North West Hunt Saboteurs

Vermin Patrol for Howl 70

Badgers

The South Lakes Badger Protection group called in the RSPCA when they found dead badger carcasses and illegal locking snares on the Holker Hall estate of Lord Cavendish, near Cark-in-Cartmel. One badger was found hanging over the edge of cliff where it had asphyxiated after dragging a snare for 30 yards. Badger bones and skulls were scattered around the area and a dead buzzard was found hidden in a hole. On 11/6/99 John Drummond (32) of Old Park Farmhouse, Grange-Over-Sands who is the Head Gamekeeper for the estate was found guilty on 46 out of 65 charges against him. Drummond was found guilty of willfully killing two badgers, willfully taking one badger and cruelly mistreating all three. On 12/7/99 Drummond was jailed for three months.

A leading Carmarthenshire huntsman and three others pleaded not guilty in court to a charge of interfering with a badger set by destroying it. David Lynn Lloyd (46) who is Master of the Vale of Clettwr Hunt, from Blaenpant Farm, Pencader; John Gareth Jones (64) of Golygfa, Heol Gilfachwen, Llandysul; John Geraint Owen Thomas (48) of Gwarbistgwynwydd, Maesycrugiau; and Gethin Jones (46) of Gardde, Cwmdwyfran, Carmarthen, appeared before Ceredigion magistrates in Lampeter on 27/9/99. Magistrates adjourned the case for a pre-trial review on 5/11/99.

Police on an undercover operation against badger baiters found a disturbed sett, a freshly killed badger with wounds consistent with badger baiting, and five men with dogs hiding nearby Lampeter magistrates heard on 11/11/99. The men claimed to be hunting foxes, but one, who told police he would never touch a badger, was later found to have two stuffed badgers and a mounted badger's head at his home. In court were Gary David Venton (24) and his brother Kevin Venton (22) both of Bryn y Wawr, Pentregat, New Quay; Gary Alan Williams (22) of Heol y Graig, Clydach; Geraint Ronald Woolcock (21) of Cowbridge Square, Gwaen-Cae-Gurwen, Ammanford; and John Alan Gilmore (30) of Bryn Teifi, Cilcennin. All have pleaded not guilty to killing or injuring a badger, ill-treating or digging for one and interfering with a badger sett. On 1/12/99 magistrates dropped the charges against all five. However, Gary Venton was due to appear at magistrates on 17/12/99 charged with possessing excess ammunition and failing to notify the transfer of a shotgun

Three men travelled from South Wales to Milton Keynes on a badger baiting trip Milton Keynes magistrates heard on 26/10/99. Paul Rivenberg (34) of Coed-Coe, Nantyglo, Michael Dutton (27) of Merthyr Vale, Merthyr Tydfil and Stephen Booth (20) of Coed-Coe, Nantyglo, all deny a charge of killing, injuring or attempting to take a badger and a further charge of interfering with a badger sett. Rivenberg also denies two charges of cruelty to an animal. Booth is also accused of badger baiting but he failed to appear before magistrates. They are alleged to have attempted to lure badgers out of their sett during an evening's "hunt". The men were equipped with dogs, spades, nets and bags. The previous night they had been lamping for foxes

Two men who were caught red handed trying to set a terrier on a badger in its sett have escaped jail. Paul Sheridan (43) of Johnson Fold Avenue, Johnson Fold, Bolton and Shaun Harwood (34) of Selkirk Avenue, Astley Bridge, Bolton were both found guilty of digging for a badger, damaging and obstructing a badger sett and causing a dog to enter a sett by Blackburn magistrates on 21/8/99. They were each sentenced to 150 hours community service and ordered to pay £150 costs.


Bloodsports

Spokesperson for the Irish Masters of Foxhounds Association James E Norton appeared in court in June 1999 on charges under the Control of Dogs Act. The charges arose following an incident in February 1997 when the South Westmeath Harriers went out of control and 12 sheep were killed and eight were injured.

In America a judge found that Randall Keith Laskowsky (40) and Parrish Franklin Cremeans (37) were both guilty of shooting and fatally wounding a mountain lion. A warden working undercover testified that he saw Laskowsky shoot the lion (which had been chased up a tree by the hunters' dogs) in the head with a pump action rifle. After being hit, the lion came down and tried to run away, but the dogs chased it up another tree where Cremeans shot it in the neck with a rifle. On 16/7/99 the judge sentenced them to 30 days in jail and fined each of them the maximum $5,000 he also banned them from having any association with hunting parties and any possession of firearms and archery equipment.

