#TheList Arthur Donaldson, born 18/02/1977, of 68 Parkmore, Knockmenagh, Craigavon, Co Armagh BT64 2AF – failed to seek veterinary care for his dog’s (unexplained) head injury
Donaldson was convicted of failing to ensure the welfare of an unnamed 19-month-old female German Shepherd in his care.
The case against Donaldson was heard at Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Friday, October 18, 2019.
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council brought the case against Donaldson under the provisions of the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 following a report from a member of the public who was concerned about the dog’s welfare.
An Animal Welfare Officer visited the defendant’s property in July 2017 and spoke to him regarding a head injury the dog had sustained.
He was then advised to ensure the dog received veterinary treatment as a matter of urgency which he failed to do.
The Animal Welfare Officer later returned to the property with a veterinary surgeon who assessed the dog as being likely to suffer as the wound had become infected. The dog was taken into the care of the council and subsequently rehomed.
Sentencing: fined £500 and ordered to pay a further £424 in fees.
#TheList Aaron Mark Pill (aka Aaron Oldfield), born c. 1994, of Tresawle Road, Falmouth TR11 2PJ – refused to pay for veterinary treatment for his dog’s injured leg
Pill was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a beagle known as Archie, contrary to Section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, when he appeared before magistrates.
Archie was rescued by the RSPCA after concerns were raised about Pill’s failure to provide treatment for the injury for almost two weeks.
Pill had taken Archie to a vet on 27 December 2018 where it was discovered he had injured his leg which was in need of urgent treatment.
After concerns Pill couldn’t afford the treatment, a call was made to the RSPCA, who offered to cover the cost, however Pill turned down the offer of help and claimed his dog had received treatment at another veterinary practice.
Despite attempts to follow up on the condition of his dog, Pill refused to show inspectors from the charity that his dog was getting better but on January 10 2019 Archie was found to be unable to bear weight on his untreated leg and was seized by police .
RSPCA inspector Paul Kempson, who investigated for the animal welfare charity, said: “It’s shocking that that Archie was left to suffer and that this physical distress was prolonged by the neglectful lack of action by Pill – who had even been offered help to cover the cost of Archie’s treatment by the RSPCA.
“There is never an excuse for leaving an animal to suffer needlessly where there is clearly an urgent need for veterinary treatment. Our pets are reliant on us and when an animal is injured it’s an owner’s duty to ensure they receive the veterinary care they need.”
Sentencing: Fined £750 and a £20 victim surcharge. Disqualified from keeping animals for two years. He was also deprived of ownership of Archie.
#TheList serial animal abuser Keeley M Boswell, born 18/09/1986, and partner Paul M Flemming, born c. 1991, both of Gerald Avenue, Chatham ME4 5TF – banned from keeping animals for 10 years after their dog’s broken leg had to be amputated
Keeley Boswell was already disqualified from keeping animals alongside previous partner James ‘Jimmy’ Moore for the severe neglect of an emaciated and flea-riddled Rottweiler named Bella and a Staffy, Rizla, with the latter having to be put to sleep.
In June 2018 RSPCA inspectors visited the home Boswell shares with latest partner Paul Flemming and discovered two flea-infested pets: 10-month-old Chihuahua Sandie and a cat called Princess Sandie also showed signs of a deformed forelimb.
Both animals were taken to a veterinary surgery, where Sandie was found to have suffered a painful leg fracture, which would have occurred at least three weeks earlier and been caused by “great force”.
The couple’s solicitor told the court that Boswell was aware she had been banned from keeping animals but she wasn’t sure if the ban was still in force.
She also admitted when asked by inspectors that Sandie’s leg did not look straight.
Flemming said he hadn’t noticed any issue with the dog’s leg but admitted that he ought to have taken her to the vets.
Their solicitor asked magistrates to give the couple community orders rather than a custodial sentence, as they had multiple children in their care and Flemming was named as the household’s only breadwinner.
In addition to the animal cruelty charges, Boswell was convicted of breaching a disqualification order, whilst Flemming was convicted of aiding and abetting this.
Sentencing: 18-week suspended sentence; ordered to take part in a total of 400 hours of unpaid work and supplementary rehabilitation sessions; £450 in costs. Banned from keeping animals for ten years.
#TheList Eiliscia Downie-Ntemo, born c. 1993, of Victoria Road, Wirral CH45 9LB – left her puppy with ‘horrific and severe’ injuries to the ribs and jaw
Downie-Ntemo pleaded guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to her shih tzu type puppy called Darcey.
The court heard how Downie-Ntemo took Darcey to a local vets with three broken ribs down one side of her body and three dislocated ribs on her other side on October 24, 2018.
