North West Hunt Saboteurs

Vermin Patrol For Howl 65

Badgers

In Richard Lovett (42) of Meysey Hampton, Cirencester, Gloucestershire (terrierman for the Vale of White Horse Foxhounds) appeared at Swindon Crown Court to appeal against his conviction for illegally blocking a badger sett. (See Howl 62 for more details of the case). The Crown Court rejected his appeal and decided that Lovett had committed the offence.

Ronny Sanderson of Halifax was found guilty of possession of badger parts under the Badgers Act and for possession of a tawny owl under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. Magistrates heard how Sanderson claimed the badger was a road casualty, however, it was found to have dog bites on its neck. The court also heard how the owl had lead shot injuries. He was fined £100 and ordered to pay £750 costs to the RSPCA.

Three men who admitted interfering with the set of a badger were described as "blackguards" by a judge at Trim District Court on 25/4/97. Eventually one of the men, Peter Maher of Grangeclare, Robenstown, Co Kildare was remanded in custody for a seven days. The court heard he had given a false name and address to a wildlife ranger who came across the men. The others were fined. Maher, along with John Casey (32) of Coolcarrigan, and Patrick Mulligan jnr (28) of Knockmore, Carbury, Co Kildare, were charged with entering lands without the owner's permission on 25/2/96 at Colehill, Kinnegad, Co Westmeath. Casey and Mulligan were told they must pay £100 witness expenses each in addition to fines of £150 and £100 respectively. The judge also disqualified Casey from driving for 12 months for using his car in connection with the offence. The three defendants also admitted interfering with/destroying the breeding place of a protected wild animal and carrying a spade and shovel capable of being used for the hunting of a wild bird or animal. The judge said they had dug 1.3 metres deep into the badger set and "are blackguards". The badger is a protected animal, this is a well-known set in the area and they deliberately had two dogs and another dog in the boot. If a badger catches you he won't let go. It is his only defence. It is disgusting." He remanded Maher in custody for one week to appear again in Trim District Court at a later date. Recognisance was set in the event of an appeal.

On 18/8/97 three men from Merseyside will appear before Stockport magistrates accused of badger cruelty offences. Steven Taplin (28), Paul Archer (23) and Stanley Young (30) were all alleged to have committed a total of 13 offences.


Bloodsports 

New Forest Foxhounds kennel huntsman Paul Woodhouse (46) of Romsey Road, Lyndhurst, Hampshire was described in court as Mr Cool lost his temper and struck a League Against Cruel Sports member with his whip. Lyndhurst magistrates heard on 23/4/97 how Woodhouse did not have a blemish on his character and had endured numerous provocative incidents over the years. However, when he was out with the hunt on 9/1/96, the court heard how he rode his horse at the LACS member and struck him twice across the head with a whip resulting in him ending up on the floor. At the time the LACS member was filming a fox being dug out after it had gone to ground. Woodhouse was said to be in pain after falling from his horse earlier on in the day was described as a very cool character, however, he could only remember striking only one blow. Woodhouse admitted common assault and was fined £75 and ordered to pay costs of £35 and £40 compensation. Woodhouse also has another conviction for assault.

A County Down sportsman shot and seriously wounded his life-long friend and then shot and killed himself on a shooting trip, a Belfast inquest was told on 24/2/97. Noel Drummond (49) who lived at Silverstream Avenue, Bangor, was said by the coroner to have had murderous thoughts in his mind when he shot his friend just 18/12/95. The double shooting took place in woodlands at Crawfordsburn, along the Co Down coast. No motive was found for the shootings but the coroner said they were deliberate and carried out while Mr Drummond was mentally disturbed. The survivor of the shotgun attack, David McGimpsey (51) of Glenariff Park, also in Bangor, Co Down, who is now permanently disabled, gave his evidence to the inquest from a wheelchair. He said he and Drummond had not had any arguments and had been friends from their schooldays. He brought Drummond in his car to the farmland but was surprised his friend had brought his shotgun with him on a Sunday, as he thought they were only going to train a young spaniel dog in the bracken. Drummond told him that he was bringing his gun in case they saw a fox. McGimpsey said that on a previous occasion, Drummond had "acted strangely and was edgy" and kept "lagging" behind, which was unusual, as people on a shooting trip always kept in line for safety reasons. McGimpsey said that when the shot hit him on the back of his head, he fell forward on his face. When he heard another shot, he thought his dog was the target. Drummond's body was found a few yards away. He had died from a self-inflicted shot to the head.

