#TheList Thomas J Keenan, born 1972, of Hamsterly Park, Northampton NN3 5DX – failed to get treatment for his pet cat’s serious leg injury; leg amputated
Keenan pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to his cat, Beauty, when he appeared before magistrates.
The court heard how the RSPCA were called in after receiving reports from a concerned member of the public who said Beauty had a serious leg injury that had not been treated.
RSPCA Inspector Michelle Hare visited on July 13, 2019, and could see that there was a problem with Beauty’s back left leg.
The leg was twisted inwards and looked floppy, the cat was unable to put any weight on it so, with Keenan’s permission, she took Beauty for veterinary treatment.
The vet said that Beauty had a broken femur and the bone had rubbed on her skin causing an abscess that had become infected.
He added that he estimated the pet had suffered for about three weeks.
Beauty had her leg amputated but has made a great recovery and has now been rehomed by the RSPCA.
Inspector Hare said: “We still are not sure how Beauty came to be injured but believed she may have been involved in a car accident.
“She had a nasty injury and she was struggling to walk so should have been taken to the vets straight away. Many vets will offer a payment plan to help spread the cost and there are charities who can help with vet bills.”.”
His other two cats will also be rehomed by the RSPCA.
In mitigation, the court was told that Keenan was aware of the injury but could not afford veterinary treatment.
Sentencing: 120 hours of unpaid work; £385 costs. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
#TheList Sean D Wisbey, born 25/05/1968, of no fixed address but with links to St Helens and Prenton in Birkenhead – attacked and killed partner’s dogs ‘to get back at her’
Sean Wisbey callously killed his partner’s Yorkshire Terrier and injured another so badly she had to be put to sleep.
His cruelty came to light when his on-off partner, with whom he had had a row, returned home and was horrified to find what he had done to her beloved pets.
After finding seven-year-old Rosie dead, the heart-broken victim, Brenda Prescott, eventually found the other dog, Tricker, hiding under a pile of laundry.
She desperately tried to keep her alive but the animal later had to be euthanised by a vet.
Wisbey pleaded guilty to two offences of destroying property, namely the dogs.
Judge Rachel Smith said that he had done it to get back at Ms Prescott, and had carried out two acts of extreme violence intended to shock and hurt her.
Ember Wong, prosecuting, told the court that the couple had had an on-off relationship over the years.
A few days before the offences they rowed and he threatened to cut her dogs’ throats, a threat he had also made previously. She left and when she returned he had gone.
He called at her St Helens home on April 11, 2019, and she allowed him in to have a shower and change his clothes and she went out shortly before 6 pm.
When she returned about three hours later she saw the curtains were shut and the dogs were not barking.
Miss Wong said: “She got in and shouted their names but there was no answer. She looked around but could not find them and asked a neighbour to help her look for them.
“In the lounge she lifted up some curtains and a blanket on the floor and found Rosie lying lifeless and covered in blood.
“One of her back legs was facing the wrong way and she knew she was dead.”
Ms Prescott eventually found Tricker hiding under some laundry upstairs and for the next few days looked after her by feeding her by hand and giving her water from a spoon.
She eventually took her to the RSPCA where she was examined and found to have a broken pelvis. The distraught owner agreed she should be put to sleep to end her suffering.
Post-mortem examinations revealed that Rosie’s injuries included multiple skull fractures caused by blunt force trauma and a lacerated liver. Her skull injuries are believed to have been caused by pressure being applied on both sides of her head.
Two-year-old Tricker was also found to have suffered blunt force trauma and had various bruises and abrasions to her body and legs and a number of fractures to her pelvis.
Wisbey was arrested on the night of the incident after Ms Prescott called the police after finding Rosie. He was found near the house and said, “What are you on about?”.
Miss Wong said that he was handcuffed and taken to a police car but tried to smash a window in the vehicle with the cuffs, having to be taken to the floor and restrained until back-up arrived. When interviewed he made no comment.
Claire Jones, defending, said Wisbey, who has committed 78 previous offences, mainly for dishonesty, had taken a cocktail of drink and drugs and had not taken his prescribed medication for his mental health problems at the time of the offences.
Sentencing: jailed for two years; five-year restraining order
#TheList Laura Emily Butt (aka Laura Welch), born 23/03/1986 and Timothy Wood, born 27/05/1966 both of Derby Road, Draycott, Derby DE72 3NJ – left their dogs to starve for months and refused to take them to the vet
Butt and Wood fed their four dogs scraps from takeaway meals and left them to fight at their home in Draycott, Derby.
The charges related to a six-year-old Akita-type dog named Bear, and 14-year-old German Shepherd Molly. Another of the dogs, Roxy, seven, was underweight.
RSPCA inspectors found the animals with protruding bones and ‘deep scratches’ but the couple refused to take them to the vets, claiming they were ‘too busy’.
Butt and Wood pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court.
Butt, who is said to have bipolar disorder, adult ADHD and nervous anxiety, sobbed throughout the hearing.
RSPCA officer Helen Mead visited the property numerous times between December 2018 and May 2019.