An experienced gunman accused of blinding a grouse beater on a shoot has been found not guilty of wounding. Bradford Crown Court heard on 16/9/99 how Graham Hill from Bury had been beating when a grouse was flushed out. Ian Brearley from Ramsbottom fired as it flew towards the group. The trial was halted when the judge ruled there was insufficient evidence against him.

Geoffrey Allen (45) of The Pry, Frith Common, Menith Wood, near Bewdley used to produced articles for bloodsport magazines until he was jailed on 2/9/99 for four years after admitting buggery, indecent assault and gross indecency. The offences were committed against two 13-year-old boys.


Eggs/Birds

Two gamekeepers from the Worksop Manor Estate, Nottinghamshire pleaded guilty at Newark magistrates in January 1999 to the use of a cage trap baited with a live pigeon in order to take birds of prey. The head keeper Michael Mather was fined £440 with £560 costs while the underkeeper. Mark Wardle a recently retired Nottinghamshire Police Wildlife Liaison Officer was fined £600 with £840 costs.

William Rutherford a Cumbrian farmer of Irthington near Brampton, pleaded guilty at Carlisle magistrates in March 1999 to setting three pole-traps. He was fined £1,000 and £40 costs. He was acquitted of taking a buzzard in such a trap and causing unnecessary suffering. The prosecution was brought after the Police and RSPCA followed up a report of a buzzard caught in a pole-trap on land farmed by Rutherford. The bird was found alive with its leg caught in a spring-trap attached to a post, but was so badly injured it had to be put down. Two other posts with spring-traps were found at the site.

Philip Beard of Cheylesmore, Coventry, was fined in February 1999 £2,100 for possession eggs plus £200 for possession of equipment. He was also ordered to pay £570 costs and all items including an egg blowing kit, photographs of eggs and nests of wild birds, display cabinets and climbing gear were confiscated. The police had seized a total of 328 eggs.

Haydn Williams a gamekeeper on the Kentchurch Estate in Herefordshire and also a falconer, was fined £500 for illegal possession and non-registration of two goshawks, and illegal possession of two barn owls. He was also fined £210 for driving while disqualified and obstructing the police with £40 costs. At court Williams admitted he had illegally trapped the goshawks to reduce predation at his pheasant release pens.

Cambridgeshire Police and the RSPB have been involved in what is believed to be the first conviction of purchasing a goshawk. Gerald Frederick Chester pleaded guilty to one charge of making a false declaration to obtain a registration of a bird and one charge of purchasing a bird. Chester was serving a five year ban on keeping birds following a 1997 conviction. He received a two year conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £69 costs.

Willy Enzlin of JV Eyckgracht, Holland was sentenced at Inverness Sheriff Court in January 1999 on a charge of offering to purchase wild peregrine. Enzlin was fined £2, 000, forfeited his car and forfeited the £4,000 cash he had received to buy the birds.

A trout farmer "took the easy way out" by shooting herons to protect her livestock, a court has heard. Rosalind Brida Underhill (56) from Rainbow Valley Trout Farm in Oakford, Devon admitted four charges of killing grey herons, one of being in possession of wild birds and one of possessing a firearm with intent to kill birds. She was fined £3,200 and ordered to pay £75 costs. Tiverton magistrates heard Underhill admit shooting the birds in an interview with police.

Everett Crang (30) of 8 Milton Park, Brixham, pleaded guilty to illegal possession of seven rare and protected birds, possession of 337 other eggs and illegal possession of three dead birds. He was fined a total of £600 and ordered to pay costs of £55. Seymour Crang (37) of 7 Mayflower Drive, Brixham, pleaded guilty to illegal possession of 127 protected birds including birds of prey and illegal possession of 1,085 other eggs. He was fined a total of £3,000 and ordered to pay costs of £55. In both cases magistrates ordered the forfeiture of the eggs. They both appeared before Torbay magistrates on 6/12/99.

A Maltese man, who attempted to export wild British birds to his brother's pet shop in Malta, has been ordered to pay £4,814 in costs after breaching the Wildlife and Countryside Act. Vince Ellul (42) a London hotelier, was intercepted at Heathrow Airport with two boxes containing 47 greenfinches, all were wearing rings that had been tampered with. They were part of a consignment of 101 greenfinches en route to Malta, Uxbridge magistrates heard. The 47 British wild birds were confiscated and are due to be returned to the wild. Ellul pleaded guilty to possessing live wild birds and was also given a two-year conditional discharge.

