North West Hunt Saboteurs

Vermin Patrol 2008 - Part 1

Badgers

Sead DoddsTwo members of a badger-baiting ring escaped being locked up on 21/1/08 but were banned from owning dogs for five years. Part-time poultry worker Sean Dodds (17) McLagan Drive, Harwick and Kyle Lawrie (19) Church Lane, Harwick both pleaded guilty to digging at a badger's sett, Dodds also admitted wilfully killing a badger with a dog while at the same time Lawrie was digging at the sett. They watched along with others as Dodds' pet dog fought with a badger pulled from a sett for up to 20 minutes before the animal died. At Jedburgh Sheriff Court Dodds (see pic right) was ordered to carry out 200 hours community service as a direct alternative to custody, with Lawrie sentenced to 160 hours. The court was told police suspected Dodds was involved in badger-baiting after he posted an image of a dog killing the protected animal on his Bebo website and later confessed his crimes to officers. Several homes in the town were searched and a number of dogs, some which had injuries, were seized. In addition to carrying out community service, both teenagers were disqualified from having custody of a dog for a period of five years.

Simon Evans and Peter McGuiganSimon Evans (40) and Peter McGuigan (37) from Llandysul on the Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire border, were both found guilty of badger baiting by Llanelli magistrates on 7/3/08. Police caught them in the act of disturbing a badger sett and one of their dogs had a badger in its mouth. They were found them guilty of four charges but cleared of another charge involving possession of a net. When the police arrived at the sett a "limp" badger was found in the mouth of a lurcher dog belonging to them, the court was told. A metre deep hole had been dug close to a badger sett and shovels carried by the friends were stained in blood. They claimed it was an "unfortunate accident" and they were on an ordinary day out rabbits. On 3/4/08 the pair were a given six-month suspended jail sentences, they must also carry out 240 hours of community work. They were also banned from keeping dogs for seven years and must pay £4,000 each in costs.

John William Lee (40) of Farndale Avenue, Middlesbrough, was jailed for six months after being found guilty of taking part in badger baiting. Lee was arrested as he walked through a busy town centre while blood dripped from the face of one of his dogs. He was also carrying a rucksack on his back with a garden spade sticking out of the top. When his bag was searched, an eight-inch machete was found. At his trial at Teesside magistrates on 28/3/08 Lee denied one charge of wilfully attempting to take a badger and two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to his two dogs. However, magistrates found Lee guilty and sentenced him to six months for wilfully attempting to take a badger. He was also sentenced to two months concurrent for causing unnecessary suffering to his dogs and for allowing them to come in contact with wild animals.

A gamekeeper was arrested on 7/4/08 in connection with the deaths of six badgers following a joint operation involving police and wildlife welfare officers. Investigators swooped on a farm near Moffat, Dumfriesshire, following a tip that snares were being laid and the protected animals being killed. As a result, the 57-year-old man, who also works as a shepherd and land manager, faces charges under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 and the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.


Bloodsports

On 14/3/07 Douglas Morris (67) of Offoxey Road, Tong, Shropshire was sentenced for a string of crimes including dumping cyanide-based pesticides by a stream. Police found a large amount of unapproved poisons, ammunition and shotguns when they searched his homes. A investigation was launched after evidence of wildlife poisoning was found in Weston Park and the Bradford Estate in South Staffs. Morris, a self-employed farm worker who carried out pest control for the Bradford Estate, was arrested in July 2006. At his home police discovered unapproved poisons and other pesticides stored in food containers along with unlawful ammunition and shotguns. Half-empty tins of Cymag, a cyanide-based gassing compound, were among containers discarded on a bonfire near a water course close by. Morris admitted in interview that he used poison to lace dead wood pigeons to kill foxes on land belonging to the Bradford Estate. At an earlier hearing, he pleaded guilty to eight charges including three counts of storing unapproved pesticides, poisoning edible matter so as to endanger wildlife, and shotgun and ammunition offences. Morris asked that six other offences involving the improper storage of pesticides were taken into account. At Telford magistrates he was given an 18-month conditional discharge for the pesticide offences, an 18-month conditional discharge - to run concurrently - for the firearms offences, and ordered to pay £300 costs. A forfeiture and destruction order was made for the illegal firearms and ammunition.

Peter Woolhouse (42) of Hooton Roberts, South Yorkshire was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £150 costs for three offences. Woolhouse was also been charged with 6 other offences relating to setting baited rabbits and partridges which were intended to kill or injure wild birds. In August 2006 the police and RSPB, searched land and premises owned by Woolhouse and found rabbits and partridges which had been laced with the pesticide aldicarb. Pesticides containing the active ingredients mecoprop-P, difenacoum and pirimicarb were found to be illegally stored in insecure outbuildings at his address. Woolhouse had pleaded guilty to 2 pesticide storage offences at an earlier hearing and was convicted of a further storage offence at Doncaster magistrates on 26/7/07. Woolhouse was found not guilty of the 6 charges relating to the baited rabbits and partridges.

William Goffe and Gary BradleyOn 8/1/08 two huntsmen were convicted of hunting a fox. Huntsman William Goffe of Wootton Courtney, West Somerset and Whipper-in Gary Bradley of Timberscombe, West Somerset from the Minehead Harriers, were fined £300 each after they pleaded guilty in a prosecution brought by the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS). Bradley, was fined a further £100 for a public order offence after he pleaded guilty to using threatening behaviour towards one of the hunt monitors when his horse galloped close to one of the monitors as he shouted at them to stop filming. Both men were ordered to pay £500 each towards the League's costs, which the court heard were well over £12,000.Robert Chiplin

Hunt kennelman Robert Chiplin (23) was cleared him of raping a woman after taking her on a night out in Cheltenham. Chiplin, a former kennelman with the Cotswold Hunt appeared at Gloucester Crown Court on 11/1/08. During a three-day trial the alleged victim told how she once had drunken sex with Chiplin at a Hunt Ball two days after they had first met.

Van Chuyen Ta (41) of Bernera Road, Prestons in Western Sydney ran a cockfighting contest and was fined $3000 and ordered to perform 70 hours of community service. Ta pleaded guilty in Liverpool Local Court on 16/1/08 to eight offences for his role in the cockfighting competition on his property. The court heard when police raided his property they found four badly injured roosters - two of which were still bleeding when they were stuffed into bags and boxes. A further 120 roosters were found in pens - many had been deprived of food and water and had missing combs. Apart from the fines and community service order Ta was ordered to pay court costs of more than $500, and pay the RSPCA $1560.47 for veterinary fees.

Christopher NuddsA gamekeeper jailed for life for the Cambridgeshire murder of a young traveller whose body has never been found has lost a bid to challenge his conviction. Christopher Nudds (28) from Stocking Pelham, Hertfordshire, was accused of shooting Fred Moss (who went missing whilst hare coursing) in the head before burning his dismembered remains. Nudds denied the charge during his trial at Northampton Crown Court in February 2006. But he was convicted of murder and ordered to serve a minimum term of 30 years behind bars before he can apply for release on parole. At the Court of Appeal in London on 22/1/08, three judges rejected an application by Nudds for permission to challenge his conviction, ruling that the case against him had been "strong and cogent".

