North West Hunt Saboteurs

Vermin Patrol For Howl 66

You will not believe your eyes when you read the following case!!!

A pensioner was jailed for three months on 5/11/97 after refusing repeated orders to stop feeding birds in her garden. Barbara Simpson (60) of Preston, near Weymouth, Dorset says the birds are "her life". She has continued to put out food for thousands of birds despite five court appearances. Judge Roger Titheridge, QC, told Winchester Crown Court that he had been advised that a jail sentence would not stop Simpson's compulsion. He said: "If it doesn't, then Mrs Simpson must face the sad fact that if she takes no notice of this course of action she will face longer spells of committal to prison." The court were told that at five o'clock each morning flocks of crows, pigeons, starlings and other birds gathered around Simpson's garden. She put out nuts, cheese and seed, spending up to £150 a week. She had also left meat for a fox and badgers. Jailing her, the judge said: "Mrs Simpson has brought this upon herself. The stage has come when it is necessary to protect Mrs Simpson's neighbours and take a course that ensures that orders of the court are obeyed. "It is a sad duty I have to perform on a 60-year-old woman with an unblemished character but she is someone who is quite unable to stop actions that involve contempt of court and, more importantly, serious risk to health." He said a "substantial public nuisance" had been caused by piles of rotting food which smelt and attracted rats. "I haven't the slightest doubt she has put her desire to feed the birds and animals above any reasonable consideration for the health and welfare of her neighbours". Simpsons defence said: "She has been led to breach the order though a compulsion she is quite incapable of mastering. Try as she might, she couldn't bear to see the birds she has grown to love over the years starve." He said Simpson had no children and very few interests in life apart from caring for birds and animals. He suggested that the court allow Simpson to undergo psychiatric treatment and perhaps fine her. A neighbour, Ralph Morris, 70, said: "It's a great relief for the whole neighbourhood and it's what she deserved. It's really been a great nuisance and this will be a temporary break from it. However, I am sure she will continue to feed the birds once she is released." Good for her.

Now read on and see what pathetic sentences the real scum get for serious offences


Badgers

Howl 64 Update - Nicholas Grooby (22) of Paradise Lane, Old Dolby, Leicestershire (an unpaid terrierman for South Nottingham Foxhounds), Gary Pearson (34) of Souldern Way, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, David William Edwards (48) of Roughcoat Lane, Cavershall, Stoke-on-Trent and Mark John Hulme (33) of Ash Grove, Rode Heath, Stoke-on-Trent were all found guilty by Nottingham Magistrates on 15/1/97 of attempting to take a badger, digging for badgers and interfering with a badger sett, after being caught on 16/11/95. The court heard how they were spotted by a local gamekeeper who had watched them digging at a well known badger sett. One of them had a dog locator scanner while another was poking a large metal spike into the ground. On 20/2/97 they were all sentenced to four months for attempting to take a badger, two months for digging for badgers and two months for interfering with a badger sett. All sentences are to run concurrently. They were also banned from keeping animals for 5 years. All were released on bail pending an appeal. Following the appeal in July they all had their sentences reduced to 120 hours community service plus costs of either £400 or £500.

David Clark (37) of Leamington Spa and Richard Underhill (37) of Southam, Warwickshire were both found guilty of interfering with a badger sett, attempting to take a badger and causing a dog to enter a badger's sett. On 11/9/97 Banbury magistrates took only one hour to find them both guilty. During the trial which lasted two days the court heard how the pair were caught armed with spades at a badger sett near Great Bourton in August 1996. They both claimed, wait for it, that they were trying to trap foxes and rabbits and their dogs had entered a badger sett by accident. When police raided Clark's home they found his living room filled with badger and fox trophies and gin traps were mounted on the walls. He also had dozens of books on bloodsports and hunting and 50 videos containing footage of rabbits and foxes being trapped and killed. Also caught was Frederick Smalley (69) of Hill Farm, Kineton Lane, Warmington. He was charged with interfering with a badger sett by destroying it on his farm. He was due to be tried separately, but sadly I don't know the outcome of his trial.