An exotic bird lover has been fined £2,500 after a trap he laid near his South Devon aviary caught a protected Tawny Owl. The bird was so badly injured in the spring trap it had to be destroyed, Totnes magistrates were told on 20/12/99. The RSPB claimed that traps and cages were being used by Carl Garnham to stop birds of prey harming his collection of doves and other birds at his aviaries at Broadhempston, near Totnes. Garnham claimed he used them for catching rats and other vermin. Garnham was fined £1,000 on two of the charges and £500 on a third. Garnham now lives in at Hawthorne Drive, Ibstock, Leicester was also ordered to pay £538 costs.


Equine

A farmer/landowner who spent more than £40,000 defending a horse cruelty charge has been fined £1,000 after a mare in her care died. She was also ordered to pay £11,558 costs. At Melton magistrates on 12/10/99 Susan Cavanagh (63) of Withcote Hall, near Oakham, a well-known figure in the equestrian world and Christopher Fryer (42) of Brookdale, Great Dalby, admitted to permitting unnecessary suffering to the horse. An examination on the horse showed deformities to the animal's legs and a pelvic injury, believed to have been caused by the kick from another horse. Although treated, sadly the mare died shortly after. Magistrates fined Cavanagh £1,000 and Fryer £500 but there was no order for them to be disqualified from keeping horses.

Cases against a couple from Chellaston, Derbyshire charged with causing unnecessary suffering to horses have been adjourned by magistrates until July 1999. Thomas Jones (51), of South Avenue, is charged with 15 separate counts of causing unnecessary suffering to horses at Saltersford Farm, Egginton. Margaret Jones (51), of the same address, is also charged with 15 separate counts of the same offence.

A Tumble farmer appeared before Llanelli magistrates on 7/12/99 accused of causing unnecessary cruelty to his horses. Karol Noel Richards of Blaenau Isaf, has been charged with causing or failing to prevent unnecessary suffering to his animals after two young ponies were allegedly found in his care in a poor condition. The RSPCA found the two in a cold and muddy field with no shelter or rugs. The inspectors said the animals were very thin with protruding bones and hair loss. The two ponies were taken into the care by the RSPCA.


Assorted

On 27/9/99 at Preston Crown Court paper making company Sappi UK from Feniscowles, Blackburn admitting polluting local waters, however, they said the death of 10,000 fish was unrelated. The River Roddlesworth and River Darwen were polluted following a chemical leak from their factory. They were fined £17,500 and made to pay costs of £37,000.

A dairy farmer was given a six-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £255 costs on 25/6/99 for polluting a tributary of the River Tamar. Frederick Brian Jennings of Nethercott, Tetcott, Holsworthy, admitted at Okebampton magistrates to polluting a tributary.

A sweetcorn farmer admitted spraying his crops with illegal pesticides before selling them to major high street shops. Portsmouth Crown Court heard on 13/8/99 that Colin Boswell (41) of Mersley Farm, Newport, Isle of Wight was one of the biggest sweetcorn producers and that he admitted 11 breaches of the Heath and Safety law. The court fined him £220,000 and if it was not paid in 14 days a 3-year prison sentence maybe imposed.

A farmer was cleared by Wigan magistrates of killing a protected species on 28/5/99. Kenneth Winstanley (64) of Cheetham House Farm, Park Lane, Abram denied eight offences of killing a protected species and 14 of removing hedgerows. The court heard how Winstanley had filled in some ponds found to be populated by newts.


 

Farm Animals

Update from Howl 69 - Kevin Brown (34) and Ann Brown (32) from Montgomery Road, Tunbridge Wells who left more than 500 chickens to starve have won a partial victory over a penalty imposed by magistrates. Ann Brown need not now carry out the 120 hour community service order imposed by the magistrates, and the 160 hour order made in respect of her husband has been reduced to 120 hours. The couple had also been banned for life from keeping any animals. But the judge at Maidstone Crown Court on 16/8/99 said the order would be modified to allow them to keep not more than two family pets. At the appeal against the sentencing the court heard how they had both pleaded guilty on 22/4/99 to 17 summonses of causing unnecessary suffering to 535 chickens.