Prosecutor Richard Purchase said: ‘There was a worry at that time that two dogs were underweight. Molly, 14, was thin and Roxy, seven, was underweight. Advice was given that the dogs needed cooked pasta into their dog food and should be taken to the vets.’
By March the dogs had not been taken to the vets because Wood said they were ‘very busy’.
The RSPCA inspector attended their home twice that month but could not gain access.
In May 2019, a police officer attended the property with Ms Mead who had ‘concerns regarding the state of two dogs’. Bear was found lethargic with protruding hip bones and another dog in the home was ‘grumbling’ and ‘had scabs’.
Mr Purchase said: ‘The fear was that it had a fight with one of the other dogs. The scratches were deep and the dog had not had any treatment.
‘Mr Wood said the dogs were fed a lot of food. Ms Mead asked there was any dog food but Mr Wood said no.
‘The concern was that the dogs were not being fed on dog food but scrap food from the local takeaway. It would appear the dogs were so thin because of their diet. All four dogs were seized.’
Wood owned three of the dogs while Butt owned Bear. All four dogs are still with the RSPCA.
Defending Wood, Mark Moore said the couple have become ‘village pariahs’ in Draycott and even the local shop won’t serve them.
The Chair of the Bench said: ‘These cases are always difficult. That said, whilst we fully respect how the RSPCA brought this case, we and they will have seen much worse cases.
‘That is not to minimise the distress you have caused these four dogs. You were incompetent in the care you provided. We also impose a deprivation order for the four dogs.’
Sentencing: total fines, costs and charges of £1,300. Disqualified from keeping any dogs for the next three years (expires October 2022).
#TheList Brian Medler, born c. 1944, of London Road, Kessingland, near Lowestoft NR33 7PN – failed to treat his dog’s aggressive tumour.
Medler pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal after his border collie, known as Leo, developed an aggressive tumour which was not properly treated for four months. The pensioner claimed to have mistaken a cancerous ulcer on the dog’s back for a tick bite.
The court heard the RSPCA had been contacted by a concerned member of the public and following two unsuccessful attempts to visit Medler’s home eventually saw Leo in June 2019. The stricken pet had a lump the size of a hand on his back which was clearly “infected and weeping”. There were also fly eggs in the centre of the wound.
Leo was taken to a vet for further examination where it was concluded that he had been caused unnecessary suffering.
Medler claimed to have taken the dog to a vet in Ireland but could provide no record of this. He also claimed that he was given cream to apply to the dog’s tumour twice a day but as the ulcer was cancerous this was not effective.
Calvin Saker, for Medler, said the 75-year-old had been looking after dogs since the age of 10 and was “hugely remorseful” about the incident.
Mr Saker said: “He saw the injury, took his pet to the vet and followed the advice he was given.”
Medler hoped his dog’s condition would improve and planned to take it to the vets two weeks after the RSPCA inspectors became involved.
Mr Saker said Medler had learnt “a very harsh lesson” but highlighted that he looked after another dog which was in a good condition.
Following the intervention of the inspectors, Leo had the tumour removed and is recovering well.
Sentencing: total of £625 in fines and costs. Deprivation order on Leo.
The puppies, which have since been rehomed, showed signs of worms and had fur matted with excrement and burns on their skin, magistrates were told.
The court was told Rushmer’s late husband Michael had started a puppy farm to clear debts and later involved his daughter Zoe Rushmer, her partner Jacob Murphy and later his son, also called Michael Rushmer.
She admitted having provided premises for the puppy farm in Thurlton, though her lawyer said she had been coerced into it and was subjected to violence.
RSPCA inspector Amy Pellegrini, who worked on the case for four years, said some puppies were “emaciated”.
The RSPCA removed 74 dogs including several pregnant bitches, one of whom had 93 puppies.
“Being that age, they were very lucky to be alive in those conditions,” she said, speaking outside court.
“That’s not something that we see every day. To see something like that is very upsetting.”
Jacob Murphy, Michael Rushmer and Zoe Rushmer were sentenced in June 2019 for having sold ill or dying dogs they pretended had come from a family environment.
They kept some of the 74 animals in cages, dark sheds and a caravan in temperatures up to 30C (86F), Norwich Crown Court was told.
Murphy and Michael Rushmer were each jailed for 42 months, while Zoe Rushmer was given a two-year suspended jail sentence. They were all banned from keeping animals for life.
Sentencing: 14-week curfew; banned from buying or selling dogs for two years.
#TheList Michael Henry Hammond, born 21/10/1992, of 18 Westray Close, South View, Basingstoke RG21 4HY – for neglect/starvation of his Staffordshire bull terrier
Hammond was found guilty of three animal welfare offences in relation to two-year-old Bowser, who was in poor body condition and living in an unhygienic, hazardous environment.
The dog weighed just 13kg – which rose to 16.3kg in just two weeks, after he was given an appropriate diet.
The court heard that between April 1, 2019, and May 1, 2019, Hammond failed to take steps which were deemed reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the needs of an animal we met.
