Other Bloodsports Convictions

Robin Foyd, Lennox Foyd, Kenneth Luxton And Irene Luxton were each fined £100 for affray after they attacked a L.A.C.S. monitor who was trying to film a kill.

When 40 police and RSPCA officers stormed the shed a Belvedere they found 15 men and a 16 year old youth watching two birds fighting. Four other birds lay dead on the ground. All the men tried to escape, but were tracked down by police dogs and a police helicopter. The court heard how Lee and Giles had organised the ‘cockfighting convention’. John Lee (48) of Jenningtree Way, Belvedere, Kent was jailed for 3 months and ordered to pay costs of £600. Lee was convicted of six offences of cruelty, causing suffering to hens, procuring the birds to fight and using his shed as a venue for cockfighting. Mark Giles (31) of Marringdean Road, South Billingshurst, was sentenced to 1 month in jail and ordered to pay costs of £600. Giles was convicted of procuring cocks to fight and attending the fight. Both were sentenced by Thames Magistrates Court on 15 March 1996. Belcher Anderson (22) also of Jenningtree Way, Belvedere was found guilty of attending the fight (£300 fine) and possession of fighting spurs (£100 fine) and £200 costs. Joseph Anderson (16) of Birchwood Road, Swanley, Kent, was also found guilty of attending and received a 2 year conditional discharge and £30 costs. The following were all found guilty of attending the fight: Geoffrey Jones (31) of Adversane Caravan Park, Billingshurst; Raymond Clayden (32) of Avenue Road, Erith, Kent; Belcher Barnard (42) of Chapman Road, Belvedere; Terrence Ball (35) of Eynsford Road, Crocken Hill, Kent; William Field (48) of Half Moon Lane, Tudeley, Kent; Seamen Anderson (46) of North Road, Belvedere; John Clarke (35) of Dally Park, Lower Road, Hextable, Kent; John Fuller (31) of Star Lane, St Mary Cray, Kent; William Anderson (44) of North View, Birchwood Road, Swanley, Kent. Paul Hill (35) of Richmond Road, Thurnscoe near Rotherham, South Yorkshire and Malcolm Cooper (41) of Barnetby Road, Scunthorpe, Humberside, both pleaded guilty to attending the fight in the first week of the trial. They were also fined like the others. (All the above 11 received fines of £300 and £200 costs). Mark Giles and John Lee appealed against their sentences at Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday 20 March 1996. Both appeals were dismissed.

Jason Brown (19) of Lingmoor Way, Harraby, Carlisle and his uncle Raymond Maxwell (32) of Pennine Way, Harraby, Carlisle were both given 2 year conditional discharges. They pleaded guilty to possessing a shotgun without a licence at Carlisle Crown Court. On 16/2/96 the court heard how the two had gone shooting rabbits. Later it was discovered that they did not have a licence for the shotgun. Brown was made to pay £100 costs and Maxwell who has 5 previous convictions for offences involving guns was made to pay £150 costs.

Cockfighting reared its ugly head again, but this time in the North East, William Ross (49) a butcher of Sharon Avenue, Kelloe, Durham City, admitted causing cocks to fight in a wooden hut he owned on allotments at Kelloe; using the premises for cockfighting and possessing spurs and other equipment for cockfighting he was sentenced to 4 months. Joseph Kelbie(34) formally of Cottingly Springs, Leeds, now of Turney Lane, Newark, Nottinghamshire who was accompanied by an eight year old boy to the fight was sentenced to 10 weeks and John Hawthorn (42) of Calvert Terrace, Murton, County Durham was sentenced to 8 weeks they both admitted assisting at a cockfight. The magistrate also made an order banning Ross, Kelbie and Hawthorn from owning live cockerels for the rest of their lives. Thomas Waugh (32) of Harlaw Gardens, Catchgate, Annfield Plain was fined £200 with £150 costs: John Bell (27) of Dilks Street, Bishop Auckland was fined £800 with £750 costs and David Littley (34) of Litchfield Road, West Cornforth, County Durham was fined £200 with £150 costs they all admitted being present at a cockfight.  A judge threw out appeals from three convicted cockfighters against a life ban on owning birds. At Durham Crown Court on 11/10/96 he refused the appeal of John Hawthorn (42) of Calvert Terrace, Murton, County Durham, adding “The purpose of the sentence is to discourage you from ever again participating in the obscene and degrading pastime of watching animals inflict pain on each other”. Appeals from the other two men William Ross (49) a butcher of Sharon Avenue, Kelloe, Durham City and Joseph Kelbie (34) formally of Cottingly Springs, Leeds, now of Turney Lane, Newark, Nottinghamshire were rejected formally by the judge.

Welshpool Magistrates heard how Stuart Ferguson (20) of Foden, near Welshpool, Mid Wales used a badly injured wood pigeon as a decoy to trap birds of prey. He denies five charges relating to the illegal use of a trap for ensnaring birds of prey on 25/8/95 on the Leighton Estate, near Welshpool. The estate is used for rearing pheasants for shooting. He admits setting the trap, but claimed this was only to catch crows or magpies. The case continues.

Steven Blackwell (22) of Briery Close, Windermere, Michael Hodgeson (27) of Little Langdale, Ambleside, Mark Parker (26) of Chapel Stile, Langdale and Kevin Wradhall (26) of Loughrigg, Ambleside were caught poaching fish. Windermere magistrates heard how two of the men were armed with rifles, often used by poachers to shoot fish, and they were also shining bright lamps into the river. When the men were challenged by the bailiffs they said they were after rabbits and foxes, one of the men, Blackwell tried to run away but slipped and fell. All four were fined £60 for possessing a light intending to use it to take or kill fish, they were also ordered to pay £250 costs between them.

