Vermin Patrol 2010 - Part 1
On 15/5/09 at Halton magistrates Christopher Syze, of Moorside Court, Widnes, Cheshire, pleaded guilty to interfering with a badger sett. He received a five-month over-night curfew, was banned from keeping dogs for 10 years and ordered to pay £255 costs. Syze was arrested on suspicion of interfering with a badger sett after being found in possession of a spade and a terrier. During interview, Syze denied any involvement and claimed that his dog had accidentally gone into the sett and he was digging it out when he was arrested.
On 27/1/10 two Cumbrian men denied badger baiting in southern Scotland. Stephen Rumney, 30, from Harriston, Aspatria and Darren Williams, 38, from Brook Street, Maryport have pleaded not guilty to offences. The offences are alleged to have taken place near Lockerbie. Both were accused at Dumfries Sheriff Court of using dogs to flush out, attack and kill a badger, interfere with a badger sett by allowing a dog with a locating collar to enter the sett. Both also deny separate charges of failing to obtain adequate veterinary treatment for dogs and Rumney pleaded not guilty to abandoning a dog.
On 8/4/09 Jimmy Cash, a 45-year-old man from Lybury Lane, Redbourn, Hertfordshire pleaded guilty at Stevenage magistrates to two offences, one for hare coursing and one for poaching. Cash was fined £350 for each offence and ordered to pay £400 costs and £15 compensation.
Two men from South Shields were each jailed for five weeks after being caught shooting nesting kittiwakes at the Marsden Cliffs National Trust beauty spot. Paul Michael Reed, 27, of Halstead Place and Dane Ord, 21, of Widdrington Avenue pleaded guilty at South Tyneside magistrates on 27/11/09 to killing nine birds.
ON 3/1/10 police in a small Texan town raided an illegal cockfight, arresting 169 viewers and cock owners and seizing more than 100 roosters who were being pitted against each other to the death. As a police helicopter swooped on the fighting pit that had been erected near Poolville in northern Texas, many more spectators scattered and managed to get away. Among those arrested were up to 15 children, some as young as seven, who had been watching with their parents. Cockfighting has been criminalised in 39 states including Texas, and is a misdemeanour punishable by fines in the remaining 11, but despite these sanctions it continues to flourish.
On 7/1/10 three men from north Cumbria admitted taking part in hare coursing. Brampton man Richard Cartwright, 35, and Workington man Richard Moore, 42, and his 17-year-old son Dean were caught by police near Annan. Cartwright, of West View, Brampton, was caught at Cummertrees, near Annan, after police spotted his van going slowly, then speeding up, and they followed it. As the police car reversed, officers found a trail of seven dead hares on the roadway which had not been there one second previously. Cartwright and the Workington father and son, from Farmoss, Northside, stood together in the dock and admitted deliberately hunting two hares with two lurcher type dogs. Richard Moore also pleaded guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice in being the driver of a van which accelerated off on seeing a marked police car in an attempt to escape to dispose of evidence against him. Cartwright admitted a similar charge by throwing seven dead hares from the rear of the van in an attempt to dispose of the evidence. The two dogs had been taken into the care of the Scottish branch of the RSPCA and fiscal Pamela Rhodes pressed for their forfeiture and the van and for a ban on the men from keeping dogs. Solicitors acting for the three said the men claimed the lurchers were family pets along with other dogs and pleaded for their return pointing out that there were youngsters in the households who looked on them as pets. The case will be to the end of January.
Four men have been charged as part of a police crackdown on illegal hare coursing in the North east of Scotland. Grampian Police revealed on 12/1/10 that three men from Aberdeen, aged 16, 48 and 69, and a 22-year-old man from Montrose had been arrested following alleged hare coursing incidents at St Katherines and Clola, in Aberdeenshire.
On 14/1/10 two 17-year-old boys were ordered to do 100 hours community service for stamping a young deer to death in Dorset "for a laugh". The pair were found guilty at Poole Youth Court of killing the fawn in Upton Country Park in June. The teenagers were cleared of beating a wild mammal with intent to inflict unnecessary suffering. A 16-year-old boy was cleared of both charges. The boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were also given a 12-month community rehabilitation orders and each told to pay £1,000, at £20 a week, to cover prosecution costs and vet bills.
A Hailsham man was ordered to pay £450 and been banned from driving for six months after admitting trespassing in pursuit of game in Cambridgeshire. Aaron Gardener, 28, was one of three men who were found with two dogs and a dead hare in a car near Sterling Farm in Swaffham Prior, east of Cambridge. Gardener, George Stevens, 21, from Romford and Gordon Thompson, 56, of Croydon, all pleaded guilty on 20/1/10. They were each fined £350 with a £15 victim surcharge and £85 costs. They were seen driving away from a car park and were stopped by officers. A search of the vehicle revealed two lurcher-type dogs hidden in the boot and a dead hare under the passenger seat. Police seized the vehicle. Gardener had told police he was a rabbiting man and would never intentionally kill a hare.
On 10/2/10 a second case against South Dorset terrierman Christopher Leadbetter was dropped, the day before it was due to go to trial. The cases involved covert surveillance carried out by the League Against Cruel Sports and had already led to a review of the legitimacy of secret filming as court evidence. Leadbeater of Dorchester was due to be tried on a charge under the Badgers Act at Bournemouth magistrates. But the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) told Leadbeater's lawyers that it no longer had sufficient evidence to justify the prosecution.
A Merseyside teenager faces jail after setting packs of dogs on defenceless animals and filming them being ripped to pieces. The 17-year-old and his sick pals gleefully encouraged their lurchers to torture and kill a fox cub and family cat. The Kirkby youth and his cruel friends then revelled in the dying animals’ suffering, which was recorded on a mobile phone. In one incident, one of the mob holds the cat down with his foot as the pet is horrendously savaged. The teenager admitted animal cruelty at Huyton Youth Court on 10/2/10. The teenager was handed unconditional bail and the case was adjourned for a pre-sentence report later this month.