Dusty Hare (46) of Wheatholme Farm, South Clifton, Nottinghamshire was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to sheep and failing to dispose of animal remains. Hare the former England Rugby Union full-back was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £1,450 costs. Newark magistrates were told on 8/6/99 that council officials found a sheep that was starving because of a broken jaw and two had kidney failure through tapeworm infection.

Alex Butcher (48) of Castle Farm, Badingham Road, Framlingham was convicted of 11 charges of causing distress to livestock and one of cruelty to animals. Lowestoft magistrates were told on 13/4/99 how he crammed 20 animals into a tiny pen, failed to provide clean drinking water and foodstuffs and did not bury the bodies of dead pigs. Magistrates were also shown a video of rotting animal carcasses littering Butcher's farm. He was given a three-month suspended prison sentence and banned for life from keeping stock.

George Tucker (48) of Polapit Tamar Farm, Werrington, near Launceston was found guilty by Liskeard magistrates on 23/6/99 of nine counts of causing unnecessary suffering to cattle on two separate farms in Cornwall. Magistrates fined him a total of £3,800 for the nine offences and ordered him to pay costs of £5,600. Tucker was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to six individual animals by failing to get them adequate treatment. Magistrates also found him guilty of failing to provide suitable conditions for the animals. Magistrates were told that in August 1994, Tucker was banned from keeping sheep for life by Okehampton magistrates after he admitted charges of causing unnecessary suffering to sheep. They were also told of another case in January 1995 where Tucker was given a three-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after being convicted of three charges of causing unnecessary suffering to three sheep by failing to give them adequate treatment.

Case 1) Farmer Roger Baker (57) of Ventongims Common, Callistick, near Truro who has a 25 year record of cruelty to animals and a life ban on keeping sheep, has been jailed again for nine more charges of causing unnecessary suffering to sheep. Truro magistrates heard on 22/6/99 that Baker has been banned for life from keeping sheep as a result of a 1997 cruelty conviction. Baker pleaded guilty to nine charges of causing unnecessary suffering to sheep and one charge of having sheep in his custody while being disqualified from doing so. Magistrates jailed Baker for a total of six months for the offences and re-imposed the lifetime ban on him keeping sheep. The previous week Baker was jailed for six months for using threatening behaviour towards the two female vets who visited his farm. See Howl 67 for previous court case details

Case 2) Roger Baker was jailed for five and a half months by Truro magistrates on 2/11/99 for causing cruelty to more than 260 sheep and cattle. Baker defied a previous life ban from keeping sheep and has been sent to prison seven times before for a string of previous convictions for animal cruelty spanning 31 years. He admitted 23 charges of causing unnecessary suffering to animals, failing to provide them with proper care, and failing to dispose of animal carcasses. The magistrates also imposed another life ban on Baker keeping any animals.

Crofter Kenneth John Gillies (44) of 9 Carishader, Uig, Lewis, was fined £200 at Stornoway Sheriff Court on 15/9/99 after admitting leaving three sheep carcasses unburied and causing unnecessary suffering to two collie dogs by failing to feed them.

Malcolm John Macleod (63) of 6 Kirivick, Carloway, Lewis was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a lamb which became emaciated and died. In court he said he had been the grazing clerk for 30 years and was a Crofters Commission assessor. The Sheriff deferred sentence on him for a year for good behaviour.

An Ammanford farmer appeared before Neath magistrates on 13/10/99 for being cruel to his flock of sheep. Eifion Lewis Williams (51) of Brynglas, Heol Wernddu, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to 50 sheep by failing to provide proper care. He also pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary pain or distress to 40 sheep and for failing to dispose of 50 sheep carcasses in the approved way. He was banned from having custody of sheep for two years and was given a conditional discharge for two years. He was also ordered to pay £565 costs.

A farmer has been banned from keeping farm animals for 10 years and given a suspended six-month prison sentence, for ill-treating animals. John Buckingham (51) of Furze Farm, Warkleigh, near Umberleigh, Devon was convicted at Barnstaple magistrates of 27 offences of ill-treating animals and failing to dispose of carcasses. Barnstaple magistrates convicted Buckingham of 19 offences and he pleaded guilty to eight further offences and on the 9/11/99 he was sentenced on all 27 charges. The court heard that the condition of animals found on Buckingham's farm had been "nothing less than appalling". But the sentence would be suspended for two years because of "exceptional circumstances". Magistrates rejected costs of £9,569.89 to be paid by Buckingham because of his poor financial circumstances.

