Vermin Patrol 2010 - Part 2
An man who tried to stop badgers from taking bird food is his garden was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering. The badger was trapped, shot at, and finally drowned. On 21/5/10 at Mold magistrates, Norman Fletcher, 75, of Glan Yr Afon, near Holywell, Flintshire, pleaded guilty to trapping a badger. He received a three-year conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £2,894 in costs within 28 days.
A former and former magistrate was fined for trapping and shooting a badger which dug up his garden. The former High Sheriff of Dyfed Richard Harold James, 77, caught the badger in a snare near his Pembrokeshire home and blasted it to death at close range with a shotgun. The ex-JP was given fines and costs totalling almost £3,000 by Swansea magistrates 15/6/10 for killing a protected animal and using a snare to trap it. He shot the animal twice near his home at Home Farm on the Stackpole Estate in Pembrokeshire. James then threw the animal onto a slope leading on to National Trust land. It was witnessed by National Trust worker David Jarman who works on land near Home Farm. He went back to his office and called in the RSPCA. Magistrates imposed the full amount of costs £1,461.21 (including two vets’ post mortem examinations) and fined James £1,000 for killing a protected animal and £500 for using a snare to trap it. After hearing that James got £3,000 a month from his role as consultant in his family dairy farming concern, the magistrates gave him 28 days to pay the £2,961.21 fines and costs.
On 3/8/10 two Borders gamekeepers were cleared of causing animal fights by placing a dog in a badger sett which had a fox in it. A sheriff ruled David Harris, 30, and 42-year-old Graham McLaughlan had no case to answer. The case followed a raid by Scottish SPCA investigators at the Marchmont Estate near Duns. Harris, of Duns, and McLaughlan, of Marchmont estate, still face charges of disturbing a badger sett. Harris is also accused of failing to provide proper medical care for a dog. The trial has already been part-heard on two occasions and has now been continued to 23/8/10 when the case for the defence will resume.
A man from Lockerbie appeared in court on 26/7/10 on charges of interfering with a badger sett. William Scobie, 75, of Whitehills Avenue, is alleged to have put the banned pesticide Cymag in the entrance to the sett at nearby Jardine Hall. He is also accused of obstructing access to the sett and storing the pesticide in a locked filing cabinet. The case at Dumfries Sheriff Court was continued without plea until 16/8/10.
Paul Billington, 34 of Rossett and Gerard Monk, 28, of Wheelton in Lancashire, were both convicted of attempting to kill a badger, digging for badgers, three charges of interfering with a badger’s sett and hunting a wild mammal with dogs on 11/5/08. On 10/8/10 Billington was ordered to pay £5,000 towards the cost of his failed appeal. At Shrewsbury Crown Court Billington was also ordered to pay £5,000 towards the £10,922 court costs.
Three men have been handed suspended jail terms for interfering with a badgers' sett near Withernsea. Terrance Murry, 47, of Ottringham, Shaun Chapman, 29, of Hull city centre, and Gary Douglas, 40, of of Railway Cottages, Great Bridgeford, Staffordshire, were discovered digging up the sett. They said they were "bushing" for foxes and rabbits and denied knowing they were interfering with a badgers' sett. Chapman, of Trinity Wharf, said his dog, a black Patterdale terrier, had gone into one of the holes of the sett after a fox. He said he used a digital locator to follow his dog and the men used two spades to dig above the sett. Douglas threw one of the spades away before the men left the area. A Humberside Police helicopter arrived at the scene and officers on the ground arrested the three defendants. Murry, Chapman and Douglas were found guilty at Hull magistrates in September. Following the compiling of probation reports, Murry, Chapman and Douglas were each sentenced to 12 weeks' imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and 200 hours of community service on 1/11/10.
Terrance Murry, Shaun Chapman and Gary Douglas
On 8/1/11 Matthew Swinbank, 19, of Middleton St George, near Darlington, was banned from keeping animals for five years after he was convicted of hunting badgers in woodland with dogs. When police opened the van belonging to Swinbank, they feared someone had been stabbed to death because it was awash with blood. Swinbank was banned from keeping or being in the control of all animals for five years and given a 12-week custodial sentence suspended for 12 months on 7/1/11. Bishop Auckland magistrates also ordered him to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work. He must also pay costs of £768. When the police and RSPCA searched Swinbank’s home items including badger baiting DVDs, as well as footage of cock fighting, were found. Two lurcher-type dogs that had scars on their bodies were also seized. The court was told how the teenager initially denied any wrong-doing and said a farmer had shot his dog while out walking. However, he later admitted during questioning that he had been out and set his dog onto a badger in woodland near Darlington. Swinbank previously admitted three charges, including hunting a wild mammal with dogs, causing an animal fight to take place and being present at an animal fight.
Badger digger SCUM Christian Latcham, 23, from Tonypandy, was given a suspended five month sentence at Rhondda magistrates on 14/1/11 after pleading guilty eight charges under animal welfare and badger protection laws. The court heard how, on being arrested in 2009 for a separate offence, Latcham had conspicuously tried to hide his mobile phone from officers. When the police inspected the phone they found a number of gruesome images saved on it. One of the photos depicts the defendant holding a dead badger aloft. His clothes and a black terrier are covered in blood. Another two of the photographs show a severed badger's head. He was given a five-month sentence suspended for a year and was banned from owning dogs indefinitely. Latcham was also told he would have to serve 250 hours unpaid work and pay £1,000 costs.
On 14/1/10 Aaron Gardener, 28, of Hailsham, Sussex; George Stevens, 21, of Romford; and Gordon Thompson, 56, of Croydon, who were found with two dogs and a dead hare appeared in court at Ely - all were banned from driving for six months and must pay £450. A member of the public had alerted police after seeing three men hare coursing. They were seen driving away from a car park, and 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. Thompson told magistrates he had gone to Devils Dyke to see one of the other defendant's dog chasing rabbits. "We were exercising the dogs for 20 minutes before going home," he claimed. "There was no intention to do hare coursing." He had found a badly injured hare and killed it to feed to his birds. Stevens said he had not gone to the farm to run hares, and Gardener said he was a rabbiting man, and would never intentionally kill a hare.
A gamekeeper was caught red-handed in possession of the poison alphachloralose, having just prepared two poisoned baits. However, the court accepted that he was not trying to poison birds of prey. On 18/1/10, following trial at Welshpool magistrates, Mark Partridge of Llwydiarth, Tylwch, Powys, was acquitted of three charges under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 relating to the preparation of poisoned baits. He had earlier pleaded guilty to unlawful storage of rodenticides and alphachloralose. He was fined £100 on one charge, no separate penalty on the remainder, and £100 costs. At Partridge’s home, there was no designated pesticide store, and a search of insecure outbuildings found approved rodenticides, and a small container labelled as Emtryl, which analysis proved also held alphachloralose. On the roofs of his rearing pens, about 35 metres apart, were two dead partridges with their breast muscle cut open. It was suspected these were poisoned baits. Analysis confirmed the presence of alphachloralose in both baits. An pathologist undertook a post-mortem on two dead birds which Partridge had been seen carrying, and it is believed they had been killed by having their necks stretched. It was suspected that Partridge had killed them and was intending to use them to prepare further poisoned baits. During interview Partridge, a gamekeeper for 30 years, admitted preparing poisoned baits at his rearing pens, but denied trying to kill raptors. He claimed he intended to put the baits inside the pens to kill rats, but had been interrupted by the arrival of the police search team. He would not give the source of the alphachloralose, but realised it was “dodgy” and said it was purchased for rat control as they were developing an immunity to his legal rodenticides.
A former gamekeeper shot and killed a buzzard on a Perthshire estate “in desperation to keep his job,” his lawyer told Perth Sheriff Court on 25/3/10. Graham Barclay Kerr, 53, who was also caught in possession of highly toxic pesticides, which are fatal if eaten by birds and other wildlife, was fined £400. The court heard that young pheasants being reared on the Redmyre Estate, Abernyte, were being targeted by one particular buzzard. Kerr, who was working as a gamekeeper on the estate at the time, subsequently shot it with a .243 rifle. When police asked if they could search Kerr’s vehicle, he produced the dead buzzard, which was seen to have a broken wing. He admitted he had shot it with the rifle, which he then handed over. Kerr, who was allowed to keep his rifle after the Crown withdrew a motion to forfeit it, was admonished on the pesticides charge.
