North West Hunt Saboteurs

Vermin Patrol for Howl 72

Badgers

On the 19/9/00 at Southend magistrates Brian Anthony Holder was found guilty of interfering with a badger sett in his garden, in Hockley, Essex, by obstructing sett entrances. In sentencing Holder to a £500 fine plus £250 costs. The Magistrates also expressed their disapproval of the defendant's lack of cooperation with the police - he refused to allow the police to examine the sett and refused to be interviewed by the police.

The RSPCA have dropped its investigation into a firm which bulldozed a badger sett, killing up to 20 animals. They launched a probe into Newcastle-based company Blue Lark after contract workers employed by the firm ran over a badger sett on the former Occidental refinery land on Canvey. However, on 22/9/00 after a six month investigation inspectors decided the contractors had not known there was a badger sett on the land and scrapped their inquires.


Bloodsports

Two Herefordshire men were jailed on 23/3/00 for poaching offences. Glen William Johnson of 40 Winslow Road, Bromyard, Hereford and Peter John Littlewood of 10 Coronation Avenue, Bromyard, Hereford were sent to prison for nine and three months respectively by Worcester Crown Court. In addition to the custodial sentences Littlewood's Bedford van was forfeited, together with a quantity of nets, sacks and other items seized. The court was told that they were both seen in possession of what was believed to be salmon poaching equipment.

On 25/5/00 a quail-fighting organiser was successfully prosecuted by the RSPCA after unwittingly showing undercover newspaper reporters how he prepared birds to fight. Bradford magistrates court heard how Mohammad Tajh Khan (44) of Archibald Street, Bradford would sharpen the birds' beaks with a razor and pluck their feathers. Khan pleaded guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering and one charge under the Cockfighting Act 1952. He was banned for life from having custody of birds, ordered to undertake 200 hours community service and pay £500 court costs.

A farmer who shot a teenager hunting foxes on his land was told by a judge on 8/6/00 that what he did was stupid but not against the law. Brian Ward (48) was acquitted of unlawfully wounding Nicky Westerman (18) of Barnsley, South Yorkshire after a court was told that he was hit accidentally by a warning shot. Westerman was in a group of five who were using a Land Rover to "lamp" foxes. Ward told Lincoln Crown Court that when he saw the vehicle he decided that there was no point in calling the police because of the remoteness of his farm at Stewton, near Louth, Lincolnshire. Instead, he decided to frighten the intruders off with a rifle that he used for pest control. He aimed over the roof of the Land Rover. But the court was told that Ward did not realise that Westerman was standing with his head and hands sticking out of the sunroof OOPS!!!

Viscount Coke (34) son of the Earl of Leicester, threatened to sue the police and Crown Prosecution Service after being cleared of allowing a gamekeeper to illegally use poison on the family's Norfolk estate. The heir to the Holkham estate near Wells-next-the-Sea, had faced 12 charges following the conviction in March this year of one of the estate's gamekeepers, who admitted killing a kestrel with a poisoned pheasant carcass. However, on 15/6/00 magistrates at Fakenham, said Viscount Coke had no case to answer. Land agent Richard Gledson (37) and head gamekeeper John King (62) had all denied charges relating to food and environment protection legislation, and pesticide regulations. Gledson and King were each convicted of three charges of allowing a gamekeeper on the 25,000-acre estate illegally to store poison and were fined £1,200 and £750 respectively. In March Martin Joyce, a gamekeeper was fined £850 for the killing of three kestrels on Holkham Estate in Norfolk. He admitted to shooting two birds and poisoning a third because he blamed them for attacking young partridges

Three men who were employed by one of Prince Charles' favourite hunts appeared at Loughborough magistrates on charges relating to violent attacks on hunt saboteurs. Dean John Ironmonger from Wysall, Notts; Kenneth Scott Rumph from Willoughby-on-the-Wolds, Leics and Paul John Tomlinson from Clifton, Notts all faced with a range of charges relating to an incident which occurred at a meet of the Quorn Foxhounds. All three were employed as hunt stewards on the day, and are due to reappear again at Leicester Crown Court.

Five men were fined by magistrates in Bridgwater on 2/8/00 after failing to declare their elver catch returns to the Environment Agency. The five fishermen were found guilty of failing to send a catch return to the Environment Agency within the prescribed time. Marty Edwards of Longstone Avenue, Bridgwater; Shaun Ingram of Brooklands, Bridgwater; Mark Davis of Dukesmead, Bridgwater; Steven Lovell of Fernleigh Avenue, Bridgwater were each fined £200 and ordered to pay £55 costs. Paul D. Fisher of Halswell Close, Bridgwater was fined £130 and ordered to pay £55 costs. The previous year they all had received formal cautions from the Environment Agency for the same offence.

