North West Hunt Saboteurs

Vermin Patrol for Howl 68

Updates from Howl 67

1. David Palmer (31) of Palmer Grove, Semington Wiltshire and David Brown (33) of Methuen Avenue, Melksham, Wiltshire both admitted cruelty and causing unnecessary suffering to a cat at Chippenham magistrates on 25/2/98. The pair lost their appeal at Swindon Crown Court on 17/4/98 and the judge said their sentence of 160 days was entirely justified. However, he reduced their life ban on animals to only 10 years.

2. Rodney Ellis (57) from Malborough, Wiltshire who is the joint master of the Tedworth Hunt appeared before Devizes magistrates on 10/12/98 after an Appeal Court ordered him to be re-sentenced. He was disqualified from diving for three years, police had found him to be twice over the legal limit. He was originally given only a £450 fine.


Foxes

Teeside Crown Court ruled on 4/9/98 that hunting foxes with dogs can be cruel to the dogs. As a result two terrier men, Stuart Bandeira (35) of Templar Street, Stockton and Darren Brannigan (25) of Archibald Street, Middlesbrough were sent to prison for 60 days. Teeside magistrates imposed the sentence of 60 days in July 1998. The court dismissed their appeals against both sentence and conviction for a charge alleging they 'cruelly ill-treated a black Lakeland terrier by putting it down a hole where it met up with an unspecified wild animal. The court heard how a police spotter plane filmed both of the men digging and filling in a large hole. They had been using spades, nets and dogs to dig the hole and also they did not have permission to be on the farmland. The court were told of the injuries to one of the three terriers with them, cuts and scratches to its face, were a result of ill treatment in putting the dog 'head to head' with a wild animal such as a "fox, badger or other carnivore" in a tunnel. The court also upheld the decision to ban the pair from keeping animals for three years and the confiscation of the terrier.

John Richard Oswin (31) and Martin Scott Kendall (36) both of New Street, Southowram, West Yorkshire appeared before Calderdale magistrates on 29/5/98 charged with unnecessary suffering to a fox. The court watched a video showing two lurchers attacking a fox which had been released from a sack. The video showed the lurchers attacking the fox repeatedly. The defence claimed the coursing session had been organised to train Oswin's young lurcher. They also claimed the fox was dead or deeply unconscious after the first attack and therefore had not been in any pain. Sadly magistrates acquitted them both after the case was not proven.


Bloodsports

A North-east farmer died from gunshot wounds on 18/6/97 after what is believed to have been an accident. Alan Fettes (77) was found dying on the doorstep of his home at Glass, near Huntly. His family believe he probably shot himself by accident while leaving his home to shoot foxes which were on his land at Lower Gordonsburn.

The joint master of the Duke of Beaufort Captain Ian Farquhar (53) appeared at Avon magistrates on 20/10/98. He pleaded guilty to allowing Cypermethin, which is used to treat mange in the hounds at the Beaufort kennels to enter the River Avon. The pesticide killed around 10,000 endangered white clawed crayfish in the river.

Joint Masters of Crawley and Horsham Hunt, Anthony Sandeman (41) of Coombe Lane, Bolney, West Sussex and Philip Ghazala (40) of Shipley Road, Southwater, near Horsham intend to appeal against a court's decision finding them guilty of damaging a hunt protester's vehicle. Ghazala and Sandeman denied a charge of criminal damage to protesters car when they appeared at Mid Sussex Magistrates Court on 28/9/98. The incident happened on 28/2/98 after the protester and his partner went to monitor a hunt. The Crawley and Horsham meet had been cancelled and they travelled to the Petworth hunt instead in another vehicle. When they returned later they noticed two males down the side of their vehicle. "One was standing up and looked as though he was writing on the side. The other one was behind him. When they were spotted they "hurried away very, very quickly" He said there was scratching along the near-side panel of his car and the paint was still blistering and flaking and the nearside tyre had been let down. Taped interviews with Ghazala and Sandeman were played to the court. Ghazala, managing director of Horse Health Products UK said he and Sandeman had driven to Kent on that day for a hound parade, because the Crawley and Horsham Hunt had been held a day earlier. Sandeman had received information that there were "saboteurs" gathering in the area. Ghazala said he drove down the lane on his way back from Kent at approximately 4 to 4.30pm, where he let Sandeman out to "relieve himself" and to note down the registration numbers of any cars parked along the road. He stated that he never left the vehicle. Sandeman a farmer, said that they recognised the approaching car and so they drove off. The prosecution asked both men: "You were caught red-handed and that is why you are here today, is it not?" The reply of both men was: "No." Magistrates fined Sandeman £300 with £250 costs and had to pay £58 compensation. Ghazala was also fined £300 with £250 with compensation.