A Herefordshire gamekeeper admitted 17 charges relating to killing protected species using poisoned bait. Ben Walker, 26, was accused of killing two common buzzards, five ravens, and faced nine other charges of setting bait and one of possessing various items. Walker was working on Sufton Estate in Mordiford when West Mercia Police, Natural England and the RSPB carried out a search. Walker, formerly of Lower Farm, Westhide, Hereford, was fined £1,000 at Hereford magistrates on 21/4/10. Walker told officers that he worked on a commercial shoot on the estate and killed the birds because they represented a threat to the breeds that would be shot, the RSPB said. At court he admitted nine charges of setting a poisoned bait, two of killing common buzzards, five charges relating to the ravens and one charge of possessing items capable of committing the offences. The court heard he has since lost his job and now works as a labourer.
A bloodsports enthusiast was cleared of possessing an offensive weapon in a public place, after an extendable baton was found in his jacket pocket. Mervyn Neil Redpath, 59, of Greyfield Estate, Embleton had been stopped on suspicion of drink-driving near Embleton. Redpath was taken to Alnwick Police Station, where the telescopic truncheon – known as an asp – was discovered as he checked in his possessions. Pleading not guilty to the charge at Alnwick magistrates on 28/4/10, it emerged the Redpath had been out shooting rabbits on a farm earlier in the day and had taken the baton with him. Because of arthritis in his right hand, the court heard that he used the asp to dispatch fallen game, as well as fish when out on the boat he co-owns with his son. But he forgot to remove it from his camouflaged jacket when he got home and didn't realise it was still there until he had to empty his pockets at the police station. The court heard that since leaving school, Redpath had been a gamekeeper and in 1990 became a professional fisherman. He also had licences to shoot on private land. However, Redpath admitted refusing to give two breath tests when requested by police. He was disqualified from driving for 16 months and ordered to pay a £100 fine, with £80 costs and a victim surcharge of £15. Redpath volunteered to attend a drink-driver's rehabilitation course which, if he completes, will reduce his ban by four months.
A gamekeeper convicted of firearms offences died after taking poison which he smuggled into court in his sock. An inquest into the death of Graham Key heard how he was not searched by a custody officer before entering the dock at Derby Crown Court. After being jailed for two years and taken down to the cells, he was then found in a distressed state. He told staff he had taken the poison strychnine, for which there is no antidote. Despite attempts to revive the 48-year-old, he was pronounced dead an hour later in hospital. The inquest heard that in the days leading up to the case on 7/8/08 Key had told friends and family he "could not go to prison" and had become increasingly distressed. The hearing on 28/4/10 was told Key was initially arrested in February 2008 after police and RSPCA staff executed a warrant at his home at Alkmonton, near Ashbourne – acting on intelligence over suspected badger baiting. While carrying out a search, officers discovered two unlicensed firearms. No charges were brought against Key in relation to the suspected badger baiting but he was charged with firearms offences. Three bottles of strychnine, a banned poison commonly used in pest control, were also found during the search.
A West Country Hunt supporter was given a fine on the 23/5/10 at Taunton magistrates after a quad bike incident. Stephen Ronald Browning, 43, of Woodhill, Stoke St Gregory, was found guilty of dangerous driving after driving a quad bike into a hunt monitor. Browning was given a £265 fine for dangerous driving, £200 fine for failing to stop at an accident, ordered to pay £50 compensation to the monitor and told to pay £85 costs with a £15 victim surcharge. Browning was also given six penalty points on his licence.
Gareth Howells, 19, of Britten Drive, Malvern, was caught carrying a knife in public said he had been out hunting rabbits, a court was told. Howells was arrested after police found a four-inch bladed hunting knife in his car after he had been hunting rabbits on farmland. At Worcester magistrates on 3/6/10 he pleaded guilty to possession of a bladed article in public. Howells also had two other knives on him the night he was arrested, but neither broke the law. Howells was made subject to a six-month community order with supervision. He will also pay £80 court costs. The knife is to be destroyed.
Three men from East Sussex have been charged in relation to poaching offences. The men are accused of using crossbows to kill deer and wild birds in the Rother and Wealden area. They will appear before Hastings magistrates on 17/6/10. Sussex Police said the men were arrested in December 2009 but released on bail pending further inquiries.
Two members of a Lake District hunt were cautioned by police after a video was posted on the internet showing an attack on anti-hunt protestors. Hunt monitors were following the Coniston Foxhounds near Ambleside when the video was taken. In it, a member of LACS gets involved in an argument with an elderly hunt supporter, who begins jabbing a walking stick towards him. Another man then arrives on a quad bike, and is told the league member “needs doing”. The cameraman is then pushed off a wall. On 25/6/10 the police cautioned a 70-year-old man for using threatening behaviour to cause fear of violence, and a 44-year-old was cautioned for battery. A police spokesman said: “Two men were cautioned following an incident at White Moss Car Park at Rydal near Ambleside in March. A 44-year-old local man was cautioned for battery after he drove his quad bike toward a member of an animal welfare group, and then pushed another member off a dry stone wall. “A second man aged 70 was cautioned for using threatening words or behaviour to cause fear or provoke violence after he waved a stick at a member of an animal welfare group.”
Richard Down, Huntsman with the Quantock Staghounds, is facing trial for a Hunting Act offence, as is Alistair Richardson, a terrierman linked to the Ullswater Foxhounds in Cumbria who will go on trial on 21st and 22nd July in Penrith.
On 1/7/10 three officials of the Sinnington Hunt in North Yorkshire were summoned to court to answer claims they hunted illegally. The CPS has begun proceedings against huntsman Anthony Graham Winter, whipper-in Caroline Scott and Wilfred Gamble. The alleged offence took place in 2009 and evidence was collected by monitors working for LACS. Winter, Scott and Gamble have all been summoned to appear at Scarborough magistrates on 23/7/10. On 13/12/10 at Scarborough magistrates all three were cleared of unlawfully pursuing a fox. The court ruled that whipper-in Scott had no case to answer, with not guilty verdicts returned on huntsman Winter and hunt supporter Gamble.
On 22/7/10 Ullswater Hunt terrireman Alistair James Robinson, 48, of Bampton Grange, near Penrith, was found guilty after a trial of hunting a wild mammal in contravention of the 2004 Hunting Act. At Eden magistrates the court heard how Robinson had been following the Ullswater Hunt when his terrier darted underground. He was seen on a video captured by hunt monitors from the League Against Cruel Sports digging at a point in the ground, then pulling a fox from the ground and hitting it in the head eight times, killing it, and hiding its carcass in a dry stone wall. Killing a fox with a stick in the way that Robinson did is legal, and was not contested in court. However, the case hinged on the issue of intent – whether Robinson had sent the dog down into the hole with the intention of attacking the fox. One dog was seen entering the hole, after which Robinson sent another down wearing a chipped collar to help him find it underground with a detector. He claimed he sent the second down with the locator device after the first slipped its lead and chased the fox underground of its own accord. However, Robinson claimed he had been concerned about the location of his dog, and that the rest of the hunt did not know about the fox’s death. But he was seen talking on a CB radio and casually smoking a cigarette while his dogs attacked the female animal in the underground tunnels beneath his feet. The judge rejected the possibility that the dog went into the hole by a coincidence, and found Robinson guilty. Robinson was fined £250, with £900 court costs, and a £15 victim surcharge.
William Burrell, 50, of Short Street, Stapenhill, Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, trapped a fox in his garden before throwing it into a pen so that his Staffordshire Bull Terrier could tear it apart. He placed a noose around the fox's neck then slung it into a pen with his pet dog and watched as the fox was savaged to death. Burrell was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a fox at Burton magistrates. The court heard how Burrell trapped the creature in a large cage in his garden, he then tied a rope around the animal's neck and slung it into a large kennel with his dog. Burrell stood nearby as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier ripped into the fox ''like a rag doll'' for 15 minutes. Burrell finally killed the animal by bludgeoning it over the head with a piece of wood. In police statements read to the court Burrell said: ''I wanted to get rid of the fox as it had been plaguing me and my pigeons for three weeks. ''I caught it and killed it by hitting it over the head. Its eyes had glazed over. Putting its dead body in the dog run was a big mistake.'' But a vet proved that the creature had been bitten by the dog while it was alive. At Burton magistrates on 27/8/10 he was sent to prison for five months and banned from keeping dogs for life.
On the 20/8/10 Fernie Foxhounds huntsman Derek Hopkins, 45, Hopkins, of Welham Road, Great Bowden, Market Harborough and hunt terrierman Kevin Allen, 50, of Pond Cottage, Nether Green, Great Bowden, near Market Harborough appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to charges under the Hunting Act 2004 and the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. Both deny hunting a wild mammal with a dog contrary to the law. They also deny interfering with a badger sett, or being reckless that their actions would damage it. It is alleged the men were caught on camera by observers working for the League Against Cruel Sports. The case, at Leicester magistrates has now been adjourned until 6/1/2011. On 13/1/11 Leicester magistrates found the pair guilty of hunting a wild mammal contrary to the law and digging a badger sett or being reckless that their actions would damage it. Hopkins was fined £600 for attacking the badger sett, he was also fined £250 for illegal hunting, ordered to pay £1,250 costs and pay a £15 victim surcharge. Allen was fined £400 for damaging the sett, fined £250 for illegal hunting, ordered to pay £900 costs and pay a £15 victim surcharge.