Falconer Paul Noble (33) of Sandy, Bedfordshire took eggs back to his aviary after they were stolen from cliff-face nests in Majorca, either by himself or an accomplice, Luton Crown Court was told on 4/4/97. Eight birds were sold for a total of £4,000 to falconers who were told that they had been bred in captivity. When police and the RSPB raided Noble’s house, they found another six young birds. Noble had claimed he had acquired them from a dealer in France who bred them in captivity. Police searching Noble’s home found abseiling gear, airline tickets and hotel receipts for a trip in 1995 to Majorca – one of the few places in the world where the falcons breed. Shortly after Noble’s trip, he had placed an advert for Eleonora’s falcons in a bird magazine. Noble was found guilty of offering the birds for sale, obtaining property by deception by claiming they were bred in captivity and keeping restricted birds. He admitted two other charges of selling a restricted species. He denied any illegal activity involving the birds, saying that he believed the birds had been bred in captivity and he had tried his best to import them legally. He was jailed for eight months.

Falconer Gary Job (38) from Heol-y-Pistyll, Ffaldybrenin, South Wales was convicted of keeping wild peregrines, and aiding and abetting others. Following an appeal on BBC’s Crimewatch about a raid on peregrine nests in Cumbria a viewer identified him as the man captured on film at the scene equipped with climbing gear to reach the birds, worth £800 each. When Job was arrested at his home they seized two rare peregrine falcons, blood samples were taken and DNA tests proved they could not have been bred legally from birds in captivity, as he claimed. On 30/4/97 Lampeter magistrates fined him £450 and ordered him to pay costs of £700. At his appeal on 20/7/98 at Swansea Crown Court the judge ordered Job to pay an extra £1,000 costs.

Graham Butterworth of The Gillots, Chadderton, Lancashire sold a falcon illegally a court was told. The merlin was not registered with the Department of Environment Oldham magistrates were told on 16/5/97. However, Butterworth sold the bird with rings around its feet, which indicated it was registered. DNA samples proved the bird had been bred from two of Butterworth’s other birds. The case was adjourned until 29/5/97.

A man who watched a cock-fight in a County Kildare field has been ordered by a court to pay £300 in fines and costs. The conviction of William Dunne of Riverstown, Killucan, County Westmeath at Athy District Court on 24/3/98 followed the conviction of seven other men on charges arising out of the cock-fight, which was watched by as many as 100 people. Dunne pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty charges. He admitted being present at the incident, but denied cruelty charges. The Judge fined Dunne £200 and ordered him to pay £100 towards veterinary expenses.

William Cahill of Shady Grove, Hilton admitted causing damage to a badger sett was fined £1,700 and ordered to pay £75 costs by Derby magistrates on 27/6/98. Cahill ordered a bulldozer on to his land, next to Hilton Nature Reserve in Sutton Lane to clear away trees and bushes. Cahills defence told the court that Cahill intended to sell the land to the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and had only meant to protect the badgers as the area was at the risk of flooding. Cahill destroyed 60 metres of tunnels within the sett which could have housed more than 15 badgers. He was charged under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. Cahill believed that the mud and heavy rain could damage the badger and wanted to remove bushes from the area to remove that possibility.

A hunt ball ended in a farmyard fight as two men fought in a row over championship horsewoman Joan Isaac, Swansea Crown Court were told on 4/3/99. The two brawled furiously in the stableyard at the farm in Bryncoch, Neath. Joan Isaac(52) and twice a winner at the Horse of the Year show, had begun an affair with Anthony Edwards (37) a member of the Banwen Miners’ Hunt in the Neath Valley. Then she moved Edwards on to her stud and equestrian centre at Grange Farm. Edwards and Isaac were not invited to the hunt ball. And trouble flared when Isaacs husband Wayne returned from the dance to find that Edwards had turned off the electricity and padlocked the main gate. Both men pleaded guilty to affray and each was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £275 costs when they appeared in court. Former professional huntsman Edwards was also ordered to pay £1,000 compensation to a woman doctor after admitting wounding her. Mrs Isaac’s daughter Allison told a national newspaper: “My mother’s a trollop. I could never forgive her for the hurt she has caused me, my brothers and my father. During 1996 Isaac announced she was having an affair with Edwards and he moved to Grange Farm to live with her. At the time Isaac’s husband and two adult sons were also living there. The situation led to a number of wrangles as to who should operate the farm. The court heard that on the evening of the ball Isaac and his two sons Carl, aged 24, and Paul, aged 22, attended a hunt ball at the Glyn Clydach Hotel. Edwards and Mrs Isaac had not been invited. Trouble flared when Mr Isaac and a number of other people in dinner jackets and ball gowns arrived back at Grange Farm in the early hours of the next morning. There was a violent confrontation between Isaac and Edwards and one of the guests. Edwards used a devise made out of a pick-axe handle with a rope noose threaded through it. When he swung it the woman doctor suffered a heavy blow above her right eye and collapsed to the ground bleeding profusely. Isaac and Edwards then continued fighting, despite attempts by others to break-up the brawl. Mr Pulling said fighting was still taking place by the time police arrived on the scene and officers had to handcuff a number of people. As a result of this affair Edwards lost his job with the Banwen Miners .

A fish farmer who illegally shot three cormorants and then stored their bodies in a freezer was only discovered when a policeman working with a television film crew called at his premises on a completely different matter When they all called at Nigel Early’s Bulldog Fish Farm, at Snapper, near Barnstaple they asked Early’s mother if it was alright to examine the freezers at the farm. In one of them, along with cuts of venison, were the corpses of three cormorants. When interviewed by police about the matter, Early said he had shot the birds because they had become entangled in nets over tanks of fish from which they could not be released, so he felt that shooting them was the most humane thing to do. On 28/4/99 Barnstaple magistrates heard Early (40) plead guilty to three charges of intentionally killing wild birds and one of possessing a shotgun capable of being used to kill a wild bird. They fined Early £200, gave him a conditional discharge for six months and ordered him to pay £100 costs. magistrates also ordered the forfeiture of the dead cormorants.