Two owners of lurcher dogs admitted hunting hares on a farm in the Isle of Axholme. At North Lincolnshire magistrates on 31/1/08 Robert Smith (43) from Histon, Cambridgeshire said he had come to the area to buy a working terrier. He went with some men to see the animal hunting rats and rabbits. But, when getting some more nets, one of the men let his dog out of the vehicle and it then ran off. "I couldn't get her back. I was running across the fields looking for her. All I was concerned about was finding my dog. If I wanted to course hares I could do it in my own back garden," (Oh no ya can't ya thick git) he said. Ambrose Watson (38), of Chequer Avenue, Doncaster and Smith were both admitted hunting with dogs, were each fined £100, with £60 costs.

Three Buckinghamshire men charged with killing 29 swans entered no pleas when they appeared at Bedfordshire magistrates on 31/1/08. The men, all from Chesham, were charged with intentional killing mute swans. Stephen Barrett (38), Marcus Walker (51) and his brother Darren Walker (47) asked magistrates for more time. Barrett has also been charged with firearms offences. The hearing was been adjourned until 13/3/08. The mute swans, which had all been shot, were found in October buried in a freshly dug pit at Radwell Lake in Radwell, Bedfordshire. The lake, owned by the Walker brothers, was purpose-built for shooting and at certain times of the area it is legal to shoot water fowl.

At Liverpool magistrates on 4/2/08 the court heard how four men and a 17-year-old were stopped by police in their Land Rover in Islington, Liverpool on their way back from a hunting expedition. They had dogs, nets and other equipment used for illegal hunting. A 20-year-old man was given a caution after admitting the offence because of his previous good character. The remaining four were charged. Peter Blackhall (25) of Lapford Crescent, Kirkby; Thomas Bell (23) of Exeter Close, Aintree; Adam Pengilley (21) of Adlam Road, Aintree; and a 17- year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons initially denied the charges, however, they later changed their pleas to guilty. They were fined £250 each with £80 costs, and ordered the immediate forfeiture of the Land Rover and the hunting equipment. The teenager was given a conditional discharge for 12 months with £80 costs.

On 31/1/08 a Newton Abbot farmer, who admitted shooting two roe deer out of season was fined £500. Craig Stone (27), of Ruddycleave Farm, Newton Abbot, pleaded guilty to the charge before magistrates sitting at Torquay. The same charges were dropped against Tom Cleave (24) of Mill Leate Farm, Newton Abbot, and James Hudson (22) of Grange Road, Buckfastleigh. Stone, who had permission to shoot foxes and rabbits in fields at Manaton, said in a police interview he was aware of a closed season for shooting deer, but did not know when it was. He was fined £500, ordered to pay £60 costs and £15 victim surcharge. No forfeiture order of the shotgun was made.

Three gamekeepers admitted using baited traps to catch protected birds of prey that might attack grouse and partridges on the shooting estate in North Yorkshire. Scarborough magistrates heard on 8/2/08 that RSPB inspectors had found five traps baited with live pigeons on the Snilesworth estate near Osmotherley. The traps can be used legally only to catch birds such as magpies and crows, and only members of the crow family can be used as bait. Head gamekeeper James Shuttlewood (40) of Hagg House, Snilesworth, Hawnby pleaded guilty to five charges of permitting the use of traps and was fined £250 for each offence. Beat keeper Charles Woof (23) of Sparrow Hall, Scugdale, Swainby, North Yorkshire, admitted one charge of using a trap and was fined £100. Under-keeper David Cook (18) of Ingleby House Farm, Ingleby, Arncliffe, North Yorkshire, admitted two charges of using traps and was given a 12-month conditional discharge. The three were also ordered to pay costs of £43 each.

Sicko Sean Mullen picked up a petrified foxl and placed it in a carrier bag before repeatedly thumping it over the head with a stick. At Paisley Sheriff Court on 13/2/08 they heard that the fox had suffered terribly as it was cornered by dogs who tore at it with their teeth before Mullen beat it to death and dumped it in a nearby burn. Sean Mullen (17) formerly of Spiersfield Court, Paisley, and now of the Mount Royal Hotel, Linwood, was originally charged with deliberately hunting the fox with a dog and striking it with a hoe with intent to inflict unnecessary suffering. However, when the case against him was called in court, he would only admit to striking the animal with a stick, with intent to cause unnecessary suffering. Mullen was released on bail for sentence until 10/3/08.

On 9/2/08 at Scarborough magistrates various bloodsports supporters were due to appear, but had their case adjourned until 20/6/08. Those charged with various hare coursing offences are 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, Suffol. 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 case was adjourned until 20/6/08 at Scarborough magistrates.

A gamekeeper and a land agent are facing trial after a raid on a remote Yorkshire Dales farm uncovered lethal poisons. Gamekeeper James Freeman (56) of Moor House Farm, Lofthouse, Nidderdale and agent Simon Clowes (56) of Lawkland Green House, Lawkland, Austwick, near Settle, appeared before magistrates at Harrogate on 18/2/08 to answer a total of 13 charges. Freeman faces nine charges and did not enter pleas to any of them. Four claim that at his farm he stored pesticides, with active ingredients including sodium cyanide and aluminium phosphide without approval while a fifth alleges use of a sodium cyanide-based pesticide. He is facing two charges of storing pesticides - involving both sodium cyanide and aluminium phosphide - without taking all reasonable precautions to protect the health of people and creatures, by keeping it in a glass jar in an unlocked store which was not sufficiently fire resistant. An eighth charge claims Freeman had in his possession strychnine which had not been authorised or registered while the ninth count alleges possession of two syringes and a quantity of alphachloralose which were capable of being used to commit offences. Clowes entered not guilty pleas to four charges, three of permitting Freeman to store pesticides without the required approval and one of permitting him to store a pesticide in an unsafe place, an unlocked storeroom in a dwelling, and failing to take all reasonable precautions to protect the health of people and wildlife. The court ordered both men to be tried before a judge and jury and bailed them until 3/4/08 when the case is expected to be sent to York Crown Court.

Michael NicholsonOn 21/2/08 the huntsman of the Coniston Foxhounds Michael Gerald Nicholson (40) of Nook Lane, Ambleside, pleaded guilty to criminal damage after attacking a hunt sabs car. Nicholson pleaded guilty to criminal damage when he appeared before South Lakeland magistrates. The court heard how Nicholson had walked towards the car shouting. He banged with the umbrella on the windscreen then turned his attention to the driver’s side window. He hit it a number of times, causing it to smash. The driver suffered a minor cut to his face. After the incident was reported to the police, Nicholson was arrested and interviewed. He admitted to being the man involved in the incident. Nicholson was given a 12-month conditional discharge, and ordered to pay £150 in compensation plus costs of £58.

