North West Hunt Saboteurs

Vermin Patrol For Howl 67

Updates from Howl 66 - 1) Two men sent to prison for digging badger setts returned to jail after their appeal against conviction and sentence was thrown out by a judge at Oxford Crown Court on 12/1/98. David Clark (37) of Bentley Close, Lillington, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, and Richard Underhill (38) of Abbey Lane, Southam, near Banbury took their protest before a judge after Banbury magistrates gave them both 60 day sentences for attempting to take badgers, sending a dog into a badger sett and damaging a badger sett in August 1996. Clark and Underhill claimed they were digging into the sett, at Great Bourton, near Banbury, to rescue their terrier, which had run into the badger sett. The judge ordered the men to serve the remaining time of their original sentences, and gave them 30 days each on the other 2 charges, to run concurrently with their longer sentence. 

2) 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. Following a failed appeal at Derby Crown Court on 12/2/98, Holland was sentenced to four months, Wragg and Pettipierre both received three months sentences.

3) A show-jumper banned from keeping horses for life has won a legal fight to keep on riding. Thomas Herriott (48) of Baxters Buildings, Seaton Delaval, Northumberland was given the life ban after admitting cruelty to one of his ponies found under-nourished and severely infested with worms in its paddock. However, Herriott, a freelance show-jumper who also ran Tilery Stables in Ponteland, claimed the sentence barring him from having custody of any horse had cost him his livelihood. At his appeal at Newcastle Crown Court on 27/2/98 the judge decided the lifetime ban had been too harsh and cut the ban to 10 years and altered it, to bar him only from owning any horse of his own. "We take the view the lifetime ban is too draconian in the circumstances," the judge said. Herriott did not contest the £1,000 fine and £3,231 costs order which was imposed by the magistrates when they heard the case. The RSPCA said Herriott was charged with causing unnecessary suffering to the pony after a British Horse Society inspector found the two-year-old bay filly listless and undernourished in a snow-covered field. Vets discovered it had severe worm infestation and its hooves were in poor condition. The horse needed intensive treatment but has since recovered.

4) Jane Cherrington (25) and Michael Topping (32) both of Eldon Place, Peel Green, Eccles, near Manchester appeared before Salford magistrates on 13/5/98 and admitted running a breeding establishment without a licence. At an earlier hearing they also pleaded guilty to 21 charges of causing unnecessary suffering. Theses charges arose when the police and RSPCA officers raided the property in April 1997 and found 27 dogs being kept in appalling conditions. The pair were each ordered to do 240 hours community service, pay costs of £300 and banned for life from breeding dogs. However, they were allowed to keep their two pet dogs!!!


Badgers and Foxes

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 22/10/97 and was remanded on bail. 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.

James Dempster, Grogor Mitchell and Mark McLay all of Blackburn, West Lothian and Daniel Scott of Livingston were all found guilty of breach of the peace, under Scottish law, after torturing a pregnant vixen to death. The court heard how the incident was caught on video at a disused factory in Rathgate. The video showed the vixen was kicked and then thrown to four waiting terriers, one of the terriers was also kicked by Dempster after it refused to attack the vixen. Dempster was sentenced to three months (but was released on bail pending an appeal) after the court heard he had a previous conviction for being involved in a dog fight. Mitchell, McLay and Scott were ordered to do 200 hours community service.

Three men appeared before Dewsbury magistrates charged with damaging a badger sett and causing unnecessary suffering to a dog. William Lowther, Andrew Lowther and Ian Priestley claimed they were trying to rescue their dog that had been stuck in a badger sett for two days. Magistrates found all three guilty of the offences and were sentenced to 160 hours community service for each offence (to run concurrently) and ordered to pay £50 compensation. Priestley who was the owner of the dog was banned from keeping dogs for three years. The dog was also confiscated.


Bloodsports

Farmhand Glen Norman (27) of Beverley, East Yorkshire was jailed for two-and-a-half years for wounding by Hull Crown court on 5/1/98. The court heard how he had punched Michael Wingfield Boyce (55) of Long Lane, Beverley, huntsman with the Holderness Hunt, while Boyce was on the ground Norman kicked him in the head, breaking his nose, cheekbone and blacking both eyes. The trouble erupted after Boyce's lover Libby Merryless (37) and Norman's wife Alison were seen fighting like wildcats on a stable floor. The court heard how Boyce had seduced Alison when she was 17 and began a 10-year affair with her. They both launched an equestrian business but fell out when she found him kissing her best friend Merryless. Alison Norman (28) of Wood End Farm, Rise near Long Riston was given 150 community service after admitting assault.