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John Walter Hemus (56) of Hoole Lane, Chester appeared before Chester magistrates on 26/5/99 charged with causing unnecessary suffering to a fox by not giving it food and water for up to two weeks. A man living next to Hemus notified the RSPCA about the fox in the cage. When they arrived at the house they found the fox in a 2m by 2m cage it was emaciated, its fibs were showing and it had no body fat and its muscles were wasted. The RSPCA also found dead and decomposed rabbits and hares in a bin, the body of a Canadian goose in a bin bag and in the hedge they found a dead rabbit and three dead mammals. The fox was taken to a nearby animal hospital where happily it has since recovered. The police searched Hemus’s house and found weapons and ammunition. In court Hemus said he liked shooting as a sport and was regularly invited by farmers to shot vermin on their land. Magistrates found him guilty and sentenced him to only 180 community service with £250 costs. Hemus also admitted possessing a rifle, shotgun and ammunition without a licence.

In America a judge found that Randall Keith Laskowsky (40) and Parrish Franklin Cremeans (37) were both guilty of shooting and fatally wounding a mountain lion in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. The trial boiled down to a credibility contest between the defendants and a warden who was in the hunting party when the lion was gunned down. The warden was working undercover and he testified that he saw Laskowsky shoot the lion, which had been chased up a tree by the hunters’ dogs, in the head with a pump action rifle. After being hit, the wounded cat came down and tried to run away, but the dogs chased it up another tree and Cremeans shot it in the neck with a rifle. On 16/7/99 the judge sentenced them to 30 days in jail and fined each of them the maximum $5,000 he also forbade all association with hunting parties and any possession of firearms and archery equipment.

On 24/1/00 North Devon magistrates disqualified a Barnstaple man from holding a fishing licence for four years after he pleaded guilty to fixing a net across the River Taw. He was also ordered to pay £200 in fines and £75 costs. Ronald Luxton of 23 Elmlea Avenue, Fremington has a history of fishing convictions was spotted, with two other men, by a late night anti poaching patrol.

An angler from Hull has been banned from fishing for a year by Goole magistrates on 7/2/00. Eion Henderson (42) of Swinderby Garth, Hull, was also fined £100 and ordered to pay £45 costs after being found guilty of fishing failing to produce a valid licence.

An Isle of Wight pheasant breeder has been given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs of £534 after pleading guilty to permitting pheasant chicks to hatch in an unsuitable environment. Stephen Donson (52) of Adgestone rears up to 1,500 pheasants a week for a commercial business. In the past he has disposed of pheasant eggs in a dustbin and twice on the council disposal tip. The case came to light when workers on an Isle of Wight refuse tip heard cheeping noises from rubbish bags and decided to investigate. Opening the bags they discovered hundreds of pheasant eggs had been dumped, and some had already hatched. In February 2000 Island magistrates heard how plastic bags were found containing 1,085 complete eggs, 312 eggs with shells partially broken and embryos visible, 33 dead hatched chicks and 29 live chicks which had either hatched or were just hatching. The hatchlings were taken to an animal centre but only three survived. They have been since been released, joining other pheasants cared for by the RSPCA.

Javid Iqbal (45) of St Benedicts Road, Small Heath, Birmingham was granted unconditional bail after appearing at Birmingham magistrates charged with a series of offences related to cockfighting. Iqbal pleaded not guilty to all the charges and was granted unconditional bail to appear before the same court on 15/8/00. The charges relate to a search of premises on St Benedicts Road, Small Heath, by RSPCA officers when video and other items, allegedly related to cockfighting, were seized.

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.

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.

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.

Fishing without a licence cost nine anglers a total of £685 at Hereford magistrates 18/12/00. The men pleaded guilty and magistrates ordered them to each pay £40 costs. Christopher Blunt of Cleeve Orchard, Holmer, Hereford and Darren Davies-Jones of Dymond Close, Hampton Park, Hereford were each fined £40 for illegally fishing at Rotherwas Pool, Hereford. Blunt’s rod and line were forfeited. Christopher Graham Clarke and Kerry Clarke of Thelwell Cottage, Welsh Newton, Monmouth. were each fined £50 and their rods and line were forfeited. Keith William Guest of Walternash Road, Birchen Coppice, Kidderminster, Worcester, was fined £60. Neil Gullis of Lowfield Meadow, Kington, Hereford was fined £95. Kelvin John Hatcher of Elm Cottage, Uphill, Weston-Super-Mare was fined £60 for fishing without a licence. Paul Jones of Chartist Way, Blackwood was fined £100 for the same offence. Jones’ rod and line were also forfeited. Christopher Richard Lewis of Beech Grove, Victoria Avenue, Ebbw Vale was fined £95 and had his rod and line forfeited after he admitted fishing without a licence.

Two anglers were given conditional discharges for twelve months after they admitted fishing without licences. They were each ordered to pay £40 costs. Adrian Cox of Elm Grove, Clehonger, Hereford and Wayne Simon Milner of Cherry Brook Close, Hope-under-Dinmore, Leominster.

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An angler caught fishing without a licence near Devizes failed to respond to a summons and was fined £300 after local magistrates found him guilty in his absence. Andrew Collins of Kings Lane, Harwell, Oxfordshire was caught fishing without a licence and Devizes magistrates meted out the hefty fine on 11/12/00 after they heard that Collins failed to respond to a summons for the offence. He was also ordered to pay £55 costs.

A group of four men found netting salmon beneath the Wye Bridge at Monmouth were fined a total of £800 at Monmouth magistrates 19/12/00. Clinton Stephen Edwards of Woodland View, Wyesham; Phillip John Oates of Granville Street, Monmouth; Christian Bradbury of Wyesham Avenue, Wyesham, and Luke John Short of Carbonne Close, Monmouth all pleaded guilty to taking salmon using a fixed net. They also pleaded guilty to placing and using a fixed engine, namely a net and to taking salmon from water where there is a private right of fishery. Edwards was fined £250, Oates and Short £200 each and Bradbury £150. In addition to their fine, each man was also ordered to pay £100 costs.

