North West Hunt Saboteurs

Vermin Patrol 2007 - Part 2

Badgers

On 27/6/06 William Thomson (43) from Dufftown appeared at Elgin Sheriff Court where he pled guilty to three charges of blocking a badger sett. His plea of not guilty to attempting to kill badgers was accepted. Thomson was fined £600 pound on each charge, £1800 in total.

Stephen ScottOn the 4/3/07 A foxhunter was accused of leading Scotland's biggest badger baiting ring after a series of raids. Stephen Scott (21) is to be charged with two othermen after police uncovered a makeshift vet's "surgery" in Hawick - packed with basic tools used to stitch up dogs injured by badgers. Seventeen dogs seized from three houses in a series of dawn raids by police and cruelty experts needed emergency treatment for missing jaws and ears and gouges to their bodies. Police also seized mobile phones they suspect were used to film the fights. Scott and his two alleged accomplices - aged 16 and 18 - are set to be arrested and charged within the next week. Scott, a forester and fencer, already has a conviction for cruelty to animals. In 2004, he became the first man in Scotland to be convicted under the Protection of Wild Mammals Act after sending terrier dogs down a foxhole. His lurcher killed a fox after grabbing it by the throat.

On 15/3/07 the police arrested two Northumberland men as part of an operation to crack down on badger baiting. Two men, aged 32 and 60, were arrested after a search of land near Belford. Both men from the Belford area were arrested by police investigating reports of badger sett interference. The men were released on police bail after being questioned in connection with the alleged offence. A Northumbria police spokeswoman said today: "The arrests are part of a joint operation between Northumbria Police, the RSPCA special operations unit and Northumberland Wildlife Trust." During the search they seized a number of items from the property as well as arresting two men.

On 14/5/07 Greig Armstrong (17) of Teviotdale Court, Hawick appeared in private at Jedburgh Sheriff Court facing a charge under the Protection of Badgers Act, alleged to have been committed in the Hawick area. He made no plea or declaration and was released on bail.

Robert McCarthyRobert McCarthy (32) of, Cannongate, Alnwick, and Stephen McCarthy (60) of Mill Road, Wyvestone, Stowmarket, Suffolk both appeared at South East Northumberland magistrates on 7/8/08. Robert McCarthy pleaded guilty to two offences of Badger Sett Interference. He was given a Conditional Discharge for 9 months and costs of £43. His father Stephen McCarthy later received an adult caution for the same offences. This case originated as a result of the Hunting Act 2004 which caused the lawful exemptions of Obstructing or "Stopping up" Badger Sett entrances to be repealed, and therefore they became offences under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. Robert McCarthy is the huntsman for the Percy Hunt and his father Stephen is a regular supporter of the Essex and Suffolk Hunt.

Derek Kelly left and Scott CollinsOn 11/9/07 three gamekeepers who admitted digging up a badger sett while out hunting with dogs avoided jail after a sheriff accepted they had not intentionally gone to hunt the protected animals. Scott Collins (20) from West Calder, West Lothian, a former gamekeeping student of the year at his college, looked after the Duke of Buccleuch's estate for a year and a half, and game-keeping graduate Greig Withers (22) from Kilmarnock, claimed they had been hunting for rabbits when one of their dogs ran off. The dog had disappeared down a badgers sett for some time and they began digging it out along with Derek Kelly (23) from Bathgate, West Lothian, who studied game-keeping with Collins, and Adam Lennon (22) from Kilmarnock. The men were charged with offences under the Protection of Badgers Act, and appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on 11/9/07. While digging they had partially blocked a neighbouring badger sett entrance with earth and stones. Collins had permission from the landowner to hunt rabbits and admitted he knew there may be badgers in the area. Collins, Withers, Kelly and Lennon all admitted interfering with a badger sett by digging into it and obstructing the entrance to a sett. Collins and Withers were fined £640 each. Kelly and Lennon were each fined £520. A fifth man, Kevin Andrews, (29) from Hurlford, was allowed to leave the dock after pleading not guilty to similar charges.


Bloodsports

Simon UptonEssex Union Hunt hunt master Simon Upton (41) kicked his ex-wife and hit her with a tool from his stables was jailed for ten weeks. Simon Upton was sentenced less than a year after a previous court appearance saw him fined for assaulting an anti-hunt protester. At Chelmsford magistates on 5/10/06 they were told he attacked ex-wife Sarah-Jane Upton, when she dropped their three children off at his home at Coptfold Hall, Margaretting. The couple had argued over access arrangements for their children, aged nine, eight and five. The prosecution said: "She was sitting on a low stone wall when he threw his diary at her, and pushed her off the wall into a flowerbed. "He struck her with a horse de-sweater then kicked her with both feet." Upton admitted common assault. In October 2005, Upton was fined at Basildon magistrates after admitting three counts of common assault on hunt sabs.

Anthony GreavesAnthony Greaves of Langley Farm, Leafield was caution for common assault on a hunt monitor after he pushed her down a bank. Greaves attended Chipping Norton police station on 3/4/07 with his solicitor and admitted the assault. Greaves is a Heythorpe Hunt supporter. new

On 4/4/07 Stephen Taylor (45) from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, and Troy West (43) from Nelson, Lancashire, were each found guilty of one charge of daytime trespass in pursuit of game at Lincoln magistrates. They were each fined £500, bound over for another £500 to keep the peace for one year and ordered to pay court costs of £110. But they were not given Asbos as police wanted.