Builder John Black (41) from Holmfirth, West Yorkshire admitted assaulting gamekeeper John Hollingworth (52) at a social evening of the Pennine Foxhounds at Millbrook, Stalybridge. On 23/1/98 Ashton under Lyne magistrates fined him £150 with £150 compensation.

On 4/2/98 a fox hunt was cleared over allegations that it damaged a protected badger sett during an incident in which a pack of hounds swarmed through a country park. Police have decided to take no action against the Morpeth Hunt following an investigation into the incident at the Bolam Lake country park near Belsay, Northumberland in 1997. Police launched an investigation into allegations that a badger sett was damaged during the incident in which the huntsmen had to remove the hounds from the country park, where hunting is banned. Northumberland County Council launched its own probe after claims the hounds chased foxes through the park three times in two hours. Hunting is not permitted in the park but there is an agreement that huntsmen can go in and remove hounds if they run into the area while chasing foxes.

The huntsman of the Shamrock Harriers was fined £100 for cruelty to hounds in his care. The huntsman, claims that the hounds were 'knackered' after a hard season was not accepted by the court.

The Pytchley hunt have been fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £820 for causing poisonous, noxious or polluting matter to enter a watercourse, after blood from animal carcasses drained into surface water drains rather than foul drains. Richard Payne, the hunt's secretary and representative pleaded guilty to the charge. This is similar to an incident in 1996 when the West Norfolk Foxhounds were fined £5,000 with £449.29 costs after admitting knowingly permitting pollution of a stream.

Three men who threatened members of the South Dorset Anti-Blood Sports group at a hunt meeting in Somerset were sentenced by Yeovil magistrates. Bernard Martin (59) of Haselbury Plucknett, his son Paul Martin (33) of Dinnington, and Gordon Martin (51) of Haselbury Plucknett pleaded guilty to using threatening behaviour towards hunt protesters at a meet of the Cattistock Hunt near Haselbury Plucknett in October 1997. The court ordered Paul Martin to serve 80 hours community service and pay compensation of £50. Bernard Martin was fined £70 and Gordon Martin was given a six-month conditional discharge.

Brian Lamb (34) of Raiselands Croft, Penrith, Cumbria and a 17-year-old youth also from Penrith appeared before Carlisle magistrates on 31/1/98 charged with poaching. Magistrates heard how three men were arrested at Tindale, near Brampton on 11/11/97 during an undercover operation by water bailiffs in the area. Magistrates issued a warrant for Michael Tutty (30) of Sheffield Street, Carlisle, who did not appear to answer the charges. Tutty was described as "the instigator" of the offence. Lamb and the youth were each fined £100 and ordered to pay £75 costs after admitting fishing with a lamp and a gaff.

Rodney Ellis who is the joint master of the Tedworth Hunt escaped a driving ban after blaming his wife's riding injury. Ellis (57) from Malborough, Wiltshire told Kennet magistrates on 1/5/98 how he drove home because his wife had fallen of her horse earlier in the day and could not drive home from a hunt dinner. One of the magistrates Lady Belinda Johnston (wife of Wiltshire's Lord Lieutenant General, Sir Maurice Johnston) said "You had just cause in driving because this was a sufficient emergency". (Have these people never heard of taxis?) When he was stopped by police Ellis was arrested after he refused to give a breath sample. However, he later agreed to provide on, which showed he was nearly twice over the legal limit. Magistrates imposed a fine of £450. Who said the masons were dead!!!.

Simon Williams (31) who runs the kennels of the South Devon F.H. was given a one-year conditional discharge for threatening a hunt saboteur, but was cleared of charges of common assault and using a bar as an offensive weapon.


Hedgehogs

A teenager from South Arbury, Cambridge was given a two-year conditional discharge after being prosecuted under the Wild Mammals Protection Act of 1996. Cambridge Youth Court heard on 23/10/97 how the 14-year-old boy killed a hedgehog last May by kicking it like a football and running over it with a bicycle. He also swung the hedgehog around his head then threw it into the bushes. The boy was also given a second two-year conditional discharge for 12 other offences including criminal damage, assault, harassment and affray.

