#TheList Kieran John Jerome Mitchell, born 27/05/1995, of Keswick Crescent, Plymouth PL6 – punched and slapped his pet dog 36 times causing him to suffer wounds to his head and ears
Convicted cannabis dealer Mitchell, formerly of Penrose Street, Stonehouse, Plymouth, was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to the bull terrier Hugo in November 2017. He was convicted in his absence back in July 2018 and a warrant issued for his arrest the following month.
Mitchell surrendered to custody in March 2020. He was released on bail but failed to turn up at the next hearing. Magistrates have now issued a further arrest warrant.
The RSPCA, which brought the case, said concerns were raised about the welfare of Hugo, after they were sent an anonymous audio recording of him being beaten and taunted by Mitchell.
RSPCA prosecutor Lindi Meyer told the court it was a “nasty sustained attack” with a total of 36 hits, punches or slaps heard on the recording.
As Mitchell attacked the dog he can be overheard goading him, asking him: “Are you crying now? Whimpering?”
The RSPCA seized Hugo from Mitchell and took him to a vet for examination. The vet found three lesions on his face, one of which was near an eye. The vet said that the beating would have been a traumatic experience for Hugo, causing him to feel “terror, fear, pain and anxiety”.
Mitchell admitted in his interview that he smacked Hugo and would rub his nose in it if he fouled on the floor.
The presiding magistrate told Mitchell: “You acted in anger against an innocent animal.”
Sentencing: 24 weeks in prison. £115 victim surcharge. Banned from owning animals for ten years.
#TheList serial domestic abuser Samuel Thomas Johnson, born 04/06/1985, of Ashwell Drive, Shirley, Solihull B90 3LR – kicked a dog repeatedly during a drunken and drug-fuelled attack on his girlfriend; traumatised dog put to sleep weeks later
Former soldier Johnson, who was previously cautioned for domestic violence against another woman, threw his girlfriend to the floor and strangled her before kicking Staffy Rosie as she desperately tried to protect her owner
The woman’s young son was upstairs while Johnson battered her and Rosie. The brave and loyal dog was left so traumatised by the vicious attack, she had to be put down by the vets just months later.
In passing sentence, the judge said Johnson had the power to inflict serious damage with his fists along with an issue with his temper.
He touched upon his ‘worrying’ history of two other actual bodily harm (ABH) offences, one inflicted upon a previous partner, and said future girlfriends needed ‘protecting’.
Despite this the judge concluded by wishing Johnson “all the best” as he passed a suspended sentence.
The court heard Johnson is now seeing a psychiatrist in relation to his time in the army, though his defence solicitor said the most recent assault could not entirely be attributed to his traumas.
Sentencing: four-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months. 30 days of rehabilitation activity and a structured intervention for domestic abuse course. 10-year restraining order. No ban on keeping animals was imposed.
#TheList Steven Sai Chong To, born 21/03/1992, and wife Charlotte Plimmer, born 15/11/1996, both of 13 Theatre Royal Apartments, 15 Shoplatch, Shrewsbury SY1 1HR – for cruelty offences relating to four kittens
Takeaway worker Steven To killed two kittens and inflicted months of abuse on two others while his wife, Charlotte To (née Plimmer) failed to react to the ongoing cruelty.
Between August 2018 and March 2019, the Tos inflicted abuse which RSPCA veterinarian Dr David Martin said was the worst he had seen in his 22 years of practice.
The court heard how eight-week-old kittens Jin and Sun, and two-month-old pets Moon and Mew, suffered seizures, broken bones, infections, hair and skin loss, multiple amputations and tail lacerations which left one “hanging on by a thread”.
Steven To pleaded guilty to three animal cruelty charges relating to harming the cats, and Charlotte To pleaded guilty to four charges of failing to provide a safe environment and veterinary care.
Prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, Sara Pratt, said: “The defendants lived together with their kittens in a flat in Shrewsbury.
“Over the period of August 2018 and March 2019, they acquired a total of four kittens, two of which were killed while in the care of the defendants, as a result of the actions of Steven To – Jin was almost 12 weeks old and Mew was just five months old at the time of their deaths.”
The court heard Jin and Sun were registered at Animal Trusts Vets and deemed healthy in August 2018, before Moon and Mew were registered at a different practice, Copthorne Veterinary Clinic, in November 2018.
Ms Pratt added: “On September 14, 2018, a phone call was made to Animal Trust Vets reporting that Jin had been playing, knocked over some recycling, started having a seizure and died.
“On September 21, Sun was anaesthetised and X-rays revealed a fresh fracture to her right tibia.”
The court heard in October 2018, Sun was taken to the vets with two “kinks” in her tail, before returning three days later with it “hanging off”.
The defendants bought Moon and Mew in November 2018, before Sun was taken to the vets again with hair and skin loss.
Mew then suffered an injury to her chin where the skin had become detached from her jaw bone and required surgery, the court heard.