On 30/4/07 a gamekeeper admitted using live pigeons as bait and lacing pheasant carcasses with poison in a way likely to injure to birds of prey. George Aitken (56) admitted eight wildlife offences at Selkirk Sheriff Court while not guilty pleas were accepted to another seven charges. Aitken pleaded guilty to a total of eight offences at Selkirk Sheriff Court yesterday while not guilty pleas were accepted to another seven charges. He also admitted three charges of being in possession of carbofuran and sodium cyanide. Aitken pleaded guilty to two offences of setting in place pheasant carcasses laced with carbosulfan in the open, setting traps using live pigeons as bait, cruelly ill-treating pigeons and causing them unnecessary suffering by using them as a decoy to attract birds of prey and possession of a quantity of cage traps. He was caught when banned pesticides and traps were found at Blythe Farm near Lauder. Sentence was deferred on Aitken for background reports. Aitken was described by officers as showing no remorse for his blatant disregard of the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

Four men connected with the Isle of Wight hunt have been arrested on suspicion of hunting a wild mammal with dogs. Police carried out a number of raids, including one on the Isle of Wight hunt kennels at Gatcombe in Newport, at 5am on 3/5/07. Hampshire Police confirmed to four men are currently being held in custody: a 41-year-old from Ryde, a 61-year-old and 36-year-old from Newport and a 36-year-old from Ventnor. This follows an incident in Shepherds Chine, Isle of Wight in November 2006.

Four hunt stewards from the Essex and Suffolk Hunt pleaded guilty to using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour when they appeared before magistrates at Bury St Edmunds on 4/5/07. The four were James Applegate of Bourne Hill, Wherstead, Robert Cundy of New Barn Lane, Raydon and Jonathan Mander Old Shields Farm, Asdleigh, Essex, all pleaded guilty and were each fined £200 and £55 prosecution costs. A fourth defendant Alexandra Bowes of Mallard Way, Great Cornard was fined £40 and ordered to pay £60 costs and £15 compensation.

James Applegate, Robert Cundy and Jonathan Mander

Geoffrey William AbelWhen RSPCA inspectors visited the home of Geoffrey William Abel (22) in Dodgeholme Gardens, Mixenden, Halifax, they discovered two emaciated lurchers had been locked in a shed for about six weeks without food or water. One dog, which was barely alive, was lying on a dead dog which was decomposing and swarming with flies, a court heard. Abel admitted two counts of causing animal suffering and abandonment when he appeared at Calderdale magistrates on 1/6/07. For each offence he was given a 12-week concurrent prison sentence, suspended for 12 months. He was also banned from keeping any animal for 10 years, told to do 80 hours of unpaid work in the community and to pay £250 costs.

George Aitken (left)A gamekeeper who used live pigeons in cages as bait and laced the carcasses of pheasants with deadly poisons to lure birds of prey avoided a jail sentence. George Aitken (56) from Lauder - who has managed to keep his job - was ordered to carry out 220 hours of community service after admitting a series of wildlife crime offences. But the sheriff, who said he would have disqualified him from being a gamekeeper if he had the power, explained he was able to impose the alternative to custody because Aitken was a first offender and was not in the best of health. Aitken pleaded guilty to a total of eight offences at Selkirk Sheriff Court on 3/6/07 while not guilty pleas were accepted to another seven charges. He admitted three charges of being in possession of carbofuran and sodium cyanide. Aitken also pleaded guilty to two offences of setting in place pheasant carcasses laced with carbosulfan in the open likely to cause injury to wild birds, setting traps using live pigeons as bait, cruelly ill-treating pigeons and causing them unnecessary suffering by using them as a decoy to attract birds of prey and possession of a quantity of cage traps. Aitken - who has been a gamekeeper for 20 years - committed the offences as part of pest control effort to stop the birds of prey attacking the pheasants on his estate. As well as imposing 220 hours of community service, he ordered the forfeiture of the pesticides and traps that were found at Blythe Farm near Lauder.

Richard Down and Adrian PillivantTwo huntsmen were found guilty of illegally hunting deer with hounds. Huntsman Richard Down (44) of Bagborough, Somerset and whipper-in Adrian Pillivant (36) of Willand, Devon both of the Quantock Staghounds were convicted at Bristol magistrates on 7/6/07. Anti-hunt campaigners filmed two hounds chasing deer on Exmoor. The League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) said the deer were chased for more than an hour. Both had denied contravening the Hunting Act, which came into force in February 2005. Both were fined £500 and ordered them to pay £1,000 each as a contribution towards costs. The LACS had played the court video evidence of 20 deer being chased with dogs at a hunt meet at Longstone Hill, Somerset.

On the 19/6/07 a farmer and chairman of a well known hare coursing club was found guilty of trapping endangered hares without a licence. Brendan Farrelly (58) of Riverdale, Raharney, Co. Westmeath,who holds hare coursing meetings on his land was found guilty of hunting 18 hares without a Department of Environment licence. Farrelly's club, the Westmeath United Coursing Club, was convicted and fined for the same offence at Killucan District Court, Co. Westmeath. Farrelly and the coursing club were acquitted of a separate charge of injuring a young hare that was captured without a licence. The court heard how rangers from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) called to Farrelly's farm and found two compounds containing a number of hares. A Ranger stated that one of the hares was in such a poor state that it was unable to move and had to be removed and destroyed by a vet. The court heard how the Westmeath club's licence to hunt wild animals was not due to come into effect until the following day, September 1. When questioned by rangers at his home Farrelly said he did not have a licence and insisted that the hares had only been caught the previous day. The Judge dismissed the charge against both defendants but convicted them for hunting without a licence. He find the Westmeath United Coursing Club €300 and ordered them to pay €175 expenses to the NPWS. Farrelly was found guilty of the offence of hunting hares without a licence but the judge took the offence into consideration having fined the club.