Equine

Mervyn Frederick Jones (68) of Hollies Farm, Hyssington, near Minsterley has been jailed for 6 months by Shrewsbury magistrates on 5/10/98 on 13 charges of causing horses unnecessary suffering. The court heard how Jones is a breeder of shire horses kept 25 horses in the worst conditions an RSPCA vet had ever seen. One filly was discovered dead in a barn at his farm and a further two had to be put down a few days later. Another died shortly afterwards, despite efforts to save it. The emaciated animals were kept in a barn, knee-deep in mud, and they had cut themselves on farm machinery in a bid to reach their feed. Jones, who helped transport horses with the British Olympic showjumping team during the 1940s, admitted 13 charges of causing unnecessary suffering to horses between October 1997 and January 1998 by failing to provide necessary care and attention. The court also heard that on March 9 1998 Jones had been given a conditional discharge for three years, also by Shrewsbury magistrates, on unrelated charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a horse which had broken a leg. He had been banned at that time from keeping animals for life.

On 28/9/98 former actress Olive McFarland of Creeting St Mary, Suffolk was convicted by Newmarket magistrates of 14 charges of cruelty to horses. She received five one-month suspended prison sentences to run concurrently, ordered to pay £10,000 costs and banned from keeping animals for three years. Magistrates heard how the RSPCA seized 14 horses from her stud farm of which one died shortly after and three had to be put down as they were in such poor condition.

Diane Patricia O'Sullivan (29) formerly of Burton Street and now of Green Lane, Morecambe, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a foal, which was given less than a 50% chance of survival by a vet. The foal was found collapsed in the back yard of a terraced house in Rishton, where it was being kept by the owner without shelter, Hyndburn magistrates heard on 28/8/98. O'Sullivan was banned from keeping horses for 10 years, ordered to pay £200 towards the £800 RSPCA costs and conditionally discharged for two years.

A man was banned from keeping horses for life after his malnourished pony died of hypothermia after falling into a canal. Stoke magistrates heard on 7/8/98 how the 16-month-old horse was kept on a sparse field by Roy Woodall (60) of Farrington Place, Fegg Hayes, Staffordshire. Woodall was also ordered to pay £391.53 in fees for the animal's care before it died and £75 costs. The RSPCA found the pony suffering from severe neglect and malnutrition on a field and reported the pony's spine, haunches and ribs were protruding and called a vet who said it should be taken away for special care. When the officers returned the next day to collect the animal they were met by a passerby who said it had fallen into the canal. They managed to haul it out with the help of members of the public, but it was so weak it could not stand. Officers carried it to a van and it was taken to a riding school stable for care where it died shortly afterwards. A post mortem revealed the animal's body was also riddled with parasites. Woodall admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the animal.


Poaching

Mark Alderson (24) of the Low Lights Tavern, North Shields has been jailed for three months after being caught netting on the River Tyne he was also ordered to pay £430 costs. He had pleaded guilty at the town's magistrates court. The court was told that Alderson had a number of previous court appearances for poaching.

