A Norfolk gamekeeper was told today he could be sent to prison after admitting causing a fight between two dogs and a fox.
Christopher John Carter, 49, of The Burrows, in Gayton Thorpe, pleaded guilty at King’s Lynn Magistrates’ Court this afternoon to causing the fight between the animals in July 2009.
Appearing alongside Carter was Luke James Byrne, 19, of Mill Houses, King’s Lynn, who admitted causing three animal fights on Westacre Estate.
The 19-year-old also admitted possessing three dead wild birds, a heron, cormorant and a buzzard, in King’s Lynn.
Jonathan Eales, prosecuting for the RSPCA, showed magistrates video footage, recorded by Bryne, of the fights which saw dogs attacking animals trapped in a snare.
The first clip showed a fight between a dog and rat which took place on June 20, 2009.
The other videos showed two dogs attacking a fox on July 2, 2009 and a fight between a dog and a fox on June 15, 2010.
Mr Eales said: “In March this year, a woman purchased a mobile phone from Mr Bryne’s parents. The phone had been used by Mr Bryne and had a video clip on it of one of these fights.
“The woman was so shocked by what she saw that she reported it to the RSPCA which then investigated it. The investigating officer then took possession of Mr Bryne’s father’s laptop and two further video clips were found.”
During each of the videos, Bryne was heard laughing as the fights took place and encouraging the dogs to attack.
He was also heard screaming “kill it” repeatedly and during the second video, Bryne was heard saying: “That didn’t last very long”.
Mr Eales continued: “A number of pictures were also found on Mr Bryne’s father’s laptop of dead animals – three of which were dead wild birds.
“The conclusion was made that he must have been in possession of these birds to take pictures of them and he has pleaded guilty to these charges.”
Mr Eales told the told Carter is a gamekeeper and that Bryne had done work experience with him but added they had known each other for a long time.
He continued: “When these matters were discovered, both men were interviewed. At first, Mr Bryne denied having any involvement in or knowledge of these matters but after being shown the video clips, he made a no comment interview.
“Mr Carter didn’t make any admissions until the videos were shown to him. But he did assist us in relation to other two clips which he wasn’t involved in.
“Mr Carter gave no reason why he thought these things had happened. He said he had no excuse for it and said he knew what had happened was against the law. He also said he was ashamed of himself.”
Mr Eales asked magistrates to consider depriving the two men of ownership of the dogs and told the court these dogs would then be re-homed by the RSPCA.
Carter’s two dogs are currently with the RSPCA but Bryne’s dog remains at his home address.
He also asked magistrates to consider whether or not to disqualify both men from owning animals for a short period or for life.
James MacWhirter, representing Bryne, asked magistrates to put off sentencing his client until a pre-sentence report had been carried out by the probation service.
But Malcolm Savory, representing Carter, urged magistrates to deal with his client and told them he could produce plenty of character references for Carter.
He also appealed to the magistrates to take into account the video footage relating to his client lasted 30 seconds but in other cases the RSPCA taken to court the suffering can go on for “minutes, days weeks, months or sometimes years”.
Magstrates asked for all-options pre-sentence reports to be prepared for both men, including possible custodial sentences.
The two men will return to King’s Lynn Magistrates’ Court on January 11 to be sentenced.