#TheList John Joseph Boyle, born 17/09/1965, of 663 Springfield Road, Belfast BT12 7HD – beat an injured dog to death with two hammers
John Boyle, formerly of Ardilea Court, Ardoyne, admitted killing his pet dog with two hammers after she had been hit by a car. He then dumped her remains in a wheelie bin. The horrific incident took place on 23 November 2017.
Officers went to Boyle’s house after being called by a concerned neighbour who had seen him with the ailing pet and who was worried he would not seek proper care for her injuries.
When Boyle was questioned about the whereabouts of the pup, he said a friend had taken her away to a farmhouse in the countryside.
But when his house and yard were searched, the body of the dog and two bloodied hammers were discovered.
He then admitted killing his pet and said he couldn’t afford to take her to the vet.
A spokesperson for Belfast City Council said: “This was a particularly extreme and harrowing case.
“Belfast City Council brought the prosecution after animal welfare officers followed up on a report that a dog had been knocked down by a car and injured,” they explained.
“Mr Boyle took a hammer and killed the dog, placing it in a wheelie bin.
“Animal welfare officers attended the property at Ardilea Court and found the dog’s body. They seized a wooden mallet and metal hammer from the property, both with evidence of dried blood on them.”
The court viewed the offence as so serious that it justified a jail term.
Boyle will serve his sentence in Maghaberry Prison.
Sentencing: six months in jail; fines totalling £264. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
The owner was alerted to the crime after hearing gunshots and then spotting Price loading something into the back of his van.
North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard police later found the 22-year-old with eight dead pheasants in his vehicle.
Prosecutor Sue Hayers said: “The injured party was at home at 9pm on January 14 when he heard what he thought sounded like silenced rifle shots. He saw a light shine in the trees and formed the opinion someone was outside.
“He saw a van parked up the road and saw someone throw something into the rear of the van. The person was holding a rifle. The vehicle pulled away.
“Police later located the van and the defendant. They recovered an air rifle, pellets and eight pheasants from the vehicle.”
When he was arrested, Price claimed he did not know the Whitmore land was private and said he intended to eat the birds.
The court heard the landowner, the Cavanagh-Mainwairing family, rears pheasants to be used in licensed shoots held on the estate, and the theft left them £320 out of pocket.
Price pleaded guilty to theft and a charge of trespassing at night with an air rifle to destroy game.
The offences put him in breach of a conditional discharge he received for another theft, when he was collecting scrap metal and took property that the owner had not agreed he could have.
Mohammed Fiaz, mitigating, said: “He has written a letter of apology for his behaviour. The reason Mr Price took the pheasants was for his own consumption. He wasn’t going to sell them on. He purchased the rifle legitimately.
“He was working as a labourer but unfortunately he lost that job a couple of weeks ago.”
Sentencing: 12-month community order with 80 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay £320 to the victim. He must also pay a £120 fine for breaching the conditional discharge.
#TheList badger baiter Conran Connor, born 01/12/1998, of 61 Gateside Road, Wishaw ML2 7SB – kept dogs for animal fighting
Conran Connor was sentenced to 21 weeks in prison and given a 15-year ban on owning and/or being in control of any animal after admitting to keeping and training his three dogs for animal fighting.
Connor was caught when a Patterdale terrier was discovered with horrific injuries consistent with being caused by badger baiting. The dog’s injuries were so severe that he had to be put down by vets.
Knives were then found in Connor’s home with badger blood and DNA during a Scottish SPCA investigation.
The probe revealed Connor had direct links to badger baiting.
He dug up badger setts in woodland in Motherwell, Lanarkshire, in preparation for illegal and bloody fights where the animals are set upon by dogs.
A Scottish SPCA undercover inspector said: “We became aware of Connor following an enquiry into an abandoned Patterdale terrier, found in the Carnwatch/Carluke area, which had injuries consistent with badger baiting and fighting.
“The dog had to be euthanised due to the extent of his injuries.
“Our investigation led to the home of Connor and with a warrant, we discovered evidence to suggest he was engaging in animal fighting.”
The inspector added: “We recovered proof that Connor had held conversations specific to purchasing dogs for, and discussing, animal fighting.
“Other items recovered from the house included numerous magazines and books relating specifically to hunting and fighting dogs with wild animals, hunting clothes, devices used to lure foxes called fox callers, a torch identical to one found during the excavation of a badger sett and knives, many of which were subsequently found to have badger blood and DNA.