Darcey’s jaw was also broken in two places
Downie-Ntemo said that she had ‘thrown’ the puppy in the air and failed to catch her, with her landing on laminate flooring, claiming this is what caused the rib injuries.
She said that the jaw injuries happened a few hours later after she had found Darcey ‘frothing’ at the mouth and put her in the bath – she said the dog was ‘struggling’ in the bath and ‘fell’ causing the jaw to break in two places.
An expert witness disputed that the injuries could have been caused in this way – the RSPCA were later alerted and Inspector Naomi Morris went to investigate.
She said that Darcey was injured on October 23 but vet treatment had not been sought by Downie-Ntemo until the following day, so she was left suffering overnight.
In mitigation the court heard how Downie-Ntemo is being treated for depression.
Inspector Norris said: “It was heartbreaking to see this tiny puppy with such horrific and severe injuries.
“Darcey was admitted to the vets in a very severe condition she was clearly in a lot of pain and because of her rib injuries she was struggling to breathe.
“I cannot believe how she has coped with her injuries at such a young age but thankfully she has made great progress and is recovering well.
“It is always sad when animals have been injured and neglected but this particular puppy is a little miracle because she was so small and vulnerable.
“The RSPCA cannot investigate these situations without the support and generosity of the public and we are always grateful for this help.”
Darcey is now in a foster home where she is said to be making a remarkable recovery.
Sentencing: community order of 60 hours of unpaid work. Costs and charges totalling £685. Banned from keeping animals for five years.
#TheList Ashley Longhurst born c. 1995, of Roman Way, Hinstock, near Market Drayton TF9 2SL and Jessica Smith, born c. 1995, of Greenacres Way, Newport TF10 – banned from keeping animals after their pet cat suffered unexplained injuries on three occasions and was eventually put to sleep.
Ashley Longhurst and Jessica Smith both admitted causing unnecessary suffering to one-year-old cat Belle (pictured).
Belle suffered unexplained injuries on three occasions in under a year and the pair were told by magistrates that they could have faced jail.
However, the court heard that there was not enough evidence to say that the injuries were “non-accidental” after experts were unable to agree on the possible causes
At her last trip to Tern Vets in Newport on September 4, ,2018, Belle had large swelling on the back of her head, two bruise-like marks on her ear and a swollen nose. Metalwork installed to treat a previous leg injury had also been displaced.
She was taken into RSPCA care and initially improved, but her health deteriorated and she was euthanised in October 2018.
Smith had previously taken Belle to the vet with a fractured hip in April 2018, and again that July with a broken leg. The couple blamed Belle’s hip injury after she fell off a lizard tank, and her head injuries on getting caught in a cage.
However, for the broken leg they had no explanation. After the third trip in September, police opened an investigation.
Judge Kevin Grego said: “Between April and September last year this cat suffered, at separate times, three serious injuries. It does look suspiciously like these were non-accidental injuries but we haven’t heard evidence of that and that is not what they are in court for.”
He said that if prosecutors had been able to prove either or both of the pair were responsible for the “more serious matters” of deliberately causing the cat’s injuries, they would have faced prison.
Representing Longhurst, Jemma Gordon said that he had been unemployed for more than a year in part due to depression and anxiety, and that he “essentially lives off his mother”.
For Smith, Alex Barber said his client had been “traumatised” by her experience with Belle and did not want to keep animals again.
Sentencing: Longhurst – 150 hours of unpaid work; £900 towards the RSPCA’s costs. Banned from owning or looking after animals for 10 years Smith – £300 in costs. Five-year ban on owning or looking after animals.
#TheList Joe Purvis, born c. 1993, of William Tennant Way, Upton-upon-Severn, Worcester WR8 OLP – broke his kitten’s jaw and caused what are believed to be burns to her head; kitten also lost a leg
Purvis took his 12-week-old Maine Coon cat, named Indico, to a vet in November 2018 where she was found to have three fractures to her head.
The pet, bought for £50 several months earlier on Facebook, also had an open wound on the top of her head, and lost a leg while in Purvis’ care.
Purvis admitted to giving Indica a “back-hander”, claiming she had bitten him, but did not accept that the marks were caused by a burn. Instead, he claimed she hit her head on a tap while he was trying to wash her.
The former student at Heart of Worcestershire College accepted a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal when he appeared before magistrates.
Sara Pratt, prosecuting, said the defendant had taken the kitten to vets in September 2018 and she had such severe injuries to her leg that they had no choice but to amputate it.
On November 9, 2018, Purvis then took her again to Coldicott & Kingsway Veterinary Clinic in Tewkesbury and was described by staff as smelling “overwhelmingly of cannabis”.
