#TheList Scott Bruce, born c. 1972, of 8 Anchor Close, Penrith CA11 9HQ -failed to treat his pet dog’s chronic skin condition and deteriorating physical health
Bruce, whose family won £727,000 on the National Lottery in 2015, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Mia. The court heard how he failed to seek appropriate veterinary care for Mia’s chronic skin condition and deteriorating physical health.
Sentencing: 12-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months. Ordered to carry out unpaid work for 80 hours within the next 12 months. £503.20 in court cost. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years with right of appeal after five years.
#TheList Wilfred Francis, born c. 1981, and his brother Ian Martin Francis, born c. 1983, both of Yr Ackery Farm, Dark Lane, Burton, Rossett, Wrexham LL12 0AE – for the mistreatment of cattle on their farm
Wilfred and Ian Francis pleaded guilty to a number of offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
On February 5, 2019, an unannounced visit by Wrexham Council was made to the farm after receiving a complaint of a dog eating a dead calf.
On arrival at the farm officers of the Food and Farming team accompanied by an Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) Vet found dead cattle and calves, animals with none or insufficient bedding. Some were without food and water and had access to hazardous object around the premises.
Ian Dillon, acting on behalf of the council, told the court: “Two dead cattle were being picked at by chickens. One had been unlawfully killed by Wilfred Francis by injecting it with anaesthetic.
“One cow had to be put to sleep after because it was left without medication after breaking its hip calfing two weeks previously.”
Mr Dillon said: “There were other cows with no access to water or food, some kept near to scrap metal which could have caused them harm and a general failure to clean and disinfect to keep away flies and disease.
“Waste food products had been left on the farm. Mince pies, cup cakes and ice cream was fed to the cattle. Some animals were left lying in slurry.”
Photographs taken by animal welfare officers showed animals living in squalid conditions. The officers made subsequent visits to the farm.
Mr Dillon said: “One calf was drowning in slurry. Another had been born the previous evening and had little bedding that was filled with slurry. The cow that had given birth was exhausted and had been given no food or water.
“Another newborn calf seen on March 5 was only just able to keep its nose above the slurry.”
Conditions did improve said Mr Dillon but eventually, the council applied to seize animals in May 2019 to stop unnecessary suffering. The herd reduced from 140 down to 40 head of cattle.
Sentencing: 16-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months. Ordered to pay £3,000 costs each to Wrexham County Council – at a minimum rate of £50 per month. There was no order against the brothers keeping animals in the future.
#TheList Nathan Sinnitt, born 17/03/1989, of 26 Victoria Avenue, Wallsend NE28 8SD – masked his pet dog’s extreme pain with second-hand cannabis smoke inhalation instead of taking her to the vets.
Mastiff-type dog Misty was seized after police raided Sinnitt’s home in relation to a suspected drugs farm. Officers found the pet calm but unable to stand or walk properly.
When questioned, Sinnitt and his partner admitted Misty hadn’t been walked or left the house in over eight months because of her mobility issues.
RSPCA officers were called and the dog was taken to a vet but, less than 12 hours later, she was in such extreme pain that she had to be put to sleep.
The vet confirmed that Misty had first appeared calm because of the effects of cannabis inhalation but those effects soon wore off.
Sinnitt failed to show up for his original court appearance but handed himself in to police and appeared for sentencing.
Stewart Haywood, prosecuting, told magistrates that police raided Sinnitt’s home on August 12, 2019, before calling in the RSPCA on discovering Misty.
“Inspectors attended and saw Misty,” he said. “Misty was sitting and, at the time she went to get up, she was very unsteady and struggling to put weight on her front legs and her back legs were uncoordinated. She fell a number of times when trying to get up.”
Misty was taken to the vet, who noted she was also struggling with pressure sores and that her skin showed areas of excessive licking.
Mr Haywood added: “The following day, Misty was seen and had clearly deteriorated. She was in pain.
“It’s the opinion of the vet that, being in the presence of cannabis would have masked the level of Misty’s pain after inhalation, which is why she didn’t feel the extent of the pain until the following day.”
The vet determined that there had been “significant, prolonged suffering” for Misty over a number of months.