Kevin Wilson (17) c/o 2 Craigievar Road, Aberdeen and Christopher Allan (17) of 26 Craigievar Crescent, Aberdeen appeared before Aberdeen Sheriff Court on 28/2/98. They admitted intentionally inflicting unnecessary suffering on the hedgehog. The court heard that the offence took place in Craigievar Crescent on 10/8/97. Both were seen kicking the hedgehog several times. The fiscal depute said the teenagers had apparently done it "for a laugh". Several people intervened and called the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The hedgehog was treated by a vet for a bloody nose and damaged snout. In a letter to the court, Wilson admitted: "This was a cruel and disgusting act of cruelty against a defenceless creature." The Sheriff described it as a nasty thing to have done. If each made a £50 donation to the SSPCA, he might be more lenient with them. "Perhaps by making a contribution to the SSPCA, it could well help to protect other animals. I accept that you are both full of remorse," he said. The hedgehog spent a couple of weeks at the Grampian Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital before being released.

Lee Burden (18) of Kingsbury Road, Erdington, Birmingham pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the animal when he appeared before Henley magistrates on 21/4/98. Magistrates heard how Burden committed the cruel prank in the halls of residence at Rycotewood College, Thame. He told the court how he had found a hedgehog at the gates of the college as he returned from a drinking session with friends on 2/6/97. He claimed he was egged on by pals to put it in the microwave. The prosecution on behalf of the RSPCA, said fellow students had gone into the kitchen and seen smoke pouring out of the microwave. One of Burden's friends smelt burning and was sick as a result of the prank. A vet's statement to the court confirmed the animal would have suffered an agonising death in the microwave. The vet's report concluded: "This method of causing death would be intensely painful and distressing to the animal and, as such, in my opinion, constitutes unnecessary suffering." On 19/5/98 Burden was sentenced to 90 days.


Eggs/Birds

Gamekeeper of 30 years James Davidson (46) of Tynabaich Cottage, Craithe, Invercauld Estate, Scotland appeared before Stonehaven Sheriff Court charged with using an illegal spring trap. The court was told how Davidson had used the traps after finding birds were eating the rabbits he caught in small traps before selling them. A witness had been out walking his dog when he came across a bird on the ground caught in the trap. When the police questioned Davidson about the incident he admitted responsibility for placing it and knew it was illegal to set one uncovered above ground. He was fined £120.

A falconry enthusiast was cleared of using a trained hawk to illegally kill wild birds in the Northumberland countryside. On 18/2/98 Bedlington magistrates found unemployed John Jones (28) of Plessey Street, East Hartford, Cramlington, Northumberland not guilty on three charges of using his seven-month-old Harris hawk to kill moorhens and coot during hunting expeditions. Jones kept a diary at his home which recorded kills made by the hawk during trips into the countryside. The entries included references to the hawk killing several wild birds, which is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. However, Jones told magistrates that the kills never happened and were invented to impress a friend who also owned a hawk. Jones was acquitted on the three charges of intentionally killing wild birds but convicted of an offence of keeping the hawk in cramped conditions in a converted coal bunker at his home. He was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £165 and the magistrates ruled that his hawk, which was seized by the RSPCA, should be forfeited. Jones told the court he had trained many birds of prey over 13 years and only kept the Harris hawk in the bunker three nights a week. He admitted that it killed rabbits and other animals during hunting trips but said it had never killed moorhen, coots or lapwing, despite the diary entries. He said: "A friend, Michael Brown of Bedlington, Northumberland and I both keep hawks and used to have a competition with our birds so I just wrote down that mine had taken moorhens and coot to show off and to impress him." Brown told the court: "It was just like a little competition between us. "He showed me the diary and was saying 'Look what my bird took' and I said I knew it hadn't."

A man who watched a cock-fight in a County Kildare field has been ordered by a court to pay £300 in fines and costs. The conviction of William Dunne of Riverstown, Killucan, County Westmeath at Athy District Court on 24/3/98 followed the conviction of seven other men on charges arising out of the cock-fight, which was watched by as many as 100 people. Twelve cockerels were seized by the Garda, including one dead bird and two others which were injured. Dunne pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty charges. Two Garda discovered the cock-fight taking place at 10.45 a.m. on 6/7/97. Two bags with one cockerel inside each were discovered at the rear of the car. Hugh Behan, who was convicted in February in relation to the same incident, said he had met and spoken with Dunne in the market at Athy. Dunne said there was "an exhibition" of birds taking place on that Sunday morning, and he agreed to go with him. But he insisted that he saw no cock-fighting take place and denied that Dunne had any cockerels in his car. Dunne told the court that he sat in a ditch after the Garda arrived at the field, and that he stayed there for four hours. He admitted being present at the incident, but denied cruelty charges. The Judge fined Dunne £200 and ordered him to pay £100 towards veterinary expenses.