Mrs Pratt said he told vets he believed the cat had suffered a broken jaw due to him giving her a “back-hander the night before” after she’d defecated on his bed and bit him.
He also told them the open sore on her head was caused by her hitting her head while he washed faeces off her.
Purvis said to vets he “couldn’t cope with such a demanding animal” and that she was the “first and last” pet he would ever own.
Mrs Pratt said the defendant had been unable to sleep the night of the incident and had toyed with the idea of taking her somewhere to “let her go as a stray” but decided to take her to Coldicott clinic instead.
The vets told him Indico needed an X-ray, but he said he didn’t have any money and “did not want the cat” before becoming “verbally aggressive”.
When veterinary staff wouldn’t agree to take the kitten off him, he told them there was “no proof” he owned her anyway.
He added that if he was forced to take her home he would “let her go” and described the vets as “money grabbing” despite them offering to give some treatment for free.
The court heard Purvis then agreed to sign over the cat to the practice and started to fill out a document but then “screwed it up” and exited.
The cat was left at the vets where she was examined, and it was determined she had fractures to the eye and jaw.
The wound to the head appeared to be a burn rather than a graze, as Purvis described it.
Mrs Pratt said vets said there was a “crunching of the bones” on the right-hand jaw bone.
The kitten’s general demeanour was said to be “nervous” in contrast to most young cats who are usually “bold and active” when going to the vets.
An RSPCA inspector went to Purvis’ home later the same day. Purvis agreed to sign over Indico to them and was later interviewed at a local police station.
Mrs Pratt said “there was significant intervention in terms of operations to put right the injuries” which had proved costly to the vets as Purvis hadn’t paid any money.
Defending Purvis Judith Kenney, of Judith Kenney Solicitors in Worcester, said she had seen pictures of the cat while she was living with her client and she was “happy and contented”.
A cat owner herself, Kenney said it is often the case that once a young cat goes through such trauma as a major operation and re-adjustment to life, they are “never the same”.
“The reality is, then she couldn’t defecate properly in her litter tray anymore,” she explained, and went on to say she believes Purvis was not properly told how to look after her after the amputation and “struggled with her”.
Referring to the day in November in which he struck the cat, Kenney said: “Only he knows the truth of the matter.”
“Why would he take the kitten to the vets and admit what he had done if he didn’t have some compassion towards her?”
She said he became agitated at the vets because he “couldn’t afford to pay anymore” fees and had a hospital appointment later that morning.
She said he is often “impulsive” and “that’s part of his difficulties”.
At the last hearing in February, Kenney had said her client suffers from mental health problems.
Kenney said: “He wants me to ensure that you are aware that he did the right thing. He took the cat to the vets. He didn’t do the right thing in hitting her and breaking her jaw.”
She added: “There has been absolute vilification of him in the press. When I read some of the comments, I just couldn’t believe some individuals can’t see that there’s two sides to a story.”
“He is an animal lover,” she continued. “He accepts what he did on that day was not right and if he could put the clock back, he would.”
The court heard the cat has now been rehomed.
Sentencing: 14 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months. Costs and charges totalling £515. Banned from owning any animals for 10 years.
#TheList Kyle Evans, born c. 1989, and partner Abigail Hanrahan, born c. 1988, both of Conway Street, Birkenhead CH41 – failed to seek treatment for their kitten’s horrific injuries likely caused by a physical attack
Wirral Magistrates Court heard that eight-month-old Felix was left with his jaw detached from his chin for SIX weeks until a concerned member of the public alerted the RSPCA.
The kitten was blind and unable to walk properly when eventually seen by a vet – and suffered a brain injury which means he now wobbles when he walks.
Owners Kyle Evans and his partner Abigail Hanrahan claimed the injury was caused by the kitten running into a litter tray.
But the court heard from an expert veterinary witness who suggested the injury was more likely due to a physical attack.
The couple pleaded guilty to a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a cat by failing to provide prompt and appropriate veterinary attention and magistrates banned them from keeping animals for ten years.
RSPCA inspector Anthony Joynes, who investigated the case, said: “He really was in state and obviously the injury to his jaw – which had been left untreated – was causing a lot of suffering.
“The vet also found a swelling to his head which caused blindness but with treatment his sight has been restored.
“It seems he has a brain injury which means he can be wobbly when he walks but he is doing so well considering and is such a lovely cat.
“He was so timid at first but now he has been in the care of the RSPCA he likes nothing more than to be stroked.
“He has come on leaps and bounds.
“There is never any excuse not to seek veterinary treatment if a pet is in need and Felix must have suffered terribly over this long period.”
