CRUELTY WATCH: This week's offenders (20-26th June 2022)
GRINGLEY ON THE HILL, NOTTINGHAMSHIRE: BRYAN AND GEORGINA RILEY
CONVICTED | Bryan Riley, born c. 1946, and wife Georgina Riley, born c. 1951, both of Gringley on the Hill – kept eight neglected dogs in the back of a filthy van.
The Rileys were prosecuted by the RSPCA after failing to comply with an assessment notice in relation to their eight badly neglected dogs. When RSPCA inspector Daniel Bradshaw and a police officer attempted to apprehend the couple, they drove off in a transit van.
The dogs were eventually removed from the back of the foul-smelling van, which was strewn with faeces
Among them was a four-year-old French bulldog called Lola, whose eyeball was so badly infected it later had to be removed.
Another French bulldog named Hugo had thinning fur and scabs on his coat, as well as a weeping sore.
A third French bulldog, Libby, had open sores on her face. Her collar was fastened so tightly that her neck was reddened.
A dachshund called Iggy was suffering from extensive hair-loss and scabbing. A second dachshund, Lady, had thinning fur.
Two poodles – a mother and daughter named Angel and Coco – had dirty matted coats while a a third poodle Rosie’s coat was matted with faeces and urine.
Veterinary examination found that most of the dogs were in various states of malnutrition.
In his witness statement, RSPCA Inspector Daniel Bradshaw said: “Lola’s eyeball was hanging out and appeared to have a large scab that was oozing blood and pus and appeared to have faeces stuck to it. She had scabs and sores in her coat as well as a skin condition.”
The inspector said of the van: “There was such a strong smell of faeces, urine and ammonia that I struggled to put my head inside for more than two seconds.”
Bryan Riley pleaded guilty to two offences of causing unnecessary suffering; one of failing to provide veterinary care for three dogs who were suffering from skin disease and the other of failing to provide veterinary care for the injury to Lola’s eye. He also admitted a third offence of failing to ensure the needs of all eight dogs were met.
Georgina Riley pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to ensure the needs of the eight dogs were met.
In mitigation, the court was told that the defendants suffer from physical ill health and were left with a number of dogs they had struggled to cope with, and were keeping them in the van because their property had become a target for burglars.
Thankfully the dogs all recovered and have been rehomed by the RSPCA.
Speaking after the court hearing, Inspector Bradshaw said: “Lola’s eye was very infected and to leave a dog with her eye hanging out like that was unacceptable, as was leaving all the dogs in such a poor environment in the back of a van from which urine and faeces was just seeping out.”
Sentencing | Bryan Riley: ordered to pay a fine, costs and surcharge totalling £1,225. Georgina Riley: ordered to pay £684 in total. Both were banned from keeping animals for eight years.
EAST RETFORD, NOTTINGHAMSHIRE: GEMMA SLINGER
CONVICTED | Gemma Ruth Slinger, born December 1973, of 3 Westside Cottages, North Road, Torworth, Retford DN22 8NT – neglected pigs on her smallholding.
Slinger, who is a company director and owner of the Cuckoo Café in East Retford, pleaded guilty to a number of welfare and animal by-product offences.
Officers from the county council’s trading standards division found goat and pig carcasses on her land that had rotted and decomposed to the bone, while malnourished pigs rooted around for food.
There was no feed nor water available for the animals and officers also found chickens roaming the grounds freely, exposed to the risk of catching bird flu, despite national measures requiring poultry to be housed.
Sentencing | fined £350. Banned from owning farmed livestock for 10 years.
BLAIRGOWRIE, PERTH AND KINROSS: CLIFFORD HODGKINS
CONVICTED | dog thief and abuser Clifford Hodgkins, born 6 December 1981, of 31 Woodlands Park, Blairgowrie PH10 6UW but originally from Kidderminster, Worcestershire.
Hogkins, who has strong links to the Stourport travelling community,was convicted of dog theft in relation to four dogs taken from their owners, and cruelty to a lurcher he left chained up outside in sub-zero temperatures.
Hodgkins, who has a long history of violent offending, stole three Jack Russells terriers and a Springer spaniel from remote properties in the Blairgowrie area.
He lifted one dog out of his kennel and bundled him into a car, while his horrified owner looked on.
Three of the dogs were later found more than 400 miles away, in different parts of the English West Midlands. The Springer remains missing, almost two years on.