A butcher has been fined £1,000 for helping to drag away a poached deer off National Trust land. Barry Moore (37) of The Corn House, Westcott, Doccombe, Moretonhampstead, denied moving the remains of the deer but was found guilty by Teignbridge magistrates on 1/4/98. Moore, who runs a butchers shop in Moretonhampstead was cleared of a second charge of pursuing or searching for a deer. The deer had been shot by fellow hunter Kevin Coak who admitted three charges at an earlier hearing. Moore claimed he was not with Coak when the deer was shot and had not realised it was on National Trust land. Moore was told that he could keep his gun licence but was fined £1,000 with £200 costs.

Steven Ratchford of Saddlebank Crescent, Pemberton, Wigan his brother Brian Ratchford of Bulteel Street, Pemberton, Wigan and David William Heywood of Cobmoor Road, Billinge, Wigan all appeared before Blackburn magistrates on 22/10/98 after being found guilty at an earlier hearing of poaching and using illegal fishing equipment on the River Hodder in Lancashire. Both the brothers were also found guilty of obstructing fisheries bailiff. All were jailed for three months.


Egg

Dennis Dowson (41) of Sandyford Road, Newcastle and Lesley Massey (37) of Ridley Avenue, Howdon, Wallsend admitted two charges under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. They pleaded guilty at Dumfries Sheriff Court on 12/5/98 to disturbing or being near the nests of peregrine falcons when one contained three eggs and the other three chicks. The men were fined £5,000 each for disturbing nests of the peregrine falcons in 1997 and given just six months to pay. Pleas of not guilty to taking or destroying three eggs and injuring, killing or taking three chicks were accepted. Both men had previously been fined £1,000 for offences three years ago.


Sick!!!

Keith Charles Toogood of Highley, Shropshire pleaded guilty knowingly importing obscene material and was ordered to pay £250 in costs. The videos were of animals being crushed to death by women in stilettos has been fined £2,000 by Telford magistrates on 31/7/98. The videos featured mice, frogs and chicks being attached to floors and other hard surfaces and trampled to death. The fetish, known as 'squish', involves the animals being stamped on with high heels until they are dead, then crushed into the ground.


Domestic

Bedlington magistrates were told on 15/5/98 how RSPCA officers found a pet dog in an appalling condition. The lurcher-type dog was grossly underweight and suffering from severe hair loss when it was rescued from James Meins (62) of Northfield, East Sleekburn near Ashington. It had not been properly fed, weighed just over 11kg, was seriously infested with fleas and had overgrown claws because of a lack of exercise. After being given veterinary treatment and moved to a new home, the dog improved dramatically and is now fit and healthy. Meins admitted cruelty to the dog in October and November 1997. As well as the 10-year ban on keeping animals, he was ordered to pay £250 costs.

The national pet superstore Petsmart, formerly Pet City Ltd, was prosecuted by the RSPCA for cruelty to a lizard. An RSPCA inspector visited the Pet City branch at Lyme Green, near Macclesfield, Cheshire, and noticed a lizard that she thought was either dead or barely alive. After being examined by a vet, dehydration and starvation was diagnosed. The lizard was put on a drip, but sadly died the next day. Pet City was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay the RSPCA's £7,500 costs by Macclesfield magistrates.

A puppy was throttled, crushed, burned with electric wires and immersed in cold water, Teesside magistrates were told on 4/6/98. The puppy died in agony at the hands of Gary Devine (23) of Hanson Street, Redcar, Teesside two days after he was given her as a Christmas present. He inflicted five broken ribs that punctured the Staffordshire bull terrier's liver and lungs. He also admitted giving the pup electric shock treatment and a cold-water ducking under a tap instead of taking her to a vet. Devine claimed in court that he broke the pup's ribs trying to resuscitate her when she suddenly collapsed. He added that he used electric shock with two speaker wires slotted into a mains socket, and the cold-water treatment, in desperate attempts to revive her. Devine was given the pup by his girlfriend, was found guilty of cruelty and jailed for six months. The court chairman told him: "This serious offence was aggravated by the level of violence which resulted in the death of a defenceless pup." Devine was also banned from keeping an animal for life.