On 2/8/00 three men who poached salmon and sea trout were each ordered to complete 240 hours community service and pay £250 fines by Penrith magistrates. Kenneth Atherton of Ullswater Road, Maryport, James Cullen of Kirkby Street, Maryport, and David Jackson of Kennedy Road, Workington all pleaded guilty to two charges relating to the use of an illegal hook and taking of fish. Each man was also ordered to pay £250 towards costs.

On 3/8/00 three men were charged by police investigating an illegal dog fighting ring in Notts. Ryan Nuttall (29) of Garden Terrace, Newstead Village, is accused of providing a venue. He has also been charged with causing dogs to fight and causing unnecessary suffering to pit bull terriers. Andrew Taylor (29) of Carnarvon Grove, Sutton-in-Ashfield, and Nigel Greensmith (32) of The Quadrangle, Newstead Village, are both charged with attending a dog fight. All the men are alleged to have attended a dog fight in Newstead. They are expected to appear before Mansfield magistrates at a date to be set. Three other men, Ken Langan from Brighton, Tony Mullen of Birmingham, and Jeremy Brown of Chesterfield, face similar charges. RSPCA officers seized 12 dogs, believed to be pit bulls.

On 12/8/00 a renowned Greek hunter who for decades had earned his fame by expertly imitating wolf cries to lure other wolves for hunting was shot dead by fellow hunters who mistook him for the real thing. Police at Soufli, in Thrace, near the Greek-Turkish border, said that Abdi Mehmetoglou (57) and two fellow hunters confessed to accidentally killing the legendary wolf-crier during a hunting trip. The victim Nicholas Kavalakis (79) made a living by tracking down wolves through his realistic howls. Mehmetoglou confessed that the three hunters had set out at dawn allowing the wolf-crier to stalk ahead. Not knowing that he had crouched in dense bushes to make his calls, the three men opened fire into the bushes. Police said all three men had been jailed pending official charges of negligence leading to manslaughter and of illegal hunting.

Paul Westwood (43) managing director of Oxfordshire-based Household Pest Services, was found dead at the wheel of a company van in a lay-by. He was killed by cymag, a cyanide gas used to kill rabbits, which was found leaking from the back of the van (15/8/00).

RIO RANCHO, N.M. USA 19/9/00. Two men are facing animal cruelty charges for allegedly dragging a pet rabbit to its death behind a vehicle. Greg Dickerson (29) and Johnny Garcia (21) were arrested after witnesses called the police to report an animal was being dragged behind a vehicle in the parking lot in an Albuquerque suburb. When police arrived Dickerson and Garcia allegedly drove off and tried to hide in nearby hills. However, a police helicopter was called in to help find the suspects. Dickerson and Garcia are both charged with cruelty to animals, resisting and evading a police officer, and drug possession. They face up to 18 months in jail for each crime. Dickerson is free on $12,600 bond and Garcia is free on $11,000 bond. Both are awaiting arraignments.


Eggs/Birds

Gamekeeper Charles Arnold of Shipton Bellinger, Hampshire was fined £500 with £40 costs after pleading guilty to setting four pole-traps on the fence posts of a pheasant release pen near Snoddington Farm, Cholderton.

On 19/1/98 Bernard Fredrick Lyle was fined £1,500 for unlawful possession of three goshawks. Genetic fingerprinting showed that the birds were not siblings and thus disproved Lyle's claims of breeding the birds in captivity from subsequently-stolen parents. He was also fined £400 and £250 costs for four gin-traps set round his aviaries and possession of a rifle.

In January 1998 Robert Griffiths of Bronllwyn Road, Gelli, Rhondda was fined £3,200 plus £300 costs for non-registration of peregrines, the possession of three red kites, two merlins, a peregrine and a sparrowhawk, and another non-registration offence.

Malcolm Burgwin of Pantry Green, Worsborough Dale, Barnsley, South Yorkshire was fined £500 each for the possession of two wild goshawks, £500 for equipment capable of being used for illegal possession, £250 for making false declarations and £50 costs. DNA evidence determined that the birds were taken from the wild.

Shaun Mills of Friar Close, Stannington, Sheffield was fined £700 plus £300 costs for the possession of 233 eggs including those of avocet, goshawk, kingfisher, little ringed plover and peregrine and related equipment.