A Dulais Valley farmer has appeared in court charged with causing unnecessary suffering to animals. David Williams of Tynygraig Farm in Crynant, faces one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to 25 sheep by unreasonably omitting to provide them with proper and necessary care. A similar charge involving four sheep has also been brought by Neath and Port Talbot Council. Williams stands further accused of failing to dispose of 29 sheep carcasses in the approved manner. Neath magistrates adjourned the case until 8/11/99 for Williams to consult his solicitor.

A farmer could face jail after admitting keeping 36 ewes and 20 lambs in a pen with rotting sheep carcasses. Michael Anson (48) from Newick Lane, Mayfield, East Sussex pleaded guilty to causing distress to 56 sheep when he appeared at Lewes magistrates on 16/8/99. Anson also pleaded guilty to a further allegation of failing to dispose of the carcasses of 26 sheep. He admitted he had a serious alcohol problem although he denied it had affected his judgment as far as the management of his flock. Anson has now put his farm on the market. Magistrates asked for pre-sentence reports and adjourned the case until 1/9/99.

A farmer who feared he would go to jail and lose his livestock killed himself after a visit from animal welfare officers. Brinley Court (47) hung himself from a cross beam in a shed three days after an inspection by officers from Pembrokeshire County council and a vet. The officers described how they found some of the animals at his farm in the village of Star living in appalling conditions. At an inquest into his death on 19/11/99 they heard how two sheep dogs were found living on top of sheep carcasses while nine terriers lived in a shed in complete darkness. A vet said some of the animals had definitely been caused unnecessary suffering.


Domestic

A lizard was kept with no light and was not fed for six months by Rachael Blamire of Green Street, Lancaster. Blamire pleaded guilty to the charge of failing to provide proper care and attention to the lizard at Lancaster magistrates on 7/5/99. She was ordered to pay £250 costs and was disqualified from having any reptile for three years.

A man pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to his dog because he could not afford to take it to the vet magistrates were told on 23/4/99. Lee Harvey of Langland Road, Netherfield was sentenced to 100 hours community service, banned him from keeping any animal for life and ordered to pay £100 costs. It was revealed that when RSPCA inspectors had visited Harvey in 1997 they found his dog was suffering from a dislocated hip. When inspectors next called in January 1999, the dog's hips were so badly dislocated he had to drag himself around with his front legs.

A pub landlord who killed his pet cat by pulling its neck and hitting its head on the floor has been banned from keeping animals for three years. The cat lived after suffering injuries inflicted by Robert Hicks landlord of the Thirst and Last in London Rd, Hildenborough, Sevenoaks magistrates were told in May. Hicks pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to his pet cat. He was fined £100 with £400 costs. He said he killed the cat because it did not use its litter tray. He picked up the cat and pulled it from below and it started ripping at him, he fell down in the mud at the back of the pub and the cat hit its head on the side of a rock he then tried to finish it off by hitting its head on the floor.

On 14/5/99 David Bird of Oakland Court, Penplas received 200 hours community service and a 10 year ban on keeping animals by Gowerton magistrates after being found guilty of starving 3 greyhounds to death (they were actually eaten alive by rats). On 12/11/99 he reappeared at magistrates after failing to carry out any of his community service Bird was fined £75 and ordered to still carry out the community service order.

Melanie Botting of Gwendolen Road, Leicester was convicted of cruelty and was given a 12-month conditional discharge. However, on the 5/3/99 she was not banned from keeping animals and magistrates ruled her animals be returned to her.

Carmella Pinto formerly of Oatfield Gardens, appeared for trial at Luton magistrates on 18/3/99 and denied causing unnecessary suffering to her five dogs. But 20 minutes into the proceedings she changed her pleas to guilty. Pinto was given a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £50 costs she was also banned from keeping any animal for life. Carmine Pinto ex-husband of Carmella, was dealt with at a separate hearing where he pleaded guilty to the same counts, and was given an identical sentence. The five dogs have since been re-homed.

A dog breeder was jailed for 18 months on 1/7/99 at Nottingham Crown Court for forging Kennel Club certificates to dupe people into thinking they were buying pedigree dogs. Jill Allen (52) of Saxilby, near Lincoln, also froze the corpses of puppies so they could be defrosted later to make false insurance claims. Allen admitted 23 counts of making and using a false instrument and obtaining money by deception.