A university scientist who carried out DNA tests on birds of prey chicks in Northumberland helped to convict a man for illegally possessing a wild bird. Scott Baldwin from Essex was found guilty on 3/4/98 of possessing a wild goshawk, making a false declaration to the Department of the Environment and failing to register a bird. Magistrates fined him a total of £1,050 with £3,500 costs. The court heard how two goshawk chicks were stolen from a nest in Northumberland in June 1996. A young goshawk, in poor condition, was then found flying free in the Thames Valley. Co-operation between Northumbria Police and other forces led to a search warrant being issued for Baldwin's home. Sadly, because of its condition, the bird had to be destroyed but a blood sample was taken and the DNA results linked the goshawk to the Northumberland nest.

John Dodsworth (39) of Cheviot Road, South Shields told Durham magistrates on 15/5/98 he had collected 800 eggs on two trips to the Shetlands. Dodsworth said his collection was legal, as it was gathered before the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 outlawed egg collecting. However, magistrates found him guilty on seven specimen counts of illegally possessing eggs. He was given a two-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £200 costs. The eggs were also confiscated. After the hearing Dodsworth said "I am innocent, all the eggs were collected legally before the Act came into force. I will appeal." An RSPCA spokesperson said: "There are about 300 collectors in the UK. All are male and English. "It's a form of obsessive behaviour. It's a form of trophy hunting the RSPB was pushing for prison sentences for egg collectors. If someone can be jailed for poaching salmon, then the same should apply to someone stealing the eggs of a rare species".

Harry Sissen (59) of East Cowton, North Yorkshire, who is an international authority on rare birds was arrested on 7/5/98 by Customs and Excise officers investigating the alleged importation of endangered species from South America. His farm had been raided twice in five weeks by members of the Customs and Excise National Investigations' Service, who removed more than 120 birds with estimated value of £200,000. Sissen said "None of the birds on my farm were here illegally. I get all sorts of things offered to me and I know the best place for the birds is with me because of my record. I am dedicated to stopping breeds becoming extinct and I never dreamed anything like this could ever happen to me." He said the birds confiscated were in the middle of their breeding season. A spokesman for Customs and Excise said: "We have an open mind on the outcome. No charges have yet been made."


Equine

Horses were painted 'for a laugh' by a group of drunken men Wirral magistrates heard on 18/3/98. The prosecution told how a Shetland pony at the Fender Riding School in Moreton was striped like a zebra. White gloss was also thrown or painted on others. The pony suffered skin burns and a vet was called to deal with him and other horses who were distressed by the incident. Police recovered a fingerprint from a beer can at the scene and it led them to Terry O'Hanlon (22) of Arley Close, Beechwood, Birkenhead. He said that he and his friends had been drinking heavily and thought it would be a laugh if they painted the horses. He thought they had used emulsion and was horrified when he found out it was gloss. He declined to name his colleagues, but said he was sorry for what they had all done. O'Hanlon pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to nine horses by using gloss paint on them. He was ordered to serve the maximum 240 hours community service, pay the vet's fee of £203 and £35 costs.

John Hannifin (37) from Rugby, Warwickshire pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to animals when he appeared before Rugby magistrates. The court heard how Hannifin had not given a nine-month-old pony called Jasper enough care and attention during his three months of ownership. They also heard how an RSPCA inspector visited him he found Jasper suffering from dehydration with sores to the abdomen, lips and hind legs. The RSPCA gave Jasper constant care but was still unable to stand for six weeks. Hannifin was fined £250 and ordered to pay £255 costs, he was also banned from keeping horses for three years. The good news is that Jasper has since made a full recovery.

John Howard (54) and his wife Susan Howard (42) both of Runcorn Road, Barnton, near Northwich, Cheshire pleaded guilty to mistreating 17 horses and sheep. Northwich magistrates heard on 26/2/98 how the couple, who used to live in a caravan on farmland they owned in Senna Lane, Antrobus, Northwich admitted they kept some horses in cages, but wait for it, rotated them on a regular basis. When the RSPCA first visited their farm they found the horses and ponies kept in cages and offered the couple help if they needed it. However, seven weeks later when the RSPCA returned they found one dead pony in a wire mesh cage and six others in cages, all extremely emaciated, malnourished, starving and infested with lice. More horses were also found needing treatment and two sheep were also found suffering in cages. They were both sentenced to six months in prison, ordered to pay costs of £1,700 and banned from keeping livestock for life.

