A woman who left her dog to starve to death while she went abroad, a man who killed a fox cub and a woman who beat a puppy with a riding crop. 

These are some of the sad animal cruelty cases which have ended up in London’s courts in 2023. 

Here are seven of the worst cases we've reported on this year.

WARNING - This article contains distressing photos and videos.

Sonia Marcos 

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Sonia Marcos, 42, was woman banned from owning pets after her dog starved to death while she was abroadSonia Marcos, 42, was woman banned from owning pets after her dog starved to death while she was abroad (Image: Newsquest)

Sonia Marcos was banned from keeping pets in May after her Jack Russell named Bella starved to death while she was in Portugal. 

The 42-year-old, from Lewisham, left Bella alone while she went away for two weeks to visit a sick relative in October 2022, the court was told. 

By the time Marcos returned Bella was emaciated and she died by the time she was taken to the vet later that day. 

Bella weighed just 2.25kg after her death (compared to 4.2kg when she was just a puppy) and a vet described it as one of the worst starvation cases she had ever seen. 

Marcos was told to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and was banned from owning any animals. 

You can read the full story here - Lewisham woman banned from pets after leaving dog to die while in Portugal. 

Richard Rosen 

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Richard Rosen poisoned a fox cubRichard Rosen poisoned a fox cub (Image: Newsquest)

Richard Rosen was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering after he killed a fox cub he accidentally caught with a rat trap in his garden. 

The 65-year-old, from Muswell Hill, said that having caught the cub he decided to try to “humanely euthanise” it as he had no safe way of releasing it.  

But a judge decided that Rosen caused the fox unnecessary suffering as he placed it in a wheelie bin and then in a rubble sack along with a bowl of dichloromethane (DCM) - a banned poison. 

He was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £12,000 in costs to the RSPCA.   

You can read the full story here - Muswell Hill man who poisoned fox cub guilty of animal cruelty. 

Nicholas Kengere 

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Nicholas Kengere left his dog tied up without food for over a weekNicholas Kengere left his dog tied up without food for over a week (Image: Newsquest)

Nicholas Kengere was banned from keeping pets for 10 years after he left his dog tied up in his house without food for over a week.   

The 19-year-old, from Bromley, was also given a 12-week prison sentence suspended for a year and a half.  

The teen left his black Labrador crossbreed named Blade tethered to a coat hook in his hallway while he was in hospital, prosecutor Andrew Wiles said.  

Neighbours reported that the dog had been abandoned prompting RSPCA officers to attend the property on January 24. 

One of Kengere’s friends let the officers inside where they found a dog that was very thin, with bones visible, standing in his own faeces.  

“The dog had been kept tethered in the stairwell with no bedding, no clean resting area and no access to toileting facilities,” Mr Wiles said.  

A vet who assessed Blade rated his body condition as two on a scale of one to nine. They said the dog was 50 per cent underweight and had no palpable body fat. 

Officers made contact with Kengere on February 8 and he was interviewed.  

“He said he had been in hospital for a week before the RSPCA attended and that he tethered the dog to stop it from going into the bins in the kitchen. He admitted the dog was probably suffering and that it was his fault,” Mr Wiles said.    

Kengere had been an unplanned stay in hospital as he was suffering with a chronic B12 deficiency but he acknowledged that despite the circumstances he should have done more for the dog.  

At a sentencing hearing at Bromley Magistrates’ Court in June Kengere was given a suspended prison sentence for causing unnecessary suffering to blade. 

You can read the full story here - Bromley teen banned from keeping pets after leaving dog without food. 

Chelsea Jade Ellis 

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Chelsea Jade Ellis left her dogs alone for up to four daysChelsea Jade Ellis left her dogs alone for up to four days (Image: Newsquest)

Chelsea Jade Ellis was banned from keeping pets in June after she repeatedly left her dogs alone for up to four days.  

The 27-year-old, from Orpington, caused unnecessary suffering to her dogs Rolo, a chihuahua, and Sleigh, a cross breed.   

The dogs were left on their own for days at a time with empty food and water bowls, RSPCA prosecutor Andrew Wiles said.  

When the dogs were eventually confiscated, Rolo’s body condition was rated at one out of nine - the lowest score possible - as he was extremely thin, while Sleigh was assessed as two out of nine. 

A vet noted that both dogs were extremely thin and estimated that they had been suffering due to malnutrition, weight loss and general poor condition for two to three months.  

Ellis’ solicitor said she was suffering enormous stress at the time of these offences. 

She was banned from keeping pets for five years and told to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work. 

You can read the full story here - Orpington mum left starving dogs without food or water for four days. 