Alex Seldon (52) of Sendholme, Potters Lane, Send, Surrey pleaded guilty to three instances of permitting the use of traps for animals and one of failing to inspect an animal trap once a day. South West Surrey magistrates heard on 20/3/97 how three people found a young cat caught in a trap near Seldon's home. They then took the cat to the RSPCA who had to amputate the leg as gangrene was too advanced. The injuries to the cat were estimated to be three-and-a half days old. When the RSPCA visited Seldon's home they discovered a further two traps, they were designed to catch rabbits, however they were found were any animal could be caught. Seldon also faced a joint accusation with his gardener John Froggat (46) of The Street, Compton of causing unnecessary suffering to the cat. When Seldon was interviewed by the RSPCA he admitted he told Froggat how to set the traps and took full responsibility for what had happened but did not intend for any animal to suffer!!! Seldon was fined £50 each for the permitting to use the traps, another £50 for failing to inspect the trap and £600 for causing unnecessary suffering to the cat. He was also told to pay £500 legal costs and £392.68 preparation costs to the RSPCA making a total of £1,692.68. Froggat was given a formal caution by the police.


Egg/Birds

A man who kept an illegal collection of wild birds' eggs in his garage has been fined £1,200. Police found almost 2,000 eggs, including those of peregrine falcons, merlins, red-throated divers, avocets and goshawks, when they raided the home of Robert Crich (48) of Brandon, County Durham. Crich admitted having an illegal collection when he appeared before magistrates in Durham on 31/7/96, many of the eggs found were under a special protection order. A magistrate said: "The bird population has been in decline for many years, not least because of the activities of people who collect eggs." A spokesman for the RSPB said: "This was the biggest illegal collection ever seized in this country. Some of the eggs were of endangered species, and collecting them can have serious consequences."

An illegal collection of wild birds' eggs was discovered when police raided the home of a Michael Dawson (70) from Brighton. The eggs, mainly from skylarks, were in display cases along with eggs from woodlarks, nightjars and song thrushes. Brighton magistrates were told on 1/11/96 how police who searched Michael Dawson's home also found 175 Ordnance Survey maps. and at a garage belonging to him they discovered an alleged egg-blowing kit which consisted of a syringe, drill bits and a fine wire hook. Also at the garage were two pairs of climbing irons which were allegedly used for scaling trees to find nests. Dawson denies illegally having 255 wild birds' eggs and having equipment capable of being used to gather an egg collection. (If anybody knows the result of his trial can they please let me know via the HSA office).

A Sunderland University ecology lecturer has been convicted of disturbing protected birds as they hatched their eggs. Dr. Andrew Dixon (31) of The Maltings House, Allendale, Northumberland visited bird reserves in Lancashire and nesting sites in Wiltshire and Devon. Entries in his diary, dating from 1994, showed that he approached the nests of black-tailed godwits and stone curlews during the breeding season, endangering each clutch by flushing away parent birds. Dixon who has written papers on peregrine falcons, denied nine charges of disturbing rare birds and seven alternative charges of attempted disturbance. Salisbury magistrates on 25/1/97 decided that he had no case to answer in regard to charges involving red kites, hobbies, Dartford warblers, cirl buntings and goshawks. But he was found guilty on one charge of intentionally disturbing black-tailed godwits, of which there are only 60 pairs nesting in Britain, and two charges of disturbing stone curlews. He was conditionally discharged for 18 months and ordered to pay £500 costs.

