#TheList Aaron Ray, born c. 2002, of 29 Mayfield Road, Sunderland SR4 0NE – stabbed a pet cockatiel to death in a fit of rage
Aaron Ray left the unnamed family pet with fatal injuries after plunging a knife into the back of her neck.
Northumbria Police officers found the deceased bird after being called to Ray’s home following reports of a disturbance. When questioned, Ray displayed an astonishing lack of remorse for his sickening cruelty, insisting “it’s just a bird”.
In court, Ray pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
PC Peter Baker, wildlife officer at Northumbria Police, said Ray’s conviction should act as a reminder that animal cruelty is a criminal offence.
He said: “Aaron Ray showed a total disregard for the welfare of this bird and inflicted catastrophic injuries that it could not survive from.
“This kind of behaviour is not only reckless and upsetting, but a criminal offence and that’s the lesson that Ray now must learn.
“We are a nation of animal lovers, so it is upsetting to come across incidents such as this where the defendant has caused inevitable and unnecessary suffering to an animal.”
Sentencing: 12-week custodial sentence, suspended for one year. 15-year ban from owning animals.
#TheList Joseph Thomas, born 19/11/1973, of 28A Crouch Hill, Haringey, London N4 4AU: battered his Staffordshire Bull Terrier on multiple occasions, leaving him with two detached retina and partially sighted
Thomas was found guilty of one count of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, and to a second charge of failing in his duty as person responsible for animal welfare.
The court heard how Thomas terrorised the dog, Marley, who is two or three years old, over a two-year period, with attacks that included punching the dog, whipping him with a steel lead and beating him with a branch.
The court heard how, on January 15, 2019, a woman and her friend were walking on the Parkland Walk, near Ashmount School, when they witnessed Thomas “forcefully hitting the dog with a heavy branch” about 20 times.
Prosecutor Mark Jones explained that soon after Thomas got Marley in 2017, a neighbour reported witnessing him “pulling the dog off the ground” by his lead about five times so that he was “being caused to choke and thrashing around in the air”.
The court heard Thomas then hit Marley about 15 times with the lead, and that the neighbour would hear “harrowing screaming from the dog” coming from inside his flat.
On another occasion a Tesco employee saw Thomas punching the animal in the ribs. Separately, a further witness saw him strike the dog four times in the ribs area.
They remonstrated with him and he said: “It’s nothing to do with you,” to which they replied: “It’s got something to do with me, we’re in a public space.”
Officer seized Marley off Thomas on April 26, 2019
Sentencing Thomas, Dr Joan Scanlon cited his “absence of remorse”, ongoing denial of guilt and the “severe distress” his attacks caused for witnesses, as reasons for sending him to prison.
Sentencing: a total of 26 weeks in jail. Victim surcharge of £115. Indefinite disqualification on owning animals with no right of appeal for five years.
Evans and Roberts were found guilty of theft after a trial. The pair had denied stealing Bruce, a black French bulldog belonging to Catrin Tudor, at Pwllheli in August 2019. Both maintained their innocence and showed no remorse, said a probation officer.
Diane Williams, prosecuting, said Bruce was in the garden of his owner’s home in Pwllheli at about 2.30pm on August 25, 2019. She was in the house with the front door open and Bruce was running in and out. The court heard that she found the garden gate slightly open and said Bruce could not have opened it.
Realising the dog was missing, she began a search and later reported the matter to police.
Family members posted messages about the dog’s disappearance on social media and there were sightings of Bruce in the company of two men and a woman in the street and on a beach. The following morning, Roberts was seen waiting for a bus with the dog and was arrested in Porthmadog .
Evans was arrested at his brother’s home the same morning.
A police officer said the two-year-old dog, who was valued at £1,500, was in a distressed state and very thirsty.
When Ms Tudor arrived at the police station, Bruce’s demeanour changed completely and he greeted her excitedly, said Ms Williams.
During the trial, Evans said he had been for a walk in the Abersoch area with Roberts and his brother Ben.
Passing Ms Tudor’s house, they had seen a dog which began following them, he said.
Evans said he had ignored the dog at first but had asked an elderly couple if they knew who owned him.
He said they had also knocked on several doors in the area but got no reply. They had taken the dog with them to his brother’s flat and later went to the beach with the animal, he said.
Ben Evans told the court he had recognised the animal and told the others who owned it and to return it.