Following a trial at Matlock magistrates court four men from Derbyshire were found guilty of interfering with a badger sett, digging for badgers and killing a badger. The court heard on 18-19/9/97 how Garry Shaw (28) of White Terrace, Rowsley, near Bakewell, Gary Pettipierre (37) of Belper Road, Alderwasley, David Wragg (32) of Sandbed Lane, Belper and Michael Holland (32) of Cowsley Road, Chaddesden were seen on 10/3/96 at Cromford Moor by a badger protection group. The group were keeping watch on a sett when they observed the four approach the sett and begin digging. They then watched in horror as a badger was knifed, then bludgeoned to death. The police were called and found the body of a fully grown male badger still warm in a shallow grave near the sett. The four told the police they had been looking for foxes (there goes that old excuse again) and had nothing to do with the badgers death. However, Wragg told magistrates he had stabbed the badger through the heart and then buried it. He said the two terriers were on a scent and had run into the sett, he then dug out the terriers and found one dog locked jaw-to-jaw with the badger and the other dog was also clamped onto it. Wragg said the killing was unavoidable. "It was not sport. I did it to save the dogs." Police took a knife from Wragg and a boilersuit from Holland both were bloodstained and DNA genetic profiling (used for the first time in such a case) matched the blood of the dead badger. On 17/10/97 all were sentenced to five months in prison by Bakewell magistrates, however all were released on police bail pending an appeal at Derby Crown Court. The court also ordered that their terriers be forfeited to the RSPCA.

A haulier was sentenced to four months in prison and banned from keeping any animal for five years after becoming the first man ever to be caught unlawfully transporting a live badger. Desmond Joseph Mackin (43) of Castle Lodge, Banbridge, County Down, Northern Ireland (formally an official representative of the Fell and Moorland Working Terrier Club) pleaded guilty to charges of possession of a badger and ill-treating a badger at Darlington Magistrates court on 6/10/97. Mackin was arrested by Durham police after being stopped in his lorry on the A66 at Bowes Moor on 11/1/97. Police requested RSPCA assistance after discovering a live badger tied up in a sack in the back of the lorry. Mackin had travelled to County Durham from Northern Ireland. An inspector of the RSPCA's Special Operations Unit, who assisted Durham police, said: "This is an extremely important case. It confirms our suspicions that badgers are being dug out and transported elsewhere for baiting. The badger was found tied up and covered in mud in the middle of the loaded wagon and we believe it had been driven all the way from Northern Ireland to be baited over here". The badger was later found to be pregnant and after recovering from the ordeal gave birth to three cubs. After rehabilitation, the sow along with all the cubs were successfully released into the wild in the South of England.

John Charles Kneale (58) of Westminster Drive, Bromborough, Wirral (terrier man for the Cheshire Foxhounds) and Peter Edge (28) of Hilbre Bank, Alpraham, Tarporley, Cheshire both walked free from Northwich magistrates on 31/10/97 after magistrates decided there was no case to answer over allegations of badger digging. Both were charged with disturbing a badger sett and causing a dog to enter a badger sett at High Billinge near Tarporley after the Cheshire Foxhounds had passed over the land earlier the same day in February 1997. The farmer who owned the land said "I was approached by Kneale, he said a fox had run to ground during the hunt and would it be all right to dig it out. I gave him permission. I didn't know they were going near where the badger sett." They were then seen digging at the sett by forest workers, who then rang a badger protection group to report them.

Steven Taplin (28) of Kilburn Street, Liverpool, Paul Archer (23) of Snave Close, Liverpool and Stanley Young (30) of Elizabeth Road, Bootle, Liverpool were all found guilty on 14/11/97 of interfering with a badger sett and causing unnecessary suffering to a fox. Young was also found guilty of cruelty to his terrier. Stockport magistrates heard over four days how the three were spotted by a woman walking her dog at Ladybrook Valley near Bramhall, Cheshire last February. In court a vet told how he had examined a fox that was found at the scene. It was still warm, had 'pretty horrendous injuries' and had bled to death. The court also heard how a greyhound and two terriers were injured, and one of the terriers had such serious injuries that it required three operations to repair the damage to the lower jaw. The three said in court how they had travelled to Stockport to hunt foxes because there were none in Merseyside (yeah right!!!). Taplin also told the court that they would not have dug at the sett if they believed badgers were inside. He also disagreed that the fox had been savaged by the dogs. "What do you think they did? Give it a kiss?" asked the prosecution. Taplin also stated it was a duty to kill foxes "because they are vermin". All three were sentenced to over 200 hours community service and ordered to pay £200 costs each. Young also had to forfeit his terrier and was banned from keeping dogs for two years.