Falconer Paul Noble (33) of Sandy, Bedfordshire took eggs back to his aviary after they were stolen from cliff-face nests in Majorca, either by himself or an accomplice, Luton Crown Court was told on 4/4/97. Eight birds were sold for a total of £4,000 to falconers who were told that they had been bred in captivity. When police and the RSPB raided Noble's house, they found another six young birds. Noble had claimed he had acquired them from a dealer in France who bred them in captivity. But the court heard that France had banned their export since 1992. Police searching Noble's home found abseiling gear, airline tickets and hotel receipts for a trip in 1995 to Majorca - one of the few places in the world where the falcons breed. Shortly after Noble's trip, he had placed an advert for Eleonora's falcons in a bird magazine. Noble was found guilty of offering the birds for sale, obtaining property by deception by claiming they were bred in captivity and keeping restricted birds. He admitted two other charges of selling a restricted species. He denied any illegal activity involving the birds, saying that he believed the birds had been bred in captivity and he had tried his best to import them legally. He was jailed for eight months.

Two egg collectors were each fined £90,000 on 27/5/97 after admitting stealing eggs of some of Britain's rarest birds. The men were told that they faced up to two years in prison if they failed to pay the fines. The sentences, believed to be the highest for egg thefts, were welcomed by the RSPB. Lee McLaren (35), a part-time taxi driver, and his brother, Jamie MacLaren (34), a labourer, both of Portsmouth, Hampshire had gone to Orkney to target eggs of the hen harrier, merlin and red-throated diver (all birds given special protection). Police also found eggs illegally collected from the nests of curlew, fulmar, dunlin and a starling. A total of 31 eggs were discovered, 17 of which were from specially protected birds. The sheriff told the men at Kirkwall court: "The people of these islands are hospitable and care very much for their wildlife. You have abused both their hospitality and their care for wildlife." They were given four weeks to arrange payment of the fines. The court heard the brothers were seen acting suspiciously in the RSPB's Birsay Moors bird reserve on Orkney. A police wildlife liaison officer went to a caravan rented by the brothers and found eggs in cardboard boxes. There were two clutches of hen harrier eggs and a clutch each from a merlin and red throated diver's nests. Aly Bruce, defending, said: "My clients admitted they offended and knew they were doing wrong. They obviously apologise for that and they have learned, or are about to learn, a very severe lesson." The brothers admitted 70 charges including taking and possessing eggs and disturbing rare and protected birds. Each charge carried a maximum fine of £5,000. After the case the men said they were "stunned, horrified and dismayed" by the severity of the sentence. Lee McLaren said: "It's absolutely ridiculous. We were told it would be a fine of about £2,500." A RSPB senior site manager, said he was delighted with the fines. "This is giving the right message that the Wildlife and Countryside Act is starting to be taken seriously. It also sends out a clear message that not only will egg thieves be dealt with severely, but people can't think of Orkney as a soft touch. Orkney has been targeted in the past, but hopefully it won't be again.

Falconer Gary Job (38) from Ffaldybrenin, South Wales was convicted of keeping wild peregrines, and aiding and abetting others to breach the Wildlife and Countryside Act. Following an appeal on BBC's Crimewatch about a raid on peregrine nests in Cumbria a viewer identified him as the man captured on film at the scene equipped with climbing gear to reach the birds, worth £800 each. When Job was arrested at his home they seized two rare peregrine falcons, blood samples were taken and DNA tests proved they could not have been bred legally from birds in captivity, as he claimed. On 30/4/97 Lampeter magistrates fined him £450 and ordered him to pay costs of £700. At his appeal on 20/7/98 at Swansea Crown Court the judge ordered Job to pay an extra £1,000 costs.