Three teenagers were arrested on 12/3/08 after police raided a suspected cockfight in County Durham. Officers were called to suspicious activity in a white van parked in Durham Road, Bishop Auckland. Two badly injured cockerels were found in a nearby field and items linked to cockfighting recovered from the van. Two youths, aged 16 and 17, and an 18-year-old man were arrested and bailed on suspicion of animal cruelty. The cockerels have been passed into the care of RSPCA inspectors, who are also involved in the investigation.

Three men accused of killing 29 swans have appeared before Bedford magistrates on 13/3/08. The men, from Chesham, Buckinghamshire, were charged with intentional killing of mute swans. Stephen Barrett (38), Marcus Walker (51) and his brother Darren (47) pleaded not guilty. A trial was set for 4/8/08. Barrett of Chessmount Drive, also denied charges of possession of a rifle and ammunition and failing to comply with a condition on his firearms certificate.

At Walsall magistrates on 17/3/08 Clayton Beard (24) of Cannon Street, Ryecroft, Walsall admitted four charges relating to dog fighting including a new charge of having items for use in training animals to fight. It follows the discovery of three badly wounded pit bull terriers, a treadmill and vetinary kit at a house in Walsall. Beard will be sentenced on 15/4/08. He admitted possessing and causing unnecessary harm to pit bull terriers. One of the dogs was found in a cage in a dining room. It had more than 70 wounds. The RSPCA also found a makeshift veterinary kit, containing superglue used to stick the wounds together.

Soames on quad bikeSussex MP Nicholas Soames is to be prosecuted over the use of his quad bike at a new year's day hunt. Soames was filmed towing a trailer carrying adults and children on the road near his home. A summons has been issued to bring the 60-year-old Conservative to court on insurance and safety offences. Soames was filmed driving down a road in Plummers Plain, near Horsham, as he followed the Crawley and Horsham Hunt on new year's day. Soames had a child perched behind him on the bike and was pulling four adults and two children on the trailer when the footage was taken. None of the passengers was strapped in or wearing safety helmets. He is accused of having no insurance for his quad bike and trailer and of using a motor vehicle or trailer on the road where its use could involve danger of injury to a person. On 16/4/08 Soames was summoned to Crawley magistrates however the case was adjourned until 14/5/08 at the request of the defence.

On 23/3/08 a man was arrested after claims the Cotswolds-based Heythrop Hunt has been intimidating hunting monitors. An undercover BBC TV team has handed footage filmed to the police, amid further allegations that the hunt continues to catch foxes illegally. The film-makers spent a month earlier this year watching hunt monitors as they followed a number of different hunts across the county. On one occasion monitor Penny Little is filming hounds from the Heythrop Hunt when a quad bike appears, her car door is kicked closed, and a man threatens her. It is believed the incident resulted in the single arrest made so far. Joint Master of the hunt, Liz Wills said the monitors were an unnecessary irritant for the hunt. She said: "We find it very, very intrusive and I'm not surprised that temperatures do get raised sometimes."

On the 1/4/08 The Irish Masters of Foxhounds Association (IMFHA) suspended the Avondhu Foxhounds of Co Cork and the Ormond, of Co Tipperary after allegations of maltreatment of a fox. The IMFHA met to discuss the alleged behaviour of members of the Avondhu Foxhounds during a joint meet with the Coniston Foxhounds, a pack visiting from Cumbria, and the Ormond. The allegations came from within the Avondhu Hunt. "We were informed by a member of the hunt that other members of the hunt did something they disapproved of," said Mr Munn. He would not elaborate further on the allegations, except to say that he believes only the Avondhu was involved in the alleged cruelty.

On 3/4/08 three hunt supporters were cleared of robbing two hunt sabs of their camcorders at a meet of the Hampshire Hunt. At Winchester Crown Court Peter Bogris (30) of Petersfield, George Juer (26) of Alton, and Wayne Spencer (40) Billingshurst, West Sussex, all cleared of robbery and affray. The prosecution alleged that the trio took the cameras by force as the two sabs were surrounded by hunt followers on a path.

Otis FerryOtis Ferry (25) of Keeper's Cottage, Eaton Mascott, Shrewsbury is the master of the South Shropshire Hunt and was charged on 17/4/08 with attacking and robbing two women anti-fox hunt monitors. Another man is said to have broken a window of the women's car and hit one with a radio antenna he snapped off the roof. They then apparently rode off on their horses as police were called. The women, who had been watching for illegal fox hunting, had to be treated for shock and bruising. One of the alleged victims, said: "He seemed to come out of nowhere and was shouting. He tried to pull me out of the car by the arm but I was still strapped in. The camera fell into the footwell and he grabbed it. "Then he pulled the keys out of the ignition and we had a tug of war over them. "My fingers were hurting and it was only later I found my arm was bruised where he grabbed me." Ferry had been riding with the Heythrop Hunt and will appear before Cheltenham magistrates charged with robbery and common assault in May.

Two men have been made the subject of an Anti-Social Behaviour Order to stop them hare coursing near Boston. Kevin Nicholson (41) of Surtees Street, Darlington, and Mark Nicholson (43) of Kildale Moor Place, Darlington, were both fined £500 and ordered to pay £35 costs and a £15 surcharge when they appeared before Skegness magistrates on 23/4/08. Both admitted trespassing in pursuit of game. They both have previous convictions for hare coursing. The Judge also made them subject to an ASBO for 12 months prohibiting them from being in possession of any lurcher-type dog within Lincolnshire. At the same hearing, Gary Hodgson, of Eden Mount, Kirbythorpe, Cumbria, admitted an identical offence. He was fined £250 with £35 costs and a £15 surcharge.

Four men who were caught hare coursing have been ordered to pay fines and court costs totalling almost £2,800. The four pleaded guilty to hare coursing at Peterborough magistrates on 24/4/08. Steven White (39) from Bilsden, Shropshire, was fined £750 and ordered to pay court costs of £75. Jonathon Smith (20) from Bilsden, Shropshire, was fined £600 and ordered to pay court costs of £75. Kevin Hall (30) from Bilsden, Shropshire, was fined £750 and ordered to pay court costs of £75. A 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named, was fined £375 and ordered to pay court costs of £75. All four men were also disqualified from driving for three months.


Dogfighting and Pit Bulls

Daniel TateDaniel Tate of George Street, Redcar set his illegal pit bull terrier on a smaller dog in the vicious “training session”, magistrates in Middlesbrough were told on 18/1/08. He was sent to a young offenders’ institution for five months after vile images were shown the court. Tate said to have previous convictions for sex offences - pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal by causing it to fight and being in possession of an illegal dog. He also admitted failure to comply with his notification requirements as a registered sex offender after he received an 18 month community order for a conviction in March, 2007. Tate was locked up for five months for the RSPCA matters and given a six month conditional discharge for failing to notify police of a change of address. The pit bull was also confiscated and Tate was banned from keeping any animals for 10 years. James Harland (20) formerly of King Street, South Bank, is currently wanted on a warrant not backed by bail, the court was told.

