Trio spared jail over cock-fight ‘experiment’


THREE young men were spared jail after admitting organising a cock fight and causing unnecessary cruelty to animals.

The men – two from Darlington and one from Bishop Auckland – were seen pitting two cockerels against each other in a County Durham field.

Thomas Mounsey, 18, and 19-year-olds Walter David Welch and James Sheldon Welch, appeared at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court, yesterday.

The trio were arrested in a field near Durham Road, Bishop Auckland, on March 11, last year, after a horrified woman called the police.

Kevin Campbell, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said she saw one man violently shaking a bird “like you would shake water from a brush”.

Officers found cock-fighting paraphernalia at the scene, including 2in metal spurs and drugs to treat injuries and so avoid using vets.

Mr Campbell said the birds had been prepared for fighting, having had their natural spurs honed down, enabling steel spurs to be attached, and the birds’ wattles and combs removed.

It was accepted that the paraphernalia, found in a blood splattered van, had not been used at the time and nobody has admitted instigating the fight.

James Sheldon Welch, of Yarm Road, Darlington, admitted he was a regular gym user and steroids found among the drugs were his.

John Grierson, for Walter David Welch, of Honeypot Lane, Darlington, said he had been “at the wrong place at the wrong time” and “went along for the ride”.

Victoria Lamalle, represented James Sheldon Welch, described the trio’s actions as “an experimental attempt at cock fighting”.

One of the brown and green cockerels had to be destroyed by a vet and the other was treated for its injuries and a lice infestation.

Both Welchs were given ten weeks’ imprisonment, concurrent for each offence, suspended for 12 months, and made to do 80 hours unpaid work.

They were each ordered to pay £500 towards the RSPCA’s costs, estimated at £6,800, and banned from keeping animals for five years.

Mounsey, of Durham Road, Bishop Auckland, will be sentenced at Darlington Magistrates’ Court today, but it was indicated he should receive the same sentence.

http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/4763525.Trio_spared_jail_over_cock_fight____experiment___/

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