On 19/2/01 South Lakeland magistrates fined Calvin O’Hara of Hartwood Road, Southport a total of £220 with £75 costs after he illegally introduced live fish to Windermere which could have harmed the lake’s resident fish population. O’Hara also pleaded guilty to fishing with more rods than he was permitted to, and to taking undersized fish from the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, which were later used as bait in South Lakeland Magistrates’ Court heard how Mr O’Hara introduced live fish to Windermere without the prior consent. The fish could have been carriers of disease and were also a potential threat to the ecological balance of the Lake.

On 23/10/00 two men from Nottinghamshire were today fined for attending an illegal dog tight following an undercover investigation earlier this year. Andrew Taylor (29) of Caernarfon Grove, Sutton-in-Ashfield was fined £300 and Nigel Greensmith (32) of The Quadrangle, Newstead Village was fined £250 after they both admitted attending the fight when they appeared before Mansfield magistrates. Four other men were convicted at Nottingham magistrates on 29/1/01 of staging and taking part in illegal dog fights. Kenneth Langan (32) from Portslade in Sussex, Anthony Mullen (43) from Northfield, Birmingham, Jeremy Brown (46) from Chesterfield in Derbyshire and Ryan Nuttall (29) from Mansfield near Nottingham pleaded guilty to various charges including causing dogs to fight, using premises for dog fighting and causing dogs to suffer. On 26/2/01 at Mansfield magistrates Langan, who admitted four charges of causing unnecessary suffering and failing to provide veterinary care was jailed for four months. Mullen, who admitted three charges including causing dogs to fight, was given three months in jail. Brown, who pleaded guilty to just one charge of providing premises to be used for dog-fighting, was jailed for four months. Nuttall, who admitted nine similar offences was also sentenced to four months in prison. Two other men were fined last October at Mansfield magistrates for attending illegal dogfights arranged by the group.

A workman has been jailed for three months after shooting a cat with an air rifle. Shooting enthusiast Mark William Gray(25) from Peverell, Plymouth took aim as the cat sat on the front step of his home. At Plymouth magistrates on 7/3/01 Gray pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to a cat and also carrying a firearm in a public place.

A Birmingham man who turned a house he owned into an illegal cock-fighting den was jailed for three months on 5/4/01. Cockerels involved in the fights suffered “appalling cruelty” and when the premises in Small Heath was raided by RSPCA inspectors and police officers they found a room used as a “cock pit” spattered waist high in blood, Birmingham magistrates were told. A beak belonging to one of the birds was discovered on the windowsill of the room and other paraphernalia used in cock fighting was also recovered. Javid Iqbal (46) of St Benedict’s Road, Small Heath, Birmingham who admitted one charge of allowing part of a premises to be used for cock fighting, was also disqualified from keeping any animals for ten years. Eight fighting cocks were found in pens in the garden belonging to the two properties. A large amount of videos, some showing cock fighting, were among the items seized.

A Bangor man was fined £200 and ordered to pay costs of £50 at Caernarfon magistrates on 23/3/01 after pleading guilty to using a gaff to take salmon and trout in the Afon Ogwen. The court was told how David Malcolm Lloyd of Ffordd Tegau, Maesgeirchen, Bangor was seen on the banks of the river wearing a face mask and snorkel, and was seen to put his head in the river and try to strike a fish with a gaff (which is a large barbed hook designed to impale fish in the body). Lloyd was unsuccessful but as he walked away he was stopped by an inspector, who seized the gaff, mask and snorkel and reported the incident.

Three men who attended a cockfight in a warehouse on St George’s Quay have been conditionally discharged by magistrates on 13/3/02. Alan Stewart (42) of Vale Road in Lancaster, David Brockhill (34) of Hale Carr Lane in Morecambe and John Harrison (41) of Oxcliffe Road in Morecambe all pleaded guilty to attending the event. Harrison also pleaded guilty to taking part in bets at the fight, and was fined £150. In addition to their conditional discharges, Brockhill and Stewart were both ordered to pay £162 in prosecution costs. Harrison was ordered to pay £195.80 in costs. Several dead cockerels, some with their heads removed, were found at the scene by police. Other cockerels were also found in boxes and cages, making noises that sounded as though they were in distress. Numerous birds required veterinary treatment to their feet and heads. Cockfighting paraphernalia, such as spurs, binding tape and weighing scales, was also found at the warehouse. Lists relating to betting were also seized.

On 5/4/02 two men who watched and bet on an illegal cockfight at a warehouse on St George’s Quay in Lancaster were fined £200 each. Mark Richard Hutchinson (45) Oxcliffe Road in Morecambe and Ivan Hall (41) of Bowbridge Lane in Nottinghamshire appeared in court charged with being at the cockfight and placing bets on the outcome. Both pleaded guilty. The court were told that police raided R and W Howard’s metal merchants on the quay, they had been tipped off about the fight taking place inside and when they arrived the doors were padlocked. Hutchinson came out of the entrance a short time later and he was arrested. Police officers then searched the warehouse and found a number of men hiding, one of which was Hall. The following day police and RSPCA officers searched the warehouse and discovered several dead cockerels, spurs, binding tape, weighing scales and torn betting slips. In interview Hutchinson denied watching the cockfight and said he had only been in the warehouse for a matter of minutes before police arrived. Hutchinson, told the court he had discussed the cockfight in a pub the evening before the event. Hall said he had been visiting relatives in the area and had decided to attend the fight ‘out of curiosity’. Magistrates ordered both men to serve a 12 month conditional discharge for being at the event and fined them £200 each for betting. They were both ordered to pay £220 court costs.(more convictions)