Hodgkins, whose previous convictions includedomestic violence,assault, carrying knives,burglary, and racially aggravated harassment, was found guilty of the thefts at two properties in Meikleour and Forneth in October 2020 following a trial at Perth Sheriff Court.
He was further convicted of a separate animal neglect charge, after a “crying” lurcher-type dog was seized by animal welfare teams from a property in Rattray, near Blairgowrie.
Police and the SSPCA swooped on the house in MacDonald Crescent, Rattray, and found the dog, called Bruce, tethered in the back garden.
Hodgkins was found guilty of failing to provide the animal with adequate shelter and exposing him to the elements between 27 and 29 November 2020. He failed to provide a suitable living environment and limited his movement by tethering him.
SSPCA inspector Katherine Aitchison told the trial she went to the property on November 28, 2021, following complaints from neighbours.
She said: “A male answered the door. At the time, he did not identify himself but I later understood that he was Clifford Hodgkins.
“He stated there was no dog in the back garden at all. I was told that a Lhaso Apso that I could see on the stairs behind him was the only dog on the property.”
Ms Aitchison said she returned with police the following day. She described the lurcher-type dog in the back garden as “very cold and all hunched up”.
She said: “I think the night before the temperature had dropped to minus four. The dog was obviously tired and was shivering.
“Its tail was between its legs and it had a roached back. That’s not happy body language.”
She said the dog had access to a wooden shed, which had a tarpaulin sheet with a slit in it instead of a door.
“There was a small blanket on the floor of the shed. It wasn’t providing much comfort and it definitely wasn’t providing any heat.”
The dog was taken to SSPCA offices and examined.
Ms Aitchison said Bruce had cracks on his paws, an infected claw and scarring on his face.
“He relaxed after a few minutes of being in the heat,” she said.
One witness told the trial she heard the dog crying and later saw Hodgkins shouting at him.
“He was being aggressive,” she said. I was on the phone to the police, watching it happen.
“He picked up a handful of gravel and threw it at the dog.”
Taking the witness stand, Hodgkins told the trial he had bought the dog for £400 after seeing it advertised on the internet.
“I bought it on the Friday and the police came and took him on the Sunday,” he said.
“It was a pet. I wanted to take him on walks in the countryside.”
He denied neglecting the animal, insisting that the shed – which had no door or windows – was wind-proof, dry and insulated.
Hodgkins rejected claims made by a neighbour that he threw stones at the dog and shouted aggressively at it.
“The dog was whinging because it was in a new environment,” he said.
“So I told it to get in (the shed) a few times.”
He said: “You have to train them, because they’re brain dead. You have to show him.”
But Sheriff Gill told Hodgkins that he found the evidence of SSPCA officers, police and neighbours to be credible and reliable and said it was clear the dog was left in a state of distress.
The sheriff found a further charge, that tree surgeon Hodgkins behaved in a threatening or abusive manner and threw stones at the dog, not proven.
Sentencing | jailed for 90 days and fined £500 for the thefts. He was fined another £400 for the animal neglect charge. Two-year disqualification order (expires June 2024).
CURROCK, CARLISLE: JOHN GIBSON
CONVICTED | slaughterman John Gibson, born c. 1981, of Mount Pleasant Road, Currock, Carlisle – caught on CCTV decapitating cattle before they had ‘bled out’.
Gibson, who works at Carlisle Abattoir on Brunthill Road, Kingstown, Carlisle, which is operated byWest Scottish Lamb Ltd, pleaded guilty to four breaches of the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (England) Regulations 2015.
Prosecutor Pam Ward said the offences came to light after CCTV footage of the defendant’s workplace was reviewed by a vet.
It showed that the defendant had not abided by the regulation that requires an animal, after it has been stunned, and then had its throat cut, to be bled for at least 30 seconds.
The bleeding regulation applies after the animal has had its carotid or jugular arteries severed by the slaughterman.
The CCTV review showed that the defendant had flouted the regulation on four separate occasions in 2021: on May 14 and 18 and on May 20 and 21.
From the dock of the court, the defendant said he “got carried away.”
As she passed sentence, presiding magistrate Jill Robinson noted that the defendant was “too engrossed” in his work. As a result of him rushing, animals had suffered, she said.
Sentencing: ordered to pay a total of £726.
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