Sadly, Misty’s condition was so bad, it was deemed that the most humane action was to put her to sleep.
It was also revealed that Sinnitt was entitled to PDSA treatment and lived just 200 yards from a vet.
Mr Haywood said: “It appears in this case that the defendant couldn’t be bothered to walk the short distance to take Misty to a vet and, instead, decided to take on a criminal lifestyle and grow and smoke cannabis.”
The court heard Sinnitt’s partner also failed to attend a court hearing last week and the case was also proved in absence against her.
A warrant was also issued for her arrest and is still outstanding.
Mark Harrison, defending, said Sinnitt hadn’t deliberately been cruel to Misty but had failed to get her the necessary medical treatment.
He told the court: “These are always emotive cases. The defendant has not been prosecuted for any cannabis recovered from his home address.
“I also don’t consider it to be a particularly helpful point that he should be given any credit for lowering or suppressing Misty’s harm by cannabis.
“I don’t mitigate on the basis Misty’s harm was lowered because of her inhalation of second-hand cannabis smoke. In fact, I’m not even sure of the science to argue it anyway.”
Mr Harrison said Sinnitt was thoroughly ashamed, embarrassed and upset as the dog was initially bought for him to help with his mental health.
Sentencing: 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months. Banned from keeping animals for five years.
#TheList Natasha J Brown, born 03/11/1993, of 6 Lumsden Terrace, Stanley DH9 8EQ – killed a dog by punching her four times to the head
The court heard how Brown, accompanied by her female terrier dog, had met up with her ex-partner to discuss the return of some items and the pair had gone to the home of her great uncle in Washington.
Oriana Frame, prosecuting, said everything was fine at first, but after Brown had consumed lager and a bottle of wine, she tried to kiss and cuddle her ex, who said no and asked her to leave.
However, she wouldn’t and the situation escalated with Brown becoming aggressive.
Reading from a statement by Brown’s former partner, Ms Frame said they were in the sitting room trying to calm her down and Brown was threatening to smash the great uncle’s phone if he called the police.
The statement went on: “Her dog was sitting on the sofa, she picked up her dog and punched it four times to the head with force. It was screaming. It went limp and lifeless.”
She said Brown then grabbed her ex by the throat and hit her head against the wall. She also bit her finger.
The statement said: “I was trying to comfort the dog and [my great uncle] was telling her to get out and she clenched her fist and told said ‘shut up or I will hit you as well’. Natasha pushed him in the chest causing him to fall back.”
Ms Frame said Brown’s former partner managed to phone the police and when they arrived the dog appeared to be having a fit and was shaking uncontrollably. She was taken to the PDSA where vets said she had a bleed on her brain and an injured leg and they couldn’t save her.
Ms Frame said Brown told police: “I punched the dog because I couldn’t punch my ex – I’m sorry I didn’t mean to hurt her.”
In his statement, the elderly man said at 82-years-old he couldn’t stop the defendant and was frightened at what she would do next, during the incident on October 1, 2019.
#TheList Dennis Thorne, born c. 1976, of Kington Magna, Gillingham, Dorset SP9 – failed to care for goats, ferrets and poultry on his smallholding
Thorne, who is a Romany gypsy, pleaded guilty to six offences under animal health and welfare legislation following an investigation by Dorset Council Trading Standards. This included four offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 of causing unnecessary suffering to a flock of 30-40 poultry, two goats and two ferrets, by failing to provide them with appropriate care and one offence of failing to inspect his animals at regular intervals.
He also pleaded guilty to an offence of failing to tag his two goats, which is legally required to prevent animal disease spread.
In March 2019, trading standards officers visited land Thorne rented at Okeford Fitzpaine, near Sturminster Newton. They discovered the carcasses of around 20 ducks, chicken and geese littering the animal enclosure. The few surviving poultry were emaciated and in filthy conditions.
Two emaciated goats were also found in a small pen with no clean water or dry lying area.
In a nearby barn were cages containing the carcasses of two ferrets. The cages were filthy and all of the drinking containers were empty. Despite having received previous advice from the team, the goats were not tagged.