Stephen Taylor, Jamie Wilson and Gary CreganTwo men found guilty of illegal hare coursing have been banned from entering Lincolnshire with dogs for three years. Gary Cregan (49) from Manchester, and Stephen Taylor (45), from Rochdale, were each given three-year anti-social behaviour orders at Lincoln magistrates on 25/6/07. Police caught them hare coursing in a field with Scunthorpe man Jamie Wilson (35) and Michael Heath (31), from Manchester. Taylor, Cregan and Wilson were each given 120 hours' unpaid work in the community and ordered to pay £100 costs. Heath, who had been unable to attend court because he could not afford to travel to Lincoln, was fined £250 with £100 costs in his absence. All four were found guilty at a trial last month of the daytime trespass in the pursuit of game - poaching - and they had denied one charge each.

On 2/7/07 four men from the Isle of Wight pleaded not guilty to illegally hunting with dogs in a private prosecution brought by the League Against Cruel Sports. Stuart Trousdale (huntsman of the Isle of Wight Foxhounds) , of The Kennels, Gatcombe , Jamie Butcher, of Ashey Road, Ryde, and Liam Thom, of Highwood Lane, Rookley, are charged with hunting a fox with dogs. Malcolm Purcell, of Blackwater Mill Farm, Blackwater, is charged with hunting with dogs. They are expected to argue they were using an eagle owl, in the case brought by the LACS. It is the first time the falconry exemption would be tested in the courts since the Hunting Act came into force in February 2005. The League Against Cruel Sports brought the prosecution at Isle of Wight Magistrates' Court after the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to proceed with the case against the men. The case was adjourned for a pre-trial review at the Newport court on 17/9/07.

On 4/7/07 James Rooney (29) from High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire appeared for trial after denying illegally hunting hares, but changed his plea to guilty moments before the hearing, at Northampton magistrates. Rooney was charged under the Hunting Act 2004 and admitted one charge of illegally hunting a wild animal with a dog. He was fined £200 fine plus £250 for court costs.

On 12/7/07 Charles Gundry, the former master of Middleton Hunt, was accused of entering a ringer in a point-to-point race. Horse owner Robert Tierney and his son, Richard, from Malton, North Yorkshire, have also been charged, as have Roger Marley and his wife, Ruth, from Langtoft, between Malton and Driffield. The charges were issued by the Horseracing Regulatory Authority (HRA) following a six-month investigation by its officers. The inquiry centred on three point-to-point races that took place last year. It is alleged that the horse was entered in a race as another ride during the Staintondale Point-to-Point. The horse was prevented from running after stewards became suspicious of its identity. Robert and Richard Tierney face two charges, Gundry, Robert Tierney and Roger and Ruth Marley have been charged for the alleged substitution. The four have also been accused of misleading HRA officers during an interview. Robert Tierney faces a separate charge of using threatening behaviour towards a witness. The HRA will conduct two inquiries into the alleged substitutions. No date has yet been set. The five face disqualification from racing if they are found guilty.

On 31/7/07 William Francis Armstrong (69) of Cefn Home Farm, St Asaph was ordered to pay £60 costs in addition to a £200 fine at Prestatyn magistrates. Armstrong who was the terrierman with Flint & Denbigh Hunt was prosecuted for four breaches of the Hunting Act all designed to ensure foxes were killed humanely. The court heard how an off-duty police sergeant stumbled across the hunt in the Clwydian mountain range, in Denbighshire. He saw a pack of 15 to 20 foxhounds gather around a hole in a steep bank while a group of horse riders looked on. He then saw Armstrong put a terrier down the hole, before digging out a fox and shooting it with a pistol. The Act also said those involved in hunts must gain written permission from the landowner for the hunt, but Armstrong had failed to secure this. The court also heard the fox had run into a “single-entry hole”, and it was forbidden to send a terrier into a hide of that nature. The law said terriers should only be used where there was a second entry hole to allow the fox to be flushed quickly and prevent the two animals fighting. Armstrong had also used a .22 pistol to kill the fox, when the legislation said a shotgun must be used. The court also heard that Armstrong’s health had suffered as a result of media interest in the case and he had given up his position as terrierman. Armstrong had since given away the dog he sent down the hole and handed back his pistol and shooting licence to the police. Charges were withdrawn against his co-defendant, land owner Robert Peter Rowley Williams, of Llangwyfan, Denbighshire. Armstrong has been involved with terrier work since the age of 12.John Norrish

On 15/8/07 a huntsman from the Tiverton Staghounds was cleared of allowing his hounds to kill a terrier after a judge declared "dogs will be dogs". The case against John Norrish (63) of East Worlington was thrown out by the judge at Exeter Crown Court. The court heard how the Tiverton Staghounds had paid £1,000 compensation plus £450 to pay for a replacement terrier and vet's bill.

Peter EasterbyRacehorse trainer Miles Henry Easterby (78) from Habton Grange Farm, Great Habton, near Malton, North Yorkshire has been arrested after an investigation by police into an alleged hare coursing event. Easterby denied two charges of attending a hare coursing event and allowing the practice on his land, when he appeared at Scarborough magistrates on 25/8/07. Easterby appeared in court with John Shaw (54) of Welburn Manor, Welburn, near Kirkbymoorside, North Yorkshire, and Andrew Lund-Watkinson (56) of Pine View Lodge, Newton-on-Rawcliffe, near Pickering, North Yorkshire. They were also charged with two charges of allowing a hare coursing event and allowing the practice on their land. They denied the charges, and the hearing was adjourned until 24/9/07. The three were bailed.