A vicar and his wife who took in scores of stray cats found themselves in court on 1/6/98 accused of cruelty. The Rev Victor Dickinson (50) and his Judith (40) both of Lowick, near Berwick have shared a succession of vicarages with up to 100 cats. But when an RSPCA inspector found 76 of them suffering from cat flu; ear infections; gum inflammation; diarrhoea and dehydration, all of them had to be destroyed. The couple will lose the rest of their family pets because they were banned from keeping cats and dogs for five years. They must also pay the RSPCA's £500 legal costs.

Denise Hunt of Canberra Road, Marsh Green, Wigan was sentenced to 90 days by Wigan magistrates on 23/5/98 after admitting unnecessary suffering to her two dogs. Magistrates heard how Hunt had left the two dogs to fend for themselves in a house she used to live in. At the house they found the carcass of one dog in the kitchen and the other dog dead in the front bedroom. Magistrates also banned her for life from keeping any pets.

Michael Moore (49) of Maismore Road, Woodhouse Park, Manchester appeared before Manchester magistrates on 16/7/98. He was fined £1,035 after admitting possessing a total of 179 eggs in contravention of the Wildlife and Countryside Act. (The eggs contained samples from nearly 30 protected species). Moore was also fined £80 with £38 compensation after pleading guilty to three further charges of stealing petrol and gas.

Kevin McVey (32) of Surrey Place, Elswick, Newcastle left a German Shepherd locked in his house with just water and bones to eat while he went on holiday. When McVey appeared at Newcastle magistrates on 26/8/98 he admitted being cruel to the dog over a three-week period in 1998. McVey was fined £150 and ordered to pay £50 towards the costs. He was also banned from keeping dogs for 10 years. He was ordered to pay off his fine at £3 per week. An inspector who found the dog, said it was one of the most neglected pets he had seen in his 12 years with the RSPCA. "The animal was skin and bones. In fact his ribs were visible through his fur".

Julian Sanders (29) from Torquay, who forgot about a greyhound while he watched the racing was fined £3,000 and also banned from looking after dogs for 12 months. Sanders the director of a recycling company, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the dog when he appeared at Brighton magistrates court on 12/6/98. The court were told about a passers-by who heard her whimpering alerted security staff to try to save the greyhound. They broke into the car to rescue her while her owner was traced to the stadium's restaurant. Sanders, who has five greyhounds in training and helps care for 20 retired greyhounds owned by his family, was ordered to pay £730 costs. The prosecution said the two-year-old was left in the car for nearly three hours on 13/5/98, when temperatures reached 85F at lunchtime. The greyhound was wearing a muzzle, was unable to stand up because her lead was trapped in the rear door of the car. The stadium's vet gave the dog, whose temperature reached the highest point on the thermometer of 108F, a cold water bath. She was taken to a nearby vet's surgery but despite attempts to save her, died some time later of heatstroke.

A couple who starved their faithful pets for almost two months have been banned from keeping animals for 10 years. Two emaciated dogs were found in a room full of excrement and urine at John Stone (21) and Marie Stone (23) both of Birchvale Avenue, Blakelaw, Newcastle. The black-and-white collie crosses had wasted away to half their size and it took almost four months before they were able to recover full fitness. John Stone and his wife Marie claimed the dogs had lost their appetite because they were terrified of the noise of fireworks outside their garden. On 2/7/98 Newcastle magistrates banned the couple from keeping any animals. The couple also pleaded guilty to cruelty to animal charges but will face no criminal charges if they do not offend in the next year. They were ordered to pay £100 in costs each.

Jennifer East (53) and Sarah Jane East (33) both of Lambeth Street, Blackburn, admitted cruelty to a dog when they appeared before Blackburn magistrates on 1/7/98. The court heard how a vet who operated on the dog after it was taken into RSPCA care removed a growth weighing 2kgs from between the dog's foreleg and ribcage. The vet said in his report that the swelling must have been growing for two to three years and was affecting the dog's gait. The dog was also suffering from a long-term flea infestation, which had caused it to lose most of the fur on its rump. Both women declined to say anything in their defence and were conditionally discharged for a year. Each was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £310.