Paul Hancel 

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Paul Hancel's dog Winter was in such a bad state that she had to be put downPaul Hancel's dog Winter was in such a bad state that she had to be put down (Image: RSPCA)

Paul Hancel was banned from keeping pets after his Bulldog puppy had to be put down because he failed to get it timely veterinary help.   

The 52-year-old, from Thornton Heath, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to his puppy Winter by failing to address the cause of her poor bodily condition.  

Winter came to the attention of the RSPCA when Hancel eventually took her to a vet on Friday February 17. 

She was suffering from poor bodily condition, was very thin and had an extremely bad skin condition, which was causing crusting and bleeding over her face and body. 

Winter was prescribed antibiotics and pain relief, and Hancel was told to bring her back in 10 days if the condition didn’t improve, or straight away if it worsened, prosecutor Lauren Bond said.  

Hancel brought Winter back to the vet on Monday and told them she had not been eating since Saturday evening, and had not been moving since Sunday night. 

The dog’s weight had dropped by 1kg over the weekend and the vet recommended she be put to sleep.  

Hancel said that his boiler had stopped working in December, then his car stopped working in February, so didn’t have much money and had no way to travel to the vet.  

Instead he unsuccessfully tried to medicate for the dog’s illnesses using ointments and shampoo he ordered online. 

Hancel was disqualified from owning any animal for 10 years. He was also given an 18 month community order including 210 hours of unpaid work.   

You can read the full story here - Bulldog puppy dies after Thornton Heath man fails to take to vet. 

Milly Beth Turnham 

Milly Beth Turnham was banned from keeping animals for ten years after she was filmed repeatedly beating a puppy with a riding crop. 

The shocking footage showed the 23-year-old throw young collie Shelby into a room from shoulder height before carrying out a prolonged attack on the cowering pup. 

The footage, which was filmed at an address in Bridgwater led to Turnham being investigated and prosecuted by the RSPCA. 

She was sentenced at Highbury Magistrates' Court after the case was transferred from Taunton Magistrates' Court because Turnham has now moved to Durants Road, Ponders End, Enfield.  

The animal welfare charity was contacted with concerns about Turnham’s behaviour towards tri-coloured collie Shelby, who was just six months old at the time of the attack. 

Vet Dr David Martin, who viewed the footage, said: “The video shows an extreme level of violence. 

"Undoubtedly this will have caused pain as a result of both being thrown and being hit with a riding crop repeatedly and the dog will certainly have sustained significant bruising and potentially more serious injuries as a result. 

“There is no reason for such behaviour towards the dog. Physical chastisement plays no part in modern dog training as it is widely recognised that dogs learn through positive encouragement as opposed to negative reinforcement. 

“In addition to the physical suffering the dog has clearly suffered extreme fear and distress as a result of being thrown and beaten and this will have long-term implications for the dog’s health and welfare with a need for the dog to receive appropriate behavioural support in the future.” 

You can read the full story here - Enfield woman faces ten-year ban from keeping animals. 

Vasile Baltatu 

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Vasile Baltatu was caught on a doorbell camera hitting Nero with a plastic shoehornVasile Baltatu was caught on a doorbell camera hitting Nero with a plastic shoehorn (Image: Newsquest)Vasile Baltatu was banned from keeping dogs for ten years after he was caught on a doorbell camera hitting his pet with a plastic shoehorn. 

Video evidence showed the 23-year-old, from Harrow, chasing the brindle and white bulldog with a blunt instrument on December 8, 2022 then repeatedly striking him with it. 

His pet Nero can be seen cowering under a vehicle and heard yelping in pain. 

Baltatu pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the dog when he appeared at Willesden Magistrates' Court on August 18 following a successful investigation by the RSPCA. 

You can read the full story here - Harrow man who beat dog banned from owning pets by RSPCA. 

On viewing the footage, which is not shown for witness protection, a vet said: “There is nothing in the video to explain or legitimise this use of force against the dog from a veterinary perspective.  

“The translated transcript of the video shows that the owner is using threats and expletives against the dog, and the phrase 'I’ll get you tomorrow!' makes me concerned that this dog would continue to face violence and harm had it stayed with the owner.  

“It is clear from the transcript that the suffering he is inflicting is disproportionate and seems to be driven by malice.  

“The brutality with which the man beats the dog means this is one of the more extreme and unpleasant pieces of evidence I have examined as an RSPCA witness. I have very grave concerns about this man’s ability to care for animals in the future." 

As well as the ban, Baltatu was sentenced to an 18-month community order including 20 days Rehabilitation Activity Requirement (RAR), 150 hours unpaid work, and fined £500 in costs.