When the police and RSPB officials raided the home of Alan Barrow of Sumner Avenue, Ainsworth, Lancashire they found 129 eggs belonging to some of the countries rarest birds. Barrow pleaded guilty at Bury magistrates court on 2/5/97 to possession of 20 wild birds eggs under List A of the Wildlife and Countryside Act as well as possession of 102 eggs under List B of the same Act. He also pleaded guilty to having in his possession a chest of drawers for storing wild bird eggs. The court heard how Barrow admitted possessing the eggs, but he only played a small part in collecting them. The mastermind was Brian Mortimer (35) of Ribble Drive, Bury was in court on 3/6/97 he pleaded guilty to nine summonses under the Act. They included having in his possession 134 eggs, taking a roseate tern egg from Anglesey, taking a chough egg from Holyhead, taking a golden eagle on the Isle of Skye, a hen harrier egg from the Trough of Bowland and possession of items including egg blowing equipment and maps. Barrow was given fines totalling £2,500 with £250 costs and ordered the forfeiture of the eggs. Mortimer was fined a total of £3,075 with £150 costs. In 1989 Mortimer was fined £850 by Stafford magistrates for stealing two stone curlew eggs.

Radivoj Jankovic (57) imported goldfinches, linnets, yellow hammers and bullfinches which had been illegally trapped and netted in Hungary was fined £1,500. On 11/2/97 Magistrates in March, Cambs, were told that 164 birds, worth £6,000, were found in a raid on the home of Radivoj Jankovic who runs the Golden Feather Company. The prosecution claimed "The birds were caught using nets and traps. They do not live long in captivity because of the stress of being caught in these circumstances." Jankovic admitted four counts of possessing wild live birds for the purpose of sale, in breach of the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act. The Act says that indigenous British birds can only be sold commercially if they are reared in captivity. The RSPCA, which alleged that Golden Feather Company had advertised the birds as being indigenous to Northern Europe - not specifically Britain - in an effort to try to get around the Act, was last night celebrating the closing of a legal loophole. A chief inspector, said after the hearing: "It's a unique case - the first time we have brought such a prosecution. If we had failed it would have been open for others to try to import wild birds in the same way." He said the birds, which were on sale at £150 a pair, were being offered to fanciers and added that it was now hoped that the birds seized from the firm could be released back into the wild. Jankovic was ordered to pay £172 costs.

Graham Butterworth of The Gillots, Chadderton, Lancashire sold a falcon illegally a court was told. The merlin was not registered with the Department of Environment Oldham magistrates were told on 16/5/97. However, Butterworth sold the bird with rings around its feet, which indicated it was registered. DNA samples proved the bird had been bred from two of Butterworth's other birds. The case was adjourned until 29/5/97.

George Thomas (60) from Andover, Hampshire was ordered to pay £1,000 and received two conditional discharges for shooting a protected bird. A griffon-vulture landed in a field in which his son had been keeping hens after it had been blown off course while training for a flying demonstration. The court heard how Thomas got out of his vehicle and shot the bird before driving off. He admitted shooting the bird and also confessed that he did not have a firearms licence.


Equine

A brother and sister have been banned from keeping ponies and horses for life after admitting neglecting 20 Shetland ponies. Martin Kivell (63) and Beryl May Kivell (60) both of Carnforth Road, Heaton Chapel, Stockport, Cheshire pleaded guilty to eight counts of causing unnecessary suffering at Macclesfield magistrates on 12/6/97. When the RSPCA found the ponies they were starving and infected with lice, two had collapsed and the fields were bare of grass. The court was told Martin Kivell already had a conviction for a similar offence three years ago. As well as the ban they were also given a two-year conditional discharge each, magistrates ordered that the ponies be handed into the care of the RSPCA and made to pay costs of £6,100. On 2/7/97 they both appeared before Macclesfield magistrates to ask for the ban to be removed, however, the order was refused.


Assorted

North Wales magistrates heard how Huw Griffith Jones of Brynaerau Farm, Rhosfawr, Pwlleli, Gwent had a total of 17 pole traps on fence posts on his farm. When his farm was searched by police and the RSPB in August 1996 they found the traps, they also found a live crow, a dead crow still in a trap, ten dead crows with broken legs, a jackdaw with no legs and a partly decomposed thrush. Jones pleaded guilty to two charges under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 and was fined a total of £3,000 and ordered to pay costs of £54.