A man has been banned from keeping a pet for three years after being found guilty of cruelty to two puppies. Michael Cleary (24) of 10 Hylands Road, Walthamstow, London pleaded not guilty to cruelty to the two Staffordshire bull terriers. Waltham Forest magistrates were told on 11/6/99 that following a tip-off, an RSPCA inspector visited Cleary and found the puppies starved and emaciated. He was ordered to pay a £10 fine on each puppy with £1,000 costs.

James Forsyth from Stockton-on-Tees (23) beat his girlfriend's pet chinchilla to death with a golf club following a row and warned her "You're next. Ha Ha." Forsyth daubed the message in the animal's blood in the hallway. Middlesbrough magistrates heard how the chinchilla had escaped from the cage and Forsyth had stalked it, then beat it to death with the club. Forsyth admitted causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and criminal damage and was ordered to do 100 hours community service, banned from keeping animals for life and ordered to pay £80 costs.

Matthew Fowler (18) of Birchwood Avenue, Long Eaton, Nottingham admitted causing unnecessary suffering and failing to provide care and attention to a rabbit. Nottingham magistrates heard how Fowler had not fed the young rabbit for a week when he lived in Oakfield Road, Stapleford. Sadly, despite a vet treating the rabbit it later died. Fowler was ordered to carry out 60 hours community service, fined £375 and ordered to pay £25 for vet bills.

Victoria Smith (22) for Cirencester pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to two dogs. Cheltenham magistrates heard how the two dogs were discovered in Smith's back garden emaciated and weak. Magistrates fined her £200 and banned her from keeping animals for five years. The good news is the two dogs have since been rehomed.

Two soccer fans that used a hedgehog as a football during a drunken street kick-about were each fined £600 with £150 costs on 23/9/99. Stephen Cornes (20) and James McKinnon (21) both from Warndon, Worcester laughed and joked as the animal struggled for life after being kicked into the air, Worcester magistrates heard. Both were found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal. Sadly the hedgehog died of multiple injuries.

A pet cat needed immediate surgery to remove one of its eyes after it was seized from its owners magistrates heard on 23/9/99. The cat had been suffering from a ruptured eye for at least a week before he was taken into care. He was taken to a vet who decided an immediate operation was needed to remove its injured eye. William Fraser (50) and his wife Pauline (40) of Duncan Gardens, Morpeth, Northumberland were banned from owning any animal for two years after they admitted cruelty. The couple were each ordered to pay £175 in fines and costs. The cat is now with the RSPCA.

Its owner subjected a rottweiler Beddlington magistrates heard on 24/9/99. The dog suffered a fractured skull and injured leg and broken teeth following the attack by Kenneth Hodge (25) of Stanton Avenue, Blyth, Northumberland. A vet said the dog had been "severely and repeatedly beaten" on at least two separate occasions. Hodge was banned from owning any animal for 10 years and ordered to pay £300 costs after admitting cruelty to the dog. The dog who is now in the care of the RSPCA.

Alan Pittaway (43) of Walden Rd, Portsmouth killed his wife's kitten by drop-kicking it across the kitchen was fined £2,000 by Eastleigh magistrates on 16/7/99. She had rushed the cat to a vet who discovered it had a ruptured spleen. The kitten died a few hours later after surgery. Pittaway pleaded guilty to one charge of animal cruelty.

An animal breeder neglected rodents in his care so badly they ate each other. When the RSPCA visited the Minerva Summerfield Nurseries in Pontefract, Yorkshire which is a business breeding hamsters, gerbils, rats and mice for pet shops they discovered dozens of animals had died of starvation. Andrew John Brown (38) of Roseberry Avenue, Hatfield, Doncaster admitted 14 charges of causing suffering to 1,219 animals. The case was adjourned until 26/10/99 at Pontefract magistrates.

David J. Pusey (57) of 8 King's Rd, North Chingford, London has been found guilty of shooting cats and was convicted of causing unnecessary cruelty to a cat. A family who live just 30 yards away from Pusey owned the pet cat. Waltham Forest magistrates were told on 23/9/99 that three other cats belonging to the same family were shot between 1997 and 1998. The court heard that the police searched Pusey's home and found a loaded air rifle in his wardrobe. Despite his not guilty plea magistrates convicted him. He was fined £750 and £150 costs. He was also ordered to pay £500 to the family for the distress he caused.