RSPCA Inspector Jan Edwards, who investigated for the animal welfare charity, said: “Bowser was severely underweight, I could see his ribs and hip bones through the skin, he was not the weight he should be for his age or breed type, and when I touched him I could feel his bones easily under his skin.”
Bowser was rescued from a flat which had a large amount of dog faeces over the floor.
Sentencing: ordered to pay £275. Banned from owning dogs for ONE year.
#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 Aidan Peter Spencer, born 14/05/1997, of Langhurst Court, Wenlock Close, Loundsley Green, Chesterfield S40 4PE.
Spencer pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a dog by manhandling the dog and being aggressive towards her. No separate penalty.
He also pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a snake by keeping it in poor and inappropriate conditions.
Sentencing: Committed to prison for 12 weeks suspended for 12 months with an Alcohol Treatment Requirement, a Thinking Skills Programme and a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement. Must pay £328.83 compensation, a £115 victim surcharge and £85 costs. Disqualified from owning or keeping animals for seven years.
#TheList Jean Audrey Simpson, born 27/04/1958, of Milton Avenue, Malton YO17 7LD – for severe neglect of a Bichon Frise
Simpson pleaded guilty to neglect under the Animal Welfare Act. after leaving her Bichon Frise Oscar to suffer unbearable pain. The little dog’s entire body was covered in clumped fur, with infections causing “tar-like gunge” to spread across his face. His fur was so badly matted that vets were forced to remove one of his eyes.
RSPCA Inspector Alice Cooper, who was called to Simpson’s home, said it was clear that “Oscar had extreme and extensive matting over his head, face, ears, legs and feet”
She added: “His ears were two huge clumps of infected matted fur with green, yellow and black tar-like gunge, spreading out of his ears and across the side of his face.
“One eye was completely matted over with fur and the other was crusty with green gunk stuck to the eyeball and surrounding area.
“His legs were solid clumps of thick, tightly packed matts and his feet were now large balls of matted fur. I couldn’t see his foot pads, and I could only see the odd nail poking out the matted ball.
“Oscar was making a whimpering noise and crying out in pain if I tried to stroke him or touch him to assess his condition.”
Simpson had called the RSPCA to her property to ask them to re-home Oscar because of his poorly ears. But the dog was sedated and vets spent several hours removing the fur – leaving him 1kg lighter by the time they had finished.
Oscar, who was covered in sores, had an inflammation of the ear canal and needed 17 teeth removed. Vets were also forced to remove an eye due to permanent damage caused by the matting which left him blind.
Inspector Cooper added: “These were all health problems that could have been quickly and easily treated if his owner had taken him for veterinary treatment and had him groomed regularly.”
The dog has now been re-homed with a new family after recovering at York Animal Home.
Inspector Cooper said: “Oscar has lost an eye and will need medication for the rest of his life but he’s been lucky enough to find a new home with a wonderful couple who absolutely adore him.
“I appreciate that Ms Simpson didn’t plan on having a dog and that she couldn’t afford to treat him when he needed veterinary care. However, anyone who is struggling to care for their animals needs to ask for help so animals are not left to suffer.”
Sentencing: 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months. Banned from keeping animals indefinitely.
#TheList Celestino Jorge Tavares Furtado, born December 1986, of 165 Hemswell Avenue, Hull HU9 5LD – kept an American bulldog left locked up in an empty office without food or water
Former restaurateur Celestino Furtado, owner of Galitos LX Charcoal Grill Bar until it was shut down in 2018 for food hygiene breaches, said he didn’t have anyone to look after the dog when he went away, so he locked him up in an office and abandoned him.
The dog, now called Teddy, was so desperate for water and food he tried to chew through the door and was found walking in his own urine and faeces.
Portuguese national Furtado was found guilty in his absence of three offences contrary to section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, including failing to meet the dog’s need for a suitable environment, adequate care and supervision and an adequate supply of fresh drinking water.
A warrant was issued for his arrest and he appeared before the same court on October 1, 2019, to be sentenced.
RSPCA Inspector Jilly Dickinson said: “The smell coming out of the unit was unbearable. There was a wooden door inside which Teddy had scratched and chewed along with exposed electrical wires.
“It was a warm day and he appeared desperate for water – drinking every bowl we put in front of him. The environment was completely unhygienic and the large build-up of faeces suggested it had not been cleaned in some time.”
Previous advice had been given to Furtado by the RSPCA relating to keeping his dog’s environment clean, however, conditions had deteriorated to an unacceptable level.
Inspector Dickinson attended Furtado’s business address in Oxford Street, Wincolmlee, in May 2019, along with a Welfare Officer from Hull City Council.
They found the dog walking in his own urine and faeces, which led to some sores developing on his paws, although they were not infected. He had skin irritation, particularly under his chin, most likely caused as a result of the unhygienic environment. The smell emanating from the unit was overpowering and could be smelt from outside.
Sentencing: 12-month community order to include 180 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay £700 costs and an £85 victim surcharge. Banned from keeping dogs for five years. Deprivation order on Teddy who will be rehomed.