A farmer who was "dedicated to killing creatures" was fined a record amount for killing three birds of prey. John Edwards (87) of Cold Harbour Farm, Walingford, Oxon poisoned the red kites, a protected species, because he thought they were attacking animals on his pig farm. Magistrates at Thame, Oxon, heard that his farm was littered with the corpses of animals, poisoned bait and traps which had been banned for years. On 24/5/97 he was fined £13,500, the highest ever for a wildlife poisoning case, with £500 costs and an order that traps and poisons be confiscated. It was claimed he laced animal corpses with poison so they would be eaten by red kites that nested near his. He admitted he did not like the birds but insisted he had not killed them.

Follow up to Howl 64 - Richard Smith (20) and Paul West (20) both from Winchester were charged with kicking and burning a hedgehog in September 1996. The court heard how a neighbour had called the police after she had seen the two men use an aerosol as a blowtorch to set fire to the hedgehog, which they then kicked around the garden like a football. Winchester magistrates found them both guilty under the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996 and remanded them for pre-sentence reports. When they re-appeared before magistrates they were each given 80 hours community service and ordered to pay £75 costs.

Simon Bundy admitted that he had kicked a hedgehog like a football whilst he was drunk. Salisbury magistrates fined him £75 with £45 costs. He was convicted under the same act as Smith and West.


Farm Animals

More than 400 deer being bred for export became diseased, starved to death and were buried in pits after their owner refused to pay veterinary and feed bills. Bodmin magistrates were told on 22/11/96 about the deer, which had an export value of £110,000, belonged to Galtee Deer Farm Company, an Irish food company, but were kept on Tremoreland Farm, Cardingham, near Bodmin, Cornwall. The farm manager, Robert Jasper (40) was fined £500 after he admitted six charges of causing unnecessary suffering to the deer. When police and RSPCA officers visited the farm they found just 389 deer instead of the 840 that should have been there. The farm had been overstocked and lungworm spread through the herd, damaging the animals' immune systems and making it painful for them to eat.

A man pleaded guilty to dragging a dying goat across a car park when he appeared before Lancaster magistrates on 30/1/97. Nathan Brown (22) of Neargates, Charnock Richard, Lancashire admitted carrying out the offence at Lancaster Auction Mart on 5/4/96. He also pleaded guilty to obstructing a Lancashire County Council officer by failing to give his name and address when asked. At the time Brown was helping the goat's owner, Craig Iveson from North Yorkshire, who also pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the animal. Iveson also admitted two related offences of entering a pen at the market in which the goat had been detained by a county council officer, and removing it. Iveson was fined £300 with £325 costs. The court heard that the black goat, in a pen at the market, appeared to be ill. Iveson was told by a county council animal health and welfare inspector that the animal should not be moved so it could be seen by a vet or humanely destroyed. But a short time later the inspector saw the two men running along the car park dragging the goat between them. When they reached the end of the road the goat struck the edge of the kerb and flipped into the air like a rag doll. The goat was still alive but bleating pitifully when the inspector confronted the men, sadly the goat died shortly after. Brown was granted unconditional bail by the court to re-appear for sentencing at a later date.


Domestic

A former leading breeder of West Highland terriers was banned for life from keeping animals after being found guilty in her absence of nine charges of abuse against her dogs. Frieda Cook (76) of Wandlebury Hill, Cambridge failed to appear before Cambridge magistrates on 10/12/96 to answer the charges. The RSPCA, which brought the prosecution, has demanded that all her dogs were taken away and that she was never allowed to keep them again. Some of her pedigree dogs were sold for as much as £1,500. The court heard how Cook, a show judge, administered dangerous prescription-only drugs to her animals and even vaccinated a dog herself despite being unqualified to do so. Toxic pesticides and flea sprays were used by Cook to treat skin conditions - resulting in two of the terriers losing nearly 80 per cent of their body hair. Cook also had a supply of a prescription-only drug used to help pigs give birth. These were described as dangerous in the wrong hands. The dogs had bare patches with weeping sores which the strong sprays only aggravated by burning the skin further. The kennels which also had no running water or electricity and were filthy. The RSPCA found one emaciated dog was lame in a back leg and another as covered in fleas with chronic ear and eye trouble. After sentencing, Miss Cook said: "I am totally innocent and would have proved it if had been allowed to but I could not attend the earlier hearing because I was ill."