Three huntsmen from the Minehead Harriers hunt, based in Somerset, face prosecution by The League Against Cruel Sports.They face charges under the Hunting Act. It is understood that LACS has footage which it claims shows the trio hunting illegally. On 23/8/07 papers were served on Minehead Harriers hunt master Sydney Westcott, as well as William Goffe and whipper-in Gary Bradley. Bradley is also alleged to have committed a public order offence. All three will appear before Taunton magistrates on 8/10/07.

Two farm hands who blasted four deer dead with a semi-automatic rifle have been fined £1,250. Lloyd Fowlie (19) of Guise of Tough, Alford, Aberdeenshire and Steven Wilson (23) of Eleven Acres, Corsinadae, Sauchen, Inverurie killed the deer on Fowlie's father's land. The pair claimed they had been out hunting rabbits but fired six bullets into each deer because they had been eating turnips on the land. On 1/9/07 Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how the two, who both work at Guise of Tough, had gone out with a rifle with the intention of shooting rabbits. They admitted two charges of wilfully killing three roe deer and a red deer. They also admitted being in possession of a firearm without holding a firearms certificate. The court fined Fowlie £750 and Wilson £500.

Bloodsports supporter Clarissa Dickson Wright (60) - see pic right of Inveresk in East Lothian and Waterloo Cup (hare coursingWho ate all the pies? event) organiser Sir Mark Prescott (59) who is based at Heath House in Newmarket, Suffolk are to face private prosecution for allegedly hunting hares with dogs in North Yorkshire. Miles Henry Easterby of Habton Grange Farm, Great Habton, is accused of permitting land to be used for hare coursing and attending hare coursing. Elizabeth Dixon (44) of Appleton-le-Street, near Malton, is charged with knowingly facilitating a hare coursing event, while John Shaw (54) of Welburn Manor, Welburn, near Kirkbymoorside, faces an allegation of permitting land to be used for hare coursing. Andrew Lund-Watkinson (56) of Pine View Lodge, Newton-on-Rawcliffe, and Jacqueline Teal (42) of Scarborough Road, Norton, are accused of attending a hare coursing event. The charges relate to an alleged hare coursing event at Easterby's farm at Great Habton, North Yorkshire. The case was adjourned until 19/11/07 at Scarborough. During proceedings on 24/9/07 brought by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) it emerged a separate private prosecution is being brought by the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

On 26/9/07 two hunters were fined a total of £1,400 for shooting a protected species of goose. Michael Purcell (46) and Eric Saxon (72) from Pontefract, West Yorkshire, admitted shooting the barnacle goose in Aberdeenshire.


Dogfighting and Pit Bulls

Two men and a woman have been arrested after a suspected training ground for illegal fighting dogs was raided. Police in riot gear and RSPCA officers raided a house in the Frankley area of Birmingham. They found eight illegal adult and puppy pit bull terriers kept in cages. The RSPCA said it believed they were being bred for dog fighting. Officers also found adrenalin, which is given to fighting dogs to make them more aggressive.

Adio Clarke (28) of Holly Road, Handsworth turned part of his home into a dog-fighting arena has been jailed for four months. Clarke admitted keeping 11 pit bull terriers and causing unnecessary suffering to three of them. He also admitted owning a dog-fighting venue and causing dogs to fight each other. One of the animals seized at his house had 157 separate wounds, Birmingham magistrates heard on 20/4/07. Another dog had suffered a broken pelvis and another had had an ear almost severed. When police officers raided Clarke's home they found six pit bulls chained up in the garden and more dogs inside the house. The court was shown a homemade video found at Clarke's home, showing two dogs attacking each another while being urged on by onlookers. Clarke also has a previous record for assault, robbery and possession of firearms.

dog fighting Adio Clarke dog fighting

Gary Charnock (22) of Standworth Avenue, Breightmet, appeared in court charged with illegally owning two Pit Bull-type dogs. Charnock entered no plea before magistrates in Bolton on 25/4/07. The case was adjourned until 22/5/07.

The aftermath of a dog fightThe owners of a pack of scarred fighting dogs were sentenced to six months this on 27/5/07. Ricardo Byfield (27) and Lisa Harvey (34) illegally bred pit bull terriers to use in organised dog fights. The animals were found locked in cages around the Northolt pair's one-bedroomed council home, which doubled as a dog-training gym. Police raided the house in Whitton Avenue West last year to rescue 26 dogs, mostly pit bulls but three Dogues de Bordeaux, a rottweiler and a Staffordshire bull terrier were also found. The dogs were found covered in scars from vicious dog-fights and some were marked on documents as "Champion" or "Grand Champion" - meaning they had won several fights. Puppies aged between two weeks and four months old were also rescued in the August raid. At Ealing magistrates a judge ordered 21 of the dogs, who were previously in police care, to be destroyed. Byfield admitted 19 counts of possession and breeding of dangerous dogs and Harvey admitted one charge of possession and breeding of dangerous dogs. Byfield was sentenced for six months and ordered to pay £500 costs. Harvey was also jailed for six months and must pay £250 costs. They were both banned from owning dogs for the rest of their lives.

