Animal abuse and neglect is sadly a common recurrence, with perpetrators being hauled before the courts. The last 12 months have been no different, with cases across Greater Manchester and the wider region causing major concern and horror.
In a bid to deter people from carrying out the cruel attacks, tougher prison sentences were introduced in April last year, raising jail terms from a maximum of six months to five years. But, the vile abuse still rages on.
Last month, Claire Anderson was jailed for four weeks after blowing cannabis smoke up her dog’s nose. In a recorded phone call, poor Benji could be heard coughing and groaning as Anderson laughed and asked her boyfriend de ella if she should do it again.
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Her lawyer had previously told a court that she would have expected a community punishment, but this would not be possible due to her already being in prison for a separate offence. Anderson, of Hazelwood Road, was found guilty of animal cruelty.
Other cases include a couple who encouraged their children and dogs to partake in badger baiting; a father and daughter who were filmed hitting dogs in their doggy day care centre; and a woman who locked her dog in a cupboard and left it to die.
Here, the Manchester Evening News you have looked back on those who were brought before the courts for their horrific behaviour.
Ex-primary school teaching assistant filmed young child attacking wild animals
Ex-teaching assistant Paris Carding encouraged a child to take part in ‘graphic and perverse animal cruelty at its worst’. Carding, 28, and her then-boyfriend Grant Leigh Jnr, 30, were captured on camera encouraging their dogs and children to engage in badger baiting.
Horrific pictures and videos were later shared on a private Facebook group – ‘The Real Terrier Men and Lurcher Men’. They showed dogs kept by the couple – and Leigh’s father, Grant Leigh Snr, 52 – savagely attacking badgers and foxes.
Grant Snr, who was serving a suspended sentence at the time of the offences, operated as an administrator of the group where he boasted about taking his son badger baiting as a way of celebrating his recent prison release.
A joint investigation by RSPCA and Cheshire Police executed raids on October 26, and found six dogs in squalid conditions at Leigh Snr’s house on Marler Road in Hyde , and one at Carding’s who all had injuries consistent with hunting activities. Leigh Jnr’s phone was seized and messages and videos relating to the incidents were found leading to prosecution.
All of the dogs – four terriers and three lurcher types – were taken into RSPCA care. The court was shown disturbing footage taken from the phone which showed three dogs attacking a fox while a child is heard saying: “I want to bash it again.”
Another video was then shown where Leigh Jnr is helping the youngster ‘bash’ a badger with a shovel. In another video, taken by Carding according to the prosecution, she can be heard saying ‘they love it, bash! Bash!’
Leigh Snr was previously employed as a huntsman and was active in the ‘The Real Terrier Men and Lurcher Men’ Facebook group,
At a trial in March, Carding was found guilty of five cruelty charges under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. Grant Sr was found guilty of two offenses under the Animal Welfare Act, and Grant Jr admitted to seven cruelty offences.
Carding, of Fawley Grove, Wythenshawe, was sentenced to 22 weeks custody suspended for 12 months with Leigh Snr given 12 weeks suspended for 12 months. Both were ordered to pay £1,000 costs towards the investigation.
For his offences, Leigh Jnr was handed a 26 week sentence, which will be added to the prison sentence he is currently serving for different matters. All defendants were banned from owning animals for life.
Dad and daughter hit with ban over sickening footage
Father and daughter, John and Lauren Walker, both avoided jail after sickening footage was shared on social media of dogs being smacked at a doggy day care centre. Lauren, 31, owned Mucky Pups Doggy Day Care in Rishton, Lancashire, and employed her father to work there.
A former employee complained to the RSPCA in December 2019 after recording John, 69, hitting the dogs which he later shared on social media. He pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to seven dogs between September 10, 2019, and November 19, 2019.
An independent vet, who studied the footage said: “The videos illustrate a dog day care center caring for a number of dogs. In particular an adult male member of staff can be seen interacting with the dogs on a number of occasions. In some of the videos the adult male can be seen to physically strike a number of dogs with his hand from him.
The 69-year-old, of Greenhill, Great Harwood, also pleaded guilty to failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the needs of the animals were met between August 1, 2019, and December 18, 2019.
Lauren, of Knowles Street, Rishton, pleaded guilty to failing to take reasonable steps to prevent unnecessary suffering by her father to protected animals. Both have now been banned from holding a council animal welfare license so are unable to run a similar business.