Lesley Conyers (32) of Aberdovey Close, North Bransholme failed to look after one of her horses causing it to lose its foal Brough magistrates were told on 22/11/97. Conyers was given a conditional discharge for two years and ordered to pay £200 costs. Magistrates accepted the RSPCA's case that Conyers neglected her 20-year-old pregnant horse Meggan in January 1997, causing it to have an abortion. The RSPCA said: ''The horse suffered as a result of failure over a period of time to provide her with proper nourishment.'' An RSPCA inspector said he was called out about four days after the mare aborted. It was in an emaciated state. Veterinary evidence concluded the horse had not been getting enough food and had not been wormed for a time. Police seized the animal which was taken into care and has since made a good recovery. Conyers denied underfeeding the animal. She told the magistrates that the horse was in a poor condition when she bought it about a year previously, and brought it back into good condition. She also claimed the horse was in a poor state because its health was being dragged down by the foal. After the hearing Conyers said she had spent 20 years looking after horses. I feel this is injustice and intend to appeal.

A pensioner already banned from keeping horses for 10 years has been found guilty of cruelty to another animal. Tyneside pensioner James Draycott (70) of Eighton House, Long Bank, Birtley had denied causing unnecessary suffering to a black stallion and keeping a horse while disqualified, but was found guilty of the two charges at Blaydon magistrates on 27/2/98. The court heard that last year two RSPCA officers were called to North Farm, Lamesley, Gateshead, there they found an injured black stallion along with a group of mares and foals. A neck collar made out of car seatbelts and held together with twine had slipped over the horse's head and become embedded in its skin. Every time the horse fed, the halter would cut into its jaw causing wounds to develop. The prosecution claimed the horse must have suffered incredible pain as a result of its injuries. Once the collar was removed there was a gaping six-inch wound where it was possible to insert a finger. When the RSPCA arrived at North Farm Draycott became aggressive and abusive towards the officers. At first he admitted the horses were his but then denied owning them. He told the RSPCA they belonged to his son David, who was working abroad and he only came to "look" at the horses. Draycott claimed he had spent the last 10 days trying to catch the animal to help it and said he had used various methods but to no avail. A vet removed the collar and found a six-inch wound, a one-inch wound above its eye and another one-inch wound on its face. The stallion has now made a good recovery. Draycott was given a conditional discharge for two years and ordered to pay costs, he was also banned for life from keeping any animal. (Draycott had been banned for 10 years from keeping horses in 1993, after being found guilty of maltreatment)


Assorted

A circus worker admitted in court on 30/4/98 to beating three elephants with shovels and an iron bar. Michael Gills (64) of Shipton Bellinger, Tidworth, Hants was employed by the trainer Mary Chipperfield, hit one of the animals at least 21 times in one session. Gills admitted six charges of cruelty to animals. The prosecution told Basingstoke magistrates: "This case concerns the beating of elephants, a number of elephants being hit with shovels and with an iron bar which had a hook attached. One elephant was hit 21 times in one go." Gills admitted four charges of beating a male elephant called Tembo last year and two of beating the female elephants Rosa and Rhanee. The attacks, between October and December 1997 were exposed in an undercover filming operation by the charity Animal Defenders. Gill's offences were at his employer's home in Over Wallop, near Andover, Hants.

Richard Law (45) from Cardigan, South Wales admitted six charges under the Firearms Act at Swansea magistrates on 25/2/98. Law who is the secretary of the Shooters Rights Association, was fined £1,000 for possessing guns illegally.

Farmer Robert William Turner of Draughton Hall Farm, near Draughton, North Yorkshire has defended his decision to shoot four dogs owned by poachers he caught on his land was fined a total of £200 by Skipton magistrates on 21/2/98, after being charged on three counts of criminal damage following the incident last September. Turner and a friend caught poachers James, Francis and Joseph Varey on 10/9/97 on his land. Turners defence told how he tied the four lurcher dogs to a fence and shot them after the poachers had fled the scene. "My client says he could have shot them in the field but it was dusk and other animals in the field could have been hurt. He did tie them to a fence and shoot them but he thought he was doing the right thing and dispatching them humanely. The poachers brought the case and sought compensation in sums ranging from £10,000 (how much!!!) for one of the working dogs, to £500 for a 10-month-old lurcher. The prosecution told the court: "The Vareys have accepted that they had gone there to poach." All three said that for the greater part of the time they (the dogs) were on leads. "James Varey became separated from his son and his brother." After the case Mr Turner's father, James, said "On that night my son had the dogs tied to the fence. Everyone was waiting for the police to arrive and, all of a sudden these fellows ran off. My son didn't want the dogs to get loose again and terrorise our stock so he shot them."