Six people were arrested and 14 dogs seized during raids to combat dog fighting in Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Hertfordshire. Police and RSPCA officers seized five pit-bull dogs from two properties in Ragnall, Notts, on 10/4/08. Two injured dogs and one dead pit-bull were among eight recovered from two addresses in Grantham and Kexby, Lincs. One dog was seized in Anstey, Herts. Four men and two women were arrested in connection with dog fighting. Officers said dog fighting paraphernalia including treadmills used to improve the animals' fitness were also recovered. The raids were part of the RSPCA's Operation Cannon.

An underground “vet” who used superglue to seal the wounds suffered by pit bulls in back street brawls was jailed for 18 weeks on 15/4/08. Clayton Beard (24) of Cannon Street, Ryecroft, Walsall known in the area as the “dog man,” was also banned from owning any pets for life. Beard had three dogs in his possession when RSPCA inspectors swooped on his Walsall home magistrates heard. Magistrates also ordered two dogs, currently in the care of the RSPCA, to be destroyed immediately. A treadmill and other equipment was found at Beard’s home while one dog, called Lee, had suffered 70 wounds. Another two animals also had 35 wounds and 24 wounds each. Beard forced them through a cruel daily training schedule, Walsall magistrates was told. Beard admitted owning two male and one female pit bulls, causing unnecessary suffering to one of the dogs called Lee, possessing animal fighting equipment and keeping or training the dogs for fighting purposes.


Eggs/Birds

On 23/12/07 two men were charged in connection with the massacre of 52 Red-footed Falcons Falco vespertinus in the Phasouri area of Cyprus. The accused, from the Limassol area, pleaded not guilty to the charges. The court set the first hearing for the trial for 8/1/08.

Gregory WhealOn 3/1/08 a man once described as Britain's most convicted wild egg collector jailed for six months. Gregory Wheal (44) of Isambard Drive, Longford, Coventry, admitted possessing raven and peregrine falcon eggs at a previous hearing. Wheal has eight previous convictions for egg theft and this is his second prison sentence. Magistrates rejected an application for an Anti-Social Behaviour Order which would stop him visiting nesting sites. Wheal had also pleaded guilty at Coventry magistrates to owning egg collection equipment. The court heard that Wheal, whose convictions stretch back to 1987, was arrested after four peregrine falcon eggs and six ravens' eggs were found in a bedroom at his home. Climbing irons were also found although Wheal, who represented himself in court, said he had not used them for many years. Previous convictions.

James McDougal is the first UK landowner to be hit with the fine for an environmental crime on his estate. George Aitken (56) who works as a gamekeeper on Blythe Farm near Lauder in Berwickshire, set traps holding live pigeons and placed dead pheasants laced with poisons on moorland close to the Southern Upland Way. He pleaded guilty to eight wildlife crime offences at Selkirk Sheriff Court in June 2007 and was sentenced to 220 hours community service. It has now been revealed that The Scottish Government docked £7919 from Aitken's employer for failing to protect local wildlife.

Stephen Carruth (39) of Peareth Hall Road, Springwell Village, Washington has been banned from keeping birds after catching magpies in an illegally-sized trap. Carruth who is also the director of Northern Health Care, built the Larsen trap after claiming the magpies were scaring off songbirds. Sunderland magistrates heard on 1/3/08 how the RSPCA visited his home and found four live magpies and one dead in the chicken wire and wood trap. The RPSCA prosecutor said the birds were emaciated with ulcers on their beaks. No food, water or shelter had been provided for them. One of the birds later died and another two had to be destroyed. Carruth pleaded guilty to an offence of intentionally killing a wild bird, and two further offences. Carruth admitted building the trap but told RSPCA inspectors he did not have the "stamina" to kill the birds and was waiting for someone to do it. Magistrates banned Carruth from keeping birds for three years, fined him £500 and ordered he pay £400 costs, plus £15.50 for photography costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

The trial of a man accused of wildlife offences was halted on 3/3/08 - because the judge made regular donations to the RSPB. John Doddsworth (48) of Rodin Avenue, South Shields, appeared before Newcastle Crown Court charged with buying stuffed animals and possessing a range of birds' eggs. But the trial was cut short after the judge declared he had previously has a subscription with the bird charity. Doddsworth faces six charges. A new trial date is yet to be set.

Tripp IsenhourTripp Isenhour (39) was charged on 5/3/08 with cruelty to animals and killing a migratory bird after hitting a hawk with a golf shot because it was making noise as he videotaped a TV show. Isenhour whose real name is John Henry Isenhour III, became angry while filming "Shoot Like A Pro" when a squawking red-shouldered hawk forced another take. He got in his golf cart and drove closer to the bird, then 300m away, and starting hitting balls at it. The bird didn't move and Isenhour gave up and drove away. Isenhour started again when the hawk moved within about 75m, Isenhour allegedly said, "I'll get him now," and aimed for the hawk. About the sixth ball came very near the bird's head, and Isenhour was very excited that it was so close. A few shots later, witnesses said he hit the hawk. The bird, protected as a migratory species, fell to the ground bleeding from both nostrils.

George HunterGeorge Hunter (34) of 8 West Court, Edinburgh, kept a bird of prey in a dog kennel in his city flat and fed it on biscuits, Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard on 22/3/08. The young buzzard was thin and had damaged its wings from flapping inside the portable kennel. Hunter pleaded guilty to having a live wild bird, a buzzard, in his possession and also admitted failing to provide appropriate care for the bird. He will be sentenced in April after background reports.

Richard PearsonOn 1/4/08 Richard Pearson (41) of Phelps Place, Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, was jailed for 23 weeks. At Skegness magistrates Pearson admitted five charges of illegally stealing and possessing the eggs - one of the largest hauls ever recovered. In addition to the jail sentence, Pearson was ordered to pay costs of £1,500. Pearson had admitted stealing five chough eggs and three peregrine falcon eggs. He also admitted stealing four barn owl eggs. Pearson pleaded not guilty to charges relating to the possession of 21 dead birds and egg collecting paraphernalia that was found at his home. When police officers and inspectors from the RSPB raided his home they discovered 7,130 eggs, 653 of which were from the most protected species in the UK. Officers also found dozens of data cards and diaries, detailing where and when he had found the eggs. They also seized items including a rubber dinghy, waders, climbing spikes, syringes, cameras and satellite navigation systems.


Equine

A pensioner who admitted causing unnecessary suffering to donkeys he kept in a Shropshire field was banned from owning any equine animals for the rest of his life. Michael McAleer (72) of Saltbrook Road, Halesowen pleaded guilty to two charges of causing suffering to three donkeys which were kept at Townsend Farm, Alveley. McAleer admitted he had failed to provide routine farrier treatment for the animals. He also failed to provide veterinary treatment for their lameness. Magistrates sitting in Telford on 5/1/08 told McAleer the offences were serious but said they would not send him to prison because of his age and his early guilty pleas. They gave him a three-year supervision order and banned him from keeping equine animals for life. They also ordered that the donkeys be given to the RSPCA for rehoming and told McAleer to pay £2,333 court costs.