Gamekeepers and Bloodsports

Alfred Evans (62) of Tyn-y-Clwt Nanttyr, near Llangollen, North Wales and his nephew Eifion Evans (28) of The Lodge Nanttyr, Glynceiriog, North Wales appeared before Llangollen magistrates on 27/6/97. Both were charged with three counts of using a trap to take a wild bird, possessing traps to take wild birds, having control of part of a wild bird and keeping a pheasant in an under sized cage. The offences fall under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. Magistrates heard how an RSPB employee found two Larsen traps near a pheasant release pen, one contained a crippled pheasant. When the police interviewed the pair (who are both experienced gamekeepers on the estate) they said one of the traps was to catch fox cubs. The prosecution alleged the traps were really a decoy to destroy birds of prey. The incident was alleged to have happened on the Nanttyr Estate near Llangollen where many birds of prey breed. If anybody knows the outcome of the above trial can they please let me know.

At the same court on 21/6/97 Patrick Sarsfield (49) head keeper of Vivoid Estate, Llangollen was cleared of seven charges involving the illegal use of traps and poisoned bait.

Another gamekeeper appeared at a court in Dumfries accused of using a funnel trap for the killing of wild birds. William Richards (33) of Harelawgate, Canonbie, Scotland pleaded not guilty to the charge, he also denied possession of a funnel trap and two pigeons capable of being used to catch wild birds. The court heard how an SSPCA investigating officer found a trap baited with pigeons. The sheriff found the case not proven.

Gamekeeper Leslie Morris (28) of Golf Link Cottages, Downley Common, Buckinghamshire appeared in court charged with killing protected wild animals. Morris appeared before Wycombe magistrates on 24/10/97 and was remanded on bail until November 12. He faced a total of 16 charges: four of taking a badger; destroying a badger sett; handling a stolen Honda quad bike, (the property of Gold Star Trading); two breaches of firearms certificate regulations; killing three wild owls; setting snares to injure wild animals; using an illuminating device to assist in the killing of a badger; two cases of killing a sparrowhawk; using a Fenn trap for foxes in a non-approved way; taking an unknown number of badgers and of killing a buzzard. The charges relate to dates from January 1996 to August 1997 in the High Wycombe area.

Five youths and a 21-year-old man arrested at a cockfight after they were spotted by Nick Ainger Labour MP were conditionally discharged at Tenby magistrates on 29/7/97 after they all admitted being at an illegal fight on Pembroke Dock.

Elaine Boddington (36) of Stonehouse Lane, Peckforton, Cheshire (who is a member of the Cheshire Foxhounds) was found guilty of driving without due care and attention at Chester magistrates on 11/9/97. Boddington, who works for a public relations company called Written Image denied the offence. However, magistrates heard how a former traffic policeman was waiting to pick up his wife in the middle of Chester when he saw Boddington return to her car, which was parked between a Rover and a Maestro. The car only had a four feet space behind it. He then watched as she reversed sharply knocking into the bumper of the Maestro, pushing it down the road for about two feet, she then drove straight off. When interviewed by the police she repeated several times she had not had an accident. Boddington also added "This may be a malicious allegation because of my high profile activities with the Cheshire Hunt. My vehicle registration is very well known". Magistrates fined her £200 with £200 costs and awarded her five penalty points. The court also heard she already had six points on her licence.

Three men from Hampshire Darren Cole (23) of Mount Pleasant Road, Alton, Simon Slone (24) of Kingdom Mews, Alton and John Smith (22) of Lytham Close, Borden were spotted trespassing on private fields near Ridgeway, Oxfordshire by a police officer. Didcot magistrates heard on 30/8/97 how the policeman saw the three men in a field with their dogs off their leads. All three admitted trespassing on fields in search or pursuit of game or woodcocks or conies and were fined £75 each and ordered to pay £25 costs each.


Eggs and Birds

Follow up to Howl 64 - A falconer who used a live pigeon as bait to recover a hawk valued at £5,000 should never have been prosecuted for cruelty, a court was told on 1/9/97. Sheriff James Paterson told Leonard Durman-Walters (58) of Hyndlee, Bonchester Bridge, Scotland: "In an age when people are often terrified of going outdoors for fear of being mugged, I do not consider causing terror to a pigeon ranks very high in the scale of offences." Durman-Walters had pleaded not guilty at Jedburgh court in the Scottish Borders to two charges of cruelty for using the pigeon in this way, and for releasing a live pheasant to be killed by a falcon. Finding him guilty, Sheriff Paterson said he would impose nothing more than two admonitions (warnings). Referring to the charge involving the pheasant - brought under the 1772 Scottish Game Act after complaints to the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - he said: "This thing has got out of hand." The court was told that Durman-Walters could not have been prosecuted on the pheasant charge if the offence - committed September 1996 - had occurred 10 days later. By then the season would have been open and killing the bird with a falcon would have been as legal as shooting it. The court was told that Durman-Walters had released a pigeon from a bag and held it captive on a six-foot leash, to draw back another falcon which he was training for a buyer in Arabia. One of Britain's leading bird veterinarians, had given evidence for the prosecution that the pigeon would have been in a state of extreme terror, even though it was returned to the bag before the falcon could get to it.