Two South Wales men caught poaching in the Cotswolds during a hare-coursing alert were fined when they appeared in court in Gloucestershire on 25/8/10. Saley Price, 25, of Heol Pentwyn, Caerphilly, South Glamorgan, and Joseph Smith, 21, of Cwm Crachen, Nant-y-glo, Gwent, each admitted daytime trespass in pursuit of poaching gamebirds. Stroud magistrates was told that Smith had appeared in court on a charge of night-time poaching less than a month before the latest offence was committed. The court was told that Smith had a previous conviction for night-time trespass in pursuit of poaching after appearing at court in Hereford on 1/4/10. The judge fined both men for the offence. She gave Price credit for his guilty plea and fined him £50 and ordered him to pay a £15 victim surcharge and £42.50 prosecution costs. The judge gave Smith credit for his plea, but fined him £75 as he had appeared in court for a similar offence. He was also ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge and £42.50 prosecution costs.
A renowned falconer illegally sold a £1,200 bird of prey, magistrates were told on 9/9/10. Torbay Falconers Club organiser Paul Hill, 41, sold the young female goshawk without the right registration documents. Hill from Dairy Lane, Ivybridge, denies seven charges relating to the registration of the birds that have been bred in captivity. He is standing trial after earlier pleading not guilty to selling the bird last year and offering the bird for sale a few weeks earlier at the Festival of Falconry in Reading. He also denies four charges relating to possessing goshawks that were not properly registered or ringed, and obstructing a police officer who searched his former address at Audley Avenue in Torquay. Hill runs the International Falconry Forum website and exhibits at events including fairs. The trial continues.
On 8/10/10 the police have charged three men with poaching offences after they were tipped off by a member of the public. The police arrested the three men and recovered six hares and one rabbit as well as seizing their vehicle. The three men - all from Carlisle, were charged with offences of poaching. They are Andrew Boswell, 25, Richard Todd, 32, and Robert Dixon, 43. They are due to appear at Eden magistrates on 20/10/10.
Two rabbit poachers caught with dogs, knives and spades on a farm were fined on 12/10/10. Tommy Cannon, 24, and James Lawrence, 26, were caught by police near Chessington World of Adventures. At Kingston magistrates Cannon, of Byland Close, Morden, and Lawrence, of Scawen Close, Carshalton, admitted the offence of poaching for rabbits. A more serious charge of interfering with badger setts and using dogs to hunt a wild animal was dropped by prosecutors. Officers arrested the pair after seeing them with three terriers, hunting knives, collars and spades and seized their dogs and equipment. Magistrates fined each man £180, plus costs of £85 and a £15 victims’ surcharge, and issued an order to forfeit their equipment. However, the three dogs, would be returned after being held by police for seven months.
Two council workers who killed almost 100 wild birds for fun were jailed on 18/10/10. Terrence Webb, 28, of Peregrine Road, Ilford and Mark Page, 35, of White Hart Lane, Romford intentionally poisoned wildlife at Wanstead Flats, killing 90 birds including geese, moorhens, ducks and coot. The pair were working for Newham Council as pest controllers and they used bread laced with posion to carry out the crime. Snaresbrook Crown Court heard that during their lunch breaks the men drove to Alexandra Lake at Wanstead Flats and baited bread with a strong pesticide. They later boasted of what they had done, describing how crows had taken the bait and they had watched them die. A German shepherd which was the only companion of an elderly woman was also killed by the poison. The popular beauty spot had to be cordoned off to the public for more than three weeks as a result of the incident. Webb and Page were sacked by Newham Council following the investigation into the incident. The pair admitted two counts of misuse of pesticides and two counts of theft of pesticides. The pair were fined £7,000 each and jailed for four months.
On 25/10/10 a father and son were given jail sentences for hunting wild animals with a crossbow. Robert Mepham, 50, and Sam Mepham, 22, hunted deer and duck using the deadly weapon and then stashed their illegal kills at the family home. The two men, from Lakedown House, Broad Oak, Heathfield, were arrested alongside three other men. Police found severed heads of deer and dead pheasants and ducks hanging in lock-up facilities during the raids. Sam Mepham was jailed for 150 hours and ordered to forfeit firearms, crossbows and ammunition after being found guilty of killing a deer with a crossbow. His father was found guilty of four counts of using a crossbow to kill a wild animal, possession of a dead mandarin duck and possession of ammunition without a certificate. He was sentenced to 90 days' imprisonment, suspended for two years, 150 hours of unpaid work and ordered to forfeit the duck. A third man Glyn Carley, 48, of Standard Hill Close, Ninfield, pleaded guilty to possessing ammunition for a firearm without a certificate, failing to comply with a condition of a firearm certificate (poor storage of ammunition) and possessing five mandarin ducks. He was sentenced to two terms of 30 days' imprisonment to run concurrently suspended for two years, 200 hours of unpaid work, £150 costs and ordered to forfeit ammunitions and the ducks. The two other men arrested on the same day on suspicion of offences under the Deer Act, a 63-year-old from Brightling and a 74-year-old from Mountfield, both received cautions.
Paul Hill, 42, of Dairy Lane in Ivybridge, near Plymouth who is a falconer was banned from keeping birds of prey for five years after being convicted of failing to register a goshawk, offering it for sale and selling it. Hill was found guilty of five of the six charges he faced when he appeared at Torbay magistrates on 8/11/10. He was found not guilty of failing to register one goshawk held at his previous home, but guilty of similar charges regarding other birds. He was also found guilty of offering a goshawk up for sale and selling a juvenile female goshawk to Charles Butters, from Cornwall, for £1,200. Hill, who founded and runs the International Falconry Forum and is known as Hawk Master. On 10/12/10 Hill was given 60 days to pay court costs of £5,580 and given with a 12-month community order consisting of 300 hours of unpaid work.
A huntsman from Somerset has become the first person to be convicted twice under the Hunting Act. On 22/11/10 Richard Down, 47, from West Bagborough, was found guilty at Taunton magistrates of hunting a wild mammal with more than two dogs. He was convicted for chasing an injured stag with three hounds. The Quantock Staghound huntsman was first convicted in June 2007. The latest conviction was based on video footage gathered by the League Against Cruel Sports. The video showed an injured stag race across the combe in the Quantock Hills while being pursued by three hounds. He was fined £375, with £15 victim surcharge and £2,530 costs.
On 27/11/10 a judge told a Northumberland hunt master to consider himself “fortunate” after he was cleared of a firearms offence. Frank Houghton-Brown, joint master of the Tynedale Hunt, found himself in trouble with police during a cross-country vermin-shooting expedition. Officers found the weapon when they broke into his car in York, following a call from a concerned passer-by who spotted his pet Labrador locked in the Subaru Forester vehicle on a warm day. Houghton-Brown, 45, of Nesbitt Hill Head, Stamfordham, near Hexham, left his car to attend a hearing at the nearby county court on April 29 last year, leaving his dog in the caged rear of the vehicle and the rifle on the back seat under layers of clothes. The gun’s safety catch was on but there was a round of ammunition in the weapon breech. A police officer aided by an animal health officer, broke into the car and noticed one of the windows was open to provide ventilation. They also spotted the lethal firearm. Houghton-Brown was charged with breaching his firearms certificate. Houghton-Brown claimed he took the rifle with him while out rabbit-shooting at the country homes of friends and family. He said he had been asked to do some pest control for friends near York, shooting crows and grey squirrels on their land. He then said he had intended to travel with the weapon and ammunition to his parents’ home in Banbury, where pest control was also needed. York magistrates cleared him of the offence claiming he had taken “reasonable” precautions to safeguard the weapon. But the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) challenged York magistrates’ decision in London’s High Court. The CPS said the verdict sent out the wrong message on firearms safety. He told the court that Houghton-Brown could have neutralised the weapon, which could have been stolen, by removing its bolt before leaving the car. However Mr Justice Silber said the prosecution had failed to prove Houghton-Brown did not take reasonable precautions to ensure safe custody of the firearm and ammunition and dismissed the case.