Maurice Holiday of Boyntons, Nettlesworth, County Durham was fined £550 and £100 costs for four offences relating to the destruction of a songbird's nest and four chicks. During a domestic dispute Holiday had gone into the garden and used lighter fuel to torch a bird's nest containing four chicks.

Raymond Holden a keeper at Hi-Fly Game Hatchery in Pilling, was fined £2,000 for using a live mallard as a decoy in a fox trap and fined £2,000. He was also fined £500 plus £500 costs, for maiming a jackdaw, which he used as a decoy in a cage trap (he actually maimed 10 jackdaws, one for each of 10 traps, but he was only summonsed once). Holden was found not guilty of killing a moorhen, keeping a mallard in a cage in which it could not stretch its wings and using a funnel trap to catch wild birds.

Edwin Betts of Elwick Road, Hartlepool was found guilty of three charges relating to the possession of wild birds' eggs. He was fined £100 for possession of nine osprey eggs and received a two year conditional discharge for possession of 317 other eggs and for possession of items capable of being used to commit an offence. He was also ordered to pay £200 costs.

A raid on Keith Hartburn's home in Clifton Avenue, Hartlepool, and two other addresses found more than 500 eggs of varying species. Hartburn, who admitted five charges of stealing four golden eagle eggs from the Outer Hebrides, was given a three-year conditional discharge at Hartlepool Magistrates on 20/6/00.

RSPCA officers found a buzzard and a little owl at the home of Peter Capeness (37) in Latham Street, Bulwell. Books about taxidermy were also found at Capeness's home but he was not registered with the Guild of Taxidermists. A vet found that the buzzard had been shot but the cause of death of the little owl could not be determined. Capeness was fined £40 after he admitted two charges of possessing a dead wild bird. He was also ordered to pay the RSPCA's costs of £367.54, which included a vet's bill of £117.54. A further charge of possessing part of a badger was withdrawn when Capeness appeared at Nottingham magistrates on 6/6/00. Capeness admitted the offences.

An obsessive collector who photographed himself next to a golden eagle's nest in the Western Isles where he had stolen four eggs provided police with evidence of his crime, Hartlepool magistrates was told. Keith Hartburn (48) from Hartlepool, admitted to two charges of taking eggs, contrary to the Wildlife and Countryside Act. At a previous hearing Hartburn admitted possession of 558 eggs, which were found at his home. On 20/6/00 Hartburn escaped with a conditional discharge after telling the court that he was bankrupt.

A wildlife photographer's modern pens used to forge records led to his conviction for illegally keeping dozens of stuffed wild birds and a hoard of rare birds' eggs. Dennis Green (57) of Deysbrook Lane, West Derby tried to make his collection of 3,000 rare eggs appear legitimate by forging handwriting on their shells. But the prosecution at Liverpool magistrates brought in scientific experts who examined the handwriting on the shells of the eggs. They found that Green had slipped up by using ballpoint and felt-tip pens to write dates from the 1930s. The ballpoint was not in common use until 1945 and the felt-tip not until the 1960s. Green was conditionally discharged to be of good behaviour for 12 months and ordered to pay costs of £300. On 15/1/01 he abandoned an appeal on the first day of the hearing at Liverpool Crown Court and was ordered to pay a further £1,500 costs.


Equine

Update from Howl 71 - Margaret Jones (52) of South Avenue, Chellaston, Derbyshire who was fined £7,700 after being found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal started an appeal at Derby Crown Court on 10/7/00.

Zelia Marie Howells (36) of Three Trees, Stow Road, Walsoken was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a pony. The case was adjourned until 31/5/00 for reports.

A chain around the neck of a tethered horse had cut so deeply into the animal that flesh had begun to grow round it Derwentside magistrates heard on 15/9/00. Thomas Mallows (58) of South View, Craghead, Stanley pleaded guilty to a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a horse and was banned from keeping livestock for 10 years. He was fined £100 with £200 court costs, but was allowed to keep his pet dog, pigeons and chickens. Two other horses he kept are to be transferred to new owners.


Assorted

In Okeechobee, Fla, U.S.A. a woman pleaded no contest to animal cruelty for her part in "crush" videos, which show women crushing small animals to death with their feet. Stephanie Loudermilk (29) was sentenced to two years of probation, 300 hours of community service and psychiatric counselling. The videos were made by Loudermilk's husband Bryan who died in June after being crushed under the rear wheel of his own truck (poetic justice!!!). She turned the videotapes over to a detective investigating his death. The tapes are sold to people who get sexual pleasure from watching the sight of a woman crushing rats, mice and other small animals. In the tapes she handed over Loudermilk was seen stepping on rabbits and mice until they were dead.