A Swansea man who starved his greyhounds to death has failed to carry out any of a 200-hour community service order imposed as punishment. David Robert Bird from Oakland Court, Penplas, Swansea was sentenced by Gowerton magistrates in May 1999. At that hearing the court heard that three greyhounds had been found dead lying on six inches of faeces in sheds. The community service order was imposed but Bird was later ordered back to court for failing to carry it out. On 12/11/99 Bird claimed he had been forced to flee the original hearing in the back of a police car to escape animal rights protesters. This was followed by attacks on his home claimed Birds defence. Bird was fined £75 and ordered to carry out the 200 hours community service. At the original hearing he was banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

A policeman was physically sick after discovering the rotting carcasses of five animals during an RSPCA investigation. A dead cockatoo, a dead budgie and the carcasses of three rabbits were found at the home of Anne Heason (75) and her grandson Mark Heason (26). A flea-ridden dog dying of cancer, a caged cat and a starving budgie were also found in the house. Both from Anmer Close in The Meadows, Nottingham were banned from keeping animals for life, after pleading guilty to failing to protect their pets at Nottingham magistrates on 3/11/99. The pair was also ordered to pay a £100 fine.

Scott Taylor (19) of Goodall Crescent, Hucknall, Nottingham was convicted in his absence on 22/11/99 of ill-treating a cat, and of failing to ensure it had appropriate medical treatment. Nottingham magistrates heard he had put the oven on full power while the kitten was inside. The animal had to have a leg and its tail amputated. On 10/1/00 he was sentenced to three months in jail and banned from keeping animals for life.

John Durrant (18) of Broomlee, Ashington admitted cruelty to a dog and Andrew Tweddle (18) of Thorntree Gardens, Ashington, accepted a police caution for cruelty South East Northumberland magistrates heard on 14/1/00. Both were accused of allowing a four-month-old pup to be swung by its legs and dropped from a 70ft bridge over a river then carry the puppy back to the top and throw it off again. Vets feared the pup would die but he has recovered well and is now thriving in a new home. Magistrates called for reports on Durrant and adjourned the hearing until 4/2/00.

Torbay magistrates jailed Andrew Colley (21) from Queen Elizabeth Drive estate for two months after they heard how he had strangled a cat because he was "peeved" about being accused of burglary and kicked out of a pub. On 19/8/99 Colley pleaded guilty to destroying a domestic cat, a charge brought under criminal damage rather than cruelty legislation.

Jane Walker (20) of Lethbridge Close, Abbey Park, Leicester, was banned from keeping any pets for 10 years and ordered to do 60 hours of community service after she was found guilty by Leicester magistrates on 20/7/99 of abandoning her dog.

A Notts couple have been banned from keeping animals for ten years after they admitted causing suffering to two dogs. The RSPCA found the dogs half-starved and living in squalid conditions at the home of Brian (31) and Dawn Ireland both of Thoresby Road, Mansfield Woodhouse. On 16/7/99 Mansfield magistrates imposed a fine of £500 and ordered the couple to pay £1,825 costs. Both the dogs have since recovered.

A dog owner told a court how his pet was 'just a bag of bones' when he went to collect him from boarding kennels. Vincent Faal (Yes him of Countryside Alliance fame) of Benchill Road, Manchester said his cross bred Saluki was in such an appalling state that he did not recognise him. He had put the dog into Ashton Kennels for care but when he collected him 36 days later, the dog had lost half his body weight. At Trafford magistrates on 20/8/99 kennel owner Paul Bryan (34) of Little Ees Lane, Sale, Manchester was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and was disqualified from running a boarding kennels for five years. The ban was suspended pending an appeal and Bryan was also fined £750 plus £757 costs. Kennel worker Daniella Comar (20) of Hurst Avenue, Sale, Manchester was also found guilty and fined £300 as well as £200 costs. A third defendant Lee O'Pray (22) of Dane Road, Sale, Manchester was found not guilty. Sadly the dog had to be put down.

A man who killed his girlfriend's puppy has been jailed for three months and banned from having custody of any animal for ten years. Joseph Corey (38) of Longshut Lane West, Shaw Heath, Stockport, Cheshire was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a five-month-old cocker spaniel. Stockport magistrates heard how Corey let himself back into his girlfriend's flat after she asked him to leave because she was going out. When she returned she found the dog unconscious and salivating heavily.

A man who mistreated his two pet Staffordshire bull terriers was banned from keeping dogs for three years on 20/8/99. Magistrates in Ilkeston also fined Keith Twells (39) of Eliot Drive, Kirk Hallam, Derbyshire £100 after he admitted two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to dogs. He was also ordered to pay £50 costs. Both dogs are now in full health and with new owners.