Barry Sheavils (37) of Ogle Drive, Blyth, Northumberland was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £350 by Bedlington magistrates on 28/9/97 after being found guilty of 12 offences of taking eggs from nests in the wild. He was also convicted of possessing items capable of being used to commit such offences. (These items included 11 notebooks, egg data cards, 54 maps, rope, climbing sling, syringes and pipettes). Boxes containing 48 eggs were found in the loft of his home during a raid by the police and RSPB officials. The court heard the eggs were taken from various sites including the Scottish Highlands, Yorkshire, the Peak District and the Lake District. Magistrates were also told that Sheavils had been to prison for failing to pay a previous fine for collecting eggs. Another court case.

Two brothers (first mentioned in Howl 65) were fined a record £10,000 after being caught stealing the eggs of protected birds on Orkney had 400 eggs at their home, Porthsmouth magistrates were told on 8/11/97. Lee McLaren (37) and his brother Jamie MacLaren (34), both from Portsmouth, had built up a collection of 385 eggs. Among their collection were eggs from red kites, of which only 100 pairs remain in Britain, as well as peregrine falcons and red throated-divers. They were each given a three-year conditional discharge because of the fines already imposed but were warned they faced severe penalties if convicted again. They had admitted five additional charges of taking and possessing eggs from the nests of wild birds and possessing equipment to be used in illegal egg collecting.


Equine

A woman caught up in a family feud over a £1million home has been convicted of animal cruelty. Michelle Stubbs (26) of Summerhill Farm, Dilhorne, near Cheadle, Staffordshire was sentenced to 120 hours community service. On 14/3/97 Leek magistrates also banned her from keeping horses for two years. The prosecution claimed a stallion owned by Stubbs was left for three days without treatment for a severe kick to the head from another horse. The horse was almost dead when it was found by council officials lying on the floor of a shed. A vet had to be called to put it down. In an earlier incident a foal being cared for by Stubbs was found to have two to three-day-old bites on its hind-quarters which had not been treated. It was believed the wounds, which would have caused the animal a lot of pain, may have been caused by a dog. Stubbs, unemployed, pleaded guilty to two charges of neglecting horses and was also ordered to pay £400 costs. Stubbs solicitor told the court there was a long standing family dispute involving his client and her parents, Michael and Susan Stubbs, who are facing eviction from Summerhill Farm. He said: "No one is more distressed than she is about the suffering that has been caused to the two animals. She very much regrets that she did not notice the injuries to the foal".

A racehorse owner who subjected his thoroughbreds to cruelty and neglect was jailed for three months on 15/7/97 by Blackburn magistrates and banned from keeping horses and dogs for the rest of his life. Robert Layland (62) of Desmaine House, Newsholme, near Gisburn, Lancashire (Ex Hunt Master) allowed his horses to live in such squalor that they were unable to move because they were standing three feet deep in their own manure. They were emaciated, balding and lice-ridden and one animal's carcass was left to rot among live beasts. The decline in the horses living standards mirrored Layland's downturn from prosperity to bankruptcy, the court was told. He had once owned a thriving car business and bred and trained horses for races including the Cheltenham Gold Cup. But when he lost his personal fortune following the collapse of his company, he began living in a fantasy world and refused to admit that things were going wrong. He had employees to keep them in the best of health and he fully understood the needs of the horses he owned, but by February 1997 the horses had suffered the same fate. They were found in squalid conditions hard to comprehend. When police and officials of the Horses and Ponies Protection Association (HAPPA) asked Layland about his cruelty, he falsely claimed that the animals were poised to go to a new home on the estate of the Earl of Lonsdale in Cumbria. The officers found 15 neglected horses and a yearling foal and discovered the body of a dead horse under a pile of pallets. Layland admitted five offences of failing to dispose of horse and dog carcasses and two offences of causing horses unnecessary suffering. He also asked for nine other horse neglect charges to be considered. So far it has cost HAPPA £26,000 to look after and rehabilitate the horses. Layland was fined £200 for failing to dispose of dead animals, and was ordered to pay £10,000 compensation to HAPPA. Layland is to appeal against his sentence at Preston Crown Court in the early part of 1998.

