#TheList commercial breeder Simon Davis, born c. 1985, of Acacia Crescent, Bedworth CV12 – cropped American bulldog puppies’ ears with razor blades before selling them for thousands of pounds to celebrity clients
Davis, who trades under the name Lions Lair Kennels, admitted to cropping the ears of seven puppies. He was arrested on 30 January 2019, after the RSPCA and Warwickshire Police carried out a joint raid at his home address.
During the raid, they found seven kennels, in a converted garage building in his back garden, containing eight American Bulldogs.
The RSPCA gathered a range of evidence, including before and after photographs and medical appliances such as syringes, razor blades and forceps were seized from both properties.
A further nine American Bulldogs were found at Mr Davis’s mother’s house nearby on Chelsey Road, including two pregnant dogs and six with cropped ears.
The RSPCA urge people to never buy a dog with cropped ears, and have taken seven of the dogs into care to be re-homed.
Sentencing: 18 weeks in jail suspended for 12 months. Ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid work and pay £10,973 in costs. A 15-year ban on keeping and dealing in dogs.
#TheList Tiffany Guest, born 25/12/1989, previously of Winn Close in Kenilworth, Warwickshire and with links to Washbourne Road, Leamington Spa CV31 2LD – left her pets to starve to death after she moved out of her flat and locked them inside.
Guest cruelly abandoned her cats Reggie and Ronnie and dog Kray in a property before concerned neighbours alerted police 10 days later.
Officers forced entry into the flat in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, and discovered the emaciated Staffordshire bull terrier-type dog and the body of a starved cat on May 30, 2017.
Shockingly, a court heard how Kray had only survived by eating Ronnie after running out of contents scavenged from the bin.
The RSPCA were alerted and took Kray into care for treatment while an investigation was launched.
Guest was traced to near her work, which was only a mile away from the flat where she abandoned the pets.
But she left the country in a bid to evade justice after being told she faced animal welfare offences and was later traced to Malta.
Guest returned to the UK 13 months ago and was arrested by border control for the outstanding warrant.
She was brought before magistrates in relation to the animal cruelty charges and was bailed to re-appear at another date – but again fled to Malta.
On October 10, 2019, Guest was again arrested after she re-entered the country and was remanded in custody until her case at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court.
Pictures released by the RSPCA show the emaciated body of poor pooch Kray and the remains of Reggie strewn across the untidy flat.
Other heartbreaking images show how the animals had trawled leftover food from the bin in a desperate bid to survive.
RSPCA Inspector Boris Lasserre said after the case: “It is incomprehensible to think the suffering these pets must have endured and how terrified they must have been for such a long period of time before the cats died of starvation.
“It must have been terrible for Kray to watch as the cats died in front of him.
“There was evidence the pets had scavenged to try and feed themselves as the bin contents were all over the kitchen floor.
“Just 14 days later, by being fed properly in RSPCA care he made an amazing recovery with a significant increase in weight.
“Warwickshire Police officers did an amazing job in finding Kray, who they renamed Bobby, just in time as he would not have survived much longer.
“He is a lovely gentle dog and made a remarkable recovery in RSPCA care and has now been re-homed.”
In mitigation, the court was told she suffered from depression at the time of the incident.
Sentencing: 18 weeks in jail. Ordered to pay £372 costs and charges. Banned from keeping all animals for 15 years.
#TheList Tina Elizabeth Coles, born c. 1998, and Martin C Hessey, born c. 1980, both of Carolyn Lane Court, Blackman Way, Rugby CV21 2US – failed to get their pet cat Tigger veterinary treatment for a stomach ulcer which later perforated and led to his death.
Tina Coles and partner Martin Hessey both pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to their cat when they appeared at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court.
The court heard how three-year-old Tigger had developed a stomach ulcer but the couple failed to take him for treatment, with the ulcer perforating and killing him weeks later.
A member of the public reported the cat’s death to the RSPCA and inspector Helen Smith was sent to investigate on June 1, 2019.