Debra GreenOn 6/3/08 Debra Green (41) and her daughter Michelle (19) both of Lime Kiln Lane, Holbury, Michelle Greenwere convicted of four offences of causing unnecessary suffering to animals. At New Forest magistrates the court heard how two horses were among about 40 horses and ponies kept in a field. They were among the victims of a bacterial infection that swept through the herd, killing at least 17 of the animals. The court also heard that a total of 17 animals were shot and that another 12 had already died. On 20/3/08 they were both disqualified from keeping horses and ponies for ten years, ordered to do 300 hours of unpaid work and told to pay £2,500 towards the prosecution costs.

A man responsible for the drowning of a pony at the Appleby Horse Fair in Cumbria was jailed for 42 days on 13/3/08 by Carlisle magistrates. Ian Deer (21) of Seven Sisters Road, Tottenham, London, bought the pony on the day of the fair, before taking it to the River Eden as part of a ritual washing event. Magistrates heard he had little or no experience with horses or ponies and the animal drowned after he lost control of it in the water. He earlier admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a pony. Deer was sentenced to 28 days for animal cruelty, to run consecutively with a 14 day sentence for a breach of bail conditions.

A teenager who laughed while repeatedly throwing a meat cleaver at a horse was sent to a young offenders institute for five months. Matthew Corfield (19) of Higgs Road, Wednesfield, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to an animal but said he did not know why he did it. The mare's leg was broken in the attack and it was put down, Cannock magistrates heard on 13/3/08. Alex Lister (19) of Olinthus Avenuem, Wednesfield, who insisted he had only chased the horse, admitted the same charge and was given a 12-month community order and 180 hours' community service. Corfield had thrown the meat cleaver at the horse up to five times.

Jamie GrayOn the 17/3/08 five people have been charged with animal cruelty over the discovery of scores of neglected horses, ponies and donkeys on a Buckinghamshire farm. RSPCA staff and vets removed 125 animals from Spindle Farm, Hyde Heath in Amersham. James Gray (44), Julie Gray (40), Jodie Gray (25), Cordelia Gray (19) and a boy of 15, all from Spindle Farm, are due before Oxford magistrates on 27/3/08. The accused face a total of 12 charges under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. James Gray appeared in court in February charged with three offences related to alleged offences. He denied charges of assault and obstructing a police officer in a case which was adjourned until 9/5/08.


Assorted

A County Antrim man has been banned from keeping pigeons for five years after being found guilty of keeping birds in cruel conditions. Only 29 of 130 birds kept in a loft owned by William James Greenwood of Millfield, Ballymena, were found alive by USPCA officers. Ballymena magistrates heard on 17/1/08 the animals had been locked in the loft for weeks without food or water. Greenwood was also bound over for two years on a surety of £1,000.

A Carlisle abattoir and its owner were fined £2,350 for failing to operate within regulations. West Scottish Lamb at Kingstown and its owner Charles Kirkpatrick were also ordered to pay costs of £4,800 after a trial at Carlisle magistrates on 17/1/08. The abattoir was convicted of failing to slaughter a cow aged over thirty months in the correct way. A similar offence committed two weeks earlier, was admitted. The slaughter house was also found guilty of killing cows without ear tags and passports during the same two months. Kirkpatrick was found guilty of failing to comply with regulations during the slaughter of cattle for human consumption. He was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £1,600 in costs for allowing the slaughter of an animal without an ear tag. There was a similar conviction for an animal killed with no passport. Kirkpatrick said he was considering appealing.

A Carlisle abattoir and its owner have been fined £2,350 for failing to operate within regulations. West Scottish Lamb at Kingstown and its owner Charles Kirkpatrick were also ordered to pay costs of £4,800 after a trial at Carlisle magistrates on 17/1/08. The abattoir was convicted of failing to slaughter a cow aged over thirty months in the correct way. A similar offence committed two weeks earlier, was admitted. The slaughter house was also found guilty of killing cows without ear tags and passports during the same two months. Kirkpatrick was found guilty of failing to comply with regulations during the slaughter of cattle for human consumption. He was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £1,600 in costs.

A Poultry company was fined for illegally transporting animals in crates, some of which were dead. A vehicle owned by Naik Halal Poultry Limited, Castleton, Newport contained a number of poultry crates, and in these crates were hens, some of which were already dead. Four crates were opened and each one was counted to ascertain how many birds had been loaded per crate. After a number of dead birds were removed it was established that in each crate there were 18 animals, three more than the recommended official guidance. In total 1,100 animals had been transported from Tiverton in Devon to Newport, 609 had died before the end of the journey. Naik Halal Poultry Limited appeared before Abergavenny magistrates on 30/1/08 where they entered a guilty plea in respect of the charge that they caused animals undue suffering. They were fined £3000 and were ordered to pay costs of £450.

A fishing fleet boss who worked out of Cumbrian ports was fined nearly £500,000 after being snared in an operation against illegal catches. Thomas Nicholson (44) was discovered making dozens of landings at Workington and Whitehaven where not all the fish caught were declared. Nicholson's company TN Trawlers is based at Newbie, near Annan, admitted exceeding fishing quotas and was ordered to pay £499,000 on behalf of himself and his firm. A total of £472,000 was seized after he and his company admitted 26 offences which breach EEC regulations governing the recording of information of catches of specified species of fish. The other £27,000 is made up of a fine imposed by Newcastle Crown Court on 21/2/08 as well as costs. And if the figure is not paid within six months, Nicholson could be jailed for up to three years. Nicholson and his company both have previous convictions for similar offending, the court heard.

Christopher DavidsonChristopher Davidson (18) of Fifth Avenue, Stobhill, Morpeth got a sick kick from biting a pigeon’s head off as a friend recorded its death on his mobile phone. At Bedlington magistrates on 1/3/08 Davidson, who also uses the name of Lumsden, admitted a charge of killing a protected wild bird. The case was adjourned after calling for pre-sentence reports.

A worker at Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) escaped a driving ban after telling a court that taxi drivers were not keen to pick up passengers from his workplace, because they might be targeted by animal rights activists. James Lemmon (36) of Queen Street, March a principal team leader, also told Wisbech magistrates on 6/3/08 that other people relied on him taking them to work. Lemmon had admitted driving carelessly in March when he collided with a motorcyclist. With nine points already on his driving licence, Lemmon could have been banned from the road for six months. However Lemmon was fined £250 with £60 costs and a £15 surcharge, and put five more points on his licence.

