Three Merseyside men banned from taking hunting dogs into Lancashire

24 Jul 2016

Three Merseyside men have been banned from entering Lancashire with hunting dogs after being caught poaching hares.

James Reid, 31; Neil Walsh, 29 and Liam Doherty, 26, had already been the subject of a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) for Hunting Act offences which banned them from entering an 36,000 acre area of Downholland and Halsall with a sight-hound – the type of dog used for hare-coursing – or being with any person in that area with a sight hound.

They were each given an 18-month ban after being found entering farmland with four dogs with the intent of hunting brown hares.

In February the three men were found on land in Burscough, outside their prohibited area, but were summonsed for daytime poaching offences.

In April Walsh, from Bootle, was found in Altcar with his dog in the prohibited area.

He pleaded guilty to the two offences in June.

Reid, from Bootle , and Doherty, from Crosby , pleaded guilty to their poaching offence.

Lancashire Police applied for an extension of their existing Criminal Behaviour Order which was approved by Preston Magistrates Court.

The order has seen Walsh banned from being in the entire county of Lancashire a sight-hound, unless travelling in motor car on the motorway network, or being with any person with a sight-hound in Lancashire for a period of five years.

Reid and Doherty were given the same conditions for period of three years. All three were also fined.

A statement on the Ormskirk and Burscough Police Facebook page said: “This is the third CBO Lancashire Police have been granted and sends the strongest message to poachers and hare coursers that their barbaric behaviour will not be tolerated and we will use all the tools at our disposal.”

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Man shot badger 4 times but walks free


A MAN shot and clubbed a badger with his air rifle after it snuck into a chicken coop, York magistrates heard.

Liam Pointon, 26, shot the female badger four times and hit it over the head.

The animal survived but lost an eye after Pointon fractured her socket.

The attack happened on Meadow Farm in Cross Moor Lane, Haxby, where Pointon had been labouring and staying in a tenant’s caravan.

Catherine Turnbull, prosecuting, said the badger got into a hen house belonging to a woman on the farm, apparently to get eggs.

Pointon, of The Paddock, Wilberfoss, pleaded guilty to attempting to kill a badger. Magistrates gave him a 12-month community order with 150 hours’ unpaid work and a 10-day rehabilitation course to help him deal with depression and anxiety. He was also made to pay £85 costs and a £60 court surcharge.

After the hearing, Jean Thorpe, who helped nurse the badger back to health, branded the sentence “ridiculous."

She said: “The adult female badger was jammed into the egg-laying compartment of a small hen hut. She had blood coming from an eye and was very nervous and frightened. It was horrific.

"She will have been in considerable pain at the time of the shooting and beating and suffered the loss of an eye which may affect her survival in the future.

"The sentence was just not good enough."

Ms Turnbull said: “[Pointon] got into the hen hut and shot the badger four times with an air rifle, and then clubbed it over the head.”

A witness who had gone to check on her horses came across the scene at about 5.15pm on February 22.

“The badger had been hit with four pellets and its eyes were very bloody,” said Ms Turnbull. “It was not dead but very distressed.”

A police wildlife officer was called and the badger was given refuge at the home of Jean Thorpe, a Norton-based animal-rescue volunteer.

A vet found three pellet wounds to the badger’s skull and a further entry wound that punctured an eyeball.

A month later Mrs Thorpe released the badger into the wild after nursing it back to health, but she said the fact that it had lost an eye would hinder its survival chances.

Mark Whitfield, for Pointon, said he felt under pressure to kill the badger because it had got in among the hens and killed some, but the prosecution said there were only two hens in the hut and neither was killed.

Mr Whitfield said Pointon, who has no previous convictions, had since left the farm and now worked as a healthcare assistant in York.

“He will lose his job as a result of this conviction,” added Mr Whitfield. (COMMENT BY NWHSA – OH DEAR)

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Hunting club must pay €4,000 compensation over injured bull

Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Joe Leogue

A Cork hunting club has been ordered to pay €4,000 in compensation to a farmer after an incident in which its dogs distressed a number of his cattle, which in turn caused at least one of the bulls to be “physically unable to procreate”.

The order came despite members of the club having yesterday told Macroom District Court that its dogs were not on the farmer’s land on the day in question.