The owner of a circus which brought a dancing bear to Leeds is facing a charge of assault. On 1/8/00 Jeffrey Mackie (45) of Honington, near Grantham, Lincolnshire who is the director of Circus King appeared before Leeds magistrates on charges of common assault, criminal damage and affray. Mackie who is also the ringmaster is alleged to have assaulted an RSPCA inspector who visited the circus in and to have damaged cars belonging to protesters. Mackie is to re-appear before magistrates in Leeds on 21/8/00.

A Lincolnshire couple were involved in a massive operation to sell condemned poultry fit only for animals for human consumption, Hull Crown Court heard on 8/9/00. Peter and Louise Tantram of Ingham, are accused of selling heavily disguised petfood to butchers, market traders, restaurants, take-aways and supermarkets. The Tantrams, who run the Cliff Top Boarding Kennels and Cattery and five other people, all deny conspiracy to defraud businesses by selling poultry meat not fit for human consumption. The others charged are Clive Boid of Oldcotes, near Worksop, Nottinghamshire and his son Andrew Boid of Carlton in Lindrick, near Worksop; Darren Bibby of Oldcotes; Kevin Wilson of Cleethorpes, Humberside; and Timothy Powell of Hove, East Sussex. Clive and Andrew Boid, along with Bibby, were bosses at Newark-based Wells By-Products Ltd which processed poultry meat for pet food. Wells bought huge quantities of condemned birds which were packaged ostensibly as pet food and invoiced to Ingham-based Cliff Top Pet Foods. Cliff Top which was run by Peter and Louise Tantram cleaned up the meat before it was moved on. Wilson and Powell, both food brokers, then helped sell the food on. Clive and Andrew Boid and the Tantrams are also charged with conspiracy to sell meat of pet food grade which was falsely represented as human food quality. They all deny the charge.

On 21/9/00 fines and costs totalling nearly £12,000 have been imposed on a Leicestershire company for dumping more than 1,100 tonnes of waste from a meat processing operation into a lagoon. Scalford Construction Co Ltd of Melton Mowbray, pleaded guilty to two charges relating to the unlicensed deposit of animal by-products. The company was fined £5,000 for knowingly causing the deposit of controlled waste. A further £2,000 fine was imposed on the company for failing, without reasonable excuse, to comply with a notice served by the Environment Agency. They were ordered to pay costs of £4,811.57.


Farm Animals

A couple who left sheep carcasses for up to two months on their land have been banned from keeping livestock for six months and ordered to sell their animals. Newcastle magistrates heard on 8/5/00 how Charles and Greta Critchlow of Moss Carr Farm, Hollinsclough, near Leek let one sheep become so heavily infested with maggots that it had to be put down. Both pleaded guilty to four offences under the Animal Health Act 1981 of failing to dispose of dead sheep and allowing other sheep access to the carcasses. The court ordered them to sell all their sheep and cattle. The couple were ordered to pay £700 each and ordered to do 60 hours community service. Charles Critchlow was asked to pay an extra £681.93 costs.

A farmer could face prosecution after allegedly dumping 2,000 tonnes of dead animal carcasses on his land. Denley Allen of Bardon Farm, Smalley is alleged to have dumped the material - waste from a maggot farm - on his land near Langley Mill. Officials fear the material of rotting pig, calf, fish and turkey body parts could represent a risk to public health. Legally. Local people complained to the council after animal body parts were found on a footpath cutting through the land. Allen allegedly used a machine to spread the parts across 15 acres of his land. Allen could face a fine of up to £5,000 if he is prosecuted for ignoring the enforcement notices and dumping the waste.

Farmers who fed dead pigs to their livestock were fined £90,000 by magistrates. ME Cotton and Son, based at Anson's Farm, Swinderby, gave their pigs dead animals and meat products, causing a "serious risk to the food chain", Lincoln magistrates heard. Andrew Cotton (40) appeared on behalf of his family, pleading guilty to five of the 10 charges against each of the four individuals. Cotton, mother Hilary father David and brother Ian all faced charges which concerned the illegal methods they used to prepare pig swill. Each member of the family was ordered to pay £22,500 and legal costs within the next 28 days.

A farmer has been fined nearly £4,000 for not keeping accurate records about his animals. Michael Smith of Hill Head Farm, Shilbottle, Northumberland, was also prosecuted for failing to correctly dispose of two dead sheep. On 14/8/00 Alnwick magistrates fined him £3,000 for failing to record the movements of three animals, £500 for failing to record the death of an animal and £400 for not disposing of two sheep carcasses without undue delay. He was ordered to pay £1,200 costs. One offence of failing to record the birth of an animal and one offence of failing to tag an animal were dismissed.