The court heard Felix was injured on or around June 1 2018 but he was left without treatment until the RSPCA was called in on July 16.
He was taken to an animal hospital where he was treated for three weeks for a swelling on his head, enabling him to regain his sight.
The animal charity says he has made a remarkable recovery and hopes he will be re-homed soon.
Sentencing: Kyle Evans – 12-month Community Order including 140 hours of unpaid work and a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement. Ordered to pay £240 costs with an £84 victim surcharge.
Abigail Hanrahan – £100 fine, £100 costs and a £35 victim surcharge.
Both were banned from keeping animals for ten years.
#TheList Arnold Dawson, born c. 1989, and Kerry Lee Dowson, born c. 1984, both of 36 Armada Close, Basildon SS15 5GP – for cruelty towards a kitten who was injured six times in eight weeks
Dawson and Dowson admitted failing to meet the welfare needs of a black male kitten called Binx by not protecting him from recurrent injury.
The court heard Binx had been taken to the vet six times in eight weeks with injuries consistent with blunt force trauma particularly to the head.
An expert witness report found that Binx had a number of injuries and some were very severe causing large swellings to the head, fracture of the skull, a rib fracture and internal bleeding within the eyes.
The injuries to the kitten’s eyes resulted in eventual blindness.
The explanations given by Dawson and Dowson for the possible cause of injuries suffered by Binx were not consistent with their severity and the expert concluded that Binx had been subject to repeated incidents of intentional injury.
The court was also told the couple’s previous pet, a dog called Honey, had a similar pattern of unexplained injuries in her medical history which sadly resulted in Honey being put down.
Speaking after the case RSPCA Inspector Adam Jones said: “Binx was taken to a vet by the owner on six occasions over an eight week period, with injuries consistent with blunt force trauma.
“A deprivation order was made and Binx has now been signed over into the care of the RSPCA. We will now look to find him a new home.
“He really is the sweetest boy, despite the injuries he has suffered. He is now blind as a result of the cataracts, but this doesn’t seem to restrict him and he is still just the loveliest cat you could meet. I am certain he will make someone a wonderful addition to their family.”
Despite initially denying the charge, both Dawson and Dowson admitted one count each of failing to protect Binx from recurrent injury.
Sentencing: Dawson – 12-month community order, 200 hours of unpaid work, a 10-day rehabilitation activity requirement and ordered to take part in a thinking skills programme.
Dowson – 12-month community order, a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement and a six-month curfew between the hours of 7pm and 7am.
Both were disqualified from keeping all animals for 10 years and each ordered to pay £600 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.
#TheList Archie Spencer, born 11/12/1998, and Rebecca Guy, born 11/11/1999, both of Goodwood Drive, Wolverhampton WV10 6GH – for cruelty to a four-month-old kitten, who had to be put to sleep due to the severity of his injuries
Archie Spencer, a man with a temper as short as his height (5ft 2in apparently), abused helpless kitten Wolfie over two months, resulting in broken ribs and a fractured skull.
The kitten finally had to be put to sleep when he was taken to the vets with the skull injury.
The injuries were so severe that the RSPCA was alerted and Spencer was prosecuted.
Spencer pleaded guilty to two animal welfare offences when he appeared at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court.
His partner Rebecca Guy pleaded guilty to one animal welfare offence of failing to protect the cat from pain and suffering.
The court heard how between January 25 and March 28, 2018, Wolfie suffered numerous injuries while living with the pair, who are parents to a three-year-old child.
Guy first took the kitten to a vets with a head injury. Weeks later Wolfie had five broken ribs and on the third occasion, he had a horrific skull fracture that went from one side of his head to the other.
The final injury was so serious the vet decided the kindest thing was to put the kitten to sleep and, believing the injuries had been caused deliberately, alerted the RSPCA.
Inspector Kate Parker said: “The pair had always denied harming the cat, however in court Spencer took responsibility for the injuries to Wolfie – although we will never know what actually happened.
“What we do know is on three occasions Guy took the cat to the vets with serious injuries, each time claiming they were accidental.
“On the third and final occasion the cat was clearly badly injured. The vet took some video showing poor Wolfie who looks barely alive and when she touched him he reacts, which demonstrates he would have felt pain.
“That is when the decision was made to end his suffering and later an X-ray revealed his horrific skull fracture.
“Poor Wolfie was only four months old and in that short life enjoyed so much suffering and pain – it is horrendous to think what he went through. In the end he was barely alive and breathing in his own blood, it was truly awful.”
Sentencing: Archie Spencer: jailed for 12 weeks. Banned from keeping animals for life.
Rebecca Guy: eight weeks in jail, suspended for a year. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.