Penelope Armstrong (28) who lives on a stud farm at Rusper, West Sussex and is the girlfriend of Paolo Gucci, (grandson of the founder of the fashion empire) was banned from keeping horses and ordered to pay costs of £5,640 along with compensation to the RSPCA totalling £15,570. Horsham magistrates heard on 7/10/97 how she admitted 11 charges of causing unnecessary suffering, mainly to colts but in three cases to fillies. Two other alleged offences were dismissed. The court was told how one horse had died and six had to be destroyed after they were found emaciated, had diarrhoea and were listless. Post mortems carried out on the horses that were put down showed that they lacked inadequate nutrition and had a lack of body fat. A filly that had to be put down on the farm was estimated not to have eaten for two weeks. Armstrong also received a written caution in 1994 for a similar offence to an Arab stallion. On 22/12/97 Armstrong appeared at Chichester Crown Court to appeal against her sentence. However, her sentence was upheld and increased to a four-month suspended jail term.

A showjumper who used to be a partner in a North riding stables has been banned for life from keeping horses. Bedlington magistrates made the decision after hearing how a two-year-old bay filly belonging to Thomas Herriott (48) of Baxters Buildings, Seaton Delaval, Northumberland had been found in an appalling condition in a snow-covered field. The court heard how the horse, named Fleur, would have died, had it not been rescued by the RSPCA. Professional rider Herriott was also ordered to pay more than £3,000 in fines and costs. Magistrates were told the horse was emaciated, riddled with worms and suffering from misshapen feet because of a lack of food and care when an RSPCA inspector was called to the field near Morpeth where it was kept last winter. It only survived after intensive medical care. Herriott - who competed at showjumping's top venue, Hickstead, as a young rider - admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the animal. Magistrates also heard that Herriott had already been banned from keeping dogs for 20 years after being convicted of cruelty in 1989. (Does anybody know about this case?) After the hearing Herriott said he was taking legal advice on a possible appeal against the life ban, which he described as horrendous. He said: "I am a freelance, professional rider who rides competition horses and works in schooling horses and if this ban is not overturned I won't have a livelihood (Tough). "I am taking legal advice on whether the ban actually prevents me from riding other people's horses, but I suspect that it will. I have worked with horses all my life." At the time of the offence Herriott was a partner in the Tilery Stables riding school and livery yard at Kirkley, near Ponteland, Northumberland.

The mother of an Olympic three-day eventer was fined £1,500 for causing suffering to three horses kept at her stables. Jennifer Clapham of Mattingley, near Basingstoke, Hants (whose daughter Diana "Tiny" Clapham represented Britain in the 1984 Olympics), was cleared of 10 other charges relating to horses found at the farm. She now faces a legal bill of an estimated £25,000 and is having to resign from a number of equestrian organisations. As well as training horses, she is a senior judge at horse shows. Andover magistrates were told on 19/11/97 that six horses were removed by the RSPCA on their first visit to the farm in January 1997 and seven more were later taken away. Clapham was found guilty in respect of one horse which had to be put down and of two others which were in an emaciated state. After the case, an RSPCA inspector said: "This is the worst horse case I have been involved with during my five years with the charity. The contrast between what we found in one barn and others less than a stone's throw away was staggering. "She kept some show horses absolutely immaculately and then there were these three horses whose condition there are no words to describe." The inspector had told the court that she thought one horse was already dead when she found it lying on the floor of its barn. She said: "I approached it and got a shock when the head started to move and the legs started flailing." The animal was so emaciated it was later destroyed by a vet called to the farm. As she toured the farm she made a note referring to "images of Belsen," because of the condition of horses. Clapham claimed in court that all the horses were well fed, well looked after and had all been regularly wormed. Evidence was given on her behalf to show that all the animals involved were suffering from a parasite infestation which could cause horses to suffer extreme weight loss within 48 hours. Clapham, the wife of an Army colonel, was fined £750 for the horse which had to be shot, £500 for a second and £250 a third. She was also ordered to pay £7,500 costs and will have to pay her own legal fees. The deference said Clapham had already received anonymous hate-mail using "foul language and threats to attack her physically". They added that Clapham had already stood down from the British Pony Three-Day Event Team selection committee as well as a number of other equestrian bodies.


