#TheList Naomi Rachel Knapp, born April 1960, of Wingfield Road, Knowle, Bristol BS3 5EQ, but with links to the Somerset village of Congresbury – for cruelty to a Shetland pony
Knapp, who’s a founder/director of a Bristol-based Christian homeless charity, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a Shetland pony gelding at Moor View Farm, Congresbury, between January 22 and February 14, 2020.
The fate of the pony is unknown.
Sentencing: community order. Disqualified from keeping equines for five years.
#TheList Latoyah Donna Stones (aka Lottie Devine), born 24/02/1992, of Hillcrest Road, Yeovil BA21 – neglected and starved a dog
Mother-of-three Stones caused unnecessary suffering to the female dog, known as Boston, by failing to explore or address her poor condition between March and September 2019.
The Dogue de Bordeaux had been taken to Vets4Pets in Yeovil on September 22, 2019 by Stones, who claimed the severely malnourished dog was a stray she had found.
Boston, who weighed just 30kg at the time, was taken to St Giles Animal Rescue by the local authority dog warden and social media appeals for information regarding the dog were made.
Stones’ name was put forward by members of the public who identified her as being Boston’s owner, which she later admitted when interviewed.
RSPCA inspector Jo Daniel, who investigated for the animal welfare charity, said: “The vet who examined Boston found her to be very thin, weighing just 30kg when a similar dog in healthy condition could be expected to weigh between 40 to 45kg, and said the dog’s condition was because of a failure to provide adequate food to maintain a normal bodily condition.
“In conclusion, the vet found no underlying causes that would have led to her being in the state she was, adding that she would have suffered for a number of months and have suffered hunger and fatigue during that time.
“This picture, which was taken ten days after she went into the care of the rescue centre, shows what an awful condition she was in.
“Thankfully, she’s now recovered thanks to simply being given an appropriate diet and the care she needs.”
Boston has since been rehomed.
Sentencing: 20 days of rehabilitation activity requirement; total of £365 costs and charges. Banned from keeping dogs for five years.
#TheList Nick Holley, born 23/07/1968, of Tramside Farm, Nancekuke, Portreath, near Redruth TR16 5UF – banned from keeping farm animals after sheep were found starved and mutilated at his smallholding
Holley pleaded guilty to the following charges:
• Failing to provide adequate food to his flock of sheep
• Allowing sheep to have access to collapsed fencing and broken machinery that could have injured them
• Mutilating a sheep by docking its tail so short that the tail did not cover its vulva
• Failing to shear or provide shade to sheep in August 2019
• On 10 September 2019 caused unnecessary suffering to a sheep by failing to notice it was trapped or to release it from being trapped
Kevin Hill, prosecuting, told the court that Holley had gone on holiday and left a friend caring for 50 sheep at the smallholding, despite the friend having no previous experience of sheep husbandry.
Many of the sheep were emaciated yet had no supplementary feed, and the sheep had access to scrap and collapsed fencing. On a revisit, council officers found a sheep trapped in a fence; it had been trapped for at least 24 hours and once released was hungry and thirsty.
In January 2020 the sheep were not being fed hay and had strayed onto neighbouring land and roadside verges to forage. Holley had been cautioned for similar offences in 2018.
The magistrates gave credit for the early guilty plea and genuine remorse.
Sentencing: two-year conditional discharge; £5,000 costs. Banned from keeping farm animals for five 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 Ian Mark Reidy, born 10/01/1989, of 32 Springfield Avenue, Hereford HR2 7JH – left his horse to suffer with a broken leg for two months
The court heard Reidy failed to act on veterinary advice in relation to his 11-year-old horse, Brownie’s, broken leg between July 26 and September 19, 2019.
RSPCA Inspector Suzi Smith investigated after the animal welfare charity received a call about a horse with a severe untreated leg injury.
Ms Smith said: “Initially it appeared Brownie had collapsed. He seemed unable to get up. The foot was worn at the toe from the continued dragging of it over the weeks. He was wearing a thick rug in warm weather.
“Once we did get him up, he was non-weight bearing on the front leg. Upon removal of the rug it showed he was underweight with muscle atrophy to the broken leg where the muscle had wasted away over the weeks from his inability to use the leg. He had a pressure sore on his hock from the excessive time he had been spending laid down due to the pain.
“An x-ray showed his elbow to be in three pieces and vets found it was too late to perform any surgery to help.
“Reidy had initially called a vet when the injury occurred but refused to follow their advice before putting them off when they called to request a check-up of Brownie on eleven occasions, instead telling them he was getting better, rather than seeking the help Brownie desperately needed.”
Sentencing: 12-week custodial sentence. Ordered to pay a £122 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping any equine for life.
The court also made a seizure order for the remaining horses Reidy owned, but he told the court he had given them away.