Otis Ferry, 28, master and huntsman of the South Shropshire Foxhounds appeared in court charged with a motoring offence which puts him at risk of a driving ban. Charles Ferry, often called by his middle name Otis, appeared at Worcester magistrates on 11/1/11 where he denied a motoring offence. Ferry is alleged to have failed to give information about the identity of the driver of a Mitsubishi Shogun which was involved in a speeding offence in Droitwich. Ferry of Keeper’s Cottage, Easton Mascott, Cross Houses, Shrewsbury, already has six penalty points on his licence and the court hearing was to decide on whether to disqualify him from driving. He was given a further six points for failing to provide the information at a court hearing in his absence on 19/11/10 which meant he was eligible for a driving ban under the totting-up system. At the hearing Ferry’s solicitor, Barry Warburton, made an application to set aside the conviction against him for failing to give the identity of the Shogun driver that was clocked at 57mph on a 50mph road. Warburton said: “He accepts he received a request for the identity of the driver. "He was unaware of the summons. It simply didn’t reach him. There’s a considerable problem with the post in his area.” After a short adjournment for Ferry to make a statutory declaration that he was not the driver and had previously identified the driver as an employee who was also insured to drive the vehicle, he then denied the charge. The case was set for trial at Worcester magistrates 1/2/11.
Dogfighting and Pit Bulls
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 19/6/10 magistrates in Cwmbran convicted David Braddon, 47, of Glyn Llwysen, Llanbradach, of three offences. He was found guilty of keeping or training a dog for use in connection with animal fighting, having articles for use in connection with animal fighting and causing unnecessary suffering to a dog. He was found not guilty of four charges of keeping or training a dog for use in connection with fighting and not guilty of one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog. He admitted five charges of owning a banned breed. The sentencing was adjourned for reports and Braddon was remanded on bail. During a search of his house they found five pit bull terriers. There were also items of dog-fighting paraphernalia including two treadmills, allegedly used in training the dogs for fights. They also found three books, The Complete Pitbull or Staffordshire Terrier, Terrier Dogs etc and Dogs of Velvet and Steel alongside some weighing scales and a bottle of animal antibiotic duplocillin, which only vets are authorised to use. One of the dogs had 42 scar. On the 15/7/10 at Caerphilly magistrates he was jailed for six months, magistrates also told him he can't appeal the ban on keeping animals for 10 years, and he was ordered to pay £1,000 costs. Braddon lodged an appeal against his conviction and sentence.
The grandmother of a four-year-old mauled to death by an illegal pitbull was an 18 month suspended sentence and banned from owning a dog for life at Liverpool magistrates on 1/7/10. Helen Foulkes, 63, had pleaded guilty to possessing the illegal pitbull terrier that killed her grandson John-Paul Massey. The two-year-old dog was owned by her son Christian Foulkes (see above), 22, who was jailed for four months for owning a dangerous dog. Foulkes appeared before the court to be sentenced under the Dangerous Dogs Act of owning a prohibited dog. She was also banned for life from owning or keeping dogs and was also ordered to pay £105 costs.
On 29/7/10 Sarah Wilkinson, 23 and Nathan Kirkby, 18, were sentenced to 120 hours of unpaid work by magistrates after admitting possession of a fighting dog, breeding of a fighting dog and advertising as a gift a fighting dog at Preston magistrates. They were arrested when police and RSPCA officials swooped on their home in Robin Street, Ribbleton, following a series of complaints from residents at PACT meetings for the area. Wilkinson and Kirkby were sentenced to 120 hours unpaid work and a community order, with supervision for six months. The court made a destruction order for all the animals. Ten puppies, whom they gave up the rights to, are to be put to sleep.
On 24/8/10 Bilal Mohammed Aldeeb, 32, of Avenue Road, Southgate, London was banned from keeping dogs for five years after he was convicted of training a dog to fight following an investigation by covert RSPCA inspectors. Aldeeb was convicted of dog fighting charges following a trial in which the court was shown horrific footage of the defendant goading dogs to fight in a yard believed to be somewhere in Jordan. Aldeeb is clearly seen on the footage and at one point tries to continue a fight between two exhausted dogs, already covered in blood from their injuries, by pushing their heads together. Aldeeb could not be prosecuted for fighting the dogs in the footage as the incidents took place outside of England and Wales. However, he was given the five year ban, ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work and must pay £500 costs after the footage was used to prove he had an interest in dog fighting. He was convicted on 4/8/10 of keeping and training a red and white pit bull terrier type dog for use in connection with an animal fight. He was also found guilty of possession of a weighted collar, which is used to train dogs in connection with animal fighting. He had already admitted possession of a pit bull terrier type dog. The court also issued a forfeiture order on the weighted collar and the tapes seized from Aldeeb's home, as well as a destruction order on the dog. One charge against Aldeeb, of causing unnecessary suffering to the dog by failing to provide the animal veterinary care for injuries caused by a fight with another animal, was dismissed by the court at an earlier hearing.
A Birmingham man was jailed on 20/10/10 and banned from keeping animals for life after he admitted taking part in organised dog fighting. RSPCA inspectors and West Midlands Police officers discovered two pitbull type dogs and one bull terrier type in a dawn raid at the home of Mohammed Nasir. All of the dogs found in the back yard of his home on St Benedicts Road, Small Heath, were heavily scarred with injuries to their heads and legs. Nasir, 29, appeared at Birmingham magistrates when he was sentenced to three months in custody and given the lifetime ban on keeping all animals. He will not be able to appeal against the ban for five years. At an earlier hearing he admitted 11 charges including training dogs for fighting, causing the animals unnecessary suffering, failing to provide them with proper veterinary care and possession of items used to train dogs for fighting. He also admitted one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a cockerel, also discovered at St Benedicts Road, by failing to provide the animal with proper veterinary attention. All of the dogs discovered at the address on St Benedicts Road showed injuries consistent with fighting, and some of the wounds were clearly fresh. Nasir openly admitted to the court that he had kept the dogs for the purpose of fighting.
A Liverpool man has been convicted for keeping an unregistered goshawk. On 12/11/09, Joseph Fitzpatrick, 23, of Rockford Avenue, Kirkby, Liverpool, appeared before Knowsley magistrates charged with keeping an unregistered goshawk. On his first appearance, he pleaded guilty to the offence and was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £85 costs. The goshawk was forfeited.
An Isle of Man resident was fined after pleading guilty to two offences of reckless or intentional disturbance of breeding hen harriers. On 26/1/10, John Andrew Cottier of St. Mary’s Road, Port Erin, Isle of Man, pleaded guilty to two charges under Section 1(5) of the Manx Wildlife Act 1990, and was fined £500 with £150 costs.
An experienced auctioneer was convicted of exposing birds’ eggs for sale. On 31/3/10 at Alnwick Magistrates Court, Ian Prytherch, who trades under the name Jim Railton, pleaded guilty to exposing birds’ eggs for sale. He was fined £1,000 plus costs of £85. He was ordered to forfeit the eggs.
A wild bird eggs collector whose “obsession” saw him become an international smuggler was spared jail on 6/5/10. Suspicion was raised over Andrew Seed’s activities when 5,800 emails relating to the location of birds’ nests and the trading of eggs were found on his computer at work. When the police raided his home they found a total of 2,500 wild bird eggs from the UK, Europe, the US, Australia, South Africa and other countries. They included osprey, golden eagle and black-necked grebe eggs. At Durham Crown Court they were told Seed was exporting and importing eggs to and from the US using regular postal services, but without the permits required to do so. Seed, 45, of Low Willington, Crook, County Durham, pleaded guilty to four smuggling charges relating to the unlawful importation of birds’ eggs from the US and Australia. He also pleaded guilty to 11 offences under the Control of Trade in Endangered Species Regulations and two charges contrary to the Wildlife and Countryside Act. He was given a nine-month jail sentence suspended for two years and made him subject to a five year order preventing him collecting eggs. He also ordered him to pay £2,107, as part of a confiscation order, and £1,500 court costs. The eggs and equipment were ordered to be forfeited.
A total of 45 police and RSPB Scotland investigator descended on the 25,000-acre Moy Estate, near Inverness, on 3/6/10 after several raptors, including some red kites, were found dead. Northern Constabulary confirmed that poisoned bait had been found on the estate previously and their investigation had been ongoing for a number of weeks. Twenty-five police officers took part in the raid, with the remainder of the investigators wildlife crime officers and staff from the RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage. A police spokesman said outbuildings and the surrounding area were searched in the “intelligence-led” operation and evidence removed for forensic examination. “This operation has been running for a number of weeks and over the past month Police have recovered a number of dead birds of prey, including red kites and other protected species,” a police spokesman said. “Also found in the area was a grouse carcass, which has now been tested positively for an illegal poison.”