Both Evans and Roberts denied intending to sell the dog for £1,000
Sentencing Evans – 26-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months; 180 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay Bruce’s owner £50 compensation and £712 costs; 35-day probation service course. The court heard the offence took place just days after Evans was made the subject of a community order.
Roberts – 12-month community order; 150 hours of unpaid work; 10-day rehabilitation activity requirement. Ordered to pay £50 compensation and £680 costs.
#TheList Anthony Steven John Oakes, born 08/09/1986, of 96 Edge Lane, Dewsbury WF12 0HB – left his dogs to suffer with serious facial injuries consistent with badger fighting.
Oakes, who together with partner Amy Lauren Auty, runs an outdoor clothing company called Oakes Outdoors Ltd, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the five dogs by failing to take them to a vet.
In February 2019, West Yorkshire Police and the RSPCA together executed two warrants in Dewsbury after intelligence was gathered about dogs being injured.
Five Patterdale terriers were found and seized from a property and all had serious injuries, mainly on their faces, consistent with badger baiting.
One of the dogs had a severely infected eye which had to be removed.
Sentencing: 200 hours of community service; fined £500. Disqualified from keeping dogs for two years. All five dogs were signed over to the RSPCA for rehoming.
#TheList badger baiters Christian Adam Latcham, born 02/09/87, of Cymmer Road, Porth CF39 9BE, Jamie Richard Rush, born 13/03/92 of Church View, Talgarth, Brecon LD3 0DG, Cyle Griffith Jones, born 09/11/87, of Cwrt Tarrell, Newgate Street, Brecon, Powys LD3 8ED, and Thomas Lawrence Young, born 16/12/92, of no fixed abode but with links to Portskewett in Caldicot and Blaina, Abertillery
Latcham, Jones, Rush and Young were caught badger baiting by an undercover journalist working for BBC Wales. All four denied the charges against them, but were found guilty following a trial.
The four men loaded a pick-up van with shovels and dogs to go to a “pre-arranged” location to dig for badgers in the countryside.
Prosecutor Jon Tarrant said: “They were attempting to take a badger.”
The group did not know they had been joined by the undercover investigator – known as John.
Giving evidence, a BBC researcher said Young introduced him to three other men before they set off on the hunt on March 24, 2018.
He said: “The discussions were that Thomas, Christian and two other individuals were going to West Wales to a pre-designated location and that they were going to be digging for badgers.”
He added that the men met at Latcham’s house where he had a garage transformed into “kennels” – with cages and dogs.
They then set off from the Rhondda Valleys, South Wales, to Llanddewi Velfrey in Pembrokeshire.
The undercover investigator said the men discussed that they would “dig for billies/badgers” on the journey.
He said when the men arrived at a field they donned “wellies and country wear” and put collars on the dogs to track their whereabouts.
He said: “They explained to me what would happen when they put the dogs down into the tubes, as they called it. Into the set.
“They explained about monitoring the dog in the ground.”
The court heard that when the dog stopped underground the men began to dig.
He added: “When it stopped I was told that was when we would dig down.
“When we dug down there wasn’t anything with that dog.
“We repeated this cycle for a number of hours.”
The court heard that larger dogs were brought to the holes “in readiness” to attack the badgers.
One hole was so deep that Latcham’s head could not be seen above the ground as he stood in it.
Christian Latcham has 12 previous convictions for 24 offences, including for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
Cyle Jones has 13 previous convictions for 18 offences, including animal cruelty.
Rush has eight previous convictions for nine offences and has previously been sentenced to two years in prison.
Of the four defendents only Rush gave evidence during the four day trial in front of District Judge Neil Thomas.
Judge Thomas said: “I have no difficulty coming to the unreserved conclusion, that he was not telling the truth.”
When Cyle Jones was taken away, someone in the public gallery shouted “keep your head up love”, he was previously jailed in June 2019 for 18 weeks after admitting unnecessary cruelty to animals, relating to two dogs who were injured.
Sentencing: Latcham was jailed for 26 weeks, Jones and Rush for 22 weeks. Thomas Young was sentenced to 20 weeks in custody, suspended for 12 months and will be subject to a curfew. Young and Jones are already banned from keeping dogs for life and Latcham has an indefinite ban following a 2011 cruelty conviction.