A greyhound trainer who kept his dogs in filthy, blood-stained kennels was given a suspended jail sentence on 22/2/10. Wirral Borough Council removed 29 dogs from a farm after earlier warning trainer Ian Street of Bedford Avenue, Rock Ferry, Birkenhead about the welfare of his animals. Many were infested with parasites, some had infected sores and others had broken tails, Wirral magistrates heard. Street, who admitted 11 charges was also banned from keeping animals for life. The court heard that Street's dogs were being kept in damaged, rusty and blood-stained wire kennels, a garden shed and a loose-run compound at the farm on Frankby Road. He was jailed for four months, suspended for one year, ordered to pay £1,000 costs and banned from keeping animals for life.
A lurcher used for illegal hare coursing was so exhausted that it had to be carried off a field, magistrates heard on 2/3/10. A police helicopter was scrambled to deal with the poachers who admitted trespassing in pursuit of game. Each of the men was fined £300, and the driver of the car that brought them to the Fens was banned from driving for six months. All four defendants, Paul Eastwood, 23, Lee Friend, 19, and William Scamp, 31, all of Orpington, and Charles Lee, 26, of Caterham, were also ordered to pay £35 costs and a £15 surcharge. Scamp was banned from driving for six months.
Joint Master of the Worcestershire Hunt allowed her mum to build a chalet on her land without planning permission so she could help protect the family’s horses from gun and knife attacks. Natasha Wheeler, 39, of Goldness Farm, Torton near Hartlebury admitted breaching an enforcement notice which asked her to remove the chalet, built on her land, when she appeared before magistrates in Worcester on 23/3/10. The court was told how Wheeler had exchanged regular correspondence with Wychavon District Council, since June 2006, Wheeler had told council officials that she planned to submit a retrospective planning application but they did not receive one. When nothing was done about the chalet and an enforcement notice was served in April 2007, Wheeler lodged an appeal but the appeal was dismissed in November 2007. A prosecution began against Wheeler in April 2009. The court was told the chalet had now been removed. Wheeler was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay costs of £982.50 and a £15 victim surcharge.
On 24/3/10 it was announced that a prominent West Country huntsman has been charged by police for breaking the Hunting Act. Richard Down, the huntsman of the Quantock Staghounds, is facing one charge under the 2004 Act in a prosecution brought by Avon and Somerset police and the Crown Prosecution Service. The alleged offence took place on what is understood to be National Trust land on the Quantocks in Somerset, next to a sanctuary owned by the League Against Cruel Sports. The prosecution is understood to have been mounted based on video evidence gathered by League monitors at a hunting meet. Down and his whipper-in were fined £500 three years ago for breaking the ban.
Also on 24/3/10 it was announced that a Mr Robinson is being prosecuted for an offence under the Hunting Act for activities in connection with the Ullswater Hunt and has been bailed to appear at Penrith Magistrates Court on 9/4/10. The alleged offence took place in October 2009 and the body of a dead fox has since been subject to a post mortem examination.
Dogfighting and Pit Bulls
A convicted dog fighter from Blackburn lost his appeal against sentence in a case brought by the RSPCA. Aftab Razzaq, 25, admitted goading and fighting his pit bull terrier-type dog with a Staffordshire bull terrier belonging to Usman Hussain in public playing fields. The pair were caught after mobile phone footage of them ‘rolling’ their dogs in broad daylight in Troy Street fields, Blackburn, was handed to police, who then contacted the RSPCA. Razzaq, of Clinton Street, Blackburn, saw his original sentence upheld when he appeared before Preston Crown Court on 21/12/09. He was originally sentenced at Blackburn Magistrates’ Court to four months in jail. Hussain, 22, of St James’s Road, Blackburn, was sentenced to three months in jail. He did not appeal against his sentence.
A warrent was issued for the arrest of a man who failed to appear in court to answer a charge of possessing an illegal pit bull type dog. Joseph McDonald, of Tyrer Road, Newton-le-Willows, has been charged with possessing a fighting dog at his home. McDonald, aged 52, who was on bail following his arrest in December, was due to appear before St Helens magistrates on 13/1/10. However, he did not attend court and a warrant was subsequently issued for his arrest.
A former Bloxwich pub licensee discovered with an illegal pitbull as police seized cannabis was hit with a bill for more than £3,000. Christopher Boffin was found with the fighting breed dog after the police visited The Leathern Bottle pub in Cresswell Crescent on an unrelated matter. There they found cannabis being cultivated and the illegal animal in a kennel. Boffin, 31, of Heather Road, Dudley Fields, Bloxwich, originally pleaded not guilty to an offence of possessing a fighting dog. He was due to face trial at Walsall magistrates on 10/2/10 but altered his plea on the basis he did not know it was a pitbull. Magistrates ordered the destruction of the dog, fined Boffin £400 and ordered he pay kennel costs of £2,218 and £620 court costs. Boffin was also given a community order for the cannabis offence at a previous hearing.
On 11/5/10 Christian Foulkes, 21, of Ash Grove, Wavertree was pleaded guilty to three counts under the Dangerous Dogs Act at Liverpool magistrates. On 1/6/10 he was jailed for four months, he also admitted owning and breeding another dog, a pitbull bitch. He was jailed for four months, concurrently, for the three charges under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
On 23/12/08 James Huston (18) of Holden Road, Prescot, Merseyside, pleaded guilty to the taking and possession of three wild sparrowhawks at Huyton magistrates. He was ordered to complete 75 hours unpaid work and pay £65 costs. Merseyside Police searched Huston’s home and found three un-ringed sparrowhawk chicks. The sparrowhawks, which were forfeited by the court, were all successfully hacked back to the wild.