Andrew Kemp, 36, of Wednesfield Road, Willenhall, Walsall was caught setting traps to catch wild birds using sticks and glue. The RSPCA caught Kemp setting traps using sticks and glue in Willenhall. Kemp, had earlier pleaded guilty to offences relating to the possession of wild birds. At Walsall magistrates on 24/6/10, he was jailed for four months, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to pay £900 costs. When West Midlands Police raided his house they found 23 goldfinches and a bullfinch.
Phillip Vellas, 58, of Powney Road, Maidenhead was sentenced to six months in prison and banned from keeping birds for ten years after he admitted keeping and attempting to trap wild caught birds, following an investigation by the RSPCA. Vellas was sentenced to a six-month prison sentence suspended for two years at Slough Magistrates Court on 16/7/10. He was also ordered to pay costs of £7,500, to complete 150 hours community service and has also been disqualified from keeping, possessing, transporting or handling birds for ten years. Officers found more than 100 birds - including a number of wild birds at his home. He initially denied that 12 of the birds - including goldfinches, siskins and black caps - were wild, but could not provide the required paperwork to prove that they had been captive bred. He was already serving a 10-year-ban on keeping birds from a previous convicted of similar offences. Vellas's older brother initially claimed the birds belonged to him. However, Vellas admitted the birds, along with trapping equipment, were his when he appeared before the court.
Jeffrey Lendrum, 48, from York Close, Towcester, Northamptonshire was sentenced to 30 months in prison after admitting attempting to smuggle rare bird eggs out of Britain. Lendrum was found in possession of 14 peregrine falcon eggs when he was arrested at Birmingham Airport as he waited for a flight to Dubai. Lendrum was caught with the eggs, valued at £70,000 on the black market, strapped to his body after he was seen acting suspiciously by a cleaner. Lendrum admitted one count of trying to export the eggs and another of illegally stealing them from a nest on the side of a mountain in Rhondda. Police searched one of his properties in Northamptonshire where they discovered equipment for egg hunting, including incubators, a GPS system and walkie-talkies. Lendrum had previous convictions in Zimbabwe and Canada for stealing rare eggs.
A prolific bird egg collector was found guilty of owning equipment used in his illegal hobby. Aaron Kisiel, 39, of Hanley Avenue, Beeston, was twice spotted disturbing nests in the Peak District by bird watchers. At Nottingham magistrates on 26/8/10, he was convicted of three charges of possessing equipment used to take wild birds eggs. The court heard police and RSPB officers searched Kisiel's home and found 35 wild birds' eggs from species including woodlark, reed warbler, cuckoo and house sparrow. Kisiel pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing birds' eggs. The charges he disputed during his trial, which was heard on various dates related to the possession of items that were capable of being used to take birds' eggs. They included binoculars, a rucksack and a car capable for the use of committing an offence. At Nottingham magistrates on 8/10/10 he was sentenced to 84 days, suspended for 12 months.
Jay Willoughby, 31, of Bulkington Road, Bedworth tried to snare wild birds in his back garden escaped being put behind bars himself. Willoughby was sentenced at Nuneaton magistrates on 30/11/10 after admitting being in possession of three wild goldfinches, not keeping them in a suitable environment and having three traps. Magistrates gave Willoughby a 12-month community order, to be under the supervision of a probation officer and to fulfil 200 hours of unpaid work. He was also disqualified from keeping birds for 12 months and ordered to pay £450 towards the RSPCA costs.
James Gray, 46, was found guilty of the worst case of animal cruelty seen by the RSPCA. Gray, a horse trader who went on the run while awaiting sentence for what the RSPCA described as the worst case of animal cruelty it had even seen started an eight-month jail sentence on 27/5/10. Gray, who ill-treated more than 100 horses, ponies and donkeys on his family's farm, was arrested after being stopped by police during a random check on the M5 near Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. He had absconded from Aylesbury crown court, Buckinghamshire and was given a 26-week prison sentence in his absence. He was then given an extra eight weeks' jail by the same court for breaking his bail conditions. Gray's imprisonment comes after lengthy court proceedings that followed the discovery by the RSPCA and police of dead and emaciated horses at Spindles Farm, at High Heath, near Amersham. Gray and his teenage son, also called James, had appealed against convictions and sentencing after being found guilty of 11 charges. Gray had been sentenced to 24 weeks' imprisonment, a sentence that was put on hold. Two of the charges were subsequently dropped and 17-year-old Gray was acquitted of two other charges following the appeal. He is now under an 18-month supervision order. Gray's wife, Julie, 42, and daughters Jodie, 27, and Cordelia, 21, had each been found guilty of two animal welfare offences. The women were each given 150-hour community service orders. Gray Snr was banned from keeping horses, ponies and donkeys for life while his wife, son and daughters were banned from doing so for 10 years. He has already been ordered to pay the RSPCA £400,000. A further costs hearing will take place later during 2010.
A horse owner was banned from keeping horses and has to pay more than £9,000 after he was convicted of animal cruelty offences. Alby Smith, 50, of Washington Road, Emsworth, appeared at Worthing magistrates on 21/10/10 to be sentenced for one count of causing unnecessary suffering to horses and one of confining four horses in a dirty stable environment. He was given a three-month curfew order from 7pm to 7am and a deprivation order was placed over the remaining three horses, which the RSPCA, is currently responsible for. He has also been disqualified from owning, keeping, or participating in the keeping of horses, ponies and donkeys for three years and needs to pay a combined cost of £9,212 to cover fines and court fees.
A senior Carlisle City Council employee will appear in court charged with a string of animal cruelty offences. Julie Parton, 52, a clean neighbourhood and environment officer with the council, is facing eight charges relating to the treatment of four horses. Parton, of Pepper Moss, Penton, near Carlisle. She is accused of failing to provide the four horses with a nutritionally balanced diet suitable for their needs and of not protecting them from pain, injury, suffering and disease. Parton is due to appear before Carlisle magistrates on 28/10/10.
Vennessa Malone, 45, and Charlotte Malone, 22, of the Silver Florin Equine Welfare charity, in Washingborough Road, Lincoln, each face four counts of failing to look after horses properly. They deny all the allegations that relate to a bay gelding, a chestnut mare, a piebald mare and a light bay gelding. On 12/11/10 Lincoln magistrates set a new trial date for 6/4/2011.
Two people were been banned from looking after horses after RSPCA officers discovered malnourished animals in a mud and manure-filled field. Seven horses were found in varying states of health on a field the RSPCA told Peterborough magistrates on 23/11/10. Fred Smith (77), of the Paston Caravan Park in Norwood Lane, Paston, was given a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, was banned from owning or caring for horses for 10 years and ordered to pay £500 costs. He had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, one count of failing to meet the needs of seven horses and breaching a disqualification order. Smith had received a five-year order in October 2009 banning him from looking after horses for a similar offence. Nicola King (31), of Durham Road, Peterborough, had taken on the responsibility of caring for one horse, and she also pleaded guilty to one count of failing to meet the welfare needs of the animal. She was given a two-year conditional discharge, banned from caring for horses for two years and ordered to pay £500 costs. The RSPCA was also given permission to seize the animals.
Rebecca Morrow, aged 37, of Hillmorton in Rugby, admitted not caring for a horse properly. The pony was found dead at a farm near Rugby. Morrow appeared at the Warwickshire magistrates in Leamington on 27/12/10 after admitting a string of animal cruelty charges. The charges related to the death of a 25-year-old grey gelding pony she owned. The court heard how she failed to care for the animal by not providing him with the necessary veterinary treatment and specialist nutrition, leading to his starvation. On 1/12/10 Morrow admitted causing unnecessary suffering to an animal by failing to provide adequate and nutritional food and failing to prevent lice infestation. She also admitted failing to provide the necessary veterinary care and failing to provide a worm control programme for the pony. Magistrates served Morrow with a ban on keeping equine animals for 10 years. She was also served with a six-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months, ordered to pay £1,000 in costs at a rate of £10 per week, perform 100 hours of unpaid work in the community and report to a probation officer.
On 11/1/11 Howard Johnson, 57, who lives near Crook, County Durham, admitted that one horse in his care was “de-nerved” to prevent it feeling pain - an operation that he claims he was unaware was banned in the sport. He is also charged with training three horses that had been given anabolic steroids. The charges have been brought by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA). The most serious charge against Johnson is that a horse called Striking Article underwent a neurectomy. The BHA claims the procedure was carried out in April 2008, and that the horse went on to run another eight times, winning three races. Striking Article had to be destroyed at Musselburgh races in February 2010 and a subsequent post-mortem examination found the neurectomy had been carried out. In a separate investigation, three other horses are alleged to have been given the banned steroid Laurabolin, which is said to promote appetite, strength gain, weight gain, and increases the number of red blood cells. A provisional date of 10/2/11 has been scheduled for the BHA’s disciplinary panel to consider the case.