Patrick Kelleher of Shanakiel, Macroom, took the case against Macroom Foxhounds Hunt’s joint masters Donal Buckley and Francis Horgan, chairman Patsy Walsh, secretary Margaret Buckley, and huntsman John McSweeney. He sought compensation for the devaluation of the cattle as a result of the incident and for the cost of repairing fencing broken when the bulls scattered.

Judge James McNulty heard that the Macroom Foxhounds Hunt had organised a fundraiser in aid of the town’s community hospital on January 15, 2014.

Mr Kelleher told the court that the incident was “a total disaster” for him, as his his bulls were “mad”, “physically lame and unable to procreate” as a result of the run-in with the dogs.

His son Kevin Kelleher witnessed the incident. He said that he was in the farmyard at Cahernafulla, Rusheen, some 400 yards away from the incident, when around four or five dogs came through a forestry, across the public road, and into the field towards the bulls.

He said the bulls became excited, scattered, and some went through the field’s fencing. He left the yard and drove three miles to his parent’s house to inform his father as to what had happened

Andrew Scannell rents the field to Mr Kelleher and was on adjacent land at the time.

He said he was “shocked” to see the bulls scattering in different directions and saw the dogs, which he assumed had strayed from the hunt’s pack.

Local vet Tom O’Leary said that he inspected one of the bulls a fortnight or so after the incident. He said the animal had suffered lesions and scratches on its back and spinal injuries consistent with it having been stuck under a branch and forcing its way out. He said these injuries affected the animal’s gait and would impact on its ability to breed as it would not be able to successfully mount a cow.

The court heard from a number of witnesses who took part in the hunt, all of whom claimed that every one of their dogs stayed together in a pack and did not enter Mr Kelleher’s field.

Mr McSweeney said that the hunt that day involved 31 dogs, all of which were “well trained”. He said that the dogs did not come within half a mile of Mr Kelleher’s field.

He claimed that when subsequently making his complaint in a phone call, Mr Kelleher claimed to have CCTV footage of the incident, and also suggested that the hunt club could make an insurance claim, after which he would give Mr McSweeney and Mr Buckley €500 each. Mr Kelleher denied these claims in court.
Huntsman John McSweeney, of Macroom Foxhounds, at the court yesterday.

Mr Buckley supported Mr McSweeney’s assertion that the hunt came within half a mile of Mr Kelleher’s farm at most. He said the hunt went towards a wind turbine on a hill above a forestry that divided their group from the road and adjacent fields, but that they lost any scent of a fox and turned around.

He said that he went to visit Mr Kelleher after the complaint, and received “a heap of abuse” for claiming the hunt had not gone near his field.

Tina Healy told the court that she kept constant count of the dogs throughout the hunt, and that there were 31 dogs in the pack at all times.

In delivering his verdict, Judge McNulty reminded both sides that civil cases are decided on the balance of probabilities, and that he was to find in favour of the side whose story “is likely to be true”.

He said that while there was no evidence of erectile dysfunction or sterility among the cattle as a result of the incident, nor was there evidence that the dogs directly attacked the bulls, Mr O’Leary’s evidence had shown that the capacity of at least one bull to perform and to procreate was diminished due to a back injury.

Judge McNulty said that both Pat and Kevin Kelleher and Mr Scannell were credible witnesses, and that the members of the hunt were “good and decent people who gave truthful evidence as to what they recall from that day.”

“They have an enviable record of volunteering in their chosen sport,” Judge McNulty said.

“It is clear that their participation in their sport is to be cherished, respected and protected if necessary, but they must practice having regard to the rights of others.”

He said the crux of the argument was whether or not the hunt’s dogs went into Mr Kelleher’s field that day. He said it was “unlikely” that the dogs seen by Mr Kelleher and Mr Scannell belonged to anyone else, and that there was no evidence of any other hunt on in the area that day.

He found in favour of Mr Kelleher, awarding him €4,000 plus costs, but said that he respects the integrity of the respondents, and their accounts of the hunt.

“It’s like the story of the proud mother who went to watch her son’s regiment marching one day,” said Judge McNulty. “She went back and told her friends ‘they were all out of step, except for my Johnny’.”

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Digging Out and more illegal hunting at the Pytchley Hunt

Hunt Saboteurs Association News Release 11th July 2016

Our second compilation of undercover footage shows the Pytchley Hunt digging out foxes and releasing them in front of the hunt hounds to be illegally hunted.