#TheList Michael Edward Levy, born 08/05/1988, formerly of 22 The Drive, West End, Southampton SO30 3AN, but gave his address in court as 35 Metherell Avenue, Brixham, Devon TQ5 9QB – left horses in a field without clean water and shelter
Gypsy Michael Levy, who runs a company called Forest Falconry and Pest Control Ltd and has a previous conviction for fly-tipping, was found guilty of failing to ensure the needs of animals he was responsible for.
The father-of-five was also found guilty of transporting a pony in a way that was likely to cause injury.
The court heard that RSPCA inspectors were called by the police after Levy allowed his ponies to fly-graze on land at Botley Road, West End, Southampton.
The land, which was littered with several hazards, did not have clean water, shade or shelter.
The fencing was also deemed inappropriate fencing for horses, which resulted in one horse getting trapped and losing a shoe.
RSPCA Inspector Tina Ward described the scene.
“A metal gate between two paddocks was hanging off its hinges,” said Inspector Ward. “The paddock also had a hidden dangerous hazard; a cesspit covered by grass and rubble.
“There was rusting metal and car parts as well as partly buried plastic blue piping. All of these had the potential to cause serious harm and injury.”
Police body-camera footage recorded a Shetland pony being unloaded by Levy from a white van.
Inspector Ward said the pony “had been travelling with a rope headcollar on that was loose. There were no windows giving light or ventilation, no partition to support the pony’s body, which is particularly important.”
She said: “If the pony was to lose its balance when the vehicle went round a corner or stopped suddenly, he could have injured himself significantly.”
Inspector Ward added where the pony had been standing was a number of items including a tin of paint and metal ladders.
“These also had the potential to cause the pony serious injury had he had fallen over. The method of transporting the pony was highly dangerous and would have also caused significant distress,” she said.
Inspector Ward concluded: “There were no windows giving light or ventilation, no partition to support the pony’s body. The method of transporting the pony was highly dangerous and would have also caused significant distress.”
Sentencing: Levy was ordered to pay a total of £1,233. He was banned from keeping equines for six months.
#TheList John Benjamin Cook, born 13/11/1993, and his brother William Cook, born 11/07/1989, both of Little Acres, Longfield Avenue, New Barn, Longfield, Dartford DA3 7LA – ran a puppy farm and a cock-fighting ring
Gypsy travellers John and William Cook were convicted of a number of animal welfare offences.
In July 2018 RSPCA officers executed a warrant at the sprawling property in New Barn the brothers share with their extended family, including wives, children and parents, after a member of the public who had bought puppies from them raised concerns.
In total, 18 dogs, including spaniels and beagles were removed along with two cockerels.
Officers also seized a number of mobile phones from the site and a suspecting cock-fighting pit was uncovered. Analysis of the mobiles showed the brothers were involved with fighting and later forensics tests found the blood of at least four cockerels on the pit.
During the four-day trial the court heard how John Cook was accused of causing suffering to a number of dogs, failing to provide them with vet care for stomach and teeth problems and keeping them in unsuitable conditions.
William Cook was accused of a number of offences relating to cockerel fighting.
John Cook pleaded guilty to the offences, while William Cook was convicted of the offences under the Animal Welfare Act.
RSPCA inspector Carroll Lamport, from the charity’s special operations unit, said: “Many of the dogs being kept at the site had health and welfare problems, including untreated gastrointestinal and dental issues.
“We also had serious concerns over the conditions they were being kept in. The dogs and puppies were being kept in dirty, wet conditions with no bedding.”
Sentencing: William Cook – 120-day prison term – suspended for two years. Ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work. Disqualified from keeping any animals for three years.
John Cook – 90 days in prison – also suspended for two years; 160 hours of unpaid work. He was disqualified from keeping dogs for three years.
Both men were ordered to pay £1,000 in costs plus a £115 victim surcharge.
#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 Ian Gordon McGrath, born 03/01/1975, of The Paddocks, Sandy Lane, Cranage, near Holmes Chapel, Crewe CW6 8HR – left 35 cow carcasses to decay at his dairy farm, left six other cows in such poor condition they had to be put down
McGrath admitted causing unnecessary suffering after a 2018 inspection of Grange Farm, Over Peover, Knutsford, by Cheshire East Council found some animals had no access to food or water.
Attempts had also been made to cover some of the 35 dead carcasses at the farm, which is now run by people who have no connection to this case.
The court heard the dairy farmer McGrath had suffered mental health problems since his father died in 2014.
Rachel Cooper, prosecuting, said that an experienced dairy farmer like McGrath must have known his actions were causing suffering to his animals.
But Adrian Roberts, defending, said McGrath had suffered with mental health problems since his father died in 2014.
He was also under financial pressure because of bovine tuberculosis in his herd and the falling price of milk.
District Judge Nicholas Sanders described the case as “appalling” and sentenced McGrath, who also admitted failing to dispose of dead cattle properly, to 18 weeks in jail which was suspended for 18 months.
He also banned McGrath from owning or keeping livestock for life but this can be reviewed in five years.
McGrath must also pay more than £17,000 in fines and costs, and carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.
#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.