A pair of unemployed sisters who caused “immense suffering” to horses and cats have received suspended sentences for animal cruelty. At Redhill magistrates on 10/1/11 Amy and Dulcie Bickers from Chaldon, near Caterham, were each given a 12-week jail term - suspended for 18 months - and have been banned from keeping animals for five years. Dulcie, 25, had previously pleaded guilty to six counts of causing unnecessary suffering to six horses and Amy, 23, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to seven cats. An investigation by the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare discovered the pair were keeping 37 horses, some badly emaciated and without access to water. Police and animal welfare experts visited the stables and removed five horses judged to be in a life threatening condition, 17 cats were also removed. The sisters, both of Birchwood Lane, Chaldon, must also undertake 200 hours unpaid work in the next 12 months. They were also ordered to pay £500 costs.
A pest controller of Cambridge Environmental Services (Pest Control) Limited, pleaded guilty to two offences regarding failure to take all reasonable precautions when using a pesticide. On 23/2/10 Ely magistrates gave Russell Calne a conditional discharge and ordered him to pay £1,500 costs. Calne had been hired to treat a bee nest in the chimney of a family home, and during two treatments had used a Ficam product with the active substance bendiocarb. However, he failed to follow the statutory conditions by not removing the honeycombs, preventing access by foraging bees, and failing to check whether anyone kept bees in the immediate vicinity.
On 13/4/10 at South Lakeland magistrates, Christopher Hemsley, 41, of Bramhope, Leeds, pleaded guilty to killing white-clawed crayfish and taking fish in an inland water with a trap without a licence. He was fined £3,500 for killing the crayfish, £400 for trapping them, and ordered to pay £100 costs. The court heard that Hemsley and several others were seen catching crayfish in the River Kent at Staveley, Cumbria. Fisheries Officers from the Environment Agency attended and found a number of illegally set crayfish traps. The police were called, and they found 14 cooked crayfish in a vehicle.
Mohammed Miah, 29, was given a suspended jail sentence after admitting killing a swan. Miah previously admitted killing the mute swan in Bedford. Magistrates in the town on 18/6/10 sentenced him to a 12-week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months. A charge of stealing the swan was dropped at a previous hearing. Miah, of Cathie Road, Bedford, was seen strangling the bird and stuffing it into a bin liner on the bank of the River Great Ouse in the town.
A Norfolk man who flouted strict regulations to protect endangered species is starting a nine-month jail sentence after he was caught offering banned wildlife specimens, including rhino horns, for sale on eBay. Mark Rowland, 24, of Orford Road, Swaffham, had been prosecuted in the past for similar offences back in 2005 when he made thousands of pounds by selling stuffed animals on the eBay internet auction site. On 26/6/10 at Norwich Crown Court they heard how Rowland was caught out after police officers had become suspicious after calling at his address about an unrelated matter. When his computer was investigated it was found that he had been trying to sell endangered species over the internet, including offering to sell a rhino horn for $3,000 to a man in Florida. Rowland appeared for sentence after admitting six offences of selling and offering for sale, endangered species. He admitted selling rhino horns, selling a stuffed northern hen harrier, offering for sale a stuffed barn owl, buying a stuffed long-eared owl and selling a wildcat head. The court heard the offences put him in breach of a suspended sentence he was given in 2005. The judge also imposed a three-year trading ban on him.
On 23/6/10 Barry Sinfield, 36, of Rathbone Court, Stoney Stanton Road, Foleshill was jailed for 25 weeks for ripping the head off a live Canada goose. Sinfield swung the bird around his head before kicking it repeatedly as it lay on the ground. He then trapped the bird's neck against the floor with his foot and used both hands to pull its head off. Sinfield then chased people around the park with the bird's head threatening to smear them with its blood. Sinfield admitted causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and was jailed at Coventry magistrates. Sinfield was also banned from keeping animals for life.
On 1/7/10 Ronald Paterson, who trains racing dogs at Aislaby Road, near Eaglescliffe, was found to have failed to provide overnight supervision for his greyhounds at a hearing with the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) after complaints from local residents and an investigation by Greyhound Action. At the hearing Paterson was suspended for six weeks from 5/7/10. Investigators also found that Paterson’s greyhounds were being housed in overcrowded conditions, with two dogs in kennels meant for one, which was causing frequent fights between the dogs, often resulting in injury.
A Cumbrian man was convicted and fined for obstructing an Animal Health Wildlife Inspector in the course of his duty. On 5/7/10, following a trial at Carlisle magistrates, Brian Miller, 51, of Castlesteads, Hayton, Aspatria, was found guilty. He was fined £300 and ordered to pay £65 costs. Miller had refused entry to an Animal Health Wildlife Inspector. The officer wanted to carry out an unannounced wildlife inspection. Miller refused access, claiming it was too late in the day for the birds to be examined. The Inspector had made several previous visits to the address and was of the opinion that he had called at a reasonable time and that there was plenty of daylight to carry out the inspection.
Alan Dudley, 52, of Halford Lane, Keresley, Coventry was given a suspended prison sentence for illegally importing the skulls of endangered species. Dudley was given a 50-week suspended jail term by a judge at Coventry Crown Court on 20/8/20 after admitting six charges relating to buying and offering for sale the skulls of prohibited species including a penguin, a marmoset, a turtle and a monkey. A seventh related charge was struck from the record. The judge also ordered Dudley to be electronically tagged, and imposed a curfew of 7pm-5.30am, as well as a £1,000 fine and prosecution costs of £1,500.
A thug stuffed a terrified sheep into his car and then did burnout stunts to drive smoke into the trunk, a court has heard. Caolan McDaid, 20, of Buncrana, Co. Donegal has become the third person to be convicted for attacked the horned ewe. A boozed-up McDaid and his pals decided to steal a sheep and set it loose at around 3am. Buncrana District Court heard on 11/9/10. McDaid also kicked the sheep and slammed the boot's door down on its legs. The creature was eventually put down. McDaid was fined €200 and ordered to pay €500 to the sheep's farmer after he pleaded guilty to cruelty. Earlier Mark Fair, 20, of Fahan and Shaun McLaughlin, 19, of Ballinmarry, were sentenced to two months detention for their crime.
On 18/9/10 a trainer "attached" to Sheffield's Owlerton Stadium, who regularly races greyhounds there, was charged with offences by greyhound racing authorities after one of his dogs tested positive for cocaine. Stuart Mason, who trains greyhounds at kennels near Wakefield, faces a Greyhound Board of Great Britain inquiry after it was confirmed that one of his dog tested positive for cocaine and its metabolite benzoylecgonine following a race at Wimbledon. Mason raced the dog again at Sheffield a week later.
Anthony Parker, 29, of Holyrood Way, Hartlepool, killed his hamster by cooking it in a microwave was jailed for nine weeks on 22/9/10. Parker admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a Syrian hamster. He was also banned from keeping animals for five years by Hartlepool magistrates.
An antiques dealer who tried to smuggle rhino horns out of Manchester Airport was jailed for 12 months. Donald Allison, of Lancashire, hid the two horns in a sculpture as he tried to board a flight to China. The horns, which could be worth up to £600,000, were from a rhino called Simba which died at Colchester Zoo. Allison, 62, was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court on 5/10/10. A 52-year-old man, from Chelmsford, admitted the theft and was cautioned by police for the illegal sale of rhino horn. Allison, of Wilpshire, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to attempting to smuggle an endangered species.
A Halal meat producing company was fined almost £10,000 after hundreds of sheep were left without drinking water or room to move. Premier Halal Meats Ltd of Brookwoods Industrial Estate in Holywell Green, was fined £9,401 after pleading guilty to three counts of failing to look after their animals. On 4/10/10 Calderdale magistrates heard how 864 sheep in the slaughterhouse were left for days without drinking water, enough space to lie down, stand up and turn around and were caused unnecessary pain and suffering. The case against the slaughterhouse supervisor Mohammed Hussain, who failed to attend court, was re-listed to be heard on 27/10/10.
A pet shop boss who admitted failing to protect 27 diseased reptiles from pain and suffering was given a suspended prison sentence and banned from keeping animals for the rest of his life. David Luther, 66, who had the reptiles for sale at Harton Aquatics in Moor Lane, South Shields, admitted eight offences at South Tyneside magistrates. On 21/10/10 magistrates gave him a 12-week prison sentence, suspended with supervision for two years, banned him for life from keeping animals, withdrew his pet shop licence and banned him from ever having another. The magistrates also ordered him to pay costs of £549 – rejecting a prosecution claim for costs totalling more than £11,000.