Andrew Cork (30) of Rochester, Kent admitted causing a cat unnecessary suffering when he neglected his cat's infected wound so long that its leg had to be amputated. Medway magistrates banned him from keeping any animal for ten years, fined him £1,000 and ordered him to pay £533.72 in costs. Cork had taken the cat to a vet to treat a wound, but failed to return for further treatment. When it was taken to a vet to have the leg looked at, it was beyond repair. The cat had to be put on a drip and anaesthetized before the bandage could be removed. When it was removed they saw live maggots and pus in the wound and in places the bone was visible. The cat has since made a full recovery and has been rehomed.

RSPCA inspectors twice visited Tracey Bailey (33) of Shafto Street, Scotswood and found pets in her home Newcastle. Magistrates heard on 23/7/98 she was first disqualified from keeping pets for 10 years in 1992 after being found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog. In 1997 inspectors found two kittens and two dogs at her flat in Gerald Street, Benwell, Newcastle. And when they called at her new home in Shafto Street in February, they found three dogs, one puppy and a cockatiel. On the second visit Raymond Bailey (51) had left his animals in his daughter's flat directly above his own. Tracey Bailey pleaded guilty to two charges of keeping animals while disqualified. Her father pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting her. Raymond Bailey was fined £50 and Tracey Bailey £100. Both were ordered to pay £75 costs.

On 28/9/98 Cathrine McBride of 134 Hoel Frank, Penlan, Swansea was given two six months suspended sentences, fined £100 and banned from keeping animals for life following a conviction for letting a dog die of starvation and dehydration.

Michelle Clarke (20) of Whalley New Road, Blackburn has been banned from keeping animals for ten years after being found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog she was also conditionally discharged for 12 months and ordered pay £200 costs. Her cross-bred lurcher was so weak when first taken in by the RSPCA that it could barely stand, infested with fleas and covered in sores Blackburn magistrates heard on 19/8/98. Inspectors also found a 10-week old puppy in her home which was also thin and suffering from fleas. Clarke eventually signed over both dogs to the RSPCA. Both dogs have now made a full recovery and living with an adopted family.

A couple were each fined £100 and banned from keeping animals for 10 years after RSPCA inspectors described their dog as a skeleton. One was so thin its ribs, spine and hips were showing through the skin. Sadly she had to be destroyed. Andrew Hopkins (29) and his wife Ann (57) both of Athol Road, Hendon, Sunderland admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the animal. Sunderland magistrates heard on 10/9/98 how the dog had been suffering from a liver and stomach condition which had become untreatable because of the couple's inaction. Andrew Hopkins said he did not have time to get the animal treatment but said it was fed three times a day. His wife said she did not have the bus fare to take it to the vets.

Former butcher Colin Bainbridge (35) of Dene View Drive, Cowden, Blyth was convicted of two charges of cruelty to his black and white bull terrier Zera. The bitch suffered horrendous injuries, including a cut throat, Bedlington magistrates heard on 24/8/98. Bainbridge denied the charges but was found guilty of both at a resumed hearing. The attack happened the night before he was due to appear at Newcastle Crown Court for sentence. Initially he told the police: "I cut its throat, I used to be a butcher, so it died straight away. I had to kill it, I had no choice." Later he denied that and said he had found the dog dead, killed in a vendetta against him. In court, he admitted he had lied to the police and said he had found Zera terribly injured but still alive, and had "dispatched her" to end her suffering. The second charge related to the care of the dog in the weeks before its death.

Derek Pritchard (23) of Greenwood Avenue, Congleton, Cheshire pleaded guilty to attacking his one-year-old mongrel terrier, Susie, at his home in 1997. Crewe Magistrates heard on 14/10/98 how neighbours were alerted by loud yelping from the house and went to investigate. Pritchard was seen with a hammer in his hand and was waving it around. He said Susie had attacked his other dog and needed killing. Magistrates sent Pritchard to jail for three months and has been banned from keeping animals for 10 years. Susie had been re-homed since the attack and was happy with her new owners.