All the animals remaining in Thorne’s possession were seized by Trading Standards under the Animal Health Act and then cared for by the RSPCA. Thorne later agreed to give up his ownership of them.
The court was advised that Thorne had received a formal caution from the RSPCA in 2009 for causing unnecessary suffering to a horse.
Sentencing: 14 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months. Community Order of 200 hours of unpaid work and 20 days of rehabilitation. Ordered to pay £715. Banned from keeping all animals for 10 years.
#TheList Yvonne Mairs, born 04/12/1967, of Sinclair Avenue, Orford, Warrington WA2 9QY – failed to take her desperately ill dog to the vet for treatment
Mairs’ dog, known as Sasha, was found with discharge and blood dripping from her ears and many missing and loose teeth.
Anna McDonald, prosecuting, said on June 4, 2019, Mairs rang the RSPCA saying her dog was ill.
Inspectors arrived at her home and were shown Sasha who was quiet, lethargic, underweight and had infections.
Ms McDonald explained that as well as a chronic ear infection and dental disease, Sasha’s skin was scabbed over and there was a strong smell coming from her infection sites.
The court was told that upon inspection by a vet, Sasha was clearly in pain and would yelp when the vet tried to touch her face.
Sasha was euthanised, as the vet deemed surgery would have been too much for her and carried too many risks.
Ms McDonald said the dog would have been suffering for a minimum of six weeks but possibly many months, although Mairs said she only noticed the extent of Sasha’s illnesses the week before calling the RSPCA.
The court heard how, due to suffering from anxiety, Mairs struggled leaving the house and did not have a way to transport the dog to a vet, but she had been trying to clean Sasha’s head with a cloth.
Mairs’ lawyer told the court her client had owned the dog for her whole life and there was no suggestion to say that she had been neglected before.
Sentencing: 12-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months. Banned from keeping all animals for life.
#TheList Scott Milne, born 24/02/1977 of 2 Higher Coldrenick Cottages, Helland, Bodmin PL30 4QE – illegally shot nearly 30 badgers outside of culling season and kept their carcasses in freezers.
Scott Milne, owner of a field sports business named Cornish Country Pursuits, was arrested when police, forensics officers and firefighters raided a farm as part of an investigation into suspected wildlife crime and food hygiene offences.
The force swooped on a unit on an industrial estate in the Roche area on July 25, 2019, and spent several hours carrying out a thorough investigation in conjunction with Cornwall Council, Natural England and the Animal and Plant Health Agency.
A raid was also conducted at the same time at Milne’s home address.
Milne was later charged with wilfully killing 33 badgers, possession of 37 dead badgers and failing to comply with conditions of a firearm certificate (not storing firearms securely).
He pleaded guilty to all three charges, although admitted killing only 28 badgers, which was accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Alison May, prosecuting, said eight badger carcasses were found in a freezer at Milne’s home. A shotgun, two rifles and rounds of ammunition were also found inside Milne’s vehicles, which were unlocked.
At the Roche industrial unit officers found 29 badger carcasses inside a number of freezer units, as well as canisters of vermin control substance which were not properly kept, leading to the involvement of firefighters in the operation.
Milne, who has been operating a field sports business for the past decade, admitted killing 28 of the badgers, which had died as a result of gunshot wounds.
After examination, it was found that some of the other badger carcasses in Milne’s possession had severe injuries consistent with a road traffic accident.
The court heard that Milne is licensed to shoot badgers during the cull season, but Milne admitted that the 28 badgers were shot outside of that time period, when he was not acting under his licence.
In police interview, Milne explained that his intention was to submit them during cull season for payment “to balance the books”.
Defending Milne, Michael Green said: “This is an unusual case in many ways. Mr Milne has built up an excellent relationship with nearby farmers, who have used him to control vermin and manage estates and farms.
“For landowners to allow someone with a firearm on their land, there is an element of trust there.
“He felt a pressure to meet badger cull targets to keep his licence, which contributed to him making the stupid decision to shoot badgers outside the cull period.
“It was also a lapse of judgement not to secure the vehicle [with the firearms inside] instead of bringing everything inside.
“The impact of this on his business will be catastrophic and his family will have to make considerable changes to make ends meet.