Veronica Mepham, 70, and husband Reinhard, 64, who run the Rescuers Wildlife Sanctuary, in Watlington Road, Benfleet have been summonsed to court by the RSPCA, each facing identical counts of cruelty against 18 animals. They are accused of failing to provide veterinary care and later of failing to put down a Canada goose, a collared dove, a magpie and a jackdaw. The Mephams are also accused of failing to properly treat or get veterinary care for a dove, a duck, a hen, a cockerel, a goat, a rabbit and four guinea pigs. There are four other offences, including keeping a fox and fox cub in unsuitable conditions, failing to prevent a duck from receiving an injury, and failing to give a wood pigeon adequate food and veterinary care. The couple will appear at Southend magistrates on 22/11/10. They supplied a tawny owl for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Farm Animals (Guardians Of The Land - My Arse!!!)
A Lincolnshire man was sentenced to 240 hours of unpaid work after being convicted of animal cruelty. Kevin Wright, 44, of Cottage Farm in Skendleby, was given two custodial sentences of nine and 24 weeks, suspended for two years. He was ordered to pay £1,500 costs to Lincolnshire County Council and given a 10-year ban on keeping animals at Skegness magistrates on 29/6/10. Wright was convicted of 36 offences relating to animal welfare and movement of animals. Lincolnshire Trading Standards officers discovered cows eating plastic and a pig with a hernia the size of a melon, that had been left untreated.
A poultry dealer was banned from keeping birds after a court heard how he left dozens of animals crammed in small crates without food or water. Christopher Coe, 25, formerly of Romany Road, Norwich, and now of Rochester, Kent went on the run after leaving the birds on a trailer in Swaffham covered with a tarpaulin for at least 18 hours, Swaffham magistrates heard on 15/7/10. The birds had been left crammed in small crates on a trailer covered with tarpaulin and without food and water for at least 18 hours. Having ignored a court summons and left Norfolk, Coe was eventually tracked down to Kent. He was convicted in his absence in January 2010 of neglecting and causing unnecessary suffering to 130 hens and four Indian Runner drakes. He was collected by court enforcement officers and brought before magistrates to be sentenced for one charge relating to record-keeping and seven animal welfare offences. He was given a three-year conditional discharge, ordered to pay £1,500 costs and disqualified from keeping any birds for five years.
On 15/7/10 Anthony Ward and Sarah Moore were banned from keeping cattle and pigs for five years after they were convicted of a catalogue of cruelty to animals on their farm. They were charged with a total of 22 offences relating to the care of raccoons, pigs, calves, and a bull following raids by trading standards officers. At Southampton magistrates they heard how the offences related to animal welfare, causing unnecessary suffering to animals and breaches of feed hygiene regulations. Ward, 57, who had been farming for 20 years but was trained as a roofer, and his partner Moore, 43, a hairdresser by trade, were convicted of a total 15 offences. They included 12 convictions for causing unnecessary suffering to pigs and calves by not separating or treating sick animals. Two further convictions related to the welfare of pigs by not providing clean dry bedding and not removing pieces of sharp corrugated tin from their pen, and another conviction for failing to remove possible sources of contamination to their food. Ward was also convicted of intentional obstruction of an animal health inspector by failing to allow him on to the premises of his 14-acre farm. Both were cleared of charges relating to the unlawful castration of baby calves, failing to providing fresh water to pigs, failing to properly care for a sick bull, and keeping 11 raccoons in an unsuitable environment at Oaklea Farm in Sway, in the New Forest. Their small holding off Agars Lane included around 150 pigs as well as cattle, raccoons, parrots, 11 dogs, turkeys, chickens and emus. Ward was sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work. Moore, who is responsible for the bookkeeping of the farming operation, was given a 12-month community order with supervision. Both were banned for five years from keeping cattle and pigs. The pair have now appealed against their sentences. Both defendants have previous convictions for similar offences. Ward was already banned for keeping cattle and ponies for five years.
A Mid Wales farmer responsible for ‘one of the worst animal welfare cases’ investigated by Powys County Council was fined £15,000. Michael Rowlands, of Tynndol, Llangurig, pleaded guilty to nine charges at Welshpool Magistrates' Court on 16/7/10. The charges included, causing unnecessary suffering, failure to maintain buildings in a way that did not cause harm to animals and failure to dispose of animal carcasses as required. Rowlands was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £650 costs along with a £15 victim surcharge by magistrates. The court heard that five of Rowlands’ sheep had to be put down by a vet because they were suffering unnecessarily.
Pig farmer Keith Barnett admitted seven charges of animal cruelty after they were left in such squalor that some of them turned to cannibalism to survive has been banned from keeping the animals. Keith Barnett, 60, from Pevensey, East Sussex, pleaded guilty to seven charges of animal cruelty at Hastings magistrates. The Happy Pig Company owner admitted leaving his pigs without food or water. On 29/9/10 the court imposed a five-month curfew on him between the hours of 1900 and 0700, which would be electronically monitored. He was also ordered to pay £880 costs and was banned from keeping pigs. However, Barnett was told he could keep his 12 chickens as there had been no deliberate act of cruelty.
A farmer has been banned from keeping poultry for five years after pleading guilty to the illegal slaughter of birds. Frank Clay, of Sunny Bank Farm, Royd Lane, Ripponden, near Halifax, was disqualified from owning, keeping and transporting poultry for five years and also given a three-month curfew order by Halifax magistrates on 22/10/10. He pleaded guilty to four charges.
Farmer Lance Beale, 60, of Wyatts Lake Farm, Westbrook, was convicted of animal cruelty on 7/10/10. Wiltshire County Council animal welfare officers, vets from DEFRA and police swooped on his farm where they found dead pigs among living animals, some of the carcasses having been cannibalised. Dozens of animals were severely undernourished and there was no food or water available. One pig was found with multiple diseases from which it had been suffering for three to four months and was put down that day. An improvement notice was served on Beale but vets returned to the farm and ordered 29 other pigs to be put down. Beale claimed he had no input into the running of the pig unit, which he left to his stockman Adrian Holt. But it emerged during the trial that Holt had voluntarily taken over the running of the unit in 2008 and was not being paid for it. Beale told the court that he was secretary of the company WLF91 that ran the pig unit but had no day-to-day responsibility for its running. Beale had been previously convicted of animal cruelty in relation to sheep in his ownership and was banned in 2006 for ten years from keeping animals. On 27/10/10 Beale was sentenced to 16 weeks imprisonment by Chippenham magistrates they also imposed a lifetime ban on Beale keeping animals.
Kevin Smith (45) from Browning Drive, St Giles, Lincoln was given a five-year animal ban for keeping chickens and a dog in filthy conditions. The RSPCA found ten live chickens among at least 25 dead birds in a shed in Kevin Smith's back yard. On 22/10/10 Lincoln magistrates heard there was no food or fresh water for the poultry, the shed floor was covered in faeces and the dead birds were in various stages of decomposition. A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel-type dog was found in the kitchen of his house with matted fur and infected anal glands. Magistrates heard the kitchen floor was littered with faeces and water and no food. Smith admitted one charge of failing to provide a suitable environment for chickens on and admitted a further charge on the same date of failing to provide the birds with a proper diet. He also admitted failing to provide a suitable environment for the dog. Magistrates banned Smith from owning animals, or keeping or participating in the keeping of animals, for five years. He was also given a 12-month conditional discharge. The case cost at least £1,000 to bring to court, but no order for costs was made due to Smith's lack of means.
A farmer from Abbeycwmhir who had two of his sheep put down by a vet because they were suffering unnecessarily has been prosecuted by Powys County Council. Donald Edward Wozencraft of Mynyddllys, Abbeycwmhir, was sentenced to 100 hours of unpaid work by Brecon magistrates 18/11/10 after pleading guilty to four offences. As well as the community order to carry out the work, Wozencraft was given a six-month supervision order and ordered to pay £1,180 towards prosecution costs. Over 10 carcasses of dead sheep were also found on the premises.
The boss of a German Shepherd rescue group was jailed for 21 months for stealing nearly £55,000 of his organisation’s funds. Vigil German Shepherd Dog (GSD) Rescue was nearly destroyed by its former chairman Roderick Schmidt’s crooked conduct, a judge said. Schmidt, 41, of Ringstead Bay, near Weymouth, Dorset, used his position to plunder the charity’s money month after month. Schmidt appeared for sentence at Guildford Crown Court on 6/5/10 after pleading guilty to 18 charges of fraud at an earlier hearing. He used the stolen money to help keep his wife Odile’s ailing business afloat, it was revealed.