A nurse who had 30 dogs living with her in a caravan at her self-styled sanctuary was jailed for six months and banned from keeping animals for life. Jane Nichols (50) of Cookes Wood, Broom Park, near Durham, was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering. Her son Kevin Nichols (27) was also convicted but did not appear in court and a warrant was issued for his arrest. They were found to have neglected five cats, two horses, two donkeys and a Jack Russell terrier. A chestnut mare named Sunshine was in such a bad condition that she had to be destroyed when the RSPCA visited the site following a complaint to the police in April 1996, Durham magistrates were told on 8/4/97. Nichols, who represented herself at the hearing, set up the "sanctuary" with £60,000 left by her late husband, who died from cancer in 1993. In tears, she told the court that she had never ill-treated an animal in her life and that taking the animals away from her would be cruel to them. She said she loved animals and that she fitted in work at a local nursing home around the needs of the animals. The five cats were in a hut that was filthy from overflowing litter trays. The other animals were moved from the site and looked after by the RSPCA. All were said to have made considerable improvements within a few months. Kevin Nichols did not attend the hearing because it was claimed that he was with the remaining animals at the sanctuary. These will now be taken into care by the RSPCA, which has spent about £12,000 on the case, mostly on caring for the animals.

A man who kept a female jaguar and another wild cat in his garage has been jailed for three months for cruelty. Derek O'Driscoll (23) of Cross Wood Park, Eire pleaded guilty in Kilmainham District Court on 23/4/97 to causing unnecessary suffering to the jaguar and serval and keeping them in cruel conditions. On 17/4/96 the police forced open the door of a locked garage while conducting a drugs search at O'Driscoll's home. Inside they found the two cats, the African serval, about the size of a collie dog, was in a cage three feet by two feet by one foot. There was no sign of food or water and there was a strong stench of urine. She was growling and snarling in an agitated way. The door of the cage was a shelf from a fridge propped up by a block. They also found a 2 1/2-year-old female jaguar in a wire mesh pen. The 12-foot by nine-foot pen contained the cat, a half-eaten pig's head, wood shavings but no water. Also the door was unlocked and children could gain access to the pen. There was no natural lighting in the garage which caused physical and mental distress to both animals. They were sedated and taken to Dublin Zoo. Sentencing O'Driscoll to three months, the Judge said: "If either of those animals had got out, I don't want to contemplate what might happen. As an animal lover I am sickened by the way they were locked up, which can only suggest a depraved mind."

Ian Ramsden (34) of Tonfield Road, Sutton, Surrey admitted keeping dangerous animals without a licence and was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to animals. Sutton magistrates heard on 17/4/97 how the police and RSPCA officers raided his home and found more than 60 deadly and dangerous snakes in an unlocked garage. They also found a price list and documents with the business name of Direct Reptile printed on them. Ramsden maintained he was not involved in the illegal trade of buying and selling snakes. He was fined a total of £350 and banned from keeping animals for ten years.

Nursing auxiliary Owen Gibbs of Crosslands Farm, Clay Lane, St Osyth, Essex was found guilty of six charges of causing unnecessary suffering to animals at Colchester magistrates on 22/4/97. Magistrates were told about six pigs that Gibbs kept on his farm, there were two adults and four piglets and all were suffering from mange. There was also an adult boar which was emaciated, its skin was ulcerated and its belly had seeping pores. One of the piglets was so small it was said to be "lucky to be alive". He was fined £50 on each charge.

Gamekeeper Mark Fawcett (18) of Moor Rigg, Frosterly, County Durham was cleared of deliberately shooting and blinding a cat. Fawcett, a YTS keeper on the 7,000 acre Bollihope estate which is owned by the ruling Maktoum family of Dubai was found not guilty by Bishop Auckland magistrates on 26/4/97 following a three day trial. The court heard how Fawcett had claimed he had been firing at a rabbit he had seen running past his vehicle. The cats owner said he had seen the shooting and found the cat wriggling around in agony on the grass as Fawcett drove off at speed. The cat was left with nine pieces of shot in its body and had to have an eye removed. Vets also took out 18 pieces of shot.