“Everything is changing for him. He knows he will lose his firearm certificate and that will have a considerable financial impact on him having to readjust.
“He has learnt a lesson from his arrest, his interview and appearing in court. That will continue to affect him. He was taking a chance and clearly took the wrong decision.”
Sentencing Milne, the chairman of the magistrates’ bench told him: “We were concerned with your reckless behaviour concerning storage of firearms and the potentially serious consequences for other people around.
“Although you were licensed to cull badgers these actions were done entirely outside of any licence period.
Sentencing: 18-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months; 150 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay £322 in total.
#TheList puppy farmers Sansha Niomi Lamb, born 08/05/1980, of 1 Draycott Place, Dronfield Woodhouse, Dronfield S18 8RY, and her father Peter Lamb, born 26/10/1949, of 72 Ashford Road, Dronfield Woodhouse, Dronfield S18 8RT
Sansha Lamb admitted 12 offences and her father Peter Lamb admitted 11 offences relating to the dogs at Unstone House, on Whittington Lane, at Unstone, near Dronfield S18 4DQ.
Prosecuting solicitor Deborah Cartwright said the puppy farm was raided by animal health officers from NE Derbyshire District Council on January 9, 2019, with RSPCA officers and a vet after complaints had been received about concerns for the animals and officers had visited the site.
District Judge Jonathan Taaffe said: “It’s frankly – in the 30 years I have been involved in criminal law – one of the worst cases I have come across in terms of systematic neglect, selfish behaviour and the abuse of animals for commercial gain.
“It is clear to me that the problems in the period of January 2 to 9 covered by the charges were not isolated to that period of time.
“It’s also clear to me that Miss Lamb and to a lesser extent Peter Lamb should not have had anything to do with the breeding or keeping of animals.”
He added: “The fact that what was revealed on January 9 when the council, a vet and others went into the premises of Unstone House was frankly a horror story.”
Ms Cartwright, prosecuting for the council, added that officers found kennel floors and walls covered in excrement and a yard was filthy with faecal contamination and dogs were found with faeces matted into their fur. She told the court the final kennel in one block had the worst conditions.
Ms Cartwright said: “The final one represents the worst conditions and consisted of an enclosed room with doors and windows shut with no ventilation and the heating was left on and as officers entered they were hit by an overwhelming smell of ammonia along with dog faeces covering the whole floor.
“The concentration was such it made the vet gag and it made her eyes burn and she was unable to remain in the room at all until the windows and the doors were open for minutes.”
Ms Cartwright added: “One of the officers was observed outside the room retching badly and he was unable to go in. The dogs inside that room would have experienced the same reaction to the ammonia.” Investigators also found a whelping box in the house, where both defendants lived at the time, with a pug bitch and two puppies and their pen was covered in faeces and there was no food or water, according to Ms Cartwright.
She added that a further deformed dog approached officers in the hall which was covered in faeces and stank of ammonia.
Ms Cartwright said that officers also found a decomposing pug-type bitch in a dog basket covered in newspaper which had been dead for some time.
Officers discovered 25 mistreated dogs including the deceased pug, German Shepherds, a Dalmatian, Bulldogs, pugs, a Cockapoo, a Cocker Spaniels and puppies.
Many were emaciated or lean, according to Ms Cartwright, covered in faeces and urine, riddled with lice, skin lesions, infections and parasites and some were lame and injured and traumatised by their mistreatment.
Ms Cartwright said Sansha Lamb had been the holder of a licence to breed puppies and she had ignored warnings after visits to the site and she was sent a letter stating her licence had expired.
She told investigators she had mental health issues and she was not aware of the suffering or conditions the animals were experiencing.
Peter Lamb admitted responsibility for the care of the animals.
Ms Cartwright said: “Miss Lamb ignored previous advice and warnings regarding the treatment of the animals and she allowed a person with insufficient experience or training to have care of the animals.”
Sansha Lamb and Peter Lamb both pleaded guilty to nine counts of failing to ensure the welfare needs of dogs and to a further two counts each of causing unnecessary suffering to dogs between January 2 and January 9, 2019.