Assorted

Robert Venner (30) who is a farmer from the Westcountry was ordered to pay £4,000 compensation to the League Against Cruel Sports after a practical joke went wrong. Apparently Venner tried to pinch a flag from the L.A.C.S. stand at the 1997 Devon show, however, he found himself in trouble when he smashed an awning and broke a windscreen.

For those who watched the episode of 'Countryside Undercover - Dangerous Walks' shown on Channel 4 last April, they would remember how it resembled an average sab, with irate farmers etc. One such farmer who appeared on the programme was William Hurst (55) of Landlords Farm, near Aspull, Wigan he appeared before Bolton magistrates on 23/10/97 on two charges of common assault against two ramblers who tried to walk through his farmyard. The court heard how Hurst was alleged to had caused injury to one of the ramblers by gripping their arm and by punching the other in the ribs while they were walking on what they claimed was a public footpath. Hurst denied assaulting the ramblers though he admitted trying to shove them off his land. However, when the police arrived at his home to question him they found a shotgun lying beside a bed and more ammunition than allowed under his firearms certificate. Hurst was fined £500 for the shotgun offences and ordered to forfeit the weapon and ammunition.

Claims that former a editor of Angling Times incited readers to kill cormorants, a protected species, were rejected by magistrates on 7/11/97. They decided there was no case to answer after Keith Higginbottom of Sheffield was charged under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act over an Angling Times campaign. He had been accused by the prosecution of publishing in December 1996 "a paramilitary style glorification" of killing cormorants, which are despised by anglers for eating fish stocks. The court was told that the paper carried a photograph of a masked man in camouflage holding a gun with his finger on the trigger. In the foreground were four dead cormorants and a caption which read: "This is the picture everyone wants to see." Higgingbottoms defence said: "No one can suggest that responsible editors highlighting this are intending people to break the law. They are simply pointing out the debate. That is their function in a democratic society." Higginbottom left the court without comment. But John Kelly current editor, said: "The decision to bring the case at all has to be questioned as it was a serious challenge to journalistic independence and free speech." He said the newspaper's campaign against cormorants would continue.

British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) has been fined £32,500 for polluting the River Calder at Sellafield, Cumbria and for failing to comply with the site's authorisation. Whitehaven magistrates were told on 26/9/97 that a leak of 375 gallons of caustic soda into the river killed an estimated 14,860 fish and wiped out half of the invertebrate life in a 1km stretch. They were also ordered to pay costs of £24,954 to the Environmental Agency.

A Devon builder has been fined £100 for using an illegal spring trap to protect his poultry from rats. Philip Marshall (39) of 11 Hoxton Road, Ellacombe, Torquay laid the metal trap with spring action steel jaws outside his poultry sheds in Flete Mill Lane, Aish, Stoke Gabriel until it was spotted by an environmental health officer. When the RSPCA were called Marshall admitted that he had caught four rats in the trap before it was seized by the officer. Marshall admitted in court using the spring trap on 14/8/97. The RSPCA were bringing a prosecution under the 1954 Pests Act. Marshall was also ordered to pay £100 costs. Marshall had admitted he thought the trap might have been illegal but was not 100 per cent sure. Marshall told Totnes Magistrates on 2/10/97 that he had been losing eggs and chicks to rats through the summer. ''I used it to kill the rats, to get rid of them,'' he said. He also said he had tried humane traps but they had not worked. ''I have small children and dogs and I didn't want to put down poison.''


Farm Animals

A poultry farmer killed 29,300 broiler hens when he turned off the rearing shed's ventilation system. David Killgallon (38) of Winterton, Humberside admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the hens. Scunthorpe magistrates fined him £400.

A farmer was strongly criticised by a District Court judge for "barbaric treatment" of his sheep, resulting in their legs being cut to the bone by twine fetters. Donal Healy (42) of Ballinrosig, Carrigaline, County Cork, pleaded guilty at Carrigaline District Court on 25/7/97 to three charges of causing cruelty to 14 sheep, 26 cattle and a dog at his farm on 1/4/97. An inspector with the Cork Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said he found 14 sheep and lambs lying on their sides in a field with very poor grass and no substitute feeding or water. "I found the sheep had their feet fettered with bailer twine. The twine was attached with running knots and no stop ends, which meant when the animal moved the twine would tighten on the leg. When this happened, it would cut right through the flesh to bone and when I cut the twine free from the leg, I exposed half an inch of raw bone. He also found 26 cattle and calves, and a bull, in a compound behind Healy's farmhouse who were standing in several inches of slurry. "The animals had no place to lie down, they had no food or water and were roaring," He also found a terrier tied with a 20-yard chain - again without any signs of food or water and no shelter from the elements. Healy's solicitor explained his client's mother had died just two weeks before the visit. He had since had the sheep put down. But the judge said it was horrifying to think of the pain the poor animals had suffered. He fined Healy £100 for causing cruelty to the sheep, £100 for causing cruelty to the cattle, £50 for causing cruelty to the terrier and ordered him to pay £130 expenses.