A calf born to a BSE-infected heifer ended up in the human food chain after being illegally sold by the farmer Gloucester magistrates were told on 1/9/00. The court heard that Richard Hewlett is a third generation farmer with 800 acres trading under the name R & J Hewlett Ltd, at Rodley Court, Westbury-on-Severn. Magistrates fined R & J Hewlett Ltd £500 and ordered them to pay £250 costs.

Farmers are resorting to desperate tactics to dispose of animal carcasses, a court heard. They are burying them illegally after abattoirs introduced charges to collect and incinerate dead animals. The revelation emerged at Nottingham magistrates on 11/9/00. Farmer John Wallbank Junior (30) of Stoneyford Farm, Jacksdale, Notts pleaded guilty to four charges of failing to dispose of a carcass. Four other charges of allowing a carcass to remain unburied were withdrawn. Magistrates fined him £1,000 and £250 costs.

On 19/9/00 a farmer was fined £1,500 for neglecting his cattle, believed that his cows were poisoned because he was in favour of a prison development Mid-Staffordshire magistrates heard. John Cawser (48) of Corsham Place, Forestside, Marchington suspected that someone from the area with a grievance against him was responsible for the death of his cows. However, he admitted three charges of failing to dispose of the carcasses of his cattle. Cawser also admitted three further charges of causing unnecessary suffering to animals, and one of allowing cattle access to animal carcasses. He was also ordered to pay costs of £1,896.

Stephen Croxford-AdamsA Northumberland farmer has been fined more than £4,500 after he ignored regulations brought in after the BSE crisis. Stephen Croxford-Adams (left) from East Steel Farm, Whitfield, was fined £4,650 and ordered to pay £943 costs by Tynedale magistrates on 27/9/00 after admitting 43 charges relating to his three farms in Northumberland. He admitted 10 offences of failing to apply for animal passports, 10 of failing to ear tag cattle, 10 of failing to register cattle births and three of failing to dispose of animal carcasses. He admitted two offences of allowing animals access to those carcasses, three of failing to keep animal movement records, three of failing to register the death of cattle, failing to record movement of sheep and failing to keep records of veterinary treatment. Croxford-Adams said he was completely guilty of the records offences, but that his farm workers should have disposed of the dead animals. Magistrates ordered him to pay the total of £5,543 within 90 days. His wife Caroline Croxford-Adams was charged with the same 43 offences. She pleaded not guilty, saying she had been unaware of the situation because her husband was responsible for running the farms. Her case was adjourned for two weeks to be reviewed. 

Also on 27/9/00 Dennis Bulman from Burn House at Simonburn, near Hexham, admitted four charges of failing to dispose of animal by-products, allowing animals access to a pit containing animal carcasses and failing to register the birth of a calf. He was fined £400 with £400 costs.


Domestic

A cruel woman who starved a dog almost to death has been jailed. Judith Hall (35) of Wingfield Road, east Hull let her dogs condition deteriorate so badly it later had to be put down Hull magistrates heard on 4/5/00. Hall was jailed for two months after admitted causing unnecessary suffering by failing to provide a proper nourishing diet. She was also banned for life from holding or keeping animals. It was unable to lift its head or acknowledge anyone and was less than half its expected weight.

Three dogs were left caged in cars for eight hours on a scorching hot day while their owners enjoyed a day out at an adventure park magistrates were told on 12/5/00. The owners, Brenda Humphreys (45) of Forty Avenue, Teignmouth, and her daughter Anne Marie (26) of Kings Way Teignmouth, and Sarah Mansfield (25) from Drake Road, Newton Abbot, pleaded guilty to a charge of abandoning a dog in a vehicle. All three were given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £200 costs.

A woman claiming to be a friend of the late TV vet James Herriott was yesterday banned from keeping animals for 10 years. Glynis Richardson (54) from Scarborough, North Yorkshire was also sentenced to 150 hours' community service for causing unnecessary suffering. RSPCA officers found 129 animals crammed in a garden shed in Woodingdean, East Essex. Richardson, who denied cruelty, told Brighton magistrates on 22/5/00 that Herriott, taught her how to care for animals when she lived in Yorkshire.

A couple have been banned from keeping animals for two years, after being found guilty of cruelty to a kitten. Sean Thompson (27) and his girlfriend Rachel Varnam (20) both of Neston Road, on the Saffron Lane estate appeared before Leicester magistrates on 25/5/00. They were charged with failing to provide necessary care and attention to one of their pet cats after the animal was found to have an untreated broken leg. Magistrates also ordered Thompson and Varnam to complete 45 hours' community service, and each must pay £100 costs. Both cats have been re-homed and are now fit again.