On 7/6/07 five men involved in organised dogfighting enterprise were given prison sentences following a major RSPCA undercover operation. Operation Lace was a major investigation into dogfighting in the Birmingham area in 2006 by the RSPCA’s Special Operations Unit (SOU), West Midlands Police and RSPCA inspectors. It followed the discovery of a dogfight in the Alum Road area of Birmingham in February 2006. During the operation 51 dogs (including 45 pitbull-type dogs) were seized and a number of items including treadmills, a video, veterinary kits, breaking sticks and other dog fighting paraphernalia were taken away. At Birmingham Dogfightmagiatrates Assam Noshad Lone of Brockhurst Road, Birmingham was found guilty of possessing two pitbull-type dogs and received four months prison (suspended for one year), £1200 costs, five-year ban on owning dogs, 120 hour community punishment order. This case is subject to an appeal, 13/7/07 Birmingham Crown Court. Adio Clarke, of Holly Road, Handsworth, Birmingham pleaded guilty to managing premises for dogfighting, possessing 11 pitbull-type dogs, and to causing unnecessary suffering to three of the dogs. He received four months in prison, and banned from keeping dogs for 10 years. Amar Ali, of Edgebaston Road, Smethwick pleaded guilty to 12 charges of possession of pitbull-type dogs. He received 20 weeks in prison, suspended for one year, 10-year ban on possession of dogs, and 150 hours community service. Mir Dawood of Anglesey Street, Lozells, Birmingham pleaded guilty to owning one pitbull-type dog, and breaching a ban on possession of dogs. He received four months in prison and disqualified from keeping dogs for 10 years. Kamran Iqbal of Sandbourne Road, Alum Rock, Birmingham was found guilty of possessing a pitbull-type dog and causing unnecessary suffering to that dog. He received five months in prison and a five-year ban on keeping dogs, plus forfeiture of that dog and associated equipment. Mohammed Shazad, of Holly Road, Handsworth, Birmingham pleaded guilty to three charges owning pitbull-type dogs. He received four-month sentence for each offence, to run concurrently, a five-year disqualification for keeping dogs and forfeiture of all items seized. Wasim Azam of Bevington Road, Aston, Birmingham pleaded guilty to owning two pitbull-type dogs. He received four months in prison, disqualified from keeping dogs for five years, plus forfeiture of associated equipment. An appeal is to be lodged.

Nasar KhanNasar Khan turned a terrace house into a training centre for vicious fighting dogs using a treadmill and muscle-building tablets to build their strength. Police found the nine illegal, unlicensed pit bull terriers chained up around the home in July Street, Blackburn, after one escaped and began roaming the street. The house, which was owned by Khan's family, had been completely cleared of furniture and the treadmill had been specially adapted so a dog's collar could be attached, forcing the animal to run, Hyndburn magistrates were told on 18/6/07. Khan (25) who lived in another property in July Street, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to eight charges of owning fighting dogs and one of allowing one of the dogs to be in a public place without a muzzle or lead. He has been warned that he faces jail when he is sentenced in July.

On 21/6/07 nine people were arrested and six suspected dangerous dogs seized during raids on a dog-fighting ring. Seven houses in Accrington, Lancashire were searched in the operation, which involved more than 40 police officers. Simultaneous raids were carried out at properties on Willows Lane, Blackburn Road, Crossland Street, Richmond Road, Steiner Street and two addresses on Monk Street in Accrington.

On 17/8/07 Purnell Peace (35) of Virginia Beach, and Quanis Phillips, of Atlanta, both pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to sponsor a dog-fighting venture. They will be sentenced later this year. On 27/8/07 Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick formally pleaded guilty to a federal dogfighting charge. Vick had admitted in court documents that he was deeply involved in the venture and endorsed the killing of poorly performing dogs by hanging or drowning. He will be sentenced 10/12/07. A fourth defendant in the case had already changed his plea to guilty and agreed to co-operate with the prosecution case against Vick.

Dogs fightingOn 4/9/07 a total of 14 men were fined for attending an organised dog fight between two pit bull terriers who both died afterwards. The fines, of between £500 and £1,300, plus £80 costs were made as part of an ongoing court case involving 26 men in connection with the fight held at a city store. All 14 men had pleaded guilty to attending the fight. The 14 are: Ansar Ayub (33) of Foley Ward, Ward End, Birmingham; Nadeem Arif (35) and Naveed Arif (33) both of Sandway Gardens, Washwood Heath, Birmingham; Basharat Ali (36) of St Margarets Avenue, Ward End, Birmingham; Zahoor Ahmed Hussain (42) of Havelock Road, Alum Rock, Birmingham; Sheraz Hassan (28) of Canada Street, Miles Platting, Manchester ; Amanat Ali (41) of Kitts Green Road, Lea Village, Birmingham; Akil Habib Khan (27) of Leys Road, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire; Sajid Saed Shah (26) of Grantham Road, Luton, Bedfordshire; Atif Farhan Tariq (26) of Portman Road, Luton; Nissar Khan (32) of Bowyer Road, Alum Rock, Birmingham; Ikhlaq Mohammed (29) of Anglesey Street, Lozells, Birmingham and Asif Hussain (32) of Boyer road, Alum Rock Birmingham.

Cameron Mains (39) from Weymouth, Dorset whose pit bull-cross injured pets and their owners in a spate of attacks was jailed for 14 weeks. Mains' dog, Budweiser, ripped the skin from one man's hand, causing lasting nerve damage, Dorchester Crown Court heard on 6/9/07. Mains admitted owning a dog dangerously out of control in a public place and to three counts of being the owner of a dog which caused injury. Mains was banned from owning a dog for five years and Budweiser will be killed.