Domestic

Dog killer Sean Hammond (26) of Langtoft Grove, Inglemire Lane, Kingston upon Hull, subjected his mother's kitten to sustained cruelty as ''perverted entertainment for young children''. In a ''trick'' for youngsters the kitten called Sweep was half-strangled, flung to the floor, kicked, thrown against a wall and jumped on. Finally, Hammond threw the kitten upstairs before the animal leapt through a window and then took refuge in the garden. On 25/4/97 Hull magistrates jailed Hammond for the maximum of six months for cruelty to the animal on 8/9/96. Hammond is already subject to a life ban from keeping animals after kicking his dog to death in a drunken rage - an offence which earned him a three months jail sentence in 1994. After hearing the latest incident a magistrate said: ''I think you are one of the most objectionable people I have ever dealt with.'' He said he was only sorry his powers could not give him the sentence he deserved. Following the case his mother June Hammond, of the same address, wept and tried to defend her son. ''I know he didn't do that to the cat. He is innocent and yet he has been jailed,'' she said.

Michael McNeil (48) of Bewholme Grove, Kingston upon Hull neglected his dogs so badly that one of them had to be immediately put down heard. Greyhounds, Cilla, Sam and Ella, were found starving and covered with fleas and sores. Two were half their normal body weight and one two thirds of it, Hull magistrates was told on 8/5/97. McNeil pleaded guilty to three counts of causing unnecessary suffering. The neglect was discovered in December 1996 when one of the dogs, which looked very weak, wandered into a pet shop and started eating dog biscuits from an open tin. All three were examined by a vet who said they were emaciated. "All of them had fleas and two at least had sores on their bodies. The dogs had been subjected to a period of starvation and neglect.'' The ownership of the dogs was passed on to the RSPCA and one of them had to be put down on humane grounds. McNeil, who had had one dog for seven years and the others for three years, said the animals were kept in the back garden and someone must have let them out. He told the RSPCA inspector they were all fed and he was aware they both had fleas and sores. He had not taken them out for exercise because he was embarrassed. Afterwards, an RSPCA spokesman said another of the dogs had to be put down later, but Ella had since been found a new home. The case was adjourned until 2/6/97 and McNeil was granted conditional bail. (Does anybody know the outcome of this case?)

Graham Smith (45) of Knowles Street, Radcliffe, near Bury and his son David Smith (20) of the same address were each fined £50 by Bury magistrates on 14/8/97 after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to their cat. A scratch on its head had developed into a tumour after going untreated for two months. The cat, named Ginger, was later put to sleep by an RSPCA vet. Both men failed to have the cat treated for its condition and it was left to suffer. In the two months the cat went without treatment, the tumour grew and covered half its head. The magistrates were told how on 28/5/97, RSPCA inspectors were called to the Smiths home after a call from a neighbour concerned for the cat. During a later interview, Smith admitted that his cat had been in that condition for the past two months. A charge of failing to provide necessary care and attention to the cat was levelled against them both because they lived at the same address and were both responsible for the welfare of the cat. Smith, a joiner with Salford City Council, said he had no intention of getting another cat. Both were fined £50 and ordered to pay £126 each towards the prosecution costs and veterinary bill. Sadly they were not banned from keeping any animal in the future.

A party guest microwaved a woman's kitten after she rebuffed his attempts to make a pass at her. Brendan Blennerhassett (24) of Luton, Beds carried out the attack within hours of meeting the woman. The 12-week-old kitten, called Jasper, took 10 minutes to die once it had been rescued from the microwave. Blennerhassett was jailed on 19/8/97 for the maximum six months for causing cruelty to an animal. The chairman of the bench at Houghton-le-Spring magistrates, Tyne and Wear, told him: "The torture and death of a much-loved and defenceless kitten is a thoroughly despicable offence. It was an inhumane act which can only be dealt with by a term of imprisonment." Lawyers for Blennerhassett, who denied the charge, lodged an appeal. The magistrates turned down a bail application that would have set him free. Blennerhassett said he had not seen a cat at the party and suggested that one of his friends might have carried out the attack.