Undercover video of sickened cows, too weak to walk, being jabbed with forklift blades, kicked, shocked and even sprayed in the face with powerful jets of water by workers was filmed at Hallmark Meat Packing Company in Chino, California. One of two men caught on videotape apparently abusing cattle was sentenced to six months in jail. Rafael Sanchez Herrera (34) pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of animal abuse in a San Bernardino County Superior Court on 22/3/08. Under the plea deal the 34-year-old Sanchez will be deported to his native Mexico after serving jail time.

A cattle transport driver Michael Bates of Great Oakley, Northamptonshire, admitted repeatedly striking a helpless animal. On 15/4/08 Bedford magistrates heard that Bates was driving a van that was transporting cattle to Dawn Meats in Cardington. While loading the animals, trading standard officers and the official veterinary surgeon witnessed Bates repeatedly striking one animal on the head and face with a 3ft wooden stick. The court was also told that Bates ignored requests to stop and struck the animal a further two times. Bates was conditionally charged for 12 months and ordered to pay £300 costs.

Michael Jukes and Daniel Buck Two men who swam in the sea with a dolphin after a night out were found guilty of harassing the animal. Michael Jukes (27) from Castle Hill Avenue, Folkestone and Daniel Buck (26) from Church Road, Folkestone, were found guilty of intentionally or recklessly disturbing a wild animal.On 17/4/08 Dover magistrates heard they had touched and stroked Dave the dolphin. They were each ordered to carry out 120 hours community service. A lack of recent sightings has led to speculation that Dave, who was actually female, has now died. Buck admitted during the trial he was pulled along by the dolphin after he grabbed its fin. Jukes said he had stroked its belly. Both were also ordered to pay £350 costs.


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

John Neville DriverOn 3/1/08 John Neville Driver (60) of Memorial Farm, in Norwich Road, Mendlesham was fined on 3/1/08 £7,000 for storing pesticides in an unlocked barn used to keep animals and causing unnecessary suffering to four of his calves. However he was not banned from keeping animals. Driver pleaded guilty to the offences at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court on 5/12/07. Driver was also ordered to pay £1,250 for the unnecessary suffering charge, £750 for the unsafe storing of pesticides and half of the £10,000 court costs.

Greg ColeGreg Cole (18) of Bartwood Lane, Pontshill, Ross-on-Wye is now banned from keeping animals for five years and was fined £600 after throwing a cat from a 10ft balcony into a car park below. The whole disgusting act was captured on video by Cole's 17-year-old accomplice and then sent to all his friends as a sick joke. The video clearly shows the pair laughing hysterically as they watch the defenceless animal plunge to an unknown fate. At Hereford magistrates on 8/1/08 Cole hung his head in shame as the video was played. Cole was given a £600 fine for causing unnecessary harm to the cat and is banned from owning any animal for five years. He was also charged £400 costs and £15 victim surcharge. The video was filmed on a mobile phone by a 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons. He is also banned from keeping animals for five years and was given a referral order for eight months.

Roger BakerA Cornish farmer, once jailed for plunging an animal welfare officer into a slurry pit, has been jailed for six months for mistreating his animals. Roger Baker (63) from Ventongimps, near Truro, was convicted of two offences of cruelty to sheep. He was sentenced at Truro magistrates on 25/1/08. Baker has numerous previous convictions on animal cruelty. Both of the latest offences related to unnecessary suffering of sheep which were not given prompt, effective treatment for conditions they were suffering with. In 2004 he was jailed for two years for plunging an animal health inspector and a vet into a slurry pit on his land the previous year. In 1999, he was jailed for five-and-a-half months for abusing dozens of animals and was banned for life from keeping livestock.

Thady Hanrahan (30) of Lackendara, Anglesboro, Limerick appeared at Mitchelstown District Court on 24/1/08 charged with permitting cattle to remain unburied and cruelty to animals. Hanrahan was convicted on both counts, fined €1,000 and given a three-month suspended jail sentence.

On 29/2/08 a Scottish rural affairs civil servant was accused of starving to death more than 50 lambs on his farm. Andrew Struthers (48) of Kettleshill Farm, West Linton, Peeblesshire is claiming his human rights were breached when animal welfare investigators raided his fields claiming they did not obtain search warrants. He is accused of two charges of causing unnecessary suffering by failing to supply food for the lambs, and failing to dispose of their carcasses.

A Co. Tipperary farmer accused of multiple counts of animal cruelty, asked the Judge to remove herself from the case because he claims he cannot get a fair trial. John Burke (52) Duncummin House, Emly, Co Tipperary, is facing 22 charges relating to the mistreatment of animals on lands he leased in Baggotstown Co Tipperary. The allegations concern some 1,200 sheep and 200 cattle and include allegations of allowing carcasses to go unburied, cruelty to animals, including starvation, and failing to inspect other animals in his stock. Burke claimed that Judge Mary O’Halloran had made comments at a previous sitting of Bruff District Court, which led him to believe that he would not receive a fair trial. The case, has already been adjourned 18 times, did not proceed because seven witnesses who had been subpoenaed by the defence, failed to appear in court. The case was adjourned for hearing to 5/6/08.

Francis BeavisOn 19/3/08 the police arrested farmer Francis Beavis (67) of Hill Farm, Oxenton, Gloucestershire in a dramatic raid on his farm. On 14/3/08 Beavis' daughter Annika, who was looking after the farm in trust during her father's ban, was herself banned from keeping animals for five years and fined £10,000 after she was found guilty of 10 charges of neglecting her cattle. Three members of the Beavis family were convicted of neglect or cruelty to animals. Beavis was jailed last June for cruelty to animals after he mistreated a calf in his care. He also received jail sentences for allowing mature bulls to mate with young female cows too small to cope with the weight, and repeatedly ignored a Defra order banning him from keeping livestock. His wife, Inger (64) was fined for her part in the cruelty to the calf, which had an untreated infection, leading to his eyeballs exploding. Both were banned in June 2007 from keeping livestock for 15 years. The pair escaped jail in 2006 after admitting 13 cruelty charges, including causing unnecessary suffering and allowing natural breeding likely to cause injury. They were banned from keeping livestock for 10 years and fined £56,550. Beavis was branded "pig-headed" by a judge in 2002 after being found guilty of seven charges, which included animal cruelty. He was threatened with an Asbo in September 2006 after allowing his animals to escape. Beavis was first banned from keeping sheep for 10 years and pigs for five years in 2001 after he admitted causing unnecessary suffering to them.

Farmer Arfon Jones (73) of Llystyn Gwyn, Bryncir, Gaerndolbenmaen, Gwynedd was been banned from keeping cattle, sheep and pigs for an indefinite period after pleading guilty to 13 charges relating to cruelty to animals, failure to dispose of animal carcasses, failure to apply identity tags to cattle and failure to notify the authorities of the death of cattle. At a North Wales court on 31/3/08 Jones was also jailed for 8 months after pleading guilty to charges of cruelty to cattle and sheep. The judge suspended the sentence for 12 months. The court heard animal carcasses were found in fields and had not been removed as required by law.