Sansha Lamb also pleaded guilty to breeding dogs without a licence between July, 2018, and January, 2019.
Defence solicitor David Gittins mother-of-seven Sansha Lamb is of previous good character and has been a dog breeder for several years without any previous problems but she had suffered from the breakdown of a difficult relationship and she started using cocaine.
He added that while she had recently been pregnant she struggled with her mental health and she had asked others to assist with the dogs.
Defence solicitor Martin Pizzey said retired parks authority worker Peter Lamb had no commercial interest and he became involved as problems emerged and he was trying to help his daughter.
Sentencing: Sansha Lamb was given 16 weeks of custody suspended for two years with a 16-week curfew. She was ordered to pay £1,000 costs and a £115 victim surcharge. Peter Lamb was sentenced to a 12-month community order with a 12-week curfew and Rehabilitation Activity Requirement. He was also ordered to pay £1,000 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.
Sansha Lamb was also banned from keeping animals for life and Peter Lamb was banned from keeping dogs for five years.
#TheList hoarder/breeder Kilmany Jane O’Connor (aka Kim O’Connor), born c. 1962, of Morecambe in Lancashire – banned from keeping animals for life after 54 dogs were found locked in tiny filthy cages at her home
Kilmany O’Connor pleaded guilty to five offences under the Animal Welfare Act – four of causing unnecessary suffering to 36 of her 54 dogs, and one of failing to meet all 54 dogs’ needs.
O’Connor’s home was raided by the RSPCA and police officers, after concerns were raised about the welfare of a number of dogs at the address.
RSPCA Inspector Sam Morris described the scene.
The first thing that struck me when I walked through the front door was how cluttered the hallway was, with household items everywhere. There were three cages stacked on top of another, and each had a cockerpoo or cocker spaniel-type dog inside. The cages were filthy, and the dogs’ fur was badly matted with faeces.
All the cages within the property appeared to be similar in size, which measured approximately 50cm high, 44cm wide and 60cm in length – the dogs were barely able to turn around and lie down, stretch out or stand on their hind limbs and of course they couldn’t escape.
The situation got worse in the living room. It was very cluttered and filthy, and the smell inside was awful. The ammonia was overpowering. The curtains were drawn and thick with cobwebs. The windows were closed and the room was quite dark. This room contained 13 dogs in cages – two of the cages had two dogs inside. One dog was tethered to a table leg and there were five loose dogs.
Two more dogs were caged in the kitchen. Two dogs were caged in the utility room and 14 were loose. Another 14 dogs were caged in an upstairs bedroom, which was very humid.
Some of the dogs had obvious veterinary issues. None of the dogs in the property had access to water.
The dogs were all signed over at the scene and taken into RSPCA care. One of the dogs – Mindy – lost one of her front paws as a result of her neglect and another of the dogs – Fifi, who was tethered in the living room – now uses wheels to get around after having lost the use of her back legs, but all have been happily re-homed.
Sentencing: 16-week custodial sentence suspended for two years. Ordered to pay court costs. Lifetime ban on keeping animals.
#TheList badger baiter Ryan Michael Smith, born c. 1993, of Noel Street, Gainsborough DN21 2RY
Smith, who has previous convictions for violence and spent time in prison, pleaded guilty to interfering with a badger sett and attempting to kill a badger when he appeared before Mansfield Magistrates’ Court.
The court heard how Smith was among three people who were spotted by a gamekeeper on land near Beckingham, Nottinghamshire.
The gamekeeper suspected the trio 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.
Police were alerted and Shields and Thorne were arrested close to the scene. Smith was arrested by police on the same day away from badger sett. He initially denied the offences but changed his plea ahead of a trial.
Officers found a six-foot hole had been dug into the badger sett and there were spades nearby. A net which is often used to capture badgers was also found.
Two dogs, wearing radio collars, were also seized 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.”
In mitigation, Smith said he had ‘tagged along with the other two’.
The forfeiture of the dogs into RSPCA care was ordered and both are doing well. They are due to be re-homed soon.
Sentencing: 18-week jail sentence suspended for two months; ordered to pay £415. Deprivation order on his dogs. Banned from keeping dogs for five years.