On 28/5/09, Edward Alexander Lucy of Llangovan, Monmouth, Gwent pleaded guilty at Newport magistrates to the intentional killing of a wild bird. He was fined £300 and ordered to pay £45 costs. In December 2008, a YouTube internet website clip showed a man kneeling inside a crow cage trap holding several trapped crows and magpies. The male was seen swinging, in a clumsy fashion, a piece of 3" diameter heavy wooden post, aiming at the birds in an attempt to kill them. During the 1 minute 53 second clip three birds were killed with multiple blows. The remainder were terrified by the activity, flying excitedly around the enclosed space trying to avoid being hit.
On 6/8/09 John Keith Simcox of Malvern Avenue, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, and his son John Kevin Simcox of Yeomans Way, Great Sutton, Cheshire, appeared at Chester magistrates. Simcox (Snr) pleaded guilty to possessing a wild goshawk, making false representations to register the bird. He was sentenced on 9/9/09 to eight weeks in prison. His son pleaded guilty to possessing a goshawk and was given a two-year conditional discharge plus £65 costs. Simcox (Snr) is an experienced falconer, and in 1987 he took possession of a pair of goshawks that had been imported. The birds were properly ringed and registered, and he used them as a breeding pair, selling the offspring to other keepers.
On 7/8/09 Derek Shaylor of Walter Nash Road West, Kidderminster, appeared at Kidderminster magistrates charged with two offences of prohibited sale of a barn owl and a further offence of prohibited purchase of another barn owl. 51-year-old Shaylor pleaded guilty to all charges and was fined £200 for each offence, totalling £600. Magistrates also ordered the forfeit of a female barn owl that was still in his possession.
In the summer of 2009 at Leicester magistrates two fascia company contractors have pleaded guilty to intentionally destroying two house martin nests containing chicks. Scott Anthony Snowden, 39, of Fenchurch Close, Arnold, Nottinghamshire, and Sean Reek, 37, of Nelson Road, Arnold, Nottinghamshire, pleaded guilty to a joint charge of destroying two nests. Each defendant was fined £150 with £45 costs.
On 17/9/09 Paul Wilkinson, 36, of Barracks Lane in Walsall Wood, Staffordshire, appeared at South East Staffordshire magistrates and pleaded guilty to possession of four sparrowhawks and purchase of the same birds. He was sentenced to a 12-month supervision order, a 16-week 7pm to 7am curfew and £65 costs. He was also fined £50 for breaching his bail. All the birds were forfeited. Staffordshire Police searched the home of Wilkinson and seized four young sparrowhawks. A female bird was unringed, and three males were wearing oversize rings, one of which had been filed out to increase its size. Wilkinson was arrested and during interview he claimed to have bought the birds, but refused to identify the alleged seller.
An egg collector “devastated” by the confiscation of his 1,000-strong egg collection decided to amass another collection. On 14/9/09 John Dodsworth of Rodin Avenue, South Shields, Tyne and Wear, appeared at South Tyneside magistrates facing 10 charges relating to the possession of birds’ eggs and taxidermy specimens. A plea to one charge of possessing 78 birds’ eggs, including eggs of the red-throated diver, red-backed shrike and crested tit, was accepted. Dodsworth received a Community Order to undertake 100 hours of unpaid work and £300 costs. He also agreed to sign a disclaimer for 341 birds’ eggs seized. A large egg collection and a number of taxidermy specimens were seized. Following this, the police were contacted by a member of the public who wanted to hand over an egg collection he alleged he was storing on behalf of Dodsworth. This man was later cautioned regarding his possession of these eggs. In October 2008, Dodsworth appeared at Newcastle Crown Court he pleaded guilty to two charges of purchasing taxidermy specimens, but was acquitted of purchasing birds’ eggs. The court heard that Dodsworth had a similar conviction from 1998 when he was convicted of possession of nearly 1,000 birds’ eggs. Dodsworth has since indicated he intends to appeal against sentence.
John McGough, 61, of Coanwood, Haltwhistle was banned from keeping birds for a year and ordered to pay more than £10,000 costs after six canaries and two goldfinches were found dead at his home. The birds were found At Hexham magistrates on 17/2/10, McGough was banned from keeping birds, excluding poultry, for 12 months after he admitted three charges of possessing one wild-caught siskin and two bramblings, and eight counts of causing unnecessary suffering to six canaries and two goldfinches. The ban was suspended for 28 days to allow him to rehome his remaining birds. He initially denied the charges against him and claimed he had purchased the bramblings from someone just a few days before the RSPCA carried out the search. However, he was unable to provide any paperwork for the birds to prove their authenticity as legal captive bred animals. McGough also claimed the dead birds had died because of the cold weather.
On 6/1/10 an arrest warrant was issued for a Leicester man accused of having sex with a horse and a donkey, after he failed to turn up to court. Joseph Squires, 66, of Overpark Avenue, is charged with buggery of a donkey and buggery with a horse. He is also accused of criminal damage to the animals. He was due to appear at Leicester Crown Court for a plea and case management hearing. However, Squires did not attend court and it was heard he had lost touch with his solicitors. The judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest.
A farrier who failed to get vet treatment for a horse with maggot-infested injuries has been banned from keeping the animals for three years. The unregistered horseshoer was caught by RSPCA officers working at Appleby Horse Fair in Cumbria. John Harry Priestley, 42, of Middleton, Leeds admitted working illegally as a farrier and was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a horse at Carlisle magistrates on 7/2/10. He was arrested and interviewed during which he admitted working as a farrier on Fair Hill during the event without a licence. His equipment was subsequently seized by police. Priestley was sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £500 costs and had his farrier equipment confiscated.