Henry Brockhill (29) of Hale Carr Lane, Morecambe, was found guilty of attending a cockfight after a trial at Lancaster magistrates on 17/5/02 and was fined £150. Magistrates were told how officers found two carrier bags stuffed with dead and bloodstained cocks, a cockpit and bird cages. A video taken after the raid revealed paraphernalia associated with fighting cocks such as spurs, a cockpit surrounded by straw bales, a pair of scales, money and a betting board. Nine cocks were found dead, five were injured and another one had to be put down. Thirteen birds were recovered alive. Brockhill alleged he had only gone because his friend, David Howard, had called, asking to be picked up. He said he was not present when any fighting took place and only entered the building to look for his friend. Brockhill said he had no idea what was going on until he went upstairs and heard cocks crowing. (more convictions)

David Reeves (38) of Pennance Lane, Lanner, Redruth, Cornwall, was found guilty of causing, procuring or assisting animal fighting or baiting on 23/5/02 at Truro magistrates. He was also convicted of two offences of permitting unnecessary suffering to a dog, but a third similar charge involving the animal was withdrawn. Reeves was also found guilty of two charges of having dogs of the type bred for fighting. During the case the court watched video footage of two dogs engaged in a violent battle in the back yard of Reeves’ home. The footage was among videos and other material seized from Reeves’ home during a raid. One dog had suffered around 26 recent and healed punctures and wounds to its head and face, and another 23 to other parts of its body. Recent wounds were up to eight days old, others at least three months old, and all were caused by another dog’s teeth. Another dog had five recent or healed wounds caused by fighting with another dog. Reeves, who published a magazine called Super Canine, had pictures on his walls of dogs fighting in pits, and copies of Game Dog magazine, indicating an interest in fighting dogs. Also seized from his home were three “break sticks”, used to break a dog’s jaws apart after it had locked on to another animal or object, and an extract of the rules for fighting pit dogs. Also in the house were photographs of dogs with handwritten notes attached to them – one of an animals was labelled “died in battle”. Reeves will be sentenced next month in June. On 14/6/02 he was jailed for three months and the judge ordered that two books, The History of Fighting Dogs, by different authors, should be destroyed.

Dogs suffered horrific injuries at the hands of three men who forced them to fight each other for fun. Two maimed pit-bull type terriers were found drenched in blood in a makeshift fighting pit at the home of Andrew Crowe (36) of Brampton Road, Cambridge. On 1/7/02 he was convicted of seven charges relating to dog fighting after the judge rejected his “feeble” story that the bout was an accident. His cousin Glenn Brown (27) of Stourbridge Grove, Cambridge and Mark Willis (32) of Chesterton High Street, were also convicted of dog fighting charges following the six-day trial. Crowe, who earlier admitted two counts of possessing pit-bull type dogs, was found guilty of causing dogs to fight, using his premises for dog fighting, two charges of causing dogs unnecessary suffering and being present at a dog fight. Brown was convicted of possessing a pit-bull type dog, two charges of causing dogs unnecessary suffering and being present at a dog fight. He was cleared of a single charge of assisting in a dog fight because the judge ruled it was impossible to determine what his role had been. Willis who admitted possessing a pit bull-type dog, was found guilty of being present at a dog fight. Willis was fined £400 and ordered to pay £5,000 towards the costs of the case, which totalled more than £42,000. The underground dog-fighting den was uncovered when police and RSPCA officers carried out a raid on Crowe’s garage. They found ropes suspended on springs used for strengthening the dogs’ jaws, a stopwatch, treadmill and “breaking sticks” used for prising the animals apart. Crowe, who has been suspended from his job at Cottenham Village College on full pay for more than a year, has a string of previous convictions. Cambridge Magistrates’ Court heard that he was convicted of criminal damage, theft and handling stolen goods during his late teens and early 20s. On 26/7/02 Andrew Crowe was sentenced to six months in prison for his part in the vicious sport, he also received six months for permitting suffering to pit bull-type terriers and causing the animals to fight, with both sentences to run concurrently. In addition he was fined £500 for each of the two pit bull-type dogs he owned. He was also banned from keeping dogs for 30 years and ordered to pay £2,000 costs. Glenn Brown was sentenced to the maximum 240 hours’ community punishment order for causing suffering to animals and a further 240 hours, to run concurrently, for possessing a dog bred specifically for fighting. He was also fined £500 for attending a dog fight, told to pay £5,000 costs and banned from keeping dogs for 20 years. All the dogs were ordered to be destroyed. Back To The Top

A Burton man shot a swan eight times in the head because he was “bored” and then boasted about it to a friend, Burton magistrates heard on 13/8/02. Craig Windsor (19) of James Court, admitted killing the eight-year-old male swan. The case was adjourned for reports until 6/9/02 when he will be sentenced. His unconditional bail was extended.

On 10/10/02 a hunter, who was shot and killed by another hunter was wearing all black clothing and a black backpack and was mistaken for a bear, investigators said. Clyde W. Shumway (58) died after being struck by a single round fired from a rifle by James F. Glenn (49) of Odell, Gresham, USA. Glenn, who was part of a hunting party, was set up to hunt at the far end of a clear-cut, when Shumway entered at the far corner. That’s when Glenn fired once, striking Shumway in the upper torso.

Dick Bainbridge (72) of Upper Hill Farm, Thornbury, Gloucestershire, appeared at Yate magistrates in October and was ordered to pay £950 for torturing and killing a 2-year-old Doberman. The dog collapsed from exhaustion, after being dragged on purpose by Bainbridge’s quad bike. He claimed the dog had been attacking his sheep. Bainbridge is a successful trainer on the point to point circuit, and has trained most of the horses ridden by jockey Alyson Dare.

A hunter has been badly injured after being shot by his own dog. Michael Murray was lining up a photograph of the pheasants his party has shot when his year-old English setter pup, jumped on a 12-bore shotgun lying on the ground and it went off. Murray (42) from Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, said” At first I didn’t know what happened. I got that blinding flash of pain and I sat down. Blood was pumping out of my ankle. Murray had been hunting in South Dakota on the first day of the pheasant season. When he was found, he was taken to a nearby hospital where he had 15 stitches put in his ankle. He later admitted he was slightly embraced by the incident.