Domestic

Kevin Leslie HallKevin Leslie Hall (21) admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a cat after he kicked it into a hedge was banned from keeping animals for a year. When he appeared at Peterlee magistrates on 8/1/08 for sentencing, Hall also learnt of his fate for causing mayhem when he arrived at a party, tried to take a car to buy booze and attacked a woman. Hall had admitted to the assault but denied aggravated taking a vehicle without consent and causing an accident, drink-driving and driving without insurance, but they were proved at trial. Hall was given 12-month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work, and ordered to pay £150 towards the RSPCA's £1,500 court costs. He was also banned from driving for 20 months.

Gary Childe (43) of Worth Crescent, Stourport shot his dog four times after hitting it with a saucepan was sentenced to four months in jail for causing "incredible cruelty" to his dog. Childe returned home from the pub to find his pet Weimaraner dog shaking and having a fit in the back garden. Childe claimed he was trying to put the dog "out of its misery" when he hit it twice with a saucepan. When that did not work, he shot it four times with a 22 calibre air rifle, owned by his partner's father. After attacking the dog, he placed the gun in the shed and put the saucepan back into the cupboard, magistrates heard on 10/1/08. The dog was put to sleep after Childe told a vet it had been attacked by his other dog while it was fitting. Magistrates sentenced him to four months in jail and ordered his complete disqualification and ban from keeping an animal for life.

Harold Foster (70) of West Road, Longhorsley was found guilty of animal cruelty at Alnwick magistrates on 11/1/08. Foster kicked a 14-year-old Jack Russell Terrier on her belly forcing her to fly through the air and land 10ft away. Foster will appear before magistrates on 6/2/08 for sentencing.

A couple who killed their dog by leaving it inside a car for six hours on a scorching summer's day walked free from court on 12/1/08. Darren Dennison (37) of Leybrook Road, Benchill, Manchester and Pauline Millar (42) were given three-month suspended prison sentences and six-month curfew orders by Manchester magistrates. Both of them pleaded guilty and were also banned from keeping any animals for life. Dennison and Millar were convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and of failing to meet an animal's needs by providing a suitable environment; plus an offence under the Bail Act. Both must each pay £500 costs and will be tagged to ensure they stay home between 8pm and 7am.

Darren Dennison Pauline Millar
Darren Dennison Pauline Millar

Stephanie Davis and Shane Power both aged 26 were not allowed to keep animals because they starved their pet dog have now been banned from doing so for another 10 years after the RSPCA discovered three cats at their Black Country home. Davis and Power were given a 10-year ban in January 2005 for neglecting three-year-old German Shepherd. At the time the Walsall couple admitted one count of causing unnecessary suffering to Stephanie Davis and Shane Powerthe dog and were each given a 10-year ban on keeping any kind of animal. But the couple were back at Walsall magistrates on 15/1/08 where they both admitted breaching that ban. Davis was banned from keeping animals for 10 years, starting from 14/1/08 and told to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work for the community. She was also told to pay court costs of £220. Power was told he must complete a two-and-a-half year supervision order which will address his substance abuse. He was also given a 10-year ban on keeping animals and told to pay court costs of £220.

A dog starved by its owner had to be put down because it had become so aggressive around food. Wirral magistrates heard on 16/1/08 Christopher McGinn (20) of Peel Avenue, Birkenhead, admit causing unnecessary suffering to an animal. The court also heard he had failed to turn up to three out of six previous hearings. McGinn was banned from owning any animal for 10 years and he was sentenced to 250 hours of unpaid community work and to contribute £1,500 to costs.

RSPCA officers had to peel animal corpses from their hutches after discovering 31 dead pets in a garden shed, Medway magistrates heard on 24/1/08. Magistrates were told how inspectors, tipped off by an anonymous phone call, found bodies of neglected rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters in and under hutches, in plastic containers and bags in a shed in belong to Susan Tytheridge (47) of Adelaide Road, Gillingham. Tytheridge pleaded not guilty to 11 charges of causing unnecessary suffering to animals, and said she sold the animals, hutches and shed to Jack Parks, from Sittingbourne. Having closed her animal breeding business, she claimed she gave Parks keys to the premises and that they had both agreed he would care for the animals until he had removed them all. Parks was never found. Tytheridge was found guilty on ten of the charges and the case was adjourned until 21/2/08 for pre-sentence reports.

Sylvia Elliot and her daughter Sheila from Hyde Meadows, Bovingdon faced a total of 21 charges for animal cruelty including docking the tails of Boxer puppies. Sheila (26) is facing 12 charges of permitting tail docking, permitting unnecessary suffering, permitting the failure to meet the welfare needs of the dogs and failing to provide for their welfare. Her mum Sylvia (60) is charged with nine offences of illegal tail docking, causing unnecessary suffering to the dogs through tail docking and failing to meet the welfare needs of the dogs. They both appeared before Hemel Hempstead magistrates on 25/1/08. They will appear again at the same court on 8/2/08, when they are expected to give pleas to the charges.

Brothers Shaun (20) and Craig Denton (22) both of Withins Close, Breightmet, Bolton allowed the health of their family pet cat to deteriorate so badly that vets had to put it down. Bolton magistrates heard on 28/1/08 the cat was suffering from cancer, had open wounds and was infested with fleas. The cat also had cancer, which was no longer treatable. Craig Denton pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the animal. He was banned from keeping animals for five years, given a community order for 12 months and ordered to pay £575 in costs. Shaun Denton was found guilty in his absence and also failed to attend the latest hearing to receive his sentence. A warrant has now been issued for his arrest.

A man who threw a hamster in a cage out of a third floor window was jailed for 12 months on 29/1/08. Andrew Thompson (20) of Oakfield Drive, Dumfries, was found guilty of the offence, he was also found guilty of smashing items of furniture and attempting to strike a policeman with a knife. The court had been told how he threw the hamster - which subsequently died - out of the window. The Sheriff jailed him for a year but backdated the sentence to mid-October when he was taken into custody.

Steven GordonSteven Gordon (20) from Possilpark, Glasgow helped tie a hamster to a firework before the fuse was lit and it was fired into the air was found guilty of animal cruelty. Gordon was among a group of friends who filmed themselves torturing the animal on mobile phones in 2005. Gordon was convicted after trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court on 31/1/08. His lawyer told the trial that the police had got the "wrong man." But officers easily identified Gordon in the dock, with PC John Murray saying he stood out because of his "mouse-like features and big ears." In the 90-second video footage that was shown to the court, Gordon and his friends could be heard loudly laughing and joking as he tips the terrified hamster out of a box. On 5/3/08 he was sentenced to 220 hours community service.