Inspector Smith found Tigger’s emaciated body in a freezer at the couple’s flat. He weighed just 1.47kg when a cat of his age should weigh 4 to 4.5kg.
Inspector Smith said: “It would have been blatantly obvious that Tigger was in need of veterinary treatment but the couple failed to act.
“The stomach ulcer would have led to an obvious lack of appetite which is why Tigger was so emaciated.
“The vet said he would have suffered for at least a month and his death would have been slow and painful.
“This case really highlights how imperative if it for owners to take their pets for veterinary treatment if they show symptoms of illness. Poor Tigger was left to suffer unnecessarily.”
In mitigation, the court was told both had mental health issues which the magistrates took into account when sentencing.
Sentencing: fined £120 and also ordered to pay a £30 victim surcharge. Both were banned from keeping all animals for seven years.
#TheList Tamsyn Lauren Beck, born 14/06/1991, of Dunchurch Road, Rugby CV22 – left her pet Staffordshire bull terrier locked alone in a room in her flat for at least five days
Beck pleaded guilty to two animal welfare offences following her abandonment of the Staffy, known as Kaiser.
Members of the public who had become worried for the welfare of Kaiser called the RSPCA – and Inspector Helen Smith was sent to investigate on January 28, 2019.
Inspector Smith said: “We know Beck left Kaiser for at least five days but it could have been longer which is obviously very concerning.
“Dogs need to be cared for properly and as well as being fed and watered and exercised, they are social creatures so need company, affection and interaction.
“Poor Kaiser was left for a number of days with no such attention and must have felt frightened and lonely.”
Kaiser is now doing well in the care of the RSPCA and he will be up for re-homing soon.
Sentencing: 12-month community order including 100 hours of unpaid work and a 15-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement. Ordered to pay £135 costs and an £85 victim surcharge. Banned from owing animals for 10 years.
#TheList Katy Liggins and James Johnson, ages unknown, both of Smercote Close, Bedworth CV12 0EB – left their dogs suffering from chronic skin conditions for months.
Katy Liggins and partner James Johnson pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to Staffies Diesel and Roxy by failing to explore and address their chronic skin condition.
RSPCA inspectors were called to the couple’s home having been tipped off by a member of the public.
Investigating Inspector Helen Smith said: “When I first saw Diesel it was obvious he was in dire need of veterinary attention. He was constantly trying to scratch himself and his skin was so thick it was like that of an elephant.
“He has red sores which were weeping and it was clear he was suffering. Roxy was displaying similar symptoms.
“In my 20 years as an RSPCA inspector Diesel had one of the worst skin conditions caused by a flea infestation I have seen.
“Both pets must have been endlessly suffering trying to relieve their itchy skin. “
The RSPCA inspector went on: “The vet said they would have been suffering like this for months – which is so unnecessary as fleas are easily preventable with routine treatment.
“If pets do get fleas, veterinary treatment should be sought immediately so they don’t have to suffer needlessly for such a long period of time.”
In mitigation, the court heard the couple were suffering from financial difficulties.
The court ordered both Diesel and Roxy should be placed in the care of the RSPCA where they will be rehabilitated and re-homed.
Sentencing: 12-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months; 100 hours of unpaid work and 40-day rehabilitation activity requirement. Total of £250 costs and charges each. Five-year ban on keeping animals.
#TheList airline pilot Steven Paul Woodhouse, born 02/03/1962, formerly of Old Watling Street, Long Buckby, Northants and more recently Foxfield Place, Long Lawford, Rugby, Warwickshire CV23 9BF – drowned his neighbours’ beloved pet dog, Meg, and lied to cover his tracks
Border terrier Meg was bought as a puppy by Steven Woodhouse’s neighbours Alan and Alison Boddington for their late daughter Lauren, who passed away in 2008, aged 10.
Airline pilot Woodhouse claimed he had become fed up of Meg’s “yap, yap, yapping” and drowned her because he “just had to stop the noise”.
Woodhouse used a water butt in his garden to kill the dog on Saturday, July 26, 2014. He then stuffed the body in a bin liner and hid it in his shed.