A bookmaker was fined after he admitted yelling racist abuse at last months Countryside Alliance march. Peter Smith (21) High Lane, Chelvey Batch, near Backwell who works in his family’s bookmaking business, clashed with Mr Khan after he waved an anti-fox hunting banner at the demonstration in central London. Smith was fined £500 and ordered to pay £55 costs at Bow Street magistrates on 28/10/02. He was voicing his support for the Countryside Alliance during the march at Whitehall when he clashed with Mr Khan. Mr Khan was demonstrating against hunting and was waving a banner when Smith went up to him and tapped him on the head with a plastic hunting horn before hurling racist abuse. Smith admitted a charge of using racial abuse.

After receiving the minimum sentence from a Taos magistrate on 14/11/02 for the ‘unlawful killing of a bear,’ Missouri hunter Steven Mitchell was given the maximum sentence for “negligent use of a firearm” by an Angel Fire judge. He is now facing a $500 fine plus $17 court costs, 90 days in jail, and 200 hours of community service. Mitchell pleaded guilty to both charges after he shot and killed a bear from a second-story window. Taos magistrate court handed down the minimum sentence on the illegal kill charge: a $50 criminal assessment, $51 court costs, and $500 civil restitution to the state for the bear.

A deer hunter admitted on 21/11/02 to shooting a boy’s dog while bowhunting in Mansfield Township, USA. Dean M. Sica(36) formerly of Hoffman Road, Mansfield Township, faces one year of probation and up to 30 days in jail under the plea bargain struck in state Superior Court. ‘I went out deer hunting with a bow and arrow,” Sica told the court. He said he saw the dog and “knowing it might be somebody’s animal I shot the animal.” Sica said he was sorry he did it. He agreed to forfeit his bow-and-arrow and his hunting privileges. He must pay unspecified restitution to the dog’s owners and also faces fines and court fees. Sica pleaded guilty to possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and possession of a weapon by a person prohibited from having one. In 1993, Sica was convicted of fourth-degree aggravated assault in Union County and drew an 18-month prison term, records show. The felony conviction resulted in the weapon prohibition. He also pleaded guilty to two state Division of Fish and Wildlife violations for negligent discharge of a weapon and causing injury to a pet while hunting. Sentencing is tentatively scheduled for 28/2/03.

An 89-year-old deer hunter cannot use a gun for a year after accidentally shooting a horse that was being ridden by a 12-year-old girl in western Minnesota. Clinton Hurlbut of Browns Valley, pleaded guilty on 21/11/02 to misdemeanour reckless use of a gun. He fired a shotgun from his property on the opening day of deer-hunting season, at what he said he thought was a deer. The pellets struck a horse that the girl was riding about 200 yards away. Hurlbut also was fined $700, ordered to pay restitution and placed on supervised probation for one year. A 90-day jail sentence was stayed for one year. The good news is that the horse is recovering, but it’s unlikely that it can be ridden again.

At Redhill magistrates on 5/12/02 four pro-hunt supporters each admitted driving a vehicle without reasonable consideration for other road users. The accused were Graeme Worsley of Effingham Lane, Copthorne, Mark Bycroft (31) of London Road, Felbridge, Christopher Whittaker of London Road, Felbridge, and Robert Mann (57) of Ashill, Ilminster, Somerset. The convoy was seen driving at little more than 30mph at a busy time of the day. Whittaker, speaking in court, said the protest had been organised by the Union of Countryside Sports Workers . He read out a statement to the bench which said: “On behalf of all four of us, we would like to say we are law-abiding and regret taking this action which was designed not to harm anything or anybody. “We kept to about 30mph and believed we were within the law. We feel we are losing our liberty. In my case, if hunting is lost, I’d lose my home and job. (GOOD) We apologise unreservedly but had to do something to bring action to our cause.” Each was fined £100 and ordered to pay £35 costs. Each had three penalty points put on their licences.

In he USA one of four people arrested last month in connection with a suspected dogfighting ring has pleaded guilty to misdemeanour animal cruelty. Anthony Robinson (24) who had been charged with felony dogfighting and failure to appear, entered the plea on 20/12/02 in New Hanover County District Court. Charges are still pending against David Ellerby (25) and Antonio Bradley (21). Both were charged with misdemeanour animal cruelty and felony dogfighting and baiting. Cheryl Lacourse (44) was charged with felony dogfighting and baiting. Those cases have been continued to 23/1/03. Police seized 17 dogs from homes on Princess Place Drive and North 30th Street. Some of the dogs had wounds and scars consistent with fighting. Ellerby who owned seven of the dogs seized admitted that his dogs did at times go up to two days without food, but he has denied breeding or using the dogs for fighting purposes.

Also in the USA – RALEIGH – A Wake County man faces sentencing on felony charges related to running one of the biggest dogfighting operations ever shut down. Samson G. Pruitt (29) pleaded guilty 20/12/02 to felony dog fighting and cruelty to animals in connection with the 81 pit bulls removed from his house. Pruitt also pleaded guilty to possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana and maintaining a dwelling for the purpose of selling a controlled substance. Pruitt will be sentenced 27/1/03. When eviction papers were served on Pruitt by the police they noticed about a dozen pit bull terriers near the house and equipment used in breeding and fighting dogs. They then returned with a search warrant and found about 60 dogs chained to trees in woods behind the house, as well as many dogs in metal cages or dog houses made out of blue plastic barrels. Inside the house they found a baby Nile crocodile, three boa constrictors, six pythons and two poisonous snakes (Western diamondback rattlesnake and a Gaboon viper, which is considered one of the deadliest snakes in the world). All but a few of the pit bull terriers were euthanized because they suffered from a parasite that attacks an animal’s intestinal tract causing diarrhoea. The snakes and reptiles are being cared for elsewhere. In 1997, Pruitt was arrested in what was then one of the biggest dogfighting cases. Authorities seized 27 pit bulls from his home, then west of Hillsborough. Pruitt and two others pleaded guilty to misdemeanour charges of animal cruelty and were sentenced to probation. Pruitt ended up serving active time for failing to report to his probation officer.

