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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