Denise Parker (40) of The Grove, Ashbrooke, Sunderland told RSPCA inspectors she had been trying to get herself motivated to take her dog to the vets. Her emaciated dog was eventually rescued from her rented flat following a complaint. It weighted just 10.5kg, but its weight shot up within weeks after it was given treatment and fed properly. On 23/10/98 Parker admitted cruelty to the dog and was banned from keeping an animal for 10 years and ordered to pay £150 costs. Sunderland magistrates ordered that the dog should remain in RSPCA care. Magistrates also heard that Parker had a three-month sentence for child cruelty suspended for two years, in 1993.

Jason Roberts (27) of 8 Chapel Court, St Vincent's Road, Torquay, Devon was convicted of cruelly ill-treating a kitten. Newton Abbot magistrates heard on 29/10/98 how the kitten had suffered a fractured pelvis, which left it barely able to walk, fractured ribs, a tear to its jaw, and the tips of its ears had been burnt. Roberts said he did not know how the injuries had been caused, but insisted he was not responsible for them. The court also heard there were signs of ''abnormal interference'' around the cat's rear!!! On 18/11/98 Torbay magistrates sentenced Roberts to 60 days in jail and banned him from keeping any animal for the rest of his life. The court was told that Roberts was given a 15-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, at Reading Crown Court in June 1997 for the possession of controlled drugs. The kitten has since recovered from its injuries, and has been rehomed.

Runcorn magistrates heard on 4/12/98 that Mark Anthony Quinn (31) of Cambridge Street, Widnes buried his dog alive after hitting it twice across the head with a spade. He did this after it attacked customers in his local pub. Assisted by his friend Christopher Syze (29) of Margaret Court, Widnes, Quinn struck the dog on its nose and on the side of its face before burying it in a grave in the garden of his home. Both men who pleaded not guilty, were convicted by magistrates at an earlier hearing of committing unnecessary suffering to an animal. Quinn was sentenced to a six months in prison and banned from keeping animals for life. Syze was given a two-month prison term and banned from keeping animals for 12 months.

A couple whose two emaciated dogs were driven by starvation to eat their own parents were jailed on 30/11/98 for subjecting their pets to "appalling" cruelty. Sunderland magistrates heard how black and white cross border collie Lady and cross-bred mongrel Chubby were so hungry they had even started chewing away at the walls of their kennel. Stephen Woodnut (32) of Athol Road, Hendon denied the two charges, claiming he had been separated from his wife had been found guilty at an earlier hearing and was jailed for six months and his wife Kim Woodnut (38) also of Athol Road pleaded guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering and was jailed for five months. The pair were both disqualified for life from owning any animals. The four dogs had been kept in a yard, surrounded by rubbish and their own faeces, when they were discovered by the RSPCA. They found the half-eaten pelts and skeletal remains of the dog's parents rotting in a shed in the yard. The live dogs were emaciated and had been found in a filthy state, with soiled and matted coats and bones protruding from underneath their skin. Magistrates ordered the dogs to be confiscation and ordered that £4,443 costs be paid out of central funds. Both dogs are now on the way to recovery.


Assorted

Andrew Voisin-Young (20) of Seale Hayne College, Newton Abbot, Devon left a family devastated when he killed two of their pet geese. He ate one and the other he left hanging dead on a garden fence. Teignbridge magistrates heard on 29/5/98 how Young targeted a farm next door to the University of Plymouth complex outside Newton Abbot. The two geese were killed by Voisin-Young who had been ''ashamed and embarrassed'' by his actions. He admitted two offences of burglary and was ordered to pay £555 in fines, costs and compensation.