On 21/9/99 Blackburn magistrates heard James Bowman (40) and his wife Beatrice (54) from Carlisle plead guilty to 14 charges of omitting to act thereby causing suffering to an animal. They were each given a conditional discharge for two years, prohibited from keeping any animal for life and ordered to pay £200 costs.

A man whose dog had to have its leg amputated because he failed to take it to the vet's has been banned from keeping animals for 10 years. Paul Rowley (25) of Frances Street, Church, Blackburn admitted causing unnecessary suffering. Hyndburn magistrates heard on 23/9/99 that the dogs leg was broken in two places after it was kicked by the owner of a dog during a fight. The dog has since been given a new home. Rowley was given a conditional discharge for 18 months and was banned from keeping animals for 10 years and ordered him to pay £300 costs.

Anthony Green of Woodside Crescent, Newchurch-in-Rossendale has been banned from keeping animals for five years after being convicted of cruelty. On 2/10/99 magistrates in Bury were told that weeks of neglect ended with the family dog being tied to a bush and abandoned. In court Green pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering. In addition to the ban Green was given 40 hours community service, ordered to pay vet bills of £101.94 and court costs of £100. The dog has since been restored to full health and has begun a happy life with new owners

A Widnes couple were banned from keeping pets for two years after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to their cocker spaniel. Thomas Cassidy (51) and his wife Joan (52) of Abbey Road were prosecuted by the RSPCA at Widnes magistrates court on 14/10/99 for failing to provide proper care and attention for their dog. Magistrates ordered the couple to pay £593 compensation.

Philip McEvoy (19) of Occombe Valley Road, Paignton, Devon downed 14 vodkas after a row with his girlfriend and then took his drunken rage out on a pet kitten, hurling it by its tail around his bedroom and killing it. On 15/11/99 magistrates warned him that he faced jail as they adjourned the case. The kitten bore the brunt of his temper as it was hurled around his room at least six times during the savage attack. The kitten died as a result of her injuries. The court was told that the kitten received fractures to her leg and skull and was bleeding from her eyes, abdomen and nose. On 15/12/99 magistrates sentenced him to four months in a young offender's institution.

A cat owner was found guilty of animal cruelty after he pierced his pet's ear and put a fake diamond stud earring in it. Bradford magistrates heard on 23/12/99 that Simon Whittaker (31) put the earring in his cat ear to "look decorative" and to make him "easily identifiable". Whittaker was found guilty of two charges of animal cruelty. His wife Melanie (41) was found guilty of not seeking veterinary attention. The couple from Great Horton, Bradford, West Yorkshire, had denied the charges but were not present at their trial. Magistrates issued warrants for their arrest. Melanie Whittaker later surrendered to the court and was released on unconditional bail until 13/1/00.

Two Crufts judges had 83 dogs taken from them after an RSPCA swoop on their country home. Sisters Mary and Caroline Gatheral from Sockburn Hall, near Darlington, County Durham (who are also well-known breeders of sheepdogs and dachshunds), may face prosecution on charges of animal neglect. It took RSPCA inspectors 15 hours to collect all the dogs and evidence on 23/11/99. The sisters have been on the Crufts judge's panel for several years and have owned a Crufts champion.

The emaciated body of the four-month-old dog was found lying among debris in the bathroom of the flat by the RSPCA. A vet who examined the body said the puppy had no body fat and had simply starved to death. Richard Johnson (30) of Links View, North Seaton, Ashington, was banned from keeping any animal for five years and ordered to pay a fine and costs totalling £250 after admitting cruelty. The case appeared at Bedlington magistrates on 23/12/99.

On 17/8/99 Mary O'Neill from Speke, Liverpool was sentenced to 40 hours community service for allowing a ferret to starve to death. She said the ferret wasn't her responsibility but that of her partner.

Theresa Wright (50) a former Crufts winner was found guilty of cruelty by Gravesend magistrates on 23/6/99. She was banned from keeping domestic animals excluding horses for 15 years and was ordered to pay costs of £1,000. Wright from Rainham in Kent was accused of keeping 27 dogs and 14 cats in filthy conditions at her home.

Barry Mellors (51) from St Ives, Cornwall admitted cruelty and neglect was fined £300 with £250 costs by Penzance magistrates on 24/5/99. The court heard how he had more than 150 animals in his terraced house and that during a search of his house they found an owl in a budgie cage unable to stretch its wings or stand properly. He was also banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

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