John was given a 12-month community order, including a 10-day rehabilitation activity requirement and a 26-week curfew from 7pm to 7am. Lauren was also given a 12-month community order, including a 15-day rehabilitation activity requirement and must serve a five-week curfew between the hours of 7pm and 7am. She was also ordered to pay £200 costs and a £90 victim surcharge.
Shut in cupboard and left to die
Natasha Jolly shut her dog in an under-stairs cupboard and left her to die. Neighbors became concerned about the smell coming from her flat de ella and investigated further to find the dog had died and was covered in a sheet.
The dog, whose name is not known, was discovered in an under-stairs covered, surrounded by old dog faeces with no natural light or any form of appropriate bedding. The pet was ‘in an emaciated state, with all of her bones visible and protruding.’
The dog’s post mortem examination revealed that the dog’s stomach contained faeces and plastic clothing tags, suggesting that she was so hungry she was eating anything she could find. The vet confirmed the dog would have suffered for a number of months.
Jolly, 30, of St Chad’s Road in Blackpool, was hauled before Blackpool Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, May 5, to answer for the crime, pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to her dog, contrary to the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
Along with the lifetime disqualification from keeping all animals, which she can not appeal for 10 years, magistrates sentenced Jolly to 14 weeks custody, suspended for two years, a 30-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and ordered her to pay £150 costs.
Couple neglected ponies – then tried to hide the abuse
Elderly couple Jack and Barbara Carter kept four severely neglected ponies ‘imprisoned in deplorable conditions’ at a smallholding on their property on Bank Bridge, Tarleton, Lancashire. They were taken to court after an RSPCA investigation uncovered the neglect they attempted to hide.
RSPCA were called to investigate after a member of the public raised concerns about the welfare of a pony believed to be in their care. The inspectors attempted to look around the property on many occasions but found that Mr Carter had many excuses as to why a meeting could not take place.
An inspector attended the address on March 22 2021 and could see a stable block behind the couple’s house but was unable to access this without permission. They were concerned that the defendant was avoiding a visit so she returned to the area again to view the stable from a public footpath nearby-where she saw that a green sheet and wire mesh now covered the doorway of the stable she saw on her first visit her.
When she later eventually gained entry, she found three ponies in the yard directly behind the house and said: “They all had horrendously overgrown hooves that had started to corkscrew. There was very little room for them to move around or even stand normally. Again their backs reached the stable roofs.
“It was my opinion that based on what I had seen it was highly possible that these ponies had been in these stables all their lives.”
The ponies were unable to get out of the stables due to their ill health and the build up of filth so staff had to dig their way in and break down wooden walls to get to them.
These ponies were signed over into RSPCA care and were taken for an emergency veterinary examination and sadly four of them were all found to be suffering so the vets decided the kindest thing to do was to put them to sleep to end their suffering.
As well as the life ban on keeping all animals both defendants, of Bank Bridge, Tarleton, Lancashire, were sentenced to 12 weeks suspended for two years and were both ordered to pay £500 costs.
Sergeant punched puppy after pet pooed on his carpet
GMP firearms officer Sgt Martin Dunn punched a five-month-old puppy, Frank, after it pooed on his living room carpet. He said he ‘saw red’ and attacked the Springer Spaniel, hitting it three or four times in the garden.
The 48-year-old had been drinking when he was filmed shouting and swearing at the dog, calling it a ‘little b******d’ before raining down a number of blows.
Dunn, of Albion Gardens, Meltham, Kirklees, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to one count of animal cruelty and was sentenced to a 12 month community order with 120 hours of unpaid work reduced from 180 because of his guilty plea.
He was also disqualified for five years from keeping any animals apart from a lizard-type, Leopard Gheko. In addition he was told to pay court costs of £85 and a surcharge of £95 within 28 days.
It was unclear precisely what would happen to Frank as the court heard his ownership is disputed.
An RSPCA spokesperson said: “The RSPCA – the main investigator of animal neglect, cruelty and serious organized animal crime in England and Wales – was absolutely delighted when Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021 was passed. It means courts now have more flexibility to hand out sentences that better reflect the severity of the crimes they are dealing with and we hope they do take this on board in some of the horrific cases brought before them.
“For years, many of those responsible for the most horrific, violent and unimaginable cruelty to animals have been punished with just a few short months in prison, less than they might get for fly tipping. We hope the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act will act as a greater deterrent and will better protect our animals and take us a step closer to our ultimate goal: stamping out animal cruelty once and for all.”
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit their website or call the donation line on 0300 123 8181.
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