Wild animal rescue and rehabilitation centre owner Brian Dudley (50) of Claydon Court, High Wycombe has been fined £200 for putting birds of prey on display to make money. Wycombe magistrates heard on 14/3/98 how a police officer found two "extremely nervous" common buzzards at Marlow Wildlife Centre in May 1997. He said their feathers were broken from being in a cage. Dudley pleaded not guilty to displaying two buzzards for commercial purposes and guilty to displaying four tawny owls for commercial purposes at the centre in Pump Lane, Little Marlow. He was found guilty of all charges and was also ordered to pay £120 costs. He admitted charging to see the owls, but said he had not reapplied for a licence after it expired. The centre faced closure last year when it was revealed that £2,000 had gone missing from its bank account.

A fisheries owner was cleared on 25/2/98 of killing cormorants that had been feeding on stock in his lakes. David Marle (57) from Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire had been accused of shooting seabirds at a nature reserve that borders his land. Marle was cleared of two charges of killing cormorants, two of attempting to kill them and four charges of possessing a shotgun with intent to commit an offence. He was cleared after telling magistrates that he had only ever fired blanks or deliberately missed the birds in order to scare them away, in line with Ministry of Agriculture guidelines. After the case Marle, said he had been persecuted by the RSPB and environmentalists who wanted to make a case against a fishery owner. He said: "It was political pressure by the greens and the RSPB and the local council. I think it was an opportunity to persecute somebody for killing a cormorant."

Two men involved in a multi-million pound deal to sell rhino horn on the blackmarket were jailed on 12/3/98. Wilfred Bull (63) of Coggeshall, Essex who is already serving a life sentence for murdering his wife, was jailed for 15 months to run concurrently. The judge at King's Lynn Crown Court, also ordered that his collection of more than 120 rhino horns be confiscated and ordered him to pay £700 costs. David Eley (53) of Great Shelford, Cambridgeshire, was jailed for nine months. Carol Scotchford-Hughes (50) of Willingham, Cambridgeshire, was sentenced to 120 hours community service. Sentencing on the fourth defendant Elaine Arscott (40) also of Great Shelford, was deferred. All four pleaded guilty at a earlier hearings to conspiring to sell rhino horn contrary to the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Act 1985. In February a fifth man Paul Rexstrew (45) of Wimbledon, was acquitted of the same charge. The court was told Bull murdered his wife in 1985 but the former antique dealer had collected the horns legitimately before that time. He instigated the sale from his prison cell. Defence counsels for all four defendants said they had not known the trade was illegal. The collection was acquired between 1961 and 1985. He was jailed for life in March 1986 but by the mid-1990s was looking forward to parole and he thought about selling his rhino horn collection. Rhino horn powder is sought after in the Far East as a medicine and aphrodisiac but trade was banned in 1985. The court was told the gang was offering 235kg of horn at £12,000 per kilo making a total estimated value of £2.8m.

Landlord David McGannity (48) of the Holly Bush pub, Bollington, Cheshire admitted hitting a goose and its nest, but denied damaging its eggs. Macclesfield magistrates heard on 27/3/98 how McGannity was playing a round of golf at Shrigley Hall Golf Club, near Macclesfield when he discovered the nest near the 11th hole. McGannity was given a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs of £1,200. Playing partner Graham Mellor (41) of Sandy Lane, Bollington was found not guilty of aiding and abetting the offence. The charges were brought under the Wildlife Protection Act.


Farm Animals

Three bosses of a rare breeds trust in Buckinghamshire have been found guilty of cruelty to animals following an investigation which cost the RSPCA £100,000. David Watkiss (58) of Bouquet House, Prestwood, James Cozens (42) of New Road, Princes Risborough, and Jeremy Smith (35) of Dunsmore Avenue, Monks Risborough, who run the Rare Breeds Conservation Trust, had denied charges of animal cruelty during the two-week trial at Chiltern Magistrates On 28/2/98. The defendants set up the trust in January last year. The court was told the aim was to help unemployed and disabled people get back to work by training them to look after animals. RSPCA inspectors found 44 rare Saddleback pigs and a White Park cow sheltering from "heavy snow and icy wind" in inadequate sheds near Speen, Bucks. Some piglets were eating the carcasses of some of their dead herd because they were so hungry. Watkiss was found guilty of 34 charges of causing unnecessary suffering to animals; two charges of causing unnecessary distress to animals; and five charges of failing to dispose of carcasses. Cozens and Smith were found guilty of 27 charges as owners permitting unnecessary suffering to animals. The trio were released on unconditional bail until sentencing. All the remaining animals in their care have been handed over to the RSPCA to be rehomed.