Poetic justice 25/1/03 – A man who tried to beat his dog to death with a shotgun has shot himself dead instead. Police say the Winchester, Virginia, man called his wife at work and told her their dog had bitten him and he intended to kill it. Investigators say the shotgun must have gone off while the man was using it to beat the dog. The stock of the weapon was broken and there appeared to be blood and dog hair on it. The dog was taken for to a vets to be looked at, but it’s not known how badly injured it is.

A dog breeder will spend most of his weekends in jail as punishment for felony charges related to a large dogfighting ring. Samson G. Pruitt (30) was sentenced in Wake County Superior Court on 27/1/03 two weekends in jail and three years’ supervised probation. He pleaded guilty to felony dogfighting and cruelty to animals after 81 pit bulls were removed from his house. Pruitt’s sentence also covered his guilty pleas to charges of possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana and maintaining a dwelling for the purpose of selling a controlled substance. Pruitt is not allowed to breed or board any dogs except three older family pets. Pruitt, who lived in Knightdale in Wake County at the time of his arrest, has moved to Durham County.

Animal officials confiscated 24 beagles and charged four area men with cruel neglect after the dogs were found in squalid conditions last week at a makeshift kennel in the Southbridge section of Wilmington, authorities said. Around 100 hunting beagles were kept at the kennel. Adrian Waters (38) of New Castle and Ronald Crump (48) of Newark, were each cited on 4/3/03 with eight misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals. Preston Hudson (63) of Wilmington, received five animal-cruelty summonses and James Watson (45) of New Castle was cited with three counts of cruelty to animals. Animal-control officers had been monitoring the site in the 900 block of S. Heald St., removed 24 of about 100 beagles.

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On 27/3/03 three members of a gun club admitted shooting dead nearly 20 goats were ordered to pay 6,000 euros. John CollinsDiarmid O’Neill and Aidan Shannon with addressed in Drimoleague Co. Cork pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal damaged over the shooting of 18 goats. The men initially entered a not guilty plea at Skibbereen District Court, claiming they had been asked to kill the goats by a local farmer. They told the court Padraig Collins asked them to kill the animals because they were causing damage to land and crops near Drimoleague. Dunmanway District Court heard the defendants shot the goats with a rifle in the forest. Ten days later a local man found a wounded goat in the forest and contacted the gardai. Sadly, the goat had to be put down. The judge described the defendants as “foolish”. The men’s solicitor said his clients believed they were eliminating a pest problem. They were ordered to pay a total of E6,000 to the ISPCA, the Court Poor Box, the owners and the Garda Benevolent Fund. Sentencing was adjourned until 24/3/04.

St. Lucie County, USA – At least two local men face felony criminal charges for running a dog-fighting operation. In 2002 Fort Pierce police arrested Jermaine Rouse (29) and Jermain Davis (20) on five counts of cruelty to animals and three counts of fighting or baiting animals. The two men had agreed to enter a plea agreement, but they withdrew from the deal, according to court records. They are scheduled to be in court again 24/7/03

Lawrenceburg, USA – Kentucky State Police officers broke up a cockfighting operation inside an Anderson County barn and cited seven men on misdemeanor charges. Five men were charged on 14/7/03 with second-degree cruelty to animals for allegedly being in the ring during the cockfights. Another man was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, and the property owner, Clarence Smith (62) was charged with promoting gambling and permitting gambling, Between 75 to 100 spectators, including some youngsters paid up to $10 for admission, and a vendor was selling T-shirts and items used in the cockfights, including head covers for the birds and razor-sharp spurs attached to the birds’ feet. Phillip Jones (37) of Versailles; Joseph Burks (36) of Elizabethtown; Anthany Becknell (34) of Salvisa; Donald French Jr. (30) of Harrodsburg; and Robert Walls (41) of Elizabethtown. The concealed-weapon charge was filed against Jeffery Downs (38) of Coxs Creek, police said. All seven people charged were cited and released. They are scheduled to appear in Anderson County District Court on 25/8/03.

Two Cleveland poachers resorted to “barbaric” means to illegally snare spawning salmon. John Richard Spaven and Darren Smitheringale, both of Thames Road, Skelton, near Saltburn, admitted using a spear to catch fish after officers discovered the weapon in the boot of their car. They pleaded guilty to three charges at Guisborough magistrates on 25/3/03. Both were fined £150 and each were ordered to pay £150 costs. The court heard how Spaven admitted using the home-made spear, which had been fashioned from a broom handle and three welded barbs, and Smitheringale said he had used the lamp to help catch fish. The men offered no defence in court.

Robert Powton (35) of Darlington Road, West Auckland and Daniel Matthew Robinson (37) of Ashcroft Gardens, Bishop Auckland, were seen carrying a lamp and a gaff, a large hook on the end of a pole. Enviroment Agancy officers found a bag containing a net and two sea trout, one of the trout was still entangled in the net, the other was seen to have gaff marks in it’s side. The fish were examined and found to have been spawning, or about to spawn. Fish eggs were also later found in Powton’s car. Robinson and Powton were each sentenced to 130 hours community service and fined £100 with £100 costs by Bishop Auckland magistrates on 25/6/03.

Two men from west Cumbria were fined £500 each after being caught poaching salmon. John Anthony Taylor (43) of 20 Queens Crescent, Frizington and Derek Andrew Bulman (22) of 15 Arlecdon Road, Frizington, both pleaded guilty to two offences when they appeared at Whitehaven magistrates on 25/7/03. As well as being fined, the men were ordered to pay £125 costs each to the Environment Agency, which brought the prosecution.