Dogfight in BirminhamAt Birmingham magistrates on 20/9/07 a district judge found the 10 men guilty of attending a dog fight. The court was shown graphic video tapes of the contest in Alum Rock, Birmingham. The following five convicted men who will be sentenced in October Barkat Hussain, 42, of Unett Street, Smethwick, West Midlands, and Intikab Hussain, 31, of Sladefield Road, Ward End, Birmingham, were both found guilty of attending the fight, causing animals to fight, possessing a pit bull, and causing unnecessary suffering. Sohail Hussain, 27, of Parkfield Road, Saltley, Birmingham, and Zahir Ahmed, 31, of Bevington Road, Aston, Birmingham, were both convicted of attending the fight and possessing a pit bull. Ummar Ahmed, 26, of Phipson Road, Birmingham, was found guilty of attending the fight and keeping premises for dog fighting. The judge issued fines ranging between £750 and £1,400 to the following five men found guilty of attending the fight. Mamoon Ahmed, 24, also of Phipson Road; Yasser Khalid, 25, of Rotton Park Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham; Nabeel Safdar, 25, of Ash Road, Saltley, Birmingham; Majid Mushtaq, 28, of Fletcher Road, Preston, Lancashire; and Imran Arif, 29, of Sandway Gardens, Washwood Heath, Birmingham, were all convicted of attending a dog fight.

Intikab Hussain Waqqas Mughal Zahoor Hussain
Intikab Hussain Waqqas Mughal Zahoor Hussain


Eggs/Birds

The owner of the Yorkshire Dales Falconry Centre, Douglas Petrie, was in possession of three wild birds of prey: one kestrel, one tawny owl and one little owl. Both the kestrel and the tawny owl had apparently been used for commercial gain. In January 2006, Petrie attended Skipton Police Station and was arrested on suspicion of two counts of using wild birds for commercial gain; three counts for being in possession of live wild birds; and for cruelty offences. Petrie was subsequently charged with two counts of using wild birds (the kestrel and tawny owl) for commercial gain. In July 2006, Petrie pleaded guilty to the offences and not guilty to the other charges. Three days before the trial, in late September, the Crown Prosecution Service decided to drop the remaining three offences. Petrie was given a conditional discharge for two years and ordered to pay £50 costs.

On 19/6/07 three men and a woman were arrested in connection with the illegal possession of wild birds' eggs. They were arrested at five addresses in Exhall near Bedworth and Longford, Coventry. About 100 birds' eggs have were recovered. Those arrested, who are all aged in their 40s, have been released on police bail pending further inquiries.

At Haddington Sheriff Court on 20/7/07 William White (50) of Pencaitland, denied seven counts of contravening the wildlife and countryside acts. He is due to be tried in November. He was charged with trapping and killing protected birds, including linnets, siskins and finches.

On 30/7/07 a man was charged with possessing eggs belonging to some of Scotland's rarest birds.
Central Scotland Police said they had found 77 eggs when they searched a flat in Falkirk. The 44-year-old has already been charged with possessing controlled eggs under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.


Equine

Karen WoodsKaren Woods (49) of The Paddocks, Ashby St Mary, near Loddon who has a history of animal neglect escaped a jail sentence on 27/4/07 after five horses were found close to starvation at her Norfolk home. Woods was already banned from keeping dogs when RSPCA inspectors visited her home in September 2006 and discovered the horses without food and adequate water, as temperatures soared to 26C. Woods pleaded guilty to five charges of causing unnecessary suffering. Two other charges were dropped. She was sentenced her to 12 weeks in prison for each charge to run concurrently, suspended for two years, ordered her to complete 150 hours unpaid work and to comply with a supervision order for two years. Woods was also told to pay compensation of £3,445 and costs of £250 and was banned from keeping any animals for 10 years. Woods was banned from keeping dogs in October 2005 after two animals were found caged and emaciated at her home.

Christopher Hartnell (23) and Rachel Francis (20) from Hudson Way, Taunton have been banned from keeping horses for ten years and ordered to do community service after pleading guilty to charges of cruelty to animals. Appearing before the Taunton Deane magistrates on 18/5/07 both were sentenced for causing suffering to three horses. Hartnell had pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to provide adequate food and care for two adult Shetland ponies and a foal, and one count of causing unnecessary suffering to the foal. Francis pleaded guilty to one count of causing unnecessary suffering to all three animals by failing to give reasonable care and protection to them. Both were given a community order for 12 months - Christopher Hartnell for 150 hours of unpaid work and Rachel Francis 75 hours. Each was ordered to pay £1,250 towards costs estimated around £7,000 and they have also been disqualified of possessing, having in their custody or caring for horses for ten years. They were given one month to "dispose" of the animals.


Assorted

A lab technician from Covance Laboratories (animal testing lab) , in Harrogate was jailed for three years after her boyfriend died of an overdose of drugs she had stolen from her workplace. Katie Bradley (26) twice stole bottles of the opiate-based Class A drug fentanyl and supplied it to her partner, Nathan Holmes (31). The drug is 80 times more potent than morphine. The court heard on 23/3/07 how Bradley had used cocaine, alcohol and fentanyl along with her partner. Bradley of Park Place, Knaresborough, was employed at Covance for six years. She researched into the effects of fentanyl on dogs. Bradley pleaded guilty to two charges of theft, two charges of supplying a controlled drug and one charge of possessing a Class A drug. She was sentenced to three years' imprisonment.

A Shetland pony was chased until blood came from its nostrils by a Mid Wales farmer in his Landrover with his dogs, a court has been told. Alfred Colin Wozencraft (53) of Bryndraenog, Pantydwr, was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to the pony at Llandrindod magistrates on 20/4/07. He had denied the charge, claiming the pony had attacked one of his rams, ripping half its ear off, and he had been protecting his stock by moving it. He was given a conditional discharge for two years and was ordered to pay £60 compensation and £500 towards costs.

Ricky Jefferies of Edgeworth, Yate who kicked a hedgehog in the street after discovering his fiancee of seven years was having an affair with his best friend has been fined for animal cruelty. Police saw Ricky Jefferies of Edgeworth, Yate, run towards the hedgehog and kick it six or seven metres, then kick it again. Jefferies, admitted inflicting unnecessary suffering to a wild animal when he appeared before North Avon magistrates on 2/7/09. He was fined £140, ordered to pay £55 court costs and £15 towards the Victim Support Fund.