“We were able to gather the DNA evidence thanks to Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA).
“Multiple items found matched those in Connor’s possession of him posing with dead wild animals and his three dogs”.
The SIU inspector added: “Other images confirmed his presence at badger baiting sites and showed his own dogs at the entrance to a badger sett.
“There were also men digging into the ground at night in woodland. This is an activity carried out as part of the badger baiting process. Other pictures include a dog with injuries consistent with badger fighting.
“We welcome the sentence handed down to Connor. He engaged in depraved acts that showed his complete disregard for animal welfare.
“He caused extreme levels of suffering to the wild animals involved and put his three dogs at great risk of injury or death, and failed to get any veterinary treatment when they were injured.”
The Scottish SPCA’s special investigations unit are experts in investigating animal fighting offences and rely on information from the public to continue to put a stop to this horrific activity.
Sentencing: 21 weeks in prison. Banned from owning any animal for 15 years.
#TheList Maidstone gypsies and serial animal abusers Jimmy Price, born c. 1994, of Forstal Farm, Well Street, Loose ME15 0QE, Samuel ‘Johnny’ Powell, born c. 1985, of Wheat Gratten Stableyards, Forstal Road, Lenham ME17 2BF, Danny Price, born c. 1990, of Victoria Stables, Victoria Court, East Farleigh ME15 0BW
Jimmy Price and Samuel Powell were sent to prison after the former was filmed repeatedly stabbing a deer and the latter had put an eight-month-old foal to work. Price was also found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a horse and two dogs.
Jimmy Price’s brother, Danny Price – a qualified jockey – admitted letting a horse starve to death and received a community order.
A video played to the court showed Jimmy Price’s dogs, Scout and Tramp, untethered and unfed at the father-of-two’s home address in Forstal Farm, Loose.
A voice in the video was heard to say: “If they run away good luck to them, I tell you what you’re the wickedest fella I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Jimmy Price, who has a history of violence, was previously convicted in December 2019 after repeatedly stabbing a deer. He was also caught hare coursing.
Rowan Morton, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said today: “It’s very difficult to even explain the gravity of what the video shows.
“There are a group of four males that can be seen with a deer. Jimmy Price is seen stabbing the deer multiple times in the throat while others shout at him to stab it.
“It’s very graphic and upsetting, there was no doubt that animal was caused significant pain and suffering.”
Price, who was already serving a suspended sentence for theft offences, has previously been convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to dogs.
When Tramp and Scout were taken into the RSPCA’s care and fed properly, they gained 25% bodyweight and 45% bodyweight respectively within seven weeks.
Price’s dogs and the horse, which belonged to his late father, were seized during an RSPCA raid on Forstal Farm in March 2019.
Horse trader Samuel Powell had three horses seized during the same raid, having had a mare and her foal seized two months prior.
Four of the horses were found to be emaciated. One was suffering with diarrhoea and the foal had breathing problems, fleas and was described as “very thin”.
A Shetland Pony was found with a cut across the nose.
Powell accepted each of the horses was his own, but said they were in that condition as he was rehabilitating them.
He told the court: “I will buy horses that have not been treated properly. When I get them I feed them, look after them and rehabilitate them. Then I sell them for profit.
“I like to think I sometimes save lives when I buy horses.”
When asked where he buys his horses, Powell said: “I don’t want to go into too much detail as I’m from the gypsy community.”
In 2019 Powell was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a foal which was seen walking up and down at Appleby Horse Fair pulling a cart with people in.
On Friday 10/01/2020 Powell was found guilty of four counts of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and a fifth charge of failing to ensure the welfare of an animal. The five charges relate to the five horses seized from Forstal Farm.
Danny Price admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a bay horse. In return charges of causing suffering to a bay mare, a black mare and a piebald mare, were dropped.
The bay horse was found dead next to a hay bale during the RSPCA raid in March 2019. He had starved to death.
Magistrates heard the 29-year-old had stopped looking after the horse as he was in the process of selling it, and thought it was the new owner’s responsibility.
Sentencing: Jimmy Price – jailed for seven and a half months of which half will be spent in custody. Ordered to pay £5,115 in costs and charges. Five-year order banning him from keeping dogs.
Samuel Powell – jailed for 26 weeks and will serve half of that sentence. Ordered to pay total of £5,115. Banned from owning horses for five years but can appeal after just one year.
Danny Price – 12-month community order; 150 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay £1,585.