The court heard he had tried to cut Meg’s microchip out, hacking her body to pieces in the process.
When the Boddingtons asked Woodhouse to check his outbuildings he panicked and hurled the corpse in a hedge.
Next he stashed Meg in a plastic box in his car boot before moving the body to a remote lane. He finally returned it to his shed.
When there was still no sign of Meg two days later, Alison went to confront Woodhouse and found the boot of his VW Golf unlocked.
She said: “I saw Meg’s fur and a knife and rope. I was shaking. I kept saying, ‘I knew he’d done it’.”
Woodhouse initially told police officers he had lost his temper with the dog and dumped her alive two miles away. He prolonged the family’s agony for a further five days before coming clean.
Shortly after he killed Meg, the court also heard how the pilot had driven around with the body in the boot of his car, intending to dispose of it.
He even carried out an overnight flight to the Isle of Man with the body still in the car before returning home.
Mum-of-two Mrs Boddington, 48, had spoken of the heartbreak the death of the family pet had caused after the court hearing in December. “She was one of the only memories we had left of our daughter Lauren. There is just something missing in our house now.’’
Mr Boddington said Meg had brought their late daughter companionship during some of her toughest days. “If Lauren was poorly, Meg would lay by her cot. She was just a very kind, sweet-natured dog.”
He added: “She was only a small dog, it’s not like she was a big loud thing that was causing a lot of noise.”
Sentencing: 12-week suspended prison sentence; costs of £2,400 and victim surcharge of £180
#TheList badger baiting ring Alan ‘Bok’ Alexander, born 03/04/1979, of Bramham Grove, York YO26 5BH, Richard Lee Simpson, born 24/11/1974, of Bramham Grove, York YO26 5BH, Paul Ian Tindall, born 30/03/1978, of Boroughbridge Road, York YO26 6AL, William Edward Anderson, born 29/05/1985, formerly of Hillside Farm in Pickering but as of April 2020 residing at the Jam House, Alne Hills, Great Alne, Alcester, Stratford on Avon B49 6JT, Christopher ‘Tiffa’ Martin Holmes, born 04/03/1983, of Byland Avenue, York YO31 9AY and Malcolm David Warner, born 21/02/1983, of Tedder Road, York YO24 3JD
Scarborough Magistrates’ Court heard how the group of six men and a 17-year-old boy dug out two badgers and laughed as they set a pack of 13 dogs on them. The horrific incident took place on farmland at Howsham, near York, in January 2011.
An RSPCA inspector involved in the case said it was the worst incident of badger baiting he had ever seen.
Sobia Ahmed, prosecuting, told the court that two witnesses, including wildlife photographer Robert Fuller, heard the sound of dogs barking excitedly and a badger squealing in distress and went to investigate. When they reached the scene, they saw two large dogs attacking a badger.
Ms Ahmed said: ‘They had hold of it in their mouths and were shaking it violently. They said the dogs were playing tug of war with the badger.’
Mr Fuller recalled in court how the men ‘laughingly’ encouraged the beasts before they spotted him and fled the scene.
After some time, the badger was shot dead by Anderson and the men, who had become aware of the witnesses and tried to cover their tracks by throwing the dead badger into the undergrowth.
They then buried a second dead badger – a pregnant animal which had been torn to pieces by the dogs – back into the hole from which it had been dug.
Ms Ahmed said witnesses called the police and the men and teenager were arrested a short time later.
Police and RSPCA inspectors who visited the scene found animal intestines and badger foetuses scattered around and areas of congealed blood, believed to be from where the badger had been shot.
When they recovered the two badgers, one was found to have been shot at close range and had a fractured skull and jaw.
The other had part of its abdomen missing and injuries consistent with being attacked by a dog.
Mr Fuller later gave his pictures to the police and RSPCA and they were used to convict the gang.
When they investigated, the authorities established the men had killed three adult badgers and three unborn cubs.
Ms Ahmed said the pregnant badger suffered ‘a sustained attack by a number of dogs that had caused the badger to be torn to pieces and eventually it bled to death’ while the other had a ‘gunshot wound to the head immediately after a severe and sustained attack by a number of dogs’.