OCALA, Florida, U.S. In June 2000 a man accused of fatally beating a dog because he thought it was gay was convicted of animal cruelty. George Stephens Finley (58) could get up to a year in jail. Witnesses testified that Finley was upset that his wife's neutered male terrier repeatedly tried to engage in sexual activity with another family dog, a male Jack Russell terrier. "He felt that the dog was a queer-type dog and it made him angry". Prosecutors said Finley hit the dog in the head with a plastic vacuum cleaner and hurled it against a tree. The dog lapsed into a coma and had to be put dawn. Finley maintained he struck the dog accidentally. A jury found him guilty.

A dog starved to death after being left with no food for several weeks Teeside magistrates heard on 2/6/00. The collie had eaten strips of wood in a bid to survive. Karl Wright (21) of Barholme Close, Middlesbrough pleaded guilty to animal cruelty by deserting the dog. Wright left the dog with his girlfriend in Stockdale Avenue, Redcar, when they split up and never went back to look after the dog. The animal was denied any food over a long period and was found dead in a locked-up yard with no shelter. Wright was fined £150 and banned from keeping a dog for five years. His former girlfriend, Deborah Campbell (21) was given probation and a five-year ban at an earlier hearing.

A man who starved a dog until it was so weak that it could no longer stand up has been fined £200 and ordered to carry out 80 hours' community service. Martin Clayton (34) of Grange Street, Normanton, pleaded guilty at Bold Lane magistrates on 6/6/00 to causing unnecessary suffering to a dog by not providing proper and necessary care and attention. Clayton was banned from having any animal in his care for three years. He was also ordered to pay £200 costs. The dog has since been rehoused and is in good health.

On 8/6/00 two North-East sisters convicted of animal cruelty charges earlier this year were suspended by the Kennel Club for 10 years. This effectively ends the dog-keeping careers of Mary (63) and Caroline Gatheral (65) of Sockburn Hall, Neasham, County Durham. In March former Crufts judges Mary and Caroline were convicted at Bishop Auckland magistrates and banned from keeping animals for two years. They were convicted after subjecting 83 dogs to a catalogue of neglect at their mansion. The following penalties were imposed - to censure them, to suspend them from exhibiting at, taking part in, attending and/or having any connection with any event licensed by the club. The suspensions and disqualifications are to be for a period of 10 years. The sisters are also disqualified from being or becoming a member of any canine club or society registered with or affiliated to the Kennel Club, or taking part in the official duties and management of any club. All dogs, and their offspring, owned by the Gatherals are disqualified from Kennel Club registration and competition. Finally, they are disqualified from judging at any event licensed by the club.

A man who is believed to have poisoned 70 cats in the village where he lived was NOT sent to jail on 9/6/00 by Hinkley magistrates after they were told at an earlier hearing that a hatred of cats led Nigel Hibbs (42) of Melton Road, Leicester, to place cyanide-laced sardines and kippers in his garden. Police found enough poison under his bed to kill 1,500 cats. Hibbs was sentenced to 150 hours community service after admitting possessing cyanide with intent to endanger property and two charges of intending to injure a cat. He denied being a serial cat killer. But villagers remain convinced that he was responsible for many more pets dying in Newbold Verdon, Leicestershire, before he was forced to move.

A woman has been banned from keeping a dog for ten years after her starving collie was rescued. Amanda Murray (40) of Granville Road, Grangetown, near Middlesbrough, was fined £250 and ordered to pay a further £250 in costs by Teesside magistrates on 19/6/00 after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a dog.

A mistreated dog was half the weight it should have been and suffered permanent skin problems from untreated mange, Bristol magistrates heard on 19/6/00. The lurchers owner, Jason Excell (26) and partner, Tracey Pocock (21) from Carisbrooke Road, Knowle West, were banned from keeping an animal for three years and ordered to pay costs of £100. Excell was also fined £100. The couple both admitted causing unnecessary suffering and failing to provide the dog with necessary care and attention.

A man has been fined for putting fox snares behind his house which strangled a neighbour's pet cat. Christopher Deekoff (47) of Lane End Cottages, Kirby-le-Soken, was found guilty of criminal damage and causing unnecessary suffering to an animal when he appeared at Witham magistrates on 4/7/00. The owner of the cat told the court how a neighbour had come to his house saying she had found his missing cat hanging by his neck from a snare attached to an iron stake. Deekoff said he had been setting snares for 16 years to capture foxes trying to steal the chickens he kept in his back yard. Deekoff was fined £200 for causing an animal unnecessary suffering and ordered to pay £500 costs.