#TheList Daniel Stasik, born c. 1988, of 6 Walker Grove, Hatfield AL10 9PL – allowed his banned-breed ‘fighting’ dog to savage a pet cat and failed to get help for the stricken animal
At around 11am on June 23, 2018, a pitbull-type dog owned by Daniel Stasik chased a cat named Shelly into an alleyway in Walker Grove and attacked her. Stasik grabbed the dog, but was unable to keep control of him.
He did not attempt to assist the cat or find her owners to get medical assistance.
Around 1am the following morning, Shelly was found by her owner in a nearby garden covered in blood and faeces and unable to place any weight on her hind legs.
Due to the length of time she had been left, there were maggots around her wounds.
Over the next few days, Shelly’s condition deteriorated and following multiple treatments and attempts at resuscitation, she died from her injuries on July 1, 2018.
On July 20, officers from the Welwyn Hatfield Safer Neighbourhood Team and the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Dog Unit attended Stasik’s address to execute a warrant to seize his dog.
The dog was examined and confirmed to be substantially a pit bull-type.
Stasik was reported to court for possessing a fighting dog under Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act and causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal under Section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act.
At court, Stasik pleaded guilty to possessing a fighting dog and, while initially pleading not guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to Shelly, was found guilty of that offence.
PC Gavin Richardson, from the Welwyn Hatfield West Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “Pit bulls are banned in the UK and Stasik’s dog posed a very serious danger to public safety.
“Not only did Stasik have possession of a banned dog breed, but he made no attempts to help save the cat and instead simply left her to die.
“This was extremely distressing for her owners who found their beloved pet in an incredibly distressed state with horrendous injuries.
“I hope that this sentence provides some justice for the victims and that the public feel safe knowing that Stasik will not be allowed to have dog for another decade.”
Sentencing: 240 hours of unpaid community work. Ordered to pay compensation to Shelly’s owners for vet costs and to the police for kenneling costs. Banned from having custody of a dog for 10 years. Stasik’s dog was ordered to be put down, unless an appeal is lodged within 21 days.
=== Update We’re building quite a profile on this piece of filth. He is from Poland. He came to the UK in 2009 to work as a painter/decorator but is now living on benefits. He showed no remorse in court and he and his friend seemed to find the proceedings amusing. He freely admitted in court that he beat his dog. Another cat belonging to Shelly’s heartbroken owner died after being deliberately poisoned. This happened just after Stasik was charged. Coincidence? Stasik has another address in Prayle Grove, London NW2 1BD
#TheList Joshua Coles, born c. 1991, of Ennerleigh Farm, Washfield near Tiverton, Devon EX16 9RF – filmed swallowing a live goldfish he had just won at Bridgwater Fair
A 14 second long video posted on Snapchat showed Coles holding the fish in his right hand before putting into his mouth.
He then drinks half a pint of beer to swallow it before opening his mouth to show his pals that he had gulped it down.
Coles admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal during the incident which took place during September 2018.
RSPCA prosecutor Lindi Meyer showed Exeter magistrates court the video that was made by Coles’ girlfriend who posted it on social media.
Miss Meyer said:”This case relates to the defendant swallowing a live goldfish and washing it down with half a pint of alcohol.”
His girlfriend posted the video entitled ‘he ate my fish’ and Coles told RSPCA investigators it was ‘just a stunt for social media’.
The court heard Coles was ‘amused and bemused’ by the investigation saying it was ‘only a goldfish‘.
Vet expert David Martin said the goldfish was still alive when it was swallowed and took a swig of alcohol to wash it down.
Mr Martin said goldfish can feel pain and would have died from a deprivation of oxygen.
Miss Meyer said tree surgeon Coles was egged on by two other people who laughed as he carried out the act.
She said:”He caused the death of the animal. There was never any other outcome from his actions.”
She said he had been drinking alcohol and showed no remorse and had been amused and bemused by the RSPCA inquiry and he valued the fish in a ‘trivial nature’.
A probation officer said Coles was ‘a class clown’ who showed off in front of people.
She said he was ’embarrassed and ashamed’ by what he had done.
She said:”It is a very unpleasant offence.”
Solicitor Jeremy Tricks, defending, said Coles suffers with ADHD and depression and anxiety.
He said:”He has very poor decision making skills. It was an idiotic and stupid mistake but there is no malice in him.”
He said people watch him ‘do something amusing’.
After the case RSPCA Inspector John Pollock said:”We are asked why prosecute for a goldfish but they feel pain and have a spine.