The newly-elected president of the National Farmers' Union of Scotland George Lyon (41) of Kildavannan Farm, Rothesay on the isle of Bute was fined £250 for allowing seven ewes to be moved when they were sick and unfit. Lyon was also fined £150 for allowing a ewe to suffer unnecessary pain and distress. Rothesay sheriff court were told on 30/3/98 that the animals were transported from Rothesay to Stirling auction by William McMillan of Cranslagvourity Farm, Rothesay on 2/10/97 last year. The prosecution told the court that six of the ewes were suffering from mastitis, a disease affecting the udders, and the seventh was left standing on three legs through severe damage to a knee joint. The court also heard that a shepherd, who had authorised the transportation of the animals, had since been dismissed. Lyon said afterwards: "I deeply regret this unfortunate incident occurred and I accept full responsibility for it. I have taken the appropriate action to make sure this does not happen again."

Westcountry sheep farmer Roger Baker (55) of Tolcarne Cottages, Beacon, Camborne whose flock was described by a vet as "in appalling condition" and the worst he had seen in 26 years' practice was jailed for six months by Truro Crown Court on 15/11/97. He has also been banned from keeping sheep for life. Baker failed in his appeals against the conviction and sentence for causing unnecessary suffering to sheep. Baker claimed that some of the sheep were emaciated and in poor condition when he bought them at market to rear through the winter. Baker faced 46 summonses when he appeared before Truro magistrates on 28/8/97. He was convicted of 17 offences of causing unnecessary suffering and admitted a further two. He pleaded guilty to eight offences of failing to dispose of carcasses and was convicted of a further four which he had denied. He was convicted of causing unnecessary pain and of transporting an unfit animal. The other 13 summonses were not proceeded with. Baker said when he bought sheep from the killing pens at market there were often some in such poor condition that they would die. Some had been purchased shortly before officials inspected the flock. Baker also has a number of offences dating back to 1972 for causing unnecessary suffering and related offences. He had been previously disqualified and had also received jail sentences which had been suspended on appeal.


Domestic

David Palmer (31) of Palmer Grove, Semington Wiltshire and David Brown (33) of Methuen Avenue, Melksham, Wiltshire admitted cruelty and causing unnecessary suffering to a cat at Chippenham magistrates on 25/2/98. The pair showed no emotion as the video showing the cat's death was played to magistrates. The pair could be heard laughing while videoing a cat being torn apart by terriers, before stamping on its head. They joked and yelled encouragement as they set their two dogs on the cat. Magistrates saw the cat's horrific two-minute ordeal as it was pinned down and attacked by the snarling terriers. On the video, one man boasts: "See where I shot it? Straight in the eye." The prosecution said Palmer finally kicked one of the dogs away before stamping on the cat's head to finish it off. The sick video labelled "Hunting" was seized from Palmer's home. Both were each sentenced to 160 days in prison.

A man has been banned from keeping animals for life after a court heard that he caused unnecessary suffering to four dogs. John James Wilson (34) formerly of Bradford but now of Brooklands Close, Seacroft, Leeds, was also ordered to do 140 hours community service and pay £150 costs. His girlfriend Julie Glister (24) also of Brooklands Close, Seacroft, was put on probation for a year, banned from keeping animals for ten years and ordered to pay £150 costs. Both had been convicted in their absence of four charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog by failing to provide it with proper care and attention. Bradford magistrates were told on 1/4/98 that police went to a house in Langley Avenue, Bierley, in June 1997 and saw the fenced-off back garden was covered in dog excrement. There were three lurcher-type dogs with open sores and large patches of hair missing. The animals were thin and their ribs were showing. Veterinary examination showed they had mites and were in generally poor condition. Two months later, police and an RSPCA inspector visited the house again and saw another lurcher-type dog which was in a similar poor condition. "They had taken the dogs off their owners in poor condition and Wilson had set about treating them himself," he said. Both defendants said they would appeal against their conviction.

Craig Turton (26) of Windmill Crescent, Darton near Barnsley appeared before magistrates on 12/3/98 charged with causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, destroying a dog and using threatening behaviour. Magistrates heard how Turton had killed a four-year-old terrier after becoming angry when his car was returned by his friends, following a rabbiting trip, was sludged up both inside and out. The court were told how Robert Round was unloading the car at the home of Gerhard Barker when Turton arrived in an angry mood. Round told the court how his terrier was in the back of the car when Turton struck it twice with a spade then picked it up, hit it against the tailgate and then threw it to the floor. Written evidence from a vet said the dog had died from a heavy blow to the head. Turton also alleged that he saw a dead badger in the car however, both Round and Barker denied any knowledge of it. Magistrates found the offences proven and adjourned sentencing until reports were prepared.