Farm Animals (Guardians Of The Land - My Arse!!!)

Farmer John Bourne (64) of the Bank Farm, Malpas, was told he had 'put the public at risk' after admitting nine offences at Chester magistrates on 2/3/07. Bourne heads family firm HS Bourne, which has won numerous awards and has been making Cheshire cheese for 250 years. The court heard trading standards officers found carcasses at his farm. They also discovered two cows in clear distress, one of which later had to be destroyed. Magistrates told Bourne he had put the public at risk and had caused unnecessary and significant suffering to his animals. The case was adjourned for the preparation of pre-sentence reports and Bourne will be sentenced on 26/3/07.

An Oldham food store owner was discovered slitting chickens' throats on a farm in filthy conditions. Valli Moosa Yusuf was being observed by food safety officers who had secretly followed him to the Yorkshire farm from his shop, Haji Food Store on Featherstall Road North, Oldham. Yusuf was found slitting the throats of chickens without them being stunned. There were no facilities for hand washing, sterilising of equipment or for changing of clothes. A man was followed from the store to an illegal slaughterhouse at Sunnybank Farm, Royd Lane, Ripponden. Yusu and two farmers were brought before Halifax magistrates on 30/3/07 where they were fined a total of £8,700 for breaching animal welfare, slaughter and transportation regulations. Yusuf pleaded guilty to the charges. He told the court he needed halal meat for sale in his shop and had decided to kill the birds himself. He was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £500 costs. The two brothers who owned the farm were also found guilty and were subject to fines and costs totalling £6,700.

Paul Pratt (22) of Portsmouth Avenue, Wapping, who kept chickens in appalling and filthy conditions in the back of a trailer was ordered to do 80 hours unpaid work. On 16/5/07 at Bradford magistrates they heard how the 12 chickens and 14 bantams belonging to Pratt were cooped up in the back of a dirty trailer without food, water or sunlight. The birds were suffering from foot rot and were infested with fleas and other parasites. Pratt pleaded guilty to a charge of animal cruelty and he conceded that the animals had been left in a disgusting condition. As well as the unpaid work the magistrates banned Pratt from ever owing birds, poultry and game for the rest of his life and ordered him to pay £1,400 in prosecution costs.


Domestic

Christopher Clapham (58) of Chapel Lane, Riccall kicked a dog, possibly contributing to its death, has been found guilty of animal cruelty. Clapham had pleaded not guilty to ill-treating a 16-year-old lurcher-type dog. But following a two-day trial magistrates found him guilty on 2/4/07. It had been alleged that Clapham had grabbed hold of the dog by the scruff of the neck and kicked it four of five times. Clapham was fined £300 and ordered to pay £1,200 towards prosecution costs and banned him from keeping dogs for five years.

John Brennan of Beattie Street, South Shields who let a ferret rip apart a child's pet guinea pig was sentenced to five months for animal cruelty. He then urged his pal Andrew Wyness to film the sickening attack on his mobile phone, South Tyneside magistrates heard on 14/4/07. Brennan was also banned from keeping animals for 10 years. For further convictions of breaching bail and a community order, he was given an extra month in prison. The court heard Brennan's string of previous convictions started with a robbery charge at the age of 11.

Christopher Lowe (22) of Elliot Road, Fentonwas jailed for two months after failing to stick to the terms of a community punishment order. Lowe pleaded guilty to abandoning his dog and cat in April 2006 and was sentenced to complete 220 hours of unpaid community work and pay court costs. But he failed to keep the appointments and returned back before the courts in October. He was asked to do a further 20 hours of unpaid work. On 14/4/07 he appeared before North Staffordshire magistrates for again failing to keep up with his community work. Magistrates were told costs were also still outstanding and that in total, he owes £3,259 for this and other matters dating back to 2002. Initially the sentence was to be for three months but it was reduced to two months to take into account the 70-plus hours of community work Lowe had already completed.

Drewe Maurice MantonServing police officer Drewe Maurice Manton (37) of Lime Tree Avenue, Yeovil, had been keeping his five-foot long pet snake in the front porch of his Yeovil home when the creature made a bid for freedom through the letterbox. When the common boa was captured and taken to the RSPCA, a reptile expert described it as being "anorexic" to the extent its spine was prominent and its body was also covered in scars and sores. Manton who is based at Bridport, admitted the snake had not been tempted by its normal diet of dead rats for the previous six months, but he had not thought it unusual and it had not occurred to him to take it to a vet. Manton admitted two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to the snake when he appeared before South Somerset Magistrates on 19/4/07. Manton was also banned from keeping any snakes or reptiles for the next five years and was ordered to hand over the snake to the care of the RSPCA. He was also given a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs of £1,200.

Philip Gannon (42) of Bullrush Close, Walkden, has been charged with causing cruelty to animals by killing a kitten in a tumble drier. At Bolton magistrates on 21/4/07 the court heard how the cat died after being exposed to high temperatures in the drier at a house in Trentway, Kearsley. Glennon has not yet entered a plea and will reappear before magistrates on 11/5/07.

Norman FordNorman Ford (60) and Diane Brown (49) of Goyt Road, Disley failed to seek treatment for their two dogs’diane brown red and bleeding skin sores, caused by a chronic condition, for four years, claiming they couldn’t afford vets bills. Both admitted two offences of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal when they appeared before Macclesfield magistrates on 25/4/07. In addition to the ban, Ford, who owned the dogs, was sentenced to 200 hours community punishment, and ordered to pay £750 compensation to the RSPCA for vets bills and lodgings for them. Brown, was ordered to pay £350 compensation, and sentenced to 80 hours community punishment. Ford also pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified and failing to surrender to custody, on a separate occasion. He was banned from driving for a further 12 months.

