman said the charity had already given Dixon advice on horse care in February because the ponies had little or no land to graze. But when officers returned on March 21, Dixon hadn’t addressed the problem or provided supplementary feed and the ponies were underweight.
It was during this visit while waiting for a vet and the police to arrive, Dixon was caught beating the skewbald native pony.
Gemma Cooper, an RSPCA spokeswoman, said: “These ponies were grazed illegally on inappropriate land without supplementary feed, and therefore were not having their needs met and one was so underweight, vets found him to be suffering.
“We tried to work with Dixon previously but returned to the site to find improvements had not been made. One pony had even escaped the field and was subsequently found grazing elsewhere.
“Thankfully, we were able to rescue these ponies and offer them a second chance of happiness. All three have made an amazing transformation and are now available for rehoming.”
Dixon was found guilty of three charges relating to the weight of the animals, one charge for failing to provide a suitable diet and one charge for failing to meet the skewbald native pony’s needs to be protected from pain, suffering or injury by inappropriate handling and physical ill-treatment including hitting.
Sentencing: 18-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months; 20 rehabilitation days. 10-week curfew; £1,000 in court costs. Banned for five years from keeping animals.