#TheList serial wildlife persecutor Scott Matthew Cochrane, born 09/11/1989, of 4 Yarrow Close, Poole BH12 4FL – found with dead rabbits, lurcher-type dogs and steel ball bearings
Repeat offender Cochrane was back in court after breaching a five-year criminal behaviour order imposed in September 2015 after a video of him pulling the head off a live wood pigeon was uploaded to Facebook. He admitted being in possession of a wild animal and for hunting a wild mammal with a dog, an offence under Section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004.
Cochrane, whose Facebook account is riddled with boasts about his ‘kills’, is now prohibited from entering many rural areas in Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire. The areas include south of the A35 in the Purbeck and Dorchester area, rural northeast Dorset up to the M4 corridor in north Wiltshire and parts of the New Forest in Hampshire.
This will prevent him from using routes such as the A338 from Ringwood into Wiltshire, A354 from Puddletown to Salisbury and A350 from Wimborne to parts of Wiltshire, which all feature in hotspots for such rural crime.
At 11.41pm on Saturday October 5, 2019, officers were called to a rural location in the Blandford area in relation to suspected poaching in fields. They located a van and saw two men – one of whom was the defendant.
There were two lurcher-type dogs with them and they had a high powered lamp. They were also found to be carrying dead rabbits. A search of their vehicle located a catapult and steel ball bearings, as well as further dead rabbits.
The new criminal behaviour order will last for three years.
Cochrane must not:
• Act or incite others to behave in an anti-social manner, that is to say a manner that causes harassment, alarm or distress to any persons.
• Use or incite others to use threatening, intimidating, insulting or abusive words or behaviour in any place to which the public has access.
• Be in possession of a wild animal, wild bird or part of a wild animal or bird living or dead.
• Be in possession of a catapult or shot, such as ball bearings, or to be in a vehicle with a catapult or such shot in a place to which the public have access or private land as a trespasser.
• Allow a dog under his control off a lead, except on private land with the land owners written permission.
• Be in a vehicle with a dog traditionally used for the purpose of hare and deer coursing, such as a Lurcher, Greyhound, Saluki, or a cross breed of these varieties unless travelling to an emergency vets appointment.
• Own dogs traditionally used for the purposes of hare and deer coursing such as Lurchers, Greyhounds, Saluki or a cross breed of these varieties.
Police Constable Claire Dinsdale, Rural Crime Co-ordinator for Dorset Police, said: “Coursing with dogs and poaching is a national priority for both rural and wildlife crime and there are many repeat victims across the UK.
“This issue is not about ‘one for the pot’ but part of a network of persistent criminals who will threaten and intimidate our rural communities if challenged and cause thousands of pounds worth of damage to crops, gates and other property.
“They train their dogs on rabbits, hares and even on deer, with no regard for the welfare of wildlife or their dogs and they are willing to travel vast distances into other counties.
“Dorset Police is part of the national strategy between 22 police forces, Operation Galileo, where civil and criminal powers will be used to prevent such offending by hare coursers and protect vulnerable victims.
“I hope this sends a clear message that coursing and other such crimes are not tolerated and we will take robust action against anyone suspected of such an offence.
“This now varied order is a first of its kind for rural crime, in that it bans the defendant from large areas of rural land across three counties and it restricts his ownership of certain dog breeds and cross breeds.”
Sentencing: eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months. Victim surcharge of £122 and £85 costs. The other man was given a caution. Three-year criminal behaviour order.
#TheList Reece Reed (aka Reece Howard-Reed), born c. 2000, most recently of Club Street, Kettering NN16 8RP – mutilated a prize-winning miniature horse by stabbing him 20 times; ripped the wings off three chickens
Reed, who has previous convictions for burglary and vehicle theft, attacked the animals in April 2018 after breaking into a Wellingborough farm. The farm owner was alerted by a burglar alarm at 07:30 a.m.
Prosecutor Priya Bakshi told the court: “He ran to the summer house to investigate. There he found a shovel, and saw one window had been pried open and another had been smashed.
“He peered through the window. There, he saw a man with a six-inch kitchen knife inside the chicken coop.”
The farmer scared off the armed man – Reed, who was naked from the waist down – before searching his stables to see if any animals had been hurt.
It was then that he found his daughter’s prize-winning miniature show horse Sol. His back legs and rear had been stabbed 20 times and he was bleeding heavily.