“We will deal with it whether it is a large or small creature that has suffered.
“This is the first time in my 30 year career that I have had a prosecution like this but there have been ones in the past when there was the Neknominate craze.
“The expert veterinary evidence is that the goldfish would have drowned in beer content and his stomach acids. If a goldfish was put in a glass of acid then people would be jumping up and down about it and ringing us up.
” This goldfish would have suffered a great deal. It would have dissolved alive in the stomach acids.
“This goldfish was a prize at a fair. We are very much against live animal prizes and some councils have outlawed them.
“At the end of this fair we got lots of calls about being goldfish being dumped on the ground. They get easily stressed, even with the acoustics of being thrown about in a plastic bag that they come in.”
Sentencing: 12-month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work and five rehab days. Costs and charges totalling £385. Five-year ban on owning fish.
#TheList Vicki Ann Ball, born 28/07/1981, of 31 Mark Avenue, Horncastle LN9 5BD – allowed her cockerpoo dog to become so poorly he had to be euthanised on welfare grounds; denied that the dog was hers and showed no remorse
Vicki Ball pleaded guilty to one offence of causing unnecessary suffering to her black cockerpoo, named Ned, who was found by an examining vet to be in a collapsed state, with his coat matted with faeces and urine. His skin was covered in open wounds, which were infested with maggots.
The court heard that Ball took Ned to a dog rescue in June 2018 claiming that she had found the stricken dog on her lawn. The rescue took Ned to a vet who took the decision to put him to sleep immediately to end his suffering.
During interview with the RSPCA, Ball said she had owned Ned in the past, but had given him away on Facebook ‘free to a good home’ in early 2018. She was unable to provide any evidence of this, however.
An RSPCA inspector visited Ball’s address and noticed a run at the side of the house that was being dismantled and had dog faeces in it.
A witness gave evidence that they had seen her with Ned recently and the dog was microchipped to her.
RSPCA Inspector Kate Burris said: “This was one of the most distressing cases I have dealt with because of the utter lack of any emotion or empathy displayed by the owner towards this dog.”
In mitigation, the court heard that Ball had pleaded guilty and had no previous convictions. It was said that she found Ned difficult to look after due to family commitments and his behaviour.
Sentencing 12-month community order with 120 hours of unpaid work. Fine and charges totalling £584. Disqualified from keeping animals for five years.
#TheList Alexander Andrew McGhee, born 27/02/74, of 590 Wellesley Road, Methil, Fife KY8 3PF – battered his rescue dog to death in a drunken rage
The dog, named Murphy, suffered numerous injuries on his sides, lower back, abdomen and neck, as well as the brain bleed which caused him to die.
His owner Alexander “Eck” McGhee, a train driver with ScotRail based at Edinburgh’s Waverley Station, had denied killing the lurcher, but was found guilty following a trial at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.
Neighbours giving evidence described hearing a drunken McGhee return home in the early hours of the morning of 8 July 2017 followed by “yelping” and “scrabbling” noises coming from his flat.
They claimed to have heard an aggressive male voice shouting “bastard” and what sounded like “a dog being thrown against a wall”.
The couple said they were forced to leave the property because their own dog was so distressed by the horrific sounds coming from next door. They called police who attended some hours later.
During initial interview McGhee told police officers that Murray had bolted from the flat after he accidentally left the front door open.
McGhee said he had gone out to look for Murray and found him dead at the side of a nearby road. He said that the dog must have been hit by a vehicle. McGhee then led officers to the lurcher’s body which he had put in the boot of his car.
When asked by officers about injuries to his hand, which he appeared to be trying to hide with the sleeve of his jumper, McGhee claimed that he had punched the wall in temper after Murray escaped.
Veterinary evidence presented in court contradicted McGhee’s claims that Murray had been run over.
Veterinary pathologist Dr Bryn Tennant said he believed Murphy had sustained the injuries from being “hit, kicked or shaken with considerable force”.
Dr Tennant went on: “The outcome of the post-mortem examination was that this dog had been subjected to multiple traumatic incidents.
“The constellation of injuries, in my opinion, were not consistent with a road traffic accident.
“There is a very, very remote possibility that this dog was struck by a vehicle but from what I saw, I do not believe that happened on the basis on my examination.”
“The bleeding around the brain is the same as boxers get when they haemorrhage.”