A husband and wife caused unnecessary suffering to two dogs they had rescued from a drug-user friend, magistrates heard on 16/6/10. Arthur and Beverley Lynn, aged 54 and 39 respectively, had each pleaded not guilty to the two charges of causing suffering, but the case went to trial and they were sentenced at Bradford magistrates. Mr Lynn was put on a 7pm to 7am curfew for four months and his wife was ordered to serve 80 hours’ unpaid work in the community. They were also ordered to pay costs of £250 within 12 months. The Lynns, of Arden Road, Lower Grange, Bradford, were also banned from keeping any animals for five years and will have to hand over a pet cat to the RSPCA.
Kevin Hill, 34, was convicted of animal cruelty after an investigation revealed he had beaten a puppy to death. Hill, who was in custody but refused to come to court despite pleading not guilty, was sentenced at Nuneaton magistrates on 26/6/10. He received a sentence of 20 weeks in custody and given a life ban on keeping animals. The court heard that Hill had gone to his ex-girlfriend Karen Harper’s house for money. She had let him stay in the house with the three-month old Labrador cross puppy while she collected her benefits. When she came back she found the puppy dead in her kitchen. Hill told her that he had killed the puppy. The puppy had injuries consistent with a severe trauma. He had a fractured jaw and leg, trauma to his chest and internal bleeding on his brain.
A dog owner caused unnecessary suffering to a litter of seven-week-old puppies by putting coloured elastic bands round their legs as a means of identification. The bands, which tightened as the Staffordshire Bull terrier puppies grew, caused fur loss and grooves in the animals' legs and one puppy suffered poor blood supply to its paw. Bradford Crown Court heard on 1/7/10 that owner Timothy McLees, 32, did not buy identification collars for the animals because they were too expensive and got the idea for using elastic bands from a market stall owner. The puppies were being kept in a homemade pen in a attic room which was described as being in a terrible state with an overwhelming smell of excrement. McLees, now of Ann Place, Little Horton, Bradford, admitted owning the animals and said he had been away from the house for three days setting up a photographic studio. The court heard all the animals had fleas and one of them needed treatment for an inflammatory skin disorder. McLees admitted the offence and was sentenced by Bradford magistrates in April 2010 to 150 hours unpaid work and banned from keeping animals for 10 years. Although McLees signed over six of the puppies to the RSPCA at the time he had hoped to get back the bitch and one of the puppies, but the magistrates made a deprivation order against him in respect of those animals, halting their return. McLees planned to appeal, but the Recorder indicated his sentence could be altered to a prison term of about 12 weeks he withdrew. McLees was ordered to pay a further £250 in costs for the appeal.
Two men from Fordingbridge in Hampshire, who dumped five bearded dragons in bin bags at the side of the road, were banned from keeping reptiles for 10 years by Lyndhurst magistrates on 3/9/10. Andrew Bews-Foster and Rodney Bews-Foster previously pleaded guilty to failing to meet the welfare needs of the reptiles, as well as causing them unnecessary suffering. In addition to the 10-year ban, both men were ordered to do 100 hours of community service and to pay costs of £1,113.34 each.
A dog breeder from Kent was given a suspended jail sentence and banned from keeping animals for life on 8/9/10. RSPCA inspectors who visited Melanie King's business at Whents Farm, on Lower Road, Teynham were confronted by more than 70 dogs, some with untreated medical condition and living in squalid kennels. King, 56 (DOB 10.8.54), now of Station Road, Appledore, near Ashford, Kent, appeared at Sittingbourne magistrates where she was convicted of six charges, and sentenced to 140 days in custody, suspended for 12 months. She was also ordered to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work and must pay £250 in costs. King was convicted of charges including causing unnecessary suffering to a female border terrier that was suffering with serious dental problems caused by an abscess in her mouth. The condition was so serious that some of the dog's teeth had to be subsequently removed by a vet. King was also convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a red Chow Chow female dog who was effectively blinded in both eyes by a condition called entropion. The dog was later put to sleep by a vet. She was acquitted of three counts of failing to provide dogs with adequate nutrition. King was previously sentenced to a lifetime ban on breeding dogs after she admitted 24 offences following a case taken by Swale Borough Council.
A drug-crazed boyfriend threw two kittens to their deaths out of a bedroom window before breaking his girlfriend's jaw. Arran Chaplin, 20, was locked up for 18 months after he admitted he also punched her 12-year-old brother and caused criminal damage by "trashing" her bedroom. At Derby Crown Court on 1/10/10 the court heard how Chaplin of Flamstead Road, Ilkeston, carried out the crimes while on bail for another offence, in which he damaged a railway line.
Paul Hinton, 33, of Pensburry Street, Darlington, was jailed for 18 weeks after admitting causing the death of a dog by taping its mouth shut. Hinton admitted at Newton Aycliffe magistrates on 7/10/10 to five counts of animal cruelty. The dog, which Hinton claimed had bitten a relative, had its mouth forced shut with cable ties and adhesive tape. The dog had also suffered wounds to the head and spine, which were attributed to kicking or beating. Hinton entered an appeal against the sentence.
Wendy Hutcheson who ran Audenshaw Dog and Cat Home in Greater Manchester kept them in squalid conditions. Hutcheson, 58, was a runner-up in one of the categories at Crufts in 2007. A vet described the conditions they found at her animal shelter as the worst they had seen in 28 years. On 22/10/10 Tameside magistrates found her guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to 92 dogs, cats and rabbits. Hutcheson, who now lives in Laurel Avenue, Inverness, was convicted of six charges. She was given a conditional discharge, banned from keeping animals for life and told to pay £1,000 towards prosecution costs. The court heard she has mental health problems and she has now lodged an appeal against her sentence and conviction.
An Oxfordshire woman who admitted drowning eight cats in a bath has been jailed for 12 weeks. Julie Carter, 43, of Bicester, told RSPCA staff she could not afford a phone call to have the cats rescued so killed them one by one over a week. The cats were all aged between one and three years old. Another three were later rehomed. Carter told Banbury magistrates on 29/10/10 she had killed the cats because housing officials had told her to remove them. Carter, of Herald Way, who had admitted a charge of causing unnecessary suffering at an earlier hearing, was also banned from keeping animals for life.
A man filmed on a mobile phone putting his nephew's cat in a microwave then tumble drier and finally a freezer has been jailed. Colin Sherlock, 44, from Queensway, Newton Abbot, Devon, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to an animal. He was arrested after a mobile phone video of the attack was shown to police. On 5/11/10 Torquay magistrates jailed Sherlock for 126 days and disqualified him from owning an animal for 10 years.
Paul Betteney and Kelly Osborne admitted running a pet shop from their home. As well as keeping the animals in cruel conditions, Paul Betteney and Kelly Osborne of Dudley Drive, Dudley, North Tyneside, sold them without having a licence. The animals which were kept in their garage, were found to be suffering because of the unsuitable environment. When the RSPCA searched their home they found two gold-coloured cages with 10 birds in them – six Quaker parrots and four Conure parakeets. The cages were too small to accommodate them and the parrots were behaving abnormally. Also in the garage was a homemade plywood box with assorted tortoises in it, including four Horsefield and two leopard tortoises. Betteney, 36, and Osborne, 37, appeared at North Tyneside magistrates on 9/12/10 and pleaded guilty to three offences of failing to provide a suitable environment for the pets and meet their needs. They also admitted a North Tyneside Council charge of running a pet shop at their home without a licence. On 11/1/11 North Tyneside magistrates disqualified Betteney and Osborne from keeping any animals indefinitely, except dogs and fish, and banned them from having a pet shop licence. They were also given a six-month community order with a three-month curfew, and were asked to pay £650 each in costs.
William John Hartley, 60, of Nook Lane, Tyldsley, was arrested after RSPCA officers and police inspected his farm, after receiving information about dogs’ safety. Officers seized the dogs after concerns were raised about their poor condition. Hartley who denies the charges, told Stockport magistrates on 16/12/10 he had run the farm as animal rescue for 20 years. The 33 puppies included nine Yorkshire terriers, five West Highland white terriers, five King Charles cavaliers, five Labradors, seven Pomeranians and two King Charles spaniels. Martin said all the puppies had intestinal disease caused by infection or parasites and some had respiratory infections. Hartley, who represented himself, claimed the puppies did not belong to him and were delivered to one of the farm buildings the previous evening which was rented by two men, Alec Paul Rogers and Michael Emme. Rogers, 25, of Woodland View, Hyde and Emme, 27, of Sandwich Drive, Macclesfield, had earlier pleaded guilty at Stockport magistrates court for breaching a disqualification order banning them from keeping animals. Hartley claimed he believed all the puppies had been inoculated and received veterinary care. The two men had rented the building for the previous six weeks and Hartley said he believed them to be ‘reputable’. On the 13/1/11 Hartley was cleared of cruelty to the dogs.