Kenneth Young (25) of Lilly Street, Bolton pleaded guilty at Bolton Magistrates court on 8/10/97 to causing unnecessary suffering to his five year old Dobermann, possessing amphetamine, breaching a community service order for possessing drugs and breaching a probation order for driving and drug offences. The court heard how Young had done a moonlight flit, leaving the dog alone in the flat, which was found later in an emaciated condition and the flat 'reeked of excrement'. Young was jailed for a total of 10 months and banned from keeping any animal for 15 years. The Dobermann has now recovered and has found a new home.

On the 9/10/97 Jane Cherrington and Michael Topping both of Eldon Place, Patricroft, Eccles, near Manchester appeared before Salford magistrates charged with 27 counts of cruelty. They are alleged to have bred dogs without a licence. They are also charged with keeping a bird in a cage to small for it. This charge is under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

A man convicted of causing two dogs unnecessary suffering was behind bars after losing a battle to clear his name. Ronald Simpson (39) of Ormonde Street, Sunderland was jailed for two months in December 1996 after Sunderland magistrates heard how two starving greyhounds had eaten a third dog in a shed in Augusta Square, Sunderland. Simpson appealed against the conviction and sentence claiming the dogs were not his. But his case was dismissed at Newcastle Crown Court on 18/10/97.

Steven Fletcher (25) of Oakridge Road, High Wycombe has been banned from keeping pets for ten years after a court heard he clubbed his pet dog to death with a snooker cue in a fit of rage. Fletcher was told by Wycombe magistrates on 24/10/97 that he came close to going to prison for killing Sparky, a three-year-old Jack Russell terrier, whose body was never found. Fletcher was also given two years' probation, ordered to work 80 hours community service in a year and to pay £1,100 costs. Fletcher pleaded guilty at a hearing in September to ill-treating Sparky, and to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to cockatiels, two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to goldfish and one of causing unnecessary suffering to six exotic fish. Some fish died and the birds and other fish were taken by the RSPCA. An RSPCA Inspector went to look for Sparky in the dustbin where Fletcher said he had put her, but the dog had been removed. The inspector said: "Mr Fletcher had killed Sparky in a fit of temper and revenge on the basis that he could not get his girlfriend back and the dog took full brunt of his animosity and revenge." He said the RSPCA and police found live and dead fish and cockatiels with no food or water. Fletcher's girlfriend Donna Newell had first taken their three dogs and other belongings but Fletcher reclaimed Sparky. Afterwards the Inspector, said: "I'm a bit disappointed it wasn't a life ban but at least he's got a ten-year ban and two years of punishment with time to reflect on what he's done." Fletcher said after the case he now takes anti-depressants and has received hate mail. He has lost his job as a warehouse-man at Comet, Wooburn Green, blaming the press for publicity. He added he killed Sparky because it was the first anniversary of his mother's death and he was in a temper after separating from his girlfriend.

A couple were banned from keeping animals for 10 years after Bedlington magistrates heard on 19/11/97 how they failed to take their dog to a vet after it suffered a broken leg. Shona, a young cross-bred bitch, was left in agony for several weeks after fracturing a hind leg in a fall down stairs. The owners Brian Spalding (20) and Anita Oliver (26) both of Thorntree Gardens, North Seaton, Ashington, Northumberland failed to seek veterinary treatment despite clear evidence that the dog was suffering pain. Shona could not walk properly and was in an emaciated condition when she was removed from their home. Spalding and Oliver, who are unemployed and have two children, were banned from keeping animals for 10 years and fined £100 each for causing unnecessary suffering to the dog. They were found guilty at an earlier hearing. The RSPCA will keep Shona, and the couple will have to give up a second dog which they own. Spalding and Oliver claimed they did not have enough money to take the dog to a vet. But chairman of the magistrates said that was no excuse and issued a warning to other pet owners: "Keeping an animal is an onerous responsibility and if you can't afford to pay for veterinary treatment you should not have a pet."

Gareth Pierce (22) of Rugby Road, Leigh, Lancashire admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a dog. Leigh magistrates were told on 21/11/97 how Pierce had kicked the dog because he thought it had used his back garden as a toilet. The dog received treatment for four days, sadly however the dog had to be put to sleep. He was fined £350 with £160 costs and banned from keeping any animal for 12 months.

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