The boss of an upmarket horse-drawn carriage company must pay £11,000 after admitting animal cruelty. John Wilmot, 68, failed to call a vet after a 10-week-old foal broke its leg. The horse hobbled around its Cheshire paddock for two weeks before the RSPCA intervened, Macclesfield magistrates heard on 16/3/10. It had trapped itself in a gate. Wilmot runs family company Dalmatian Carriages which rents horse-drawn carriages for weddings and special occasions in Prestbury. He pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to Marleen the foal by not providing veterinary care. Wilmot, of Withinlee Road, was ordered to pay £11,125 in vet and horse boarding fees and legal costs. He was also sentenced to 120 hours of community punishment. The public gallery was full of his friends and clients who handed in references on his behalf. Magistrates decided not to ban the defendant from keeping horses.
A fisherman who battered 21 seal pups to death with a wooden fence post on an uninhabited Scottish island has received an 80-day jail sentence. On 25/3/09 at Lerwick Sheriff’s Court, trawlerman Jimmy Stewart, from Symbister, Whalsay, Shetland, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to grey seals by mutilating, beating and crushing 21 pups.
On 30/6/09 Andrew Lawrence pleaded guilty at Ely magistrates to five offences relating to the construction of a track and a car parking area within an important wildlife habitat at the Cam Washes Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) near Wicken, Cambridgeshire. Lawrence received a 12-month Conditional Discharge and the court ordered that the track and car park be removed at his expense, and he was ordered to pay £1,000 costs. The court heard that Lawrence had constructed a 180m long track and car parking area and had, in the process, destroyed an area of habitat used as nesting sites for birds.
Nicholas Noonan, 46, of Shortcroft Court, Barton-Le-Clay, Bedfordshire, pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court to illegal trading in African elephant tusks, sperm whale teeth and ivory artefacts. On 20/10/09, Noonan was sentenced to 10 months in prison. In an attempt to continue trading ivory on eBay, Noonan had illegally obtained a certificate of exemption, then falsely altered and used it to pretend that specimens pre-dated CITES controls.
On 11/12/09 at Ayr Sheriff Court they heard how James Faulds, 19, battered a fallow deer to death at Belleisle’s Pets Corner. Faulds admitted killing the deer. Faulds was sentenced to 22 months behind bars. And the callous killer is forbidden from ever owning or caring for an animal.
On 16/12/09 ex-Chester Zoo worker was convicted of trying to have sex with rottweiler. Thomas Robert Edwards, 20, was seen with his boxer shorts around his ankles and to grab the bitch Tara by its hind legs and thrust himself at the animal for about 20 or 30 seconds. A witness who watched in horror from an upstairs neighbouring window said he could take no more when he then saw Edwards indulge in an indecent act by himself. Edwards, who at the time worked in catering at Chester Zoo, denied a charge of attempting to sexually penetrate a living animal during an incident. Edwards, of Alyndale, Hope, was convicted by a jury of 10 men and two women. The court heard how he had earlier admitted seven charges of possessing extreme bestiality porn on his computer, which involved humans engaged in sexual activity with horses and dogs. At Mold Crown Court on 18/1/10 he was placed him on a 12 month community order under which he must carry out 100 hours unpaid work. The judge also made a “prohibited activity” order which bans him from owning a dog.
On 14/1/10 two 17-year-old boys have been ordered to do 100 hours community service for stamping a young deer to death in Dorset "for a laugh". The pair were found guilty at Poole Youth Court on 15/12/09 of killing the fawn. The teenagers were cleared of beating a wild mammal with intent to inflict unnecessary suffering. A 16-year-old boy was cleared of both charges. The boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were also given a 12-month community rehabilitation orders and each told to pay £1,000, at £20 a week, to cover prosecution costs and vet bills. The court heard how the boys were "egging" each other on, with one swinging the deer by its leg and another karate chopping its head, before they "stomped" it to death, the court heard. The 16-year-old boy, who was cleared of all charges, told police he only nudged the fawn once with his foot and did not laugh like the others. The fawn, which was four to six weeks old, suffered several skull fractures, a severed spine and a fractured right leg. One of the teenagers has lodged an appeal against his conviction which will be heard at a later date.
Graham Pitchforth, the former head of animal care at Wakefield College, and his wife Norah pleaded guilty to 24 charges which involved birds of prey, an African lion cub and other exotic animals. The charges relate to the import and export of species. Some of the sales were made on the internet auction site eBay. Graham Pitchforth, 61, was once head of animal care studies at Wakefield College and ran pet shops in the city. He appeared before Leeds Crown Court on 1/3/10 alongside him in the dock was his wife, Norah, 65. The couple, from Southfield Close, Wrenthorpe, spoke only to confirm their names and their guilty pleas. Species cited in the charges included sparrowhawks, owls, buzzards, otter skulls, kestrels and a yellow-billed kite. The last charge relates to various monkey skulls, a lizard skull, various butterflies, a lesser tree shrew and 59 Malayan flying fox (a type of bat) skulls. On 15/4/10 they were given suspended jail terms of five months each and a total of 400 hours unpaid community service by a judge who condemned their business as involving "serious crime which helps the illegal market that feeds the extinction of species". Both admitted 24 charges of illegally importing, possessing, exporting and selling on eBay and other websites for a profit of £2,329. Leeds crown court heard that Graham Pitchforth, 61, was an amateur taxidermist who started mounting small animals as a retirement hobby. His wife, 65, suggested selling them online, and from this small and legal sideline the trade turned criminal. Inconsistencies in documents for very rare species acquired by the couple alerted wildlife agencies, and police raided their home in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, in December 2006. The court heard that incriminating emails from Pitchforth and his wife were found on a seized computer. One from Norah Pitchforth told a Norwegian potential buyer of a stuffed snowy owl: "Hi, sorry this has only been mounted three months ago. I have no paperwork for it so it would have to be a private sale saying it's a gift from me to you." Suggested uses for the stuffed animals advertised on eBay included table decorations and clothes. Other carcasses and animal parts listed included four sparrowhawks, eight owls, a crocodile monitor and a collection of more than 60 skulls. A confiscation hearing will take place later this year.