Dead and starving pets were found inside a heroin addict's flat, a court heard on 4/7/00. In a string of gruesome discoveries, police found: A dog dead on a bed having eaten its own leather-studded collar, the bodies of two infested and malnourished kittens in a shoe-box and a starving cat, which had to be put down. At Aberdeen sheriff court Douglas Morrison (28) was put on probation for one year and ordered to do 100 hours' unpaid community work. He had previously admitted causing three cats and two dogs unnecessary suffering by failing to provide them with adequate care and nourishment.

John Durrant A sadistic teenager (left) who twice hurled a helpless puppy from a 60ft-high railway bridge was jailed for six months on 7/7/00. John Durrant (18) of Broomlee, Ashington, threw the terrified pup from a bridge in Northumberland on to mudbanks below, causing it horrific injuries. It was rescued by a group of playing youngsters, who carried it back up to Durrant, not realising what he had done. He then dangled the squealing puppy over the bridge by its lead and dropped it for a second time, despite attempts by his horrified friend Andrew Tweddle to save the animal. The puppy suffered appalling injuries, including a traumatic brain injury, a broken jaw and partial paralysis but miraculously survived after intensive veterinary treatment. It is now thriving with new owners. Bedlington magistrates banned Durrant from keeping any animals for 25 years after being found guilty of cruelty to the puppy. He had denied the charge. Durrant has been hounded out of his home after word of the incident got round. "He was abused and spat on in the street (Good) and had to move back in with his parents.

A 14-month-old Lakeland terriers ribs and pelvic bones were clearly visible, its stomach sunken and its rear leg so badly hurt Sunderland magistrates heard on 17/7/00. They were also told that older wounds around its nose and under its chin could have resulted from it coming into contact with foxes. Both Brendan Taggert (29) of Grindon Lane and his girlfriend Dawn Ferguson (31) of Hadleigh Road, both Sunderland, denied allegations of causing unnecessary suffering to the dog by failing to provide reasonable care and attention.

A couple found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to two dogs have been allowed by a court to continue keeping animals. Kevin Davies (22) and Sally Lewis (23) of Lincoln Way, Midway, Derbyshire were ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £750 after being convicted of causing two English bull terriers to suffer. Both dogs weighed about half their correct weight and had mange when the RSPCA stepped in to take over their care, Derby magistrates were told on 17/7/00. Davies and Lewis had denied causing unnecessary suffering to their dogs. Both dogs have now regained their normal weight and have been placed in a new home. The pair were each fined £225 and between them ordered to pay £300 of the RSPCA's £3,170 prosecution costs.

A puppy suffered "considerable pain" when its owner tried to sever its tail Torbay magistrates were told on 18/7/00. The operation, using a tight elastic band to cut the blood supply, was illegal because it had not been carried out by a vet. And the pup's owner Mark Sallis (30) compounded the offence by not getting the resultant swelling treated urgently. Sallis who is on remand in Bedford prison, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the puppy and carrying out surgery while not a registered vet. He was disqualified from keeping dogs for eight years, fined £100 and ordered to pay £542 costs. A warrant was issued for the arrest of Lisa Sallis (22) who is charged with the same offences, after she failed to attend court.

The owner of a dog which was emaciated and suffering from arthritis has been banned for life from keeping animals. Elizabeth Towers (51) of Aberdyberthi Street, Hafod, Swansea admitted causing unnecessary suffering to her dog and was fined £300 and ordered to pay costs of £150 by Swansea magistrates. The dog was in such a poor state, sadly it had to be put down.

A Hampshire pet owner whose cat became ill after being fed a diet of Coco Pops and curries has been banned from having custody of all animals for ten years. His bones were visible and his fur matted, greasy and falling out in handfuls. He was covered in fleas and found to have sight problems. The court heard how the RSPCA found the kitchen of Charles Mitchell's (43) flat in Orchard Lane littered with takeaway containers. There was a bowl of Coco Pops or similar cereal on the floor next to another dish containing stale chips. Mitchell was found guilty in his absence of causing unnecessary suffering. Southampton magistrates banned him from having custody of any animal for ten years, ordered him to pay £1,000 in fines and costs, and handed the cat over to the RSPCA.