On 26/4/07 Stuart Watt (32) of Claremont Road, North Shore, Blackpool pleaded guilty to cruelty to an animal. He was sentenced to 100 days jail and banned for life from keeping any animal. The court herad how Watt was seen to kick the dog three times extremely hard. Fifteen minutes later another witness saw Watt kick the dog again. Soon after Watt was spotted dragging the dog into a house. He held the door and trapped the dog's muzzle between the door and frame. Sadly the dog died from internal abdominal bleeding and a ruptured liver.

Graham Beck - the mastermind behind the illegal dog-breeding operation at Katesbridge, Co Down - received a two-month prison sentence at Armagh magistrates on 29/4/07 after pleading guilty to a series of animal cruelty charges. Beck was also fined £500, instructed to pay court costs of £350 and banned from keeping animals for 10 years. His father, Robert Beck, received the same sentence after he pleaded guilty to a litany of animal cruelty offences. Another son, Clarke Beck, who admitted his involvement in the slum puppy farm, received a three-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months. He was also instructed to pay court costs of £500 and banned from keeping animals for 10 years. A court order was made for his pit-bull terrier to be destroyed. The Becks were all been released pending an appeal. The Becks, who are well known to the USPCA, were responsible for feeding calves and lambs to starving boxers, rottweilers and westies, allowing various dog breeds to live in concrete pits and sub-zero conditions, and leaving lamb and calf carcasses to rot. They also failed to provide bedding for the dogs and permitted six westie pups to live in tiny makeshift dens made from wooden doors. USPCA officials also discovered a treadmill used for training and strengthening fighting dogs. Other dead animals were also found on rubbish tips, which had been set on fire.

Paul DunnPaul Dunn who hoarded more than 200 creatures, including snakes, lizards and rats, at his home has admitted causing some of them unnecessary suffering. On 1/5/07 Stockport magistrates were told that Dunn (53) of Broadway, Bredbury, who threatened police with two snakes when they called at his home, built up his animal collection buying them over the internet and from pet shops. Dunn pleaded guilty to five counts of causing unnecessary suffering. The court heard an RSPCA vet discovered two, 6ft-long boa constrictors in need of immediate attention. There was also a bearded dragon lizard with a gangrenous foot and two dehydrated hamsters. The bill to treat the animals was more than £6,400. Dunn was banned from keeping any animal for 10 years, given a three-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £1,500 compensation. In December Dunn was given a two-year conditional discharge after admitting threatening behaviour when he confronted police with two boa constrictors at his home.

Police who left a stray dog to die after it was handed in to their station will not face criminal charges. The three-year-old greyhound was left at Dalkeith Police Station. It was locked in a kennel at the back of the station but animal welfare workers were not told he had been handed in. No record was made of the dog's arrival in the station logbook. It was 10 days before his body was found. The dog was dumped in a bin, which was emptied before bosses were informed. On 16/5/07 a spokesman for the Crown Office insisted prosecutors were still considering the case but sources said the lack of a body made charges impossible to bring.

On 21/5/07 Dumfries Sheriff Court fined Juliana Bell (27) after hearing that she stole a cat owned by her neighbour and held the cat in a water-filled container until it drowned. The court heard that Bell had been annoyed by late-night noise from her neighbour and by the cat urinating on her doorstep, and killed the animal in a revenge attack. Bell of Dumfries denied killing the animal, claiming she had taken it to the riverside in a holdall and released it unharmed there. Bell was fined £300.

On 23/5/07 Abishai Hayes from London was jailed for nine months and banned from keeping any animals for life after admitting torturing his 10-month-old dog. Hayes was convicted of stabbing and seriously injuring the dog, a male collie-cross called Warrier, and failing to seek immediate veterinary treatment. Highbury Corner Magistrates Court heard how Warrier was suffering from two broken legs, slash wounds to the face, broken ribs, bruising to the muscle and bone around his head, and deep stab wounds to the neck, legs, back and chest.

A Plaid Cymru councillor admitted abandoning a dog in a way likely to cause it unnecessary suffering has rejected demands to resign. Councillor Barry Shaw (46), of Merthyr Street, Barry who represents the Castleland ward, was ordered to pay fines and costs of more than £1,000 after pleading guilty at the town's magistrates court on 30/5/07. He was also banned from owning a dog for 12 months.

Kathleen Milne (44) of Longlands Road, Lancaster whose dog starved to death in its kennel was banned from keeping animals for five years. On 7/6/07 Milne pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to her dog by omitting to provide vet treatment after its significant weight loss. Milne believed her cross breed dog had gone missing three weeks earlier. However, RSPCA inspectors found the dog starved to death in a kennel in the back yard of her home. Milne was also fined £200 and ordered to do 40 hours of unpaid work.

A Rottweiler puppy died of a heart attack as a man battered it with a hammer for knocking over his daughter as it snatched a toy. Nottingham Crown Court heard on 16/8/07 when Andrew Woolley (39) of Tilbury Rise, Bilborough was arrested he had the puppy's ears in a plastic bag. Woolley stole the puppy and took it to a nearby scrapyard where he hung it over a skip and exacted his sickening revenge. Police investigating the case also found a shotgun in a shed at the scrapyard. Woolley was jailed for six months for animal cruelty, the maximum penalty, but knocked off two months because of his guilty plea. He also got nine months concurrently for theft of a dog and 21 months consecutively for possessing the gun. Woolley was also given a 21-month sentence to run concurrently for an unrelated attack five months earlier. Woolley has four previous convictions for assault.

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