A worker at a horse stables is accused of sex attacks on a 13-year-old girl has had his case committed to crown court. John Peacock, 54, of Windmill Place, South Shore, faces four offences of sexually touching the girl at Blackpool. Peacock was bailed to appear at Preston Crown Court on 22/4/10 by Blackpool magistrates on 4/3/10. Peacock has also admitted to causing the animal suffering.
Crufts champion breeder banned from Kennel Club over threats to dog show judge. The breeder whose dog was crowned champion at Crufts 2010 has been banned from next year’s competition for threatening a judge at another show. Moray Armstrong, 63, whose dog Yogi was named Best In Show at Crufts has been banned by the Kennel Club from all its events for a year after he threatened a judge who placed the same dog second at the Welsh championship last August 2009. The breeder, who is a judge himself, had told Rachel Herbert that he would make sure she never judged another competition after denying his dog the coveted Best In Show title. Armstrong, from Cargo Beck in Cumbria, admitted telling Herbert that her credibility would suffer and that she would be unlikely to judge again after placing his dog second. The committee disqualified Armstrong from attending or taking part in Kennel Club events, as well as judging them, for a year. It also fined him £500 and ordered him to pay costs of £1,210.
On 17/4/10 a British tourist was charged with animal cruelty after he was arrested in a raid on a farm that US investigators said was being used for bestiality. Stephen Clarke, 51, of Peterborough, Cambridge, was detained at the property in Washington state, near the Canadian border. Clarke was arrested with convicted cocaine smuggler Douglas Spink, 39, who is believed to have been running the farm. When the local police searched Spink's home, they found a video of Clarke sexually abusing dogs. He was charged with animal cruelty and appeared in Whatcom County Superior Court on 22/4/10. Dozens of dogs, horses and pet mice were seized, along with what investigators described as thousands of images of bestiality. The Assistant US attorney said Clarke had admitted bestiality activities. Clarke was arrested on state charges for allegedly abusing the dogs. Spink calls his operation Exitpoint Stallions. An entry on its website reads "Are we unconventional in our approach to stallion care? Absolutely."
Farm Animals (Guardians Of The Land - My Arse!!!)
Farmer David Tweed, 58, of Drummer Lane in Bolster Moor was been banned from keeping animals for 10 years for “horrendous” cruelty to livestock. Tweed was also given a 200-hour community order and told to pay more than £10,000 in legal costs in the biggest animal welfare case ever prosecuted by Kirklees Council on 22/12/09. But Huddersfield magistrates told him he was lucky to escape jail after he pleaded guilty to 37 charges relating to the keeping of animals at his farm. Magistrates heard the offences included allowing rams’ hooves to grow so long they were unable to stand. And the animals’ horns had grown over their eyes. Two had to be slaughtered to prevent further suffering. The carcasses of dead animals were found lying around his farm, including in buildings that were full of slurry. Pigs were found covered in blood after being left to fight each other. They had also been deprived of clean drinking water. There were also a number of offences relating to his failure to keep adequate records of the livestock on his farm and of how they were transported. Tweed was also ordered to pay £10,422 in costs. Following an appeal on 9/4/10 at Bradford Crown Court a panel shortened the ban to five years but he must still pay £10,422 legal costs and complete 100 hours of remaining unpaid work on his 200-hour community sentence.
Mr W. T. Organ of Penrhiwdilfa, Gwernogle, Carmarthen pleaded guilty on 25/1/10 to 14 offences of interfering with bovine TB tests. He was fined a total of £12,600 for these offences and also ordered to pay costs of £3,000.
A sheep farmer from Dorset was given a suspended jail sentence after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to lambs. William Neil Osborne, 21, of Dolway Lane in Winterborne Whitechurch, near Blandford, admitted 20 offences. Weymouth magistrates heard on 12/2/10 how he failed to treat maggot infestation in 16 of the lambs he kept on rented land on the Whatcombe Estate last summer. He was given eight months in jail, suspended for 12 months. Osborne was also banned from keeping animals for 10 years and ordered to carry out 300 hours community service. He was told to pay prosecution costs of £1,500. He pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to 16 lambs, which were infested with a type of maggot infestation known as fly-strike, and failing to protect eight animals from pain and suffering by failing to clean infected fleeces. Several of the animals had to be put down by a vet. Osborne also failed to provide drinking water for a group of lambs, failed to properly dispose of carcases and other animal parts and provided false information to an animal health inspector.
A farmer and Elvis impersonator was jailed for a catalogue of cruelty to animals described by inspectors as among the worst they had seen. Harry Sutcliffe, 53, admitted leaving dead piglets in sacks and animals covered in faeces during a period of “prolonged neglect”. Other surviving animals were left without water, Bradford magistrates heard on 16/2/10. In all, Sutcliffe - who dresses up as Elvis and James Bond to drive customers using his limousine-hire business - admitted 23 charges of animal cruelty at his farm in Bingley Road, Cullingworth. He was also convicted of criminal damage by Keighley magistrates on 15/1/08 after admitting spraying manure into a welfare officer car. Sutcliffe has also breached two community orders imposed in a bid to encourage him to co-operate with the Council. Jailing Sutcliffe for 14 weeks, the judge said he would serve half his sentence before being released into the community. Sutcliffe who has 70 cows at his farm, was banned from keeping any animals for five years.