Dr Tennant said that he would have expected to see damage to the skin and paws or crush injuries if the animal had been struck by a vehicle.
Giving evidence in his defence McGhee wept as he described how he had adopted Murray as a puppy in 2013 and he was “emaciated and full of worms and fleas”.
He described the dog, who was named after the tennis star Andy Murray, as “the biggest sook”, saying he would “go to anyone”.
Asked about the moment when he said he found Murray’s body, McGhee said: “He was just lying there. Just cold. Heavy.
“He had a tiny bit of blood coming out of his mouth. That was it.
There were four or five guys on their way to work at BiFab who asked me if it was my dog and offered to help me put him in the back of the car.”
McGhee’s lawyer, Scott McKenzie, asked him: “The neighbours describe hearing a fairly distressing incident going on within your property with the dogs. Did you engage in any distressing conduct towards your dogs?”
He said: “I’m not going to rescue dogs to hurt them.”
Mr McKenzie asked: “Did you lose your temper with the dog and cause him so much pain that he was in agony for minutes or possibly hours before he died?”
Fiscal depute Ronnie Hay told McGhee he was lying and said he had actually come home from a night out in a drunken state.
Mr Hay said: “Is it not the case that you came home drunk, acting aggressively and you took it out on the dogs and one of the dogs paid the ultimate price?”
He continued: “The couple next door left their flat because of the noise emanating from his property.
“When they returned they spoke of a bottle of bleach being outside the premises that wasn’t there when they left.
“They were adamant the noises were not a dog fight.
“They spoke of a male voice talking aggressively using language such as ‘bastard’.
“One heard slapping sounds and one said it sounded like the dog was being thrown against a wall.”
McGhee dismissed these allegations as lies, however, believing the neighbours giving evidence against him had a grudge against his police officer partner.
Having considered all of the evidence, Sheriff Alistair Thornton said he was satisfied that McGhee had caused Murphy’s death by inflicting blunt force trauma and found him guilty.
Sentencing McGhee Sheriff Thornton told him: “The veterinary evidence provided in that case indicated the degree of blunt force trauma suffered by the dog was substantial.”
“The social work report I have read indicates you maintain your denial of the offence and accordingly there is no remorse expressed by you.”
However, he said that he had to consider the impact of a jail sentence on McGhee’s family and children and the fact that he was a working man with a productive life. Taking all of this into account he handed him a community payback order and a 20-year ban on owning or having sole custody of a dog.
McGhee and his partner have another rescue dog, Dora, who has been cared for by a relative when his partner is absent since the offence on July 8, 2017.
McGhee’s solicitor said a rescue charity [source article states the Scottish Greyhound Trust but this isn’t correct] had monitored Dora and there were no concerns about either her or a guinea pig the couple have.
Sentencing: McGhee was placed on a community payback order and told to perform 240 hours of unpaid work. He was also banned from owning or having sole custody of any dog for 20 years.
#TheList Selina Shepherd, born c. 1982, of Bells Lane, Druids Heath, Birmingham B14 – left her dog to endure pain for 11 days after trying to fix her broken leg with a homemade splint.
Selina Shepherd pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to her dog, named Lola.
Lola nearly lost her leg and can now be rehomed as a result of Shepherd’s sentence.
Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard how Shepherd treated her pet at home after Lola was hit by a car on September 1, 2018 after escaping through an unlocked gate.
Shepherd failed to take Lola to see a vet, and was only confronted when a concerned member of the public reported her to the RSPCA.
Inspector Jonathan Ratcliffe visited the home, and had to call police as Shepherd was ‘hostile’ towards him.
He said: ‘She (Lola) was struggling to walk and could not bear any weight on that leg, she was clearly in pain.
‘I took her for veterinary treatment and it was discovered the break was made more complicated by the fact she had not been treated for nine days.
‘There was a real fear that she might have to have her leg amputated but thanks to the veterinary team her leg was saved and surgery was successful.
‘The owner would not sign Lola over to us for rehoming so she has been looked after for 14 months in RSPCA care and thanks to the conclusion of this case we will now be able to find her a loving home.
‘This case highlights the fact that there is never an excuse not to get your pet’s veterinary treatment if they are suffering – especially in this incident when the dog must have suffered terribly with such a serious injury.’
Sentencing: 12-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months; total of £315 costs and charges. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years (expires 2028).