Thomas Thompson (21) of Brookside, Raffles, Carlisle appeared before Carlisle magistrates on 10/5/97 and admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a dog. Magistrates were told how the dog was so emaciated she could hardly stand. When an RSPCA inspector found her she was just hours from death, she was then rushed to a local vets who concluded that she was in such a bad way the only humane action was to have her put out of her misery. Thompson was sent to prison for three months and banned from keeping animals for life.

A champion sheepdog trialist, who starred in the television programme One Man and His Dog, caused unnecessary suffering to five of his collies. The dogs were found emaciated, dirty, with skin problems and in unhygienic conditions at the home of Gwyn Jones (52) of Penmachno, near Betws-y-Coed, Snowdonia. Three of the dogs, named Capp, Meg and Kirk, had to be destroyed and the other two - both called Roy - have since recovered in RSCPA kennels. Jones three times supreme champion and captain of the Welsh international team, was found guilty at Llandudno magistrates on 29/5/97 of five counts of causing unnecessary suffering to his dogs. He was fined a total of £2,000 and ordered to pay £1,750 costs. The court chairman, told him: "We feel you have been extremely negligent for a man who has been involved with sheepdogs most of your life and should have known these dogs needed adequate food and proper care." He said that the court would not disqualify Jones from keeping dogs because it would be almost impossible to run a hill farm without them. Jones had felt "gutted" when he learned that the RSPCA had taken away two of his dogs. The court heard how Capp, was blind and so thin that he looked more like a greyhound. All five dogs were quite knowingly caused unnecessary suffering and in relation to the two older dogs, Meg and Kirk, Jones acknowledged they were in a poor condition. The two surviving dogs named Roy had to have four meals a day for three months to reach what vets regarded as a normal healthy weight. Jones denied a suggestion that he had reached the heights, was seen as a big man in sheepdog trials but, for whatever reason, had begun to neglect his dogs. He claimed that his dogs were not emaciated but well-fed working animals. Jones said Meg who was 16 and Kirk 13 had agreed to them being put down because they were so old. "I have always taken dogs to the vet. They have always been treated," he added. An RSPCA inspector, said he visited Jones's farm in December 1996 after an anonymous complaint had been made to the RSPCA's Welsh headquarters at Brecon. Jones had made a statement saying: "I feed my dogs. I fill their tins up. I have not been well and have been receiving treatment. I have been in and out of hospital in the last two years." Now the sport's ruling body will have to decide whether disciplinary proceedings should be brought against him. After the case an RSPCA spokesman said: "We are pleased with the size of the penalty. This was a particular severe case of neglect. But we are disappointed that Jones has been allowed to carry on keeping dogs. He was convicted of ill-treating dogs but he can still go on keeping them."

Andrew Noble (26) of Hibbert Lane, Marple, Stockport, Cheshire pleaded guilty to ill-treating his dog when he beat it to death after messing up his kitchen. Stockport magistrates were told on 13/6/97 how Noble discovered the dog had soiled the kitchen and ripped open rubbish bags. He then became so angry that he repeatedly hit and kicked the dog, which then went to cower in a corner when he returned 10 minutes later he found the dog was dead. The following day his girlfriend informed the RSPCA. The case was adjourned until 2/7/97 when Noble was put on two years probation and banned from keeping animals for life, he was also ordered to pay £52 vet's fees and £125 costs.

Darren O'Brien (23) of Claremont Road, Rusholme, Manchester said he had drunk seven pints of beer, smoked cannabis and sniffed turps before he set the family cat on fire. O'Brien was said to be laughing as the cat was engulfed in flames which then spread to the house causing £14,000 worth of damage. His mother doused the cat in cold water, but sadly had to be put down. On 4/7/97 Manchester Crown Court jailed him for two years after he admitted arson.

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