A farming couple who sell meat at markets across East Yorkshire kept their animals in appalling medieval conditions. Inspectors found shocking scenes of suffering and filthy food premises at Rotsea Carr Farm in Hutton Cranswick, near Driffield. Starved and dying sheep and cattle lay among piles of rotting carcasses at the business owned by Colin and Katherine Chambers. The pair, who sell meat through The Black Sheep Meat Company, have been banned from keeping farm animals for five years and fined £21,000. The Chambers are best known for organising the monthly Humber Bridge Farmers' Market, which attracts around 5,000 visitors. They are also regular stall holders at markets across the region, including at Princes Quay in Hull city centre and Beverley. The couple's son, Mark Chambers, 25, who lives and works at the farm, was convicted of nine offences at a three-day trial. An estimated 70 carcasses of sheep, goats, calves and cows were found at the farm and in field at the back of the Bosville Arms pub in Rudston, Driffield. The court also heard how the Chambers' business racked up debts of almost £1m. On 26/2/10 Colin Chambers pleaded guilty to 12 charges relating to animal welfare, food hygiene and failing to dispose of carcasses. His wife, 48, pleaded guilty to 14 similar offences. In addition to the fine and ban, both were given a two-year conditional discharge for each animal welfare offence, to run concurrently. The couple's son was given a two-year conditional discharge after being found guilty of eight offences of failing to dispose of carcasses. He pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to remove of a dead sheep found at Easingwold Farm, Watton Carr, the lease for which is registered in his name. In October 2009, he was found guilty of allowing the tails of three puppies to be docked illegally.
A Kilkenny farmer and horse breeder was jailed and banned for life from owning any animal for what a judge described as “an appalling case” of cruelty to animals. Simon O’Dwyer, 64, appeared before Kilkenny District Court on16/2/10 and was sentenced to a total of 23 months in prison for offences under animal welfare laws. He is already serving a four-month sentence for related animal cruelty offences. The various sentences imposed are to run concurrently for four months after his current sentence ends. Judge William Harnett also banned O’Dwyer from “owning any animal” for the rest of his life. He awarded costs of €5,700 and the forfeiture of a rescued horse to the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA). O’Dwyer, of Garrue, Mullinavat, Co Kilkenny, had pleaded guilty to four counts of cruelty to animals and to three counts of failing to dispose of carcasses on lands he farmed. Gardaí said O’Dwyer was facing further charges.
Forty nine cows in appalling conditions were rescued from a farm near Bwlchgwyn, in the two-day operation. The swoop on the remote Hafod y Bryn Farm was co-ordinated by Wrexham council’s Public Protection Department, aided by the RSPCA and the Animal Health Agency. Officials are now investigating with the possibility of prosecutions to follow. The farm is run by William Jones, who has previously been jailed for animal cruelty offences, and banned from keeping animals. In 2006 Jones, of Hafod y Bryn Farm, was sentenced to six months in jail and banned from keeping animals for 15 years. The trial heard how Jones had been jailed twice, and was twice banned from keeping animals. It also heard when officials and a vet visited the farm, Jones had put down some handfuls of bedding straw - and the cows were so hungry they ate it. There was no feed and water available to the animals and their bones could be seen. They were kept in dark and dirty conditions and there were no dry areas for them to lie down.
A farmer has been ordered to pay £3,000 for causing unnecessary suffering to animals after a court was shown a DVD of his lame cattle. Six heifers were housed in a shed where faeces was piled high and a water trough was full of faeces. There was no dry area or water available. After a DVD showing the extent of lameness in the cattle was shown the defence decided to plead guilty on six counts and the pleas were accepted by the prosecution. At Cardigan magistrates on 7/4/10 Elfan David Rees, 54, of Parc Y Big Farm, Beulah, was given a conditional discharge for two years and ordered to pay £3,000 towards council costs.
A farmer who was twice banned for life from keeping animals after he was discovered causing unnecessary suffering on his farm has failed in his bid to have the ban lifted. David Holmes, 53, could also face more charges for breaching the ban after a Bradford Council animal welfare officer found cows on his Silsden farm two days before his appeal against his disqualification, a court was told on 15/4/10. Dismissing Holmes’s appeal at the hearing in Bingley, a judge said a continuation of the ban was “necessary, proportionate and evidently justified”. Holmes, of Hen Holme Lane, Silsden, has been jailed and made the subject of the lifetime bans in 1999 and 2000 following a string of offences against animals. The court heard that Holmes had seven convictions for breaching the ban or causing further animal cruelty since the 2000 ban for causing unnecessary suffering to a border collie bitch. Holmes moved to France, so he could keep animals and “evade” the British ban. He also pleaded guilty to being in control of an animal at Skipton livestock market in November last year.
A West Cumbrian man exposed himself to a young family after they told him to stop attacking his brother’s pet dog, a court heard. Christopher Markandoo, 29, who now lives in Brighton has now been placed on the Sex Offenders Register for five years. Witnesses saw him grab the dog and his head a number of times and then kick it at least three or four times. He also exposed himself to a women and her three children. He initially denied exposing himself, saying: “That’s rubbish,” but he later pleaded guilty to indecent exposure and to causing the dog unnecessary suffering. On 22/4/09 the judge imposed a 24-month supervision order, stipulating that he take a Think First course. He was also banned from keeping animals for three years and ordered that he pay £722 court costs because he had asked to be dealt with at crown court.
On 5/6/09 a former Reading teenager escaped jail after having sex with a dog. Thomas Fletcher, 19, sexually abused the sheepdog who belonged to his foster careers. His sick act was recorded on a voice-activated dictaphone during the incident at the house in Eton Wick, when his foster mother became suspicious of why her two dogs were acting as if they were frightened of Fletcher. He maintained his innocence but was unanimously convicted of two acts of bestiality after the trial. Following his conviction he was advised to leave Reading YMCA where he was staying and Henley College for his own safety. He is now living in Gloucester. He was given a two-year supervision order with a 60-day education and training activity requirement and an ASBO preventing him from owning, keeping or working with dogs.