Ms Pratt said: “Just seven days after surgery to her avulsed chin, Mew was returned to Copthorne Vets with an extreme fracture dislocation midway down the tail – all tendons had been ripped.”
Mew was found dead on the kitchen floor days after returning from the vets following a tail amputation.
The court heard that an RSPCA post mortem found evidence of blunt trauma to the right side of the cat’s thorax and neck, as well as evidence that the cat had lost blood externally through the nose.
The court then heard how in February 2019, Moon was taken to Abbey Veterinary Centre starved, and again with a leg fracture in March.
Following concerns raised by the veterinary practices and the RSPCA, later that month Moon and Sun were seized by police and a full investigation was launched.
A report by Dr Martin stated that it was “clear” all four cats sustained “serious injuries” and that two died from “traumatic incidents”.
He added: “It is exceptionally unusual to have such a significant incidence of serious trauma in four cats over such a short period of time, to the extent that in 22 years of veterinary practice, I have never seen or heard of such a high incidence of serious injury.”
District Judge Kevin Grego said there was “no doubt” a lifetime ban was necessary for Mr To, and that Mrs To should not have “covered her eyes” to the ongoing abuse.
He said: “The penny must have dropped after a short period of time. She [Mrs To] either should have got those animals out of the house or at the very least ensured it wasn’t going to happen again.”
Judge Grego added: “Animal cruelty is incisive of a mindset that’s corrosive and damaging – that’s what makes this so serious.
“There should be no doubt the animals that died and suffered did so as a result of deliberate cruelty from you, Steven.
“That cruelty and death could have been avoided if you, Charlotte, didn’t frankly cover your eyes and accept what your husband told you when you knew what you were being told was unsustainable
Sentencing: Steven To was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, with 200 hours of unpaid work, 25 days of rehabilitation, a lifetime ban on keeping animals and was ordered to pay £5,000 court costs, more than £3,500 in vets’ fees and a £122 surcharge.
Charlotte To was given a 12-month community order, with 25 days of rehabilitation, 40 hours of unpaid work, a seven-year ban on owning animals and was ordered to pay £390 costs.
#TheList persistent thug Dalton Prior, born 13/02/1996, of 8 Luggiebank Place, Bargeddie, near Coatbridge G69 7SE – kicked and terrorised his pet dog
Heartless Dalton Prior, who has numerous previous criminal convictions, including some for violence, caused the distressed five-year-old dog, known as Jock, unnecessary suffering by kicking him and pulling him harshly by the lead on November 7, 2019.
Earlier that day, he broke into a house on Drumpark Street with the intention of committing theft. The thug’s catalogue of crime continued when he assaulted a police officer by attempting to headbutt him.
Prior was on bail when he committed the offences.
He also admitted being in possession of a knife in public at Whifflet Court in June 2019.
Prosecutor Jamie Dunbar produced a list of Prior’s previous convictions, which were admitted.
The fiscal depute told Airdrie Sheriff Court: “It was a two-storey house. The householder and his daughter were within.
“At 2.20pm, they heard a door handle move and being forced by a shoulder. They shouted and saw a man running from the door holding a dog. He shouted back, ‘I must be at the wrong door’, and left the area.
“At 2.45pm, witnesses heard a dog yelp and saw a dog on a lead.
“The man with the dog, the accused, was very unsteady on his feet, pulling the dog behind him.
“He turned and kicked the dog. It cried out. He continued to pull the dog harshly.
“The dog was clearly frightened and distressed.
“At 3.05pm, police saw Prior. His speech was slurred. He was detained and searched.
“He became aggressive and motioned his head towards a police officer.
“He was restrained and taken into custody.”
The fiscal depute added: “In another matter at 5.45pm, the accused was known to the complainer.
“He heard a buzzer at his door and shouted to Prior you are not allowed in.
“He replied, ‘I’ve nowhere else to go. He lifted up his top and a black-handled kitchen knife was in the waistband of his trousers.
“Police were contacted and he was arrested.”
Defence lawyer Fraser McKinnon said, in mitigation of his client: “He has been on remand since November 8.
“His record does him no favours, caused by his drug addictions.
“He has several previous convictions.”
Sheriff Derek O’Carroll told Prior: “Given your record, which is very poor, and the nature of the offences, there is no alternative to a custodial sentence.
“You were also on licence at the time. You will return to prison for four months.
“For the incident with the dog, this was unpleasant cruelty.”
Sentencing: jailed for a total of 19 months on all of the charges. Banned from owning or being in control of an animal for three years (expires March 2023).
#TheList Peter Dunn aka Peter James, born 06/03/2002, from Swansea – beat up a French bulldog puppy on at least two occasions causing her to suffer multiple broken bones
The trauma inflicted on the 10-month-old dog, who is now known as Betty, was so severe that she would not even look at her fosterer for three weeks after being temporarily rehomed by the RSPCA.
Dunn injured the puppy by “doing an act, namely the infliction of blunt force trauma and physical violence”.