The footage shows the hunt terrier men digging out a fox, that has sought safety underground, after being chased by the hounds. Mounted members of the hunt sit and watch as the dig out takes place. Once the fox has been dug, it is released and the huntsman puts the hounds back on its scent, to continue chasing it.

Watch the video here –

The second dig out occurs after the hounds chase a fox into a badger sett. The huntsman calls in the terrier men, who again attempt to dig out the fox. On this occasion they are unsuccessful.

Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, said: “Once again we see the Pytchley Hunt desperate to chase and kill foxes. In this video they dig out the poor animals once they have taken refuge underground. Then release them just metres from the hounds in order to be chased once more. A practice so abhorrent that even hardened huntsmen feel it is beyond the pale. It is also illegal.

It is clear from the footage, that the Pytchley Hunt and its members, are totally complicit in flouting the Hunting Act. The casual manner in which mounted members of the hunt, sit and watch the dig out occur, shows how commonplace such practices are for this hunt. The huntsman himself is clearly shown, orchestrating the dig outs, as he can be seen calling in the terrier men.

We are pleased to see the Pytchley are no longer appearing at Countryfile Live. The BBC clearly do not wish to be associated with such law breaking. We now ask the Masters of Foxhounds Association and the Countryside Alliance what action they plan to take against the hunt. Following the recent expose of the South Herefordshire and now this footage of the Pytchley, it is important the pro-hunt community takes a strong stand against such law breaking, or they will be seen to be condoning it by the British public.

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Dog fight gang in court charged with killing deer and badgers in rural south Devon


SEVEN men have appeared in court charged with killing deer, animal fights with dogs and other animal welfare offences.

The RSPCA alleges defendants from Bovey Tracey, Buckfastleigh, Chudleigh and Wales were part of a group who targeted deer and badgers in the wild in rural Devon.

A total of eleven men face allegations of killing a deer at night; willfully killing a badger; and causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

The alleged offences took place in 2014 and are believed to have happened in rural Devon.

Three of the defendants are from South Devon and the remainder from South Wales.

Graham Coombes, 40, of Abbey Road, Bovey Tracey faces 21 charges including keeping or training dogs in connection with an animal fight, known as Sasha, Storm, Tyson, Maisie and Stitch at Bovey Tracey. He’s also charged with causing animal fights, killing deer at night, killing badgers and causing unneccesary animal suffering.

Daniel Ravenscroft, 36, of Grange Road, Buckfastleigh faces four charges including keeping a lurched known as Fly trained for dog fighting at Buckfastleigh, causing animal fights and killing a deer at night.

Ryan Robinson, 19, of Foundry Court, Chudleigh faces six charges including keeping dogs Zara and Duke for animal fighting, being present at an animal fight and killing a deer at night.

The eleven defendants face a range of charges under the Deer Act 1991 and the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

District Judge Diana Baker, sitting at Torquay Magistrates’ Court, adjourned the case to the next hearing at Plymouth Magistrates Court on August 4.

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Fox rearing and illegal hunting at the Pytchley Hunt

Hunt Saboteurs Association News Release 30th June 2016

watch the video here –

Undercover footage handed to the Hunt Saboteurs Association by independent investigators, shows the Pytchley Hunt rearing and hunting foxes in direct contravention of the Hunting Act. The footage shows the hunt terrier men keeping captive foxes in an artificial earth, an underground tunnel system built by the hunt to maintain the fox population in an area they plan to hunt. The terrier men introduce cubs to the earth and initially keep them caged to ensure they don’t leave the area. Once they are attached to the area the cage is removed to allow the cubs free rein in the wood. As can be seen, not all the cubs survive captivity.

One cub dies and is removed from the cage and callously thrown into the undergrowth. The cubs are regularly fed by the terrier men to ensure they don’t leave the area in search of food. Hunting day arrives and we see the hunt terrier men enter the wood with a terrier and a spade. They use the terrier to flush a fox out of the artificial earth in front of the approaching hounds. The hounds pick up the scent of the fox and chase it. The terrier men then put a block over the entrance to the earth, to stop the fox seeking refuge. We then cut to the fox escaping across a field and one of the hunt masters holding his hat in the air to indicate the fox’s direction of travel. Fortunately on this occasion, despite the hunts best efforts, the fox escapes.

Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, said: “Investigations like this, prove what hunt saboteurs already know, illegal fox hunting is not about pest-control it’s about hunting and killing for pleasure. In the last two years the North Cotswold Hunt have been caught feeding foxes, the Middleton Hunt have been caught breeding them and the Belvoir Hunt are implicated in keeping a captive fox to be “bagged” and released on the day of the hunt. Only last week the South Herefordshire Hunt were caught throwing live captive fox cubs to their pack of hounds. Every time a hunt is investigated they are found to be committing some hideous act of animal abuse that contravenes not only the law but also their own MFHA (Master of Fox Hounds Association) rules. The Countryside Alliance always claim a bad apple and distance the rest of the hunting community from the latest act of cruelty but it is clear that these practices are endemic at hunts across the country.”

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After using a pack of dogs to flush the animals out from their sett, Tristan Asbury, 18, and Luke Lowther, 26, Kaider Tariq, 22 and Nathan Niland, 26, kicked the protected creatures “like footballs”, struck them with spades, stamped on them and held them down while they were being mauled at a woodland in North Yorkshire.

Niland, of Idle Road, Idle, Asbury, of Lymington Drive, Holme Wood, and Lowther, of Farway, Holme Wood.

Asbury was jailed for 18 weeks, Niland and Tariq for 24 weeks and Lowther for 12 weeks. They were all disqualified from keeping dogs for life.


Gang sentenced for killing badgers after being stopped near York (From York Press)


A GANG of men who were “laughing and celebrating” as they killed four badgers by setting dogs on them in a “truly barbaric” act have been jailed.

Kaider Tariq, 22, Nathan Niland, 26, Tristan Asbury, 18, and Luke Lowther, 26, committed the ‘badger-baiting’ offences in woodland in North Yorkshire in January last year.

Their actions sparked an RSPCA investigation when a member of the public saw pictures of Tariq holding a dead badger on his Instagram account.

Prosecutor Andrew Davison told Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court yesterday that all four men had been involved in digging out badger setts on January 18, with Lowther absent on a second trip on January 25 when the others were stopped by police as they drove on the A1237 York outer ring-road.

He said the group had used a pack of dogs to flush the badgers out before setting the animals on them.

They then took then animals and kicked and stamped on them, also hitting them with a spade.

They filmed and took pictures of their actions, and Mr Davison said that in some of the images, the men could be seen “holding up badgers as trophies.”

He said the group had shown a “significant enjoyment of abusing and torturing badgers” by “savagely” attacking them.

“This case is about people who go to considerable lengths to seek out animals who are completely overwhelmed by them as more powerful adversaries,” he said.

“This is as serious a case of animal cruelty as I have seen.”

After the RSPCA were made aware of the images on Tariq’s social media, officers teamed up with police to execute a warrant on his home on Dalby Avenue, Bradford Moor, on July 8.

They found two dogs being kept in a back yard filled with “faeces, urine, and rubbish”, and three cockerels suffering from a serious foot infection.

Analysis of Tariq’s phone subsequently led to the arrests of Niland, of Idle Road, Idle, Asbury, of Lymington Drive, Holme Wood, and Lowther, of Farway, Holme Wood.

RSPCA officers subsequently seized a number of dogs from Niland’s then address on Sticker Lane, after finding them suffering from injury.

Graphic video footage of the two badger-baiting trips was played to the court, with the clips show the group pulling the animals out of their setts and throwing them to waiting dogs.

RSPCA inspector Danielle Grimshaw, who was involved in the investigation, said: “All the time you can hear the badgers screaming. They hit the badgers with spades, hold them down while they’re being mauled, and kick them like footballs.

“You can hear them saying things like “Don’t like getting bit these dogs do they”, “Look at that, still putting up a fight”, “Stand on its neck,”, and “Good ten minutes and it’s still alive.”

“At one point, they hold a dying badger up to the camera and pose for pictures before giving it back to the dogs.”

The court also saw separate video footage of dogs being set upon a domestic rabbit, leading to an additional charge of animal cruelty against Tariq.

Saf Salam, mitigating for Asbury and Lowther, admitted his client’s actions had been “barbaric and abhorrent”, and said their behaviour “would haunt them for the rest of their lives.”

Kevin Walker, for Tariq, said his client had been led by peer pressure and “unaware” his actions were illegal.