Ms Ahmed described the operation as a ‘sophisticated enterprise’ in which the men used equipment to track down the badgers.
Speaking after the sentencing, RSPCA Inspector Geoff Edmond said: “I was there on the day and was responsible for removing a pregnant badger which had been buried in a hole, which had been ripped to bits by dogs.
“That’s horrific, barbaric, and these badgers had been tortured by these dogs on that day.”
Alexander, Simpson, Tindall and Anderson were jailed for 16 weeks after being found guilty of wilfully killing a badger, hunting a mammal with dogs, digging for badgers and interfering with a badger sett.
Alexander and Simpson were also convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
All four men were each ordered to pay £750 costs and £100 compensation.
Holmes and Warner were handed 12-week custodial sentences suspended for 12 months after they pleaded guilty to wilfully killing a badger, digging for badgers and interfering with a badger sett. They were told to pay £250 costs and £100 compensation
The 17-year-old boy, who could not be named for legal reasons, was given a youth rehabilitation order.
An eighth person, James Doyle from Westfield Avenue, Knottingley, was acquitted.
#TheList Kelvin Hill aka Kieran Hill, born 26/07/1975, as at February 2020 of 14 Franklin Road, Bournville, Birmingham B30 2HH, but with links to Warwick, Bedworth and Nuneaton – killed a 5mo Labrador-cross puppy named Marley by smashing his head against the floor.
Gaynor Sutton, prosecuting for the RSPCA, told the court the incident happened on September 29, 2009, after Hill had called at the Nuneaton home of former partner Karen Harbour. He had asked her for money and stayed in the house alone while she went with her mother to a post office to collect child benefit.
When she returned, Ms Harbour discovered that the male puppy, called Marley – bought as a present for her seven-year-old son – was lying dead in the lounge. There was a pool of blood and urine on the floor and splashes of blood on cupboards in the kitchen.
In evidence, Ms Harbour said: “I was extremely upset. Kelvin Hill was upstairs and he denied having anything to do with it.
“When I said I was going to phone the police he jumped up and said he had killed my dog by taking it by its legs and smashing its skull against the kitchen floor.”
Marley suffered three fractures to the jaw, smashed teeth and injuries to the brain before dying in agony.
Magistrates heard how it would have taken up to 15 minutes for the little dog to die.
Hill was already serving a prison sentence for aggravated burglary and refused to attend court to face the animal cruelty charge.
Sentencing: 20 weeks in custody (ran consecutively to his sentence for burglary). Banned for life on keeping animals.
#TheList John Michael Bagster, born 14/04/1988, formerly of Stamford , Lincolnshire, and more recently (2019) of Stewart Court, Ransome Road, Gun Hill, Coventry CV7 8NX
Puppy Minty was taken in by Bagster at just 12 weeks old, but by all accounts suffered a catalogue of sustained cruelty over a 3-week period.
In one early incident Bagster and his friend Thomas Robinson put Minty in a trolley and spun him around. When they took the puppy out he collapsed to the floor, dizzy – something the pair found hilarious.
The cruelty got worse. On one occasion Bagster punched Minty very hard to his hip with a clenched fist. The puppy let out a yelp and from that day onwards had a limp.
Less than one month after being adopted by Bagster, little Minty was subjected to a brutal attack when the yob hit him with a frying pan, repeatedly punched him and smashed him around in a trolley. The pup suffered a pelvic fracture, broken hind leg and a swollen and bruised leg and stomach.
Sentence: 21 weeks in a young offenders institution for each of three charges he faced. The sentences were suspended for one year. Bagster was also sentenced to 120 hours’ community service and ordered to pay RSPCA costs of £700. Bagster was banned from keeping animals for 15 years (expires 2024).
Bagster’s equally cruel accomplice Thomas Robinson of Water Street, Stamford, was prosecuted separately for his involvement in Minty’s ordeal. He was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to the dog and handed a 15-year pet ban, 80 hours of community service and ordered to pay £250 in court costs.