He also “knew or ought reasonably to have known that that act would have the effect of causing unnecessary suffering or be likely to do so”.
The acts of violence occurred over two separate dates in 2019, on July 30 and September 24, and veterinary checks on the puppy revealed that her injuries were non-accidental.
Betty had suffered a swollen face, a fractured humerus, a fractured ulna and radius and a fractured femoral head.
The injuries were inflicted at a time when Dunn was the only person to have been alone with the dog.
Betty continues to recover from her ordeal and recently underwent an operation to remove wires from her leg. She has undergone several operations, and her care has cost the RSPCA around £8,000.
Her fosterer has described the little dog as a “bundle of joy” after at first being reticent in their company.
The fosterer said: “When she first came to me in October she had shut down and she wouldn’t look at me for three weeks. But now she is a beautiful bundle of joy. She is just amazing and she loves everybody and she is great with other dogs.”
The RSPCA are hoping that a ‘forever home’ will soon be found for Betty.
“I would very much like to thank the member of the public who alerted us to what was going on so we could promptly remove the puppy and give her the veterinary treatment she desperately needed,” said RSPCA Cymru inspector Gemma Cooper.
“I am so thankful she has recovered and is doing really well with one of our fantastic fosterers.”
Dunn pleaded guilty to two animal welfare offences and was given a nine-month referral order. He was told to pay costs and charges totalling £321. He was banned from keeping any animals for five years.
#TheList Michael ‘Mick’ Lingen, born 11/07/1967, of 29 Northfield Street, Worcester WR1 1NS – killed a Yorkshire terrier by hitting him on the head with an axe
Lingen admitted two charges – one of destroying the dog, who belonged to his former partner, and another of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal by striking him in the head with an axe.
Magistrates said the offence was so serious they had to impose a sentence of 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months.
Lingen must carry out 200 hours unpaid work within the next twelve months.
He must also pay £135 costs and a £122 victim surcharge.
Lingen was also disqualified for life from owning or keeping all animals or being involved in any arrangement in which he could control or influence their care – made under Section 34 Animal Welfare Act 2006.
#TheList Carl Anthony Dyson, born 03/04/1979, of 90 Belmont Avenue, Blackpool FY1 4BG – killed a cat by dropping a concrete slab onto her head to “put it out of its misery”
Father-of-two Dyson admitted killing the female black and white long-haired cat, called Paddy, at an address on Salthouse Avenue, Blackpool, on October 23, 2019.
The court heard how Dyson had been seen by a neighbour carrying Paddy, wrapped in a pink towel, into his friend’s back garden, where he dropped a large concrete slab twice on the animal’s head.
The witness said they saw the cat trying to wriggle free before Dyson let go of the slab.
Paul Ridehalgh, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said the witness “saw Dyson drop a slab as thick as a laptop on the cat’s head as it lay in the yard”, and added: “She saw the cat try and escape from the blanket before Dyson did the same thing again.”
The neighbour alerted the RSPCA and inspectors found “a plethora” of traumatic injuries to Paddy’s head.
Mr Ridehalgh said: “The inspector observer a black and white plastic cat carrier that appeared to have blood on it. Inside he found the body of a black and white cat.
“The cat appeared to have suffered massive injuries to her head, as it was crushed on one side, with its eye bulging.
“The defendant said he believed the cat may have been hit by a car.”
After telling Paddy’s owner, Anthony Johnson, what had happened, the cat’s body was taken away for further inspection.
Mr Ridehalgh said: “The cat had suffered traumatic injuries to its head. The conclusion was that these injuries were caused by forceful, violent compression of the cat’s head. The death could have been very quick.
“The cat could have been suffering from some cancerous lumps in the head area. Vets also examined the cat and found it to be in a poor condition, it was severely underweight with fleas jumping off her. The fur was matted and covered in faeces.
“The cat’s head had clearly been crushed. The vet’s opinion was that the cat’s injuries were unsurvivable. In her opinion, the cat’s death would have certainly caused suffering… the dropping of a concrete slab on a cat is not an acceptable method of euthanasia, and any reasonable person would have taken the cat to a vet.”
A veterinary examination found the cat had been suffering from a cancerous tumour in the mouth and was severely underweight.
When interviewed by the RSPCA, the defendant claimed he thought the cat had been injured in a road accident and he “panicked”.
Dyson’s lawyer Gary McAnulty of Fylde Law told the court his client “was suffering at the time with some mental health problems, anxiety and depression.”
Sentencing Dyson, magistrate Ed Beaman said: “The cat was trying to escape the blanket and was not so ill as to be accepting of its fate.
“There’s evidence that the cat was distressed while in the blanket prior to the first impact. We believe the cat was still alive prior to the second impact, and this caused distress to both the cat and the witnesses who saw the offence.”
Sentencing: 12 weeks in jail (released on bail after lodging an appeal). Ordered to pay a total of £200 coss and charges. Banned from owning, keeping or managing animals indefinitely.