Two German shepherd dogs were half their normal weight and in "very poor'' condition when taken into RSPCA care, Hull magistrates heard on 10/8/00. Both were severely malnourished and infested with worms. Arthur Heath (52) of Barnetby Road, Hessle, who trades as Arthur's Removal Service, was banned from keeping dogs for two years and both animals were removed from him after he pleaded guilty to causing them unnecessary suffering and he was ordered him to pay £500 to the RSPCA.

A security guard who killed a cat handed over by an animal welfare group by banging its head on the floor escaped a ban on keeping pets through a legal technicality on 16/8/00. John Taylor (27) was charged with criminal damage after the cat died almost instantly before he flattened and buried its body. He was charged with criminal damage rather than being taken to court under the Protection of Animals Act which allows courts to impose bans. Taylor, whose actions were described as "horrific", was given a 160-hour community service order by Barnsley magistrates after admitting the offence.

A couple who neglected a dog which was starved to skin and bone have been banned for life from owning an animal. Gary Wilmshurt (28) and girlfriend Lynn Willis (34) both of in Greenham Close, Middlesbrough left the dog locked up when they went to stay with relatives, Teesside magistrates were told on 17/8/00. They were convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to the dog, which was also infested with fleas. As well as the life ban, Wilmshurst and Willis were each fined £300 and both were ordered to pay £150 costs. Another life ban and the same financial penalties were imposed on Judith Bradwell (27) of Rothbury Avenue, Stockton, after she too was convicted of animal cruelty. Teesside magistrates heard that her dog had a severe skin disease and had been neglected for a long time.

A man who kicked his dog in a drunken rage has been told he will never get her back and has been banned from keeping any dog for a year. Southend magistrates were told on 18/8/00 that the Jack Russell terrier had been kicked in the eye. They also heard the terrier was in so much pain she could not open her mouth. Ian Sturton (36) of Nelson Road, Leigh, Essex admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the dog by beating. Magistrates ordered the dog to be put into RSPCA care, banned Sturton for keeping a dog for a year, fined him £150 and ordered him to pay £55 costs and £129 compensation towards vet bills.

A man who claimed to be an animal lover has been banned for life from keeping animals. Philip Denby Williams (59) of Gors Avenue, Townhill, Swansea forced his emaciated old English sheepdog to walk two miles to a pub straight after a leg fracture operation. Swansea magistrates also heard how Williams left his two-and-a-half foot long North American king snake in a salad box in his kitchen, after being jailed for a month in October 1999 for non-payment of fines. Sadly the snake later died. Magistrates fined him £500 with £200 costs. They also ordered him to pay a further £20 after being found guilty of two counts of failing to surrender to bail. Williams became abusive in court after the verdict.

A Skewen woman has been banned from looking after animals for life after being found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog. Kerris Oddle Pugh (33) of Ffordd y Mynych failed to appear before Neath magistrates on 23/8/00 but was found guilty in her absence. Also charged with causing unnecessary suffering to the same animal was Melvyn Andrews (23) also of Ffordd y Mynych. Pugh was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a black and white male terrier-type cross-breed dog by failing to give it proper care and attention. As well as a 24-month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £250 in costs. The court also barred her from caring for animals again. Andrews also failed to appear and in his absence was disqualified for having the custody of any animal until further notice. Magistrates have placed him on conditional bail for pre-sentence reports to be carried out. The RSPCA said that Pugh had been disqualified on a previous occasion from having pets.

Colin Waters (26) of no fixed address admitted killing a dog by hanging it from a tree in a south Essex wood was sentenced to five months in prison, with half the period suspended. Waters was appearing for sentence on 11/9/00 after earlier pleading guilty to a charge of hanging the dog and causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

A dog owner who starved his pet has been banned from keeping animals for three years. Robert Smith (40) of Elford Rise, Sneinton, Nottinghamshire caused unnecessary suffering to his German Shepherd dog. He admitted a charge of cruelty to an animal. On 15/9/00 magistrates decided to give Smith a second chance, sentencing him to a year's probation. Smith was also ordered to pay £200 towards the prosecution costs of £500.

A pet owner who failed to get his puppy treatment after the animal broke a leg in two places was sentenced to 100 hours of community service. Desmond Bent (21) of Neston Road, Saffron Lane estate, Leicestershire was also banned from keeping a dog for five years and ordered to pay £370 costs after he admitted causing unnecessary suffering to an animal. Leicester magistrates heard on 19/9/00 how that when an RSPCA inspector rescued the greyhound-cross from Bent's home it was found to have a grossly deformed front left leg.

This is my last Vermin Patrol and I would like to thank everybody who helped me over the past five years by sending in press clippings. Please keep it up by sending them in to the HSA P.O. Box 2786, Brighton BN2 2AX.

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