Additionally, Reed had cut the wings off of three chickens. They had to be put down.
In court, the judge heard how Sol was a prize winner worth over £3,000 and was on track to becoming a champion show horse. But following the attack, Sol was rendered unfit to compete ever again.
In a victim impact statement read out in court, Sol’s owner said: After I learned that Sol had been hurt I was devastated and heartbroken.
“Sol was and is my best friend and he will always be part of the family.”
Reed later pleaded guilty to the offence.
His defence barrister, Osmun Munir, said the 19-year-old was “remorseful and expresses sympathy for the family”.
But in sentencing, Judge Fowler was unable to jail Reed for more than two months over the mutilations – because the attacks were charged as “criminal damage” rather than, for example, animal cruelty.
He told Reed: “This episode can only be described as wholly despicable. The charges that you face today do not reflect the wickedness of your behaviour.
“This has been treated as if it were criminal damage against two inanimate objects. It isn’t. And it is in my view and error that ought to be corrected.”
#TheList Brendan Murphy, born c. 1967, of Nantwich – stabbed his dog twice before throwing her into the canal to drown
Murphy, who lives on a barge on the Shropshire Union Canal, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to his poorly Akita dog , Tara, by stabbing her twice, chaining a heavy weight around her body and dumping her in the canal to drown.
The court heard how Tara’s body was seen floating in the Shropshire Union canal at Nantwich on October 6, 2018, and police were called. Officers then alerted the RSPCA
Inspector Andy Harris investigated and took the dog’s body to the vets, where a post mortem examination revealed she had been suffering from a lung disease for a number of weeks.
The vet also found she had been stabbed twice before her body entered the canal. Due to the state of decomposition her body had been in the water for about three weeks.
Some patches of fur missing on Tara’s body suggested the propeller of a barge had come into contact with her under water and this had freed her body from the item used to weigh her down.
Her microchip revealed she was owned by Murphy so Inspector Harris visited his address and he admitted Tara was his.
During interview, Murphy admitted he was aware Tara was unwell with a lung condition and had sought veterinary advice but could not afford the treatment.
He said she had died on the canal barge and so he buried her in woodland near Crewe where he was moored at the time.
He said in interview that he went to the spot where he buried her to pay his respects a few times but claimed about two weeks later her body had been dug up and said he had no idea how she ended up in the canal.
As it was suspected Tara had drowned, samples of her bone marrow were sent away for forensic testing – the first time this technique has been used in an RSPCA prosecution.
The test showed that Tara died from drowning.
In a witness statement, an expert vet told the court: “It is my expert opinion that Tara was suffering as a result of underlying ill health at the time of her death.
“It is further my expert opinion that Tara was alive when she was placed in the canal and that she was deliberately anchored down with a length of chain.
“The cause of death in Tara is hence in my expert opinion drowning.”
Inspector Harris said: “Poor Tara had a lung disease which was left untreated and therefore she was left suffering will this illness for a number of weeks.
“She was then stabbed in the abdomen twice before being thrown alive into the canal, where she drowned.
“It is upsetting to think about what she must have endured during her final moments.”
Sentencing: 10-week jail sentence suspended for 12 months; ordered to pay a total of £415 in costs and charges. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
#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 career criminal William Sheen, born 1996, of no fixed abode, but originally from the Merryweather Estate in Ringwood, Hampshire BH24 1UL and with links to Bournemouth and Salisbury – hit a police dog with a large tin of baked beans
Sheen admitted arson, assaulting an emergency worker and causing unnecessary suffering to a service dog.
The court was told he had been causing a disturbance at the pub on Old Christchurch Road when staff called the police.
Officers from Dorset Police said they found him in a dry storage area of the kitchen shouting “Let me out” before waving a metal object at them and refusing to leave.
A fire was seen coming from the store and Sheen was heard to say “Go away – this place is going to go up”.
The fire service was called to extinguish the flames and a police dog, called Gus, was also sent to the scene.
In a statement, Dorset Police said: “Sheen began to throw items at the officers, including bags of flour and commercial-sized tins of baked beans.
“One of the tins struck PD Gus on the head, stunning him and causing him to back away.”
Police then used a Taser to subdue Sheen and he was arrested.
Ch Insp Heather Dixey confirmed Gus and the police officers involved did not sustain any lasting injuries and are back on active duty.
She added: “This case yet again demonstrates the danger that can be faced by officers and police dogs while dealing with hostile and volatile incidents.”