On 23/10/09 a dog breeder who abandoned 99 St Bernards to go on holiday was jailed for 18 weeks for animal cruelty. At Wellingborough magistrates they heard 16 dogs have died or been put down since they were found at Wardana Kennels, Brigstock, Northants. The dogs were found covered in faeces and urine and without food or water. Mary Collis, 51, a trained veterinary nurse, originally denied the charges but later admitted seven counts of causing unnecessary suffering to 85 dogs and failing to meet the needs of 14 dogs. Collis, now of Denby Lane, Wakefield, was also banned from keeping any animals for 10 years. Collis was declared bankrupt in May 2007 and was "living at the property pending eviction with a limited income", the court heard.
A woman who poisoned her neighbour's cats with tuna laced with anti-freeze has been ordered to pay £1,500 in compensation to the distraught owner. Katherine Hall, 57, put the deadly tins of tuna in her garden to stop the cats urinating on her strawberries. The court heard that the five-and-a half year old cats died in agony a few days later. Hall, of Airth, Stirlingshire, was found guilty after summary trial on 28/10/09 of causing unnecessary suffering the cats by feeding them tuna mixed with anti-freeze, and giving the cats a drug or substance knowing.
A Sussex woman who left 15 puppies to die in closed suitcases in a locked cupboard was jailed for 20 weeks. Dog breeder Amanda Cheadle, 58, of Uckfield, was previously found guilty by Lewes magistrates of causing unnecessary suffering and neglect. During the trial, magistrates concluded she intentionally tried to kill the puppies. Eleven died and four survived. Eight of the puppies had already died of starvation, dehydration and suffocation, but seven were found alive. Magistrates heard Cheadle had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act around the time the offences took place. Cheadle, who had faced nine charges of causing unnecessary suffering and neglect, was sentenced on 18/11/09 to 20 weeks in prison for each of the charges, with each term to run concurrently.
A sick teenager who killed a dwarf hamster by hurling it against a wall 'like a snowball' was sentenced to a 12-month supervision order. Harry Clay, 19, threw the tiny animal - called 'Smudge' - in the air several times before dropping from a height of 15 feet. A fellow student picked up the stricken pet but Clay grabbed it back and launched it at the wall. Then he picked up the little corpse and dropped it into a dustbin at the college where he was studying fishery management. At Basingstoke magistrates court on 11/12/09 Clay was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a hamster. He was handed a 12-month supervision order, told to complete 150 hours of community work and banned from keeping hamsters for a year.
A 20-year-old man who abused and killed a kitten before putting it in a freezer was sent to a young offender institution for 16 weeks. Joel White, from Machen, Caerphilly county, strangled the 10-week old pet after it fell off a ceiling lampshade where he had made it perform tricks. He denied causing unnecessary suffering but was convicted of animal cruelty at Cardiff magistrates on 17/12/09. He was also disqualified from owning or keeping an animal for 10 years.
Two building contractors were banned from keeping animals after committing sickening acts of cruelty to 145 dogs they were intending to sell. Marc Young and Paul Brown were together convicted of 16 animal cruelty offences after the animals were found mangy and unfed on farm land. Some 35 of the dogs had to be put down following the discovery at Bogg Hall Farm in Mordon, Stockton. Collie cross-breeds, lurchers and terriers were living in outbuildings, outdoor pens and in the backs of vehicles. The pair denied the animals were bred for sale, but a judge rejected their arguments before sentencing them at Teesside magistrates on 22/12/09. Paul Brown, 56, of Lawton Road, Redcar, Teesside, was given an eight-week suspended jail term, was banned from keeping animals for 10 years and was ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work. Marc Young, 29, of Hawthorne Terrace, Bishop Middleham, County Durham, received the same penalties, but got a reduced ban of five years after District Judge Hickey accepted that he was working for Brown at his building contractor business at the time of the crimes. Young initially denied the charges, but was found guilty of eight counts of causing unnecessary suffering to animals and three of failing to meet the needs of animals. However, Brown pleaded guilty to three charges of causing unnecessary suffering and two of failing to meet the needs of animals at an earlier hearing.
A Staffordshire bull terrier dog was kept in a cage with another dog at night because it would attack its owner's furniture, a court was told on 9/1/10. The dog was suffering a painful skin ailment at the time which caused her to go bald and suffer skin problems and bleeding. The dog was found in a poor condition when police were called to the home of John Peacock, 55, of Windmill Place, Marton. Later the bodies of two decomposing rabbits were found on the premises. Magistrates ordered Peacock undergo pre-sentence reports with a view to a community punishment. Peacock, who admitted causing the animal suffering, was bailed. Peacock also faces four offences of sexually touching a 13-year-old girl.
A man who filmed himself sexually abusing his pet Staffordshire Bull Terrier has been placed on the Sex Offenders' Register and banned from keeping animals without the express permission of a social worker. John Kerr was also placed on probation for two years after admitting having an unnatural connection with his dog. The 30-year-old appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on 19/1/10, after sentence had been deferred to allow for background reports.At an earlier hearing, he had pled guilty to filming himself during a sexual act involving his pet. He was placed on probation for two years under the condition that social workers would be allowed to examine his electronic or media equipment. Kerr was ordered to take part in the Community Intervention Service for sex offenders. He must also go to alcohol counselling if instructed by his supervising social worker and will not be allowed to keep any pets. His name will remain on the Sex Offenders' Register for two years.
Linda Winter, 40, of Wycoller Avenue, Brunshaw, Burnley, was charged with 18 offences of failing to provide adequate care and diets for 13 animals found by the authorities. She denied the charges at Reedley magistrates but was convicted of all the offences. On 21/1/10 magistrates banned Winter from keeping dogs and all other animals for six years and to pay costs to the RSPCA of £260. The court trial was told that Winter’s details had been found on various trading web sites, advertising puppies and ponies for sale.