A drunken ex-soldier who stamped his son's puppy to death was jailed for four months and banned from owning animals for 10 years. The court was told Samuel Benson (36) stamped on the whimpering King Charles Spaniel three or four times in Winnock Road, Colchester, on 30/11/97 after drinking 11 cans of beer, a bottle of sherry and half a bottle of vodka.

Berwick magistrates banned a family from keeping any animal for life on 5/2/98. Robert Elliot (54) of Prior Road, Tweedworth, Berwick, his wife June (57) and their children Robert junior (31) and June junior (20), (what original names!!!) They all pleaded guilty to unnecessary suffering to a pet dog and cat and also failing to provide them with the necessary veterinary care.

A Hull couple who admitted cruelty towards their pet mongrel have been banned from keeping or looking after dogs for five years. Rohan Rigg (31) of Barnsley Street, east Hull and his estranged wife Kathleen (28) of Perran Close, Bransholme, pleaded guilty on 13/2/98 to causing their four-year-old cross bitch unnecessary suffering. Hull magistrates were told on 13/2/98 how RSPCA inspectors took the dog to a vet after calling at the couple's former home in Perran Close on 24/10/97 and finding her in the garden almost completely bald. He said the vet discovered a ''catalogue of problems'', including skin disease, conjunctivitis in both eyes and undernourishment, and recommended destroying her straightaway. He said: ''In the vet's opinion, the dog hadn't been treated for some time.'' Riggs defence told magistrates ''My clients did not just shut the dog away to get into that condition. They realised something was wrong two years ago and took her to a vet several times for tests. ''They admit losing confidence in the vet when he was unable to diagnose the problem and not going back again during the past 18 months.'' They had other pets, including rabbits and goldfish, are dog-lovers and would not wish any animal to suffer.'' Magistrates ordered the couple, who have five children, to pay a £75 fine and £75 prosecution costs each, and banned them from owning or having custody of a dog for five years.

Richard John Hargreaves (22) of Bedfont Avenue, Shaw, Oldham admitted cruelly treating and causing unnecessary suffering to a shih-tzu at Rochdale magistrates on 12/2/98. Magistrates were told how Hargreaves beat his girlfriends dog so hard after it fouled the floor, it died. He was also charged with assault on his girlfriend and was placed on probation for 12 months and ordered to attend anger management courses and ordered to pay £500 compensation for assault on the girl.

A former drug user was banned from keeping animals for five years on 3/3/98 after a court heard how his starving pet dog was rescued from his "hovel" of a flat as he fed his addiction elsewhere. Christopher McDonald (22) of Moorhouse Estate, Ashington, Northumberland failed to feed his five-year-old cross-collie properly and left it in the squalid flat while he drifted between the homes of friends as drug dependency began to take over his life. The dog which was emaciated and infested with fleas was eventually rescued from the flat by the RSPCA. McDonald admitted cruelty to the dog in September last year. As well as the five-year ban he was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £250 and Bedlington magistrates ordered the dog, which has since recovered, should remain in RSPCA care.

Teesside magistrates were told on 25/2/98 that the smell from a flat which was home to 21 cats was so foul that RSPCA officers needed breathing masks to go in. All the cats were flea-infested, dehydrated and thin with no food or water. Magistrates heard how Heather Kilding (29) of Raleigh Walk, Stockton split up with her partner and left the flat. Kilding admitted cruelty to five of the cats. She said her former partner was responsible for the others. She was given 50 hours' community service, banned from keeping an animal for five years and ordered to pay RSPCA costs of £50.

A man who hammered his dog to death because it kept chasing after children was jailed for 30 days at Arbroath Sheriff Court On 17/2/98. Paul Wilkie (45) of 5 Church Place, West Hemming Street, Letham tied up his collie bitch and repeatedly struck her over the head with a hammer because he said she ''kept going for children and would snap at their faces''. Wilkie admitted wantonly, unreasonably and deliberately striking the dog on the head with a hammer, causing the animal unnecessary suffering which resulted in its death. Wilkie claimed he had not realised there were more humane ways of having the dog put down. Wilkie was jailed for 30 days and banned him from keeping animals for five years.

Elizabeth Hardon (36) and David Mason (38) both of Bus Row, Widdrington, Northumberland, left their pet cat in pain from a broken leg for weeks Bedlington magistrates were told on 15/5/98. A vet who examined the cat after she was seized by the RSPCA said the animal had been caused pain and unnecessary suffering for between two and six weeks. The couple admitted cruelty and were each given a conditional discharge for 12 months. They were each ordered to pay £323 costs and magistrates ruled the cat should be given to the RSPCA.

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