Clive Rees, for father-of-three Niland, said his client’s offending had caused the breakdown of his relationship and the loss of his job in a pet shop.

Chairman of the bench Alice Brett described the gang’s actions as “truly barbaric” and an “extremely distressing case.”

“All four defendants were laughing and celebrating triumphantly at the deaths of these animals, which we find truly repugnant,” she said.

“It is the unanimous decision of the bench that these crimes pass the custody threshold.”

Tariq and Niland, who had admitted additional charges of animal cruelty alongside the badger-related offences, were both jailed for 24 weeks.

Asbury was sentenced to 18 weeks, and Lowther to 12 weeks.

All four were given lifetime bans from owning dogs, with Tariq banned from owning any animal.

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Fox cubs filmed ‘being put into hounds’ kennels’

By Tom Symonds Home Affairs correspondent

Watch the video here –

Footage has been passed to the BBC which appears to show fox cubs being put into the kennels of hunting hounds allegedly to train the dogs to kill.

The video, filmed at the South Herefordshire Hunt kennels, then shows apparently lifeless bodies of two fox cubs being removed and dumped in a bin.

Police are investigating the footage and the animals’ bodies. Two men and a woman were arrested earlier in June.

South Herefordshire Hunt has suspended a paid huntsman but refused to comment.

The Masters of Foxhounds Association said an independent inquiry, led by former Court of Appeal judge Sir John Chadwick, would take place into "conduct which suggests breaches of the association’s rules".

The South Herefordshire Hunt’s kennels, situated at its headquarters, have been closed.

The video, taken with hidden cameras positioned outside the kennels, show four live fox cubs kept in a cage.

The Hunt Investigation Team, which campaigns against fox hunting, secretly filmed two of the foxes alive inside the cage at night.

Later the cameras picked up a man removing them using a noose and taking two of them, one at a time, into the kennels nearby. Seconds later, the hounds inside can be heard barking.

A whooping noise, which sounds as though it is being made by a human, can also be heard. The Hunt Investigation Team claims this was to "call the hounds on" to attack the foxes.

On each occasion, the man emerges with a fox’s apparently lifeless body and puts it in a bin.

Later footage shows the bins being taken away. However, before then, the activists had retrieved two fox cubs’ bodies from the bins.

‘Gruesome training secrets’

One of the investigation team, who asked to remain anonymous for her safety, said: "When our investigators took those fox cubs out, one of them was disembowelled, one of them had multiple bite wounds.

"Our feeling is that they were fed live to the hounds."

The animals’ bodies have been passed to the police.

The Hunt Investigation Team and the League Against Cruel Sports said they were increasingly concerned about activities allegedly used to support illegal hunting.

They say fox hounds are still being taught to kill young foxes through a practice known as "cubbing".

Since the hunting ban, they are less likely to encounter foxes and it is claimed some hunts have a problem with their hounds attacking animals other than foxes.

The ban on hunting with hounds, introduced in 2005, made it illegal to intentionally pursue foxes with a pack of dogs.

However unintentional kills are not banned. It is claimed some hunts deliberately engineer situations where foxes are killed.

Chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, Eduardo Goncalves, said: "The hounds won’t naturally kill foxes so they must be taught to do so and this footage exposes the gruesome training secrets of hunts in the UK."

‘No place in hunting’

The campaigners also say so-called bagged foxes are encouraged to breed in areas where there is no hunting, and then deposited close to the hunt so they can be pursued.

The BBC was shown a so-called artificial earth in another part of the country where the League Against Cruel Sports claimed piping and paving slabs had been used to create tunnels for foxes.

A saucepan nearby appeared to provide a source of water to drink.

Mr Goncalves said such constructions "blew away the myth that fox hunting has got anything to do with controlling the fox population – this is a cruel sport, pure and simple".

However, the Countryside Alliance said that historically gamekeepers routinely encouraged foxes to breed in specific areas so that their numbers could be more easily controlled.

In relation to the Herefordshire footage, Countryside Alliance chief executive Tim Bonner said if the allegations were proven, the activities shown had "absolutely no place in hunting".

Those arrested are on bail while police investigate alleged unnecessary cruelty to an animal. The BBC understands one is a paid huntsman.

The footage does not include evidence the South Herefordshire hunt is involved in illegal hunting, as defined under the 2004 Hunting Act.

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