An Angus teenager, who cooked his friend’s cat in a microwave, will not have to complete his community service sentence. Declan Baker, 19, of 69 Pitreuchie Place, Forfar, had previously been ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work. The decision taken on 21/1/10 to remove this part of his punishment due to an unnamed debilitating medical condition was criticised by animal rights campaigners. Baker appeared in the dock with a walking stick as his defence agent Brian Bell outlined the medical reasons that had prevented him from performing the community service work. Baker had previously admitted placing the four-week-old kitten in the oven and switching it on, at his friend’s house in Restenneth Drive, Forfar. The kitten’s injuries were so severe it had to be put down six days later, after a local vet was unable to save it. When he was originally ordered to carry out the community service, ordered to pay £150 in compensation and banned from keeping animals for seven years.
A professional dog handler has been handed a life ban for keeping all animals and 12 weeks in prison after he left two dogs locked in a van on one of the hottest days of last year. Lee Ellerton, 37, from Burslem in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, was sentenced on 27/1/10 at Fenton magistrates for causing unnecessary suffering to two dogs. He had denied the charges, but magistrates found him guilty of six charges. Ellerton, who worked for a security firm, left the dogs in his van during 30°C / 86°F heat.
On 23/2/10 Pc Mark Johnson, 39, was convicted of animal cruelty at Nottingham magistrates. Johnson was given a six-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £2,500. The court heard he had been suffering from depression and obsessive compulsive disorder when he forgot to check the two police dogs for seven hours in temperatures of 29.3C (84.7F). The German Shepherds, died possibly within 20 minutes from heatstroke which would have brought about multiple organ failure, the court was told.
On 11/3/10 Joseph Clarence Horn appeared before Penrith magistrates for sentencing after admitting a charge of failing to meet the needs of his dogs. They had been found by environmental health officers wading through several inches of faeces and mud. Horn was given a 60-day prison sentence, suspended for a year, and a six-week curfew. He was also ordered to pay £2,000 costs. The judge also imposed a deprivation order preventing Horn from getting any of the dogs back, although this did not include any of his family’s pet dogs which stay in the farmhouse. The court heard at the earlier hearing that 65-year-old Horn, of Brackenbank Farm in Lazonby, had kept his animals tethered to kennels, or segregated in cages inside a large barn which had only two windows.
Terence Simpson, 33, from Embleton Road, Methley, Leeds was jailed for 20 weeks for using a hammer to bludgeon a puppy and two dogs to death. Simpson carried out the "sickening" acts of cruelty in his garden shed and then went with his young son to dump the bodies in bin bags near his house. Simpson admitted six offences of animal cruelty – three involving the hammer attacks and three relating to failures to care for his other three dogs. On 16/3/10 Leeds magistrates heard that he had drunk about 12 lagers before he attacked the dogs, two border terriers and a cross-breed bitch. He told a friend he was "fed up" of the animals. He was banned for life from keeping animals.
Katey Barber, 22, Brownley Road, Wythenshawe, Manchester deliberately set fire to her sister’s pet rabbit was been jailed and banned from keeping animals for life. Barber downed seven cans of lager before setting the rabbit’s hutch on fire, while her niece and another child slept upstairs. Despite the pet’s screams, Barber laughed and refused to unlock the back door so her friend could help it. She then lied about it when quizzed by both police and probation services. Barber, who pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering was sent to prison for three months at Stockport magistrates on 23/3/10.
A great grandmother was tagged and given a night time curfew by Trafford magistrates on 31/3/10 after pleading guilty to selling a goldfish to a minor, and another charge of animal cruelty relating to a cockatiel. Joan Higgins, 66, who runs Major’s Pet Foods at 7 Ashfield Road in Sale, and her son, Mark Higgins, 44, pleaded guilty to both charges. Officers from Trafford’s Enviromental Health team arranged for a test purchase by a 14 year-old boy after learning a gerbil had been sold to an underage girl with special needs, the animal subsequently dying after being kept in a lidded disposable coffee cup. Joan Higgins, the licence holder of the shop, was given a three month curfew by magistrates banning her from leaving her home between 7pm and 6am, while Mark Higgins was given 120 hours community service. The pair were also ordered to pay £1,750 in costs. The court also heard a cockatiel in the shop at the time had a broken leg and an eye infection, and had to be put down, although Darren said the bird was not for sale and was being nursed back to health by the family who’d rescued it from a batch load of parrots.
On 9/4/10 a Cumbrian man was charged with illegally trading endangered tortoises and is accused of selling a total of 108 reptiles. Robert Roland Struthers, 35, of Nelson Street, Denton Holme, Carlisle, faces eight charges of trading protected species and one of fraud. Struthers is accused of selling a total of 22 marginated tortoises, 76 spur-thighed tortoises and 10 Hermann’s tortoises. Struthers also faces a charge of fraud by tampering with an official certificate in order to purport that he had the authority to trade. He has not entered a plea to any of the charges. Struthers appeared before Carlisle magistrates but the hearing was adjourned for him to seek legal representation. He will return to court on 27/4/10 when the case will be committed to Carlisle Crown Court.
A dog discovered in Hatfield ravaged by a flesh-eating skin disease was one of the worst cases of neglect a veterinary nurse had ever seen. The black and white Shih-Tsu, had to be put down after her owner, Margaret Hewison, failed to groom her and left a severe skin condition untreated for several months, a court heard on 13/4/10. Hewison, 52, of Wrestlers Close, Hatfield, appeared at Hemel magistrates after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to the animal by failing to provide adequate grooming and veterinary care for a severe skin condition. The court heard the animal was covered in faeces and urine and suffering from a severe skin infection, which had ravaged its body. Hewison was sentanced to an 18 week suspended sentence for 12 months. She was disqualified for keeping animals indefinitely and told she must complete 100 hours of unpaid work. She was also ordered to pay more than £1,000 in legal fees.