Two farmers have been sentenced to three months in prison, suspended for three years, on charges relating to breaches of the Animal Remedies Act. Noel Carter (54) and his son Wesley Carter (24) of Ballyhagen House, Carbury, County Kildare, pleaded guilty to four charges of failing to give information to Department of Agriculture officials about the location of animals on their farms in 1996. The special sitting of the District Court in Tullamore, Co Offaly on 28/4/98 were told that the men both prominent cattle dealers, had previously been fined £12,000 arising out of a raid on the family home on 25/6/96. The offences related to the possession of hormone implant guns and hormone implant cartridges as well as obstruction charges. The judge also fined each man £250 and ordered each to pay £250 witness expenses. He said if they were convicted on any offence in the next three years they would serve the sentences.

The Royal Mint will escape prosecution over a chemical leak from one of its plants that killed 1,400 fish because it is protected by Crown immunity. The Environment Agency traced a sulphuric acid spill in a stream in South Wales to the Royal Mint's plant at Llantrisant. A clean-up operation will cost £10,000. A spokesman, who confirmed that the agency had planned to prosecute, said: "There have been six pollution incidents in five years at the Mint but this is the most serious."

Footballer and supporter of bloodsports Vinnie Jones (33) of Redbourn, Herts, was found guilty on 2/6/98 of a late-night attack on one of his neighbours. Timothy Gear (27) said Jones had bitten, punched and kicked him after banging on the door of his mobile home in November 1997. He told St Albans magistrates that after knocking him to the floor, Jones had stamped on his head three or four times. Jones agreed that an incident had occurred following a dispute over a gate and stile. But he denied punching, kicking, biting or stamping and said he and Gear had only "thrashed around". His lawyers said Gear had suffered only minor injuries. Magistrates found Jones guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and causing criminal damage to the door and window of Gear's caravan. They sentenced him to 100 hours community service, ordered him to pay £400 compensation to Gear, fined £300 for criminal damage with £65 compensation and £400 costs.

Water bailiffs watched Gary Blacklock (31) of Clifton Lodge, Workington, Cumbria wade into the River Derwent and catch a 6lb salmon. Blacklock appeared before West Allerdale magistrates on 27/6/98 and admitted poaching. He was fined £100 and £50 costs. However, Blacklock also has outstanding fines of more than £2,500.

Carlisle magistrates heard on 19/5/98 how John Leggat (65) of Larkhall, Carlisle had taken a bull nearly 100 miles to an abattoir. The bull was suffering from crippling arthritis and was not fit for traveling. A vet stated that its front feet were splayed apart and the back ones were close together and could only move a few inches at a time. Leggat admitted transporting an animal when it was unfit for the journey. He was find £1,000 and ordered to pay £130 costs.

Pet food makers who plagued residents with foul smells after leaving piles of animal bones in a yard have been fined £2,500 with more than £500 costs. Dugdale Davies Ltd who admitted five offences under the Environmental Protection Act, left the bones outside at its Whitebirk site at the height of the BSE scare. On 31/3/98 Blackburn magistrates fined the company £500 for each offence and ordered it to pay the council's costs of £517.06. The previous week the company had fines totalling £10,000 imposed by magistrates for other offences under the same act reduced by Preston Crown Court to £7,000. The prosecution claimed that Blackburn and Darwen Council received complaints from people living near the Whitebirk plant, which buys animal carcasses and renders them down for pet food. The court were told that in the summer of 1996, the company was handling 15 tons of bones a day - almost four times the amount it was authorised to process. In 1997 an officer visited the factory five times in nine days and on each occasion she found between 5 and 13 breaches of conditions.

Graham Luscombe (40) of Stone Farm, Ugborough who refused to use organo phosphate dip on his flock for health reasons has been banned from keeping sheep for two years. One in ten of the flock were lying dead in a field at his South Hams farm, Totnes magistrates were told on 29/7/98. Two more were so close to death the vet had to put one down while the second died before he had a chance. Almost half the rest of the flock were under nourished with many of them suffering from sheep scab, showing lesions and hemorrhages. Luscombe who has farmed sheep and cattle for 20 years was banned from keeping sheep for two years -- which was suspended until the end of October 1998 so he can take his animals to market. Luscombe was also fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £500 costs. He admitted permitting unnecessary pain and distress to 58 sheep under the Agriculture Act and permitting unnecessary suffering to a ewe and a ram lamb under the Protection of Animals Act. He further admitted failing to dispose of 11 sheep carcasses.