Julian Mead (24) of Broad Eadow Road, Bulwell, beat a cat for 15 minutes, Nottingham Crown Court heard. It was later found dumped in a bin by an RSPCA inspector. On 5/2/08 Mead was jailed for six months at Nottingham magistrates. He claimed he killed the cat to put it out of its misery after it was bitten by his dog. Magistrates jailed him for 120 days for killing the cat and a further 60 days for breaching a community order. He was also handed a life-long ban from keeping animals. Mead had allegedly thrown the cat out of a first floor window after it had defecated on a pillow. But he denied the allegation. The court heard that Mead had previous convictions which included possession of a meat cleaver. A 17-year-old who was also arrested in connection with the cat's death failed to turn up at Nottingham Youth Court. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

A dog breeder fed raw meat and bones to a pack of 22 dogs he kept in near total darkness and forced to sleep in their own excrement. The carcasses of several dead rabbits, which were being used as toys and food for the dogs, were also found scattered throughout the house, Hastings Magistrates' Court were told on 8/2/08. Tony Sims (31) of London Road, Hailsham, bred boxers and rottweilers from his home - forcing the animals to live without light for much of the time. He faces nine separate charges of animal cruelty, relating to 16 puppies and six bitches. The court was told that Sims cut the tails off the newborn puppies but did such a poor job the animals were left in agony with segments of bone left protruding, surrounded only by raw flesh. Sims, who is representing himself in court, denies all the charges against him. The case continues.

Kevin Matthews (43) of Paradise Place, Norwich allowed his two pets to suffer in pain for two weeks without seeking veterinary treatment. The dogs were left with infected muscle tissue hanging from their jaws after a fight at their owner's home. On 14/2/08 Matthews appeared at Norwich magistrates after pleading guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and failing to provide appropriate veterinary treatment for severe facial injuries and he was jailed for 12 weeks. Matthews was also disqualified from keeping dogs for 10 years, although the order can be overturned within five years.

William CannonA couple couple who kept 40 cats and dogs caged in their caravan home have been jailed. William Cannon (47) and Angela Edwards (50) pleaded guilty to 15 charges of animal cruelty at a hearing held at Halifax magistrates on 18/2/08. The court heard how seven dogs and 34 cats were found living with the couple in a two-birth caravan. Both were jailed for four months and banned from keeping animals for life. All the animals were treated at a RSPCA shelter and later re-homed.

A kennel boss has been found guilty of animal cruelty and of running dog kennels without a licence. Janice Harston (59) of Millfield Road, Horbury Junction, has been banned from running a boarding home for animals for 12 months by Wakefield magistrates on 27/2/08. Harston was fined a total of £400 and ordered to pay £500 costs. Her partner Ralph Fawcett (58), was cleared of two charges of causing unnecessary suffering after magistrates ruled Harston was primarily responsible Fawcett, also of Millfield Road, was convicted of the kennel offence and fined £100 with £500 costs. He was also given a 12-month boarding ban.

Daniel O'Rourke (18) of Highfield Avenue, Lincoln tortured a guinea pig with a makeshift flame-thrower has been warned he faces a prison sentence. O'Rourke used a lighter and a can of aerosol to shoot a flame at the animal. He also filmed the attack on a mobile phone. Lincoln magistrates heard on 3/3/08 the guinea pig survived but suffered burns. O'Rourke admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the guinea pig. He will be sentenced in April. He also admitted four offences of injuring, killing or causing distress to chickens, at allotments.

On 4/3/08 a cat owner charged with cruelty was ordered to pay the RSPCA nearly £30,000. Victor Matevos (59) of Milton Crescent, Beaumont Leys, Leicester kept more than 30 cats at his home until they were seized from the property by animal welfare officers after a vet said they were suffering. Magistrates granted the RSPCA permission to re-home animals seized from his house. Matevos has been banned for life from keeping animals and will also appear in court to face six cruelty. Finding the case proven, the magistrates ordered Matevos to pay full costs. These are £23,632.26 for boarding the cats, £5,894.94 veterinary expenses and £750 towards legal costs - a total £29,534.70. Matevos, who gave no plea, was removed from court after abusing the magistrates, legal adviser and prosecutor. He claimed he had not been allowed to see prosecution statements and other evidence, had been denied diabetes medication for two days and called the hearing "a shambles and a charade." His request for the hearing to be adjourned was turned down and he was remanded in custody.

Kevin Ward (51) of Bollington Road, Miles Platting, kept German Shepherd pups at Edge Lane allotments, Droylsden they were so hungry they had eaten wood shavings coated in their own diarrhoea from the base of the cramped cage they were trapped in. On 12/3/08 he pleaded guilty to six charges of animal cruelty. The case was adjourned until 26/3/08 for reports and Ward was given unconditional bail.

Hailsham dog breeder Tony Sims (31) of London Road is accused of forcing 20 animals to live in their own excrement and docking the tails of puppies is standing trial at Hastings magistrates on 18/3/08. Sims, who bred boxers and rottweilers at his home also fed raw rabbit meat to the dogs because he considered it a 'natural diet'. He denies nine separate charges of animal cruelty and the case continues.

Martin McNaughtOn 20/3/08 Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how Martin McNaught (29) of Gilmour Street, Southside kicked his ex-girlfriend's Welsh springer spaniel around a crowded beach. He was found guilty of causing the animal unnecessary suffering and was jailed for three months.

On 27/3/08 Tracey Stutchfield (31) of Eden Avenue, Fleetwood, was accused of cruelty to four dogs and three puppies when appearded at Blackpool magistrates. The case was adjourned until 9/4/08.

On 1/4/08 Julian Mead (24) admitted helping to kill a cat after it defecated on a quilt. The attack on the female cat was so bad its whole body was covered in bruises when it was found in a bin. The cat was also bitten by a dog which lived at the flat. CCTV images captured the attack and a teenager and Mead were arrested. The 17-year-old had previously denied the offence. The case was adjourned until April 16 for a pre-sentence report.

As Victoria Whittle (32) of Backhold Lane, Siddal, Halifax, enjoyed a Spanish holiday, her pet dogs were left alone in squalid conditions and without veterinary care. Whittle admitted animal cruelty when she appeared before Calderdale magistrates on 4/4/08.The court heard that Whittle was given a two-year conditional discharge in November 2007 for failing to provide veterinary care to another dog. Whittle was given a 12 month community order with 150 hours of unpaid work. She was also banned from keeping dogs for eight years and told to pay £250 costs.

Andrew Glazzard (41) of Falcon Way, Dudley, killed his dog by putting it in a washing machine was jailed for four months on 9/4/08 by Halesowen magistrates. Glazzard admitted causing unnecessary suffering. He told police he put the animal in the machine for a few seconds to teach her a lesson. When she came out she was wagging her tail, so he said he put her back in, switched the machine on and fell asleep. When he awoke the dog was dead. He put the body in a bag and dumped in the River Stour.

A Fleetwood woman kept dogs and three puppies in the worst conditions a vet had ever seen, Blackpool magistrates heard on 10/4/08. One puppy was dead when an RSPCA inspector called and two other puppies had to be put down. Tracey Stutchfield (31) of Eden Avenue, Fleetwood, admitted four offences of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal. She was fined £400 with £600 costs and banned from keeping a dog for 20 years.

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