Roy Allen (19) of Stoneyfield, Spitals Cross, Kent appeared before magistrates on 11/9/98 charged with criminal damage, killing a wild bird and possessing a firearm and ammunition in public. The court heard how a young boy saw Allen shoot a swan in the beak, neck and wing because he said it had attacked him. Allen was fined £300, ordered to pay £165 compensation, given 100 hours community service for criminal damage and 100 hours for the firearms offence. Allen who became the target of hate mail and was even assaulted in the street has since left to live in Devon. Allen was also due to appear at Sevenoakes magistrates on 29/9/98 charged with common assault.

Ian Stroud (42) who worked at Crow Hill Farm, Ringwood, Hants admitted six charges of causing avoidable suffering to mink was ordered to serve 150 hours community service by Lyndurst magistrates on 2/9/98. The court watched a video of Stroud swinging mink by their tails or heads and hitting them against cages or on the floor. Stouds job was to gas the mink. Stroud is still employed by the farms owner Terence Smith but at another farm. (You might recognise the name of this farm, it is were 6,000 mink were released).

RSPCA inspectors called to a muddy allotment found hen carcasses dumped in a make-shift incinerator. A sole surviving hen was crouched in mud, too weak to move. Houghton-le-Spring magistrates were told on 18/9/98 that when the hen was given food it ate ravenously and a vet feared it could choke to death. Paul and Barbara Anderson both 35 of Pine Avenue, Fencehouses, Tyne and Wear each pleaded guilty to three charges of causing unnecessary suffering to hens. Magistrates fined them £1,500 each and also ordered they each pay £438 costs and banned them from keeping any animal for five years, with the exception of their three pet dogs!!!

Brian Smith (45) of Bridge House Farm, Wark, Northumberland allowed sheep scab to infest his flock and failed to get veterinary help. Tynedale magistrates heard that as a result more than 350 sheep either died or had to be destroyed. Trading standards officials were called in and found 200 carcasses left to rot in a barn. Smith admitted eight cases of cruelty to sheep and four of charges relating to procedures during an outbreak of sheep scab. On 7/11/98 Tynedale magistrates sentenced Smith to four months in jail, banned him from keeping animals for life (except the family dogs and cat!!!) he was also ordered to pay £2,500 costs.

Unemployed gamekeeper Colin Eddy (36) of 88 High Street, Stetchworth, Cambridgeshire appeared before Newmarket magistrates on 30/4/98. Eddy had denied charges of causing unnecessary suffering to sheep and nine ferrets. Eddy already has a conviction from three years ago for neglecting 40 chickens.

A Circus worker employed by Mary Chipperfield was jailed for four months on 19/11/98 for brutal attacks on elephants. Michael Gills (64) of Shipton Bellinger, Tidworth, Hants used an iron bar, a broom and metal chains to beat four animals. Basingstoke magistrates were shown video featuring some of the attacks. The offences were committed at Croft Farm in Over Wallop, near Andover the home of Mary Chipperfield. Gills admitted 11 charges of cruelty to animals. The court was also told he served 15 years in jail after being convicted of manslaughter in 1966.

A farmer with previous convictions for cruelty to animals escaped a jail sentence after prosecutors failed to tell a sheriff of the man's earlier offences. The SSPCA demanded an investigation into why the sheriff was not informed that John Harper (56) of Barrodger Farm, Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire had been prosecuted before - at the same court. On 5/8/98 Harper was fined £1,000 on each of two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to cows in May 1997 by failing to provide adequate care and veterinary treatment. It was later revealed that Harper had been fined £3,000 at Paisley Sheriff Court in June 1995 for similar offences.

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