McClellanville USA- Charleston County Sheriff’s deputies made four arrests after breaking up a dog fighting match on 7/9/03. Vincent Simmons (21) of McClellanville, Michael Leon Jones (21) of McClellanville, Marcus Simmons (26) of McClellanville and Moultrie S. Sanders (24) of Georgetown, were charged with felony dog fighting. On a routine patrol South Santee Road the police noticed a crowd of about 20 to 25 people in the woods near Greater Mt. Zion Church. When they went to investigate the crowd, they discovered a dog fight had just taken place and another one was about to start. The crowd scattered once the deputies arrived. Vincent Simmons began fighting hard with one Deputy. He broke away and then broke into a nearby home, where deputies found him hiding under a bed. He has been charged with first degree burglary and assaulting an officer as well as dog fighting. Deputies recovered a female pit bull with several wounds. The dog belongs to Marcus Simmons, but is now in the care of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Vincent Simmons was denied bail, Marcus Simmons, Sanders and Jones each had bail set at $5,000.

On 10/10/03 six men appeared before a Cleveland court to face dogfighting charges. Archie L. James (38) Eric Gross(46) James D. Summers (41) John E. Thomas (38) Dan Murphy (43) and Robert E. Hunter Sr. (39) are charged with one count each of cruelty to animals and conspiracy to commit the crime. They are free on bail while awaiting a trial date, which has not been set. Five more defendants are scheduled to appear in court, including Joseph M. Baldini Jr. (31) who is accused in a police affidavit of being “a major organizer” of the dogfight in a yard at 7655 Millfair Road. Seized in the raid were 12 pit bulls, one of which had to be euthanized because of its injuries; a beagle; one Samoyed mix and her litter of seven puppies, one of which didn’t survive; one cat; and 10 birds, including roosters, chickens and geese.

On 14/10/03 seven people, one a 15-year-old boy, were arrested during a dogfighting raid near Fulshear in Fort Bend County, USA. A sheriff’s department spokeswoman said 13 pit bulldogs, some with wounds, were found at the location Sunday and placed with the county’s animal control office. Deputies had been tipped off about dogfighting at a residence at the end of Reynolds Road. Quinn Solomon (18) and Alex Solomon (43) of Thompsons; Calebe White (29) and Lawrence Perkins (25) of Houston; and Norris Johnson (23) and Roland Johnson (17) of Simonton were charged with dogfighting, a Class C misdemeanour. The 15-year-old boy was released to family members.

On 1/11/03 seven dogs were found and a sum of cash was seized when gardaí and animal cruelty inspectors raided an illegal dog fight in Co Kildare. A number of men were found at the premises in Robertstown near Newbridge where the fight was disturbed just before midday. Gardaí along with members of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) carried out the raid after a tip-off about the event. A man in his thirties was arrested and later released without charge after being questioned.

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Two men were convicted on 14/11/03 of animal cruelty charges stemming from a raid on a building where pit bulls were being trained to fight. Dean Clymer (36) and Jaron Bratton (19) both of Yonkers, were convicted in Westchester County Court on two counts each of animal fighting, a felony, plus other counts of injuring animals and failing to feed them. They face up to four years in prison when they are sentenced on 5/3/04. Seventeen pit bulls were found in a feces-strewn bunker equipped with a treadmill and other devices to strengthen the dogs for fighting. Officials said several had been injured, apparently in fights, and three had to be put to death. Several were also reported malnourished. The raid came after the Yonkers Animal Shelter reported the theft of seven pit bull puppies within five days. A third defendant, Kyle Ellison (20) also of Yonkers, pleaded guilty to animal fighting before going to trial. He had claimed he was simply hired to clean the dogs’ cages for $20 a day.

Eight people were arrested on 16/11/03 when officers from the Hall County Sheriff’s Office raided a cockfighting ring in Gainesville. Of those taken into custody, three are facing felony charges of keeping a gambling place. A spokesperson with the Sheriff’s Office, said they confiscated more than $4,500 in cash and seized 35 chickens from 3395 South Meadow Court. Two other animals were dead and three were seriously injured, The three facing charges of gambling, cruelty to animals and keeping a gambling place are: Dustin Dzung Nguyen (30) 3395 S. Meadow Court, Gainesville. Sinh Van Huynh(62) 720 Golden Roadway, Norcross. Ba Van Nguyen (47) 3395 S. Meadow Court, Gainesville. The five facing gambling and cruelty to animals charges are: Minos Anthony Delcambre (40) 1133 Highway 11, Bethlehem. Nghia Luong (32) 1135 Evergreen Way, Dacula. Minh Duong (42) 897 Monroe Highway, Bethlehem. Willie Clark Bradley III (59) 1581 Highway 138 N.W., Monroe. Hoang V. Tran (47) 2808 Barrett Road, Gainesville. All defendants except Delcambre were released from the Hall County Detention Center on bond. Delcambre also was being held on a warrant for his arrest in another county.

REDWOOD CITY – The suspected kingpin of an illegal cockfighting operation was arrested on 16/11/03 just two days after deputies raided his hidden coop out on the Coast, authorities said. Mario Zuaso Moreno (52) faces charges including 20 counts of animal cruelty, 40 counts of owning fighting fowl and 120 counts of failing to provide care and shelter for animals. San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Moreno on Sunday morning, before serving a search warrant on his Redwood City home. The search turned up cockfighting paraphernalia as well as seven roosters shoved into two burlap feed bags, one of them dead. On 14/11/03 deputies discovered more that 100 roosters and hens being kept in filthy conditions inside a shack on a piece of Coastside property Moreno had been renting. The Sheriff’s Office seized all 112 chickens, some of which had their combs and wattles removed, or had suffered apparent fight injuries. The Peninsula Humane Society has since euthanized them. This is not Moreno’s first arrest for suspected cockfighting, according to court records. In 1994, he pleaded no contest to one count of owning fighting cocks, a misdemeanor, in exchange for prosecutors dismissing 19 other counts against him. He was sentenced to 48 hours in County Jail and three years’ probation.

In November, Rowan County sheriff’s deputies charged Roderick Hawkins (18) of 928 Third St., Spencer, and Michael Lee Walker (32) of 1162 Rachel Lane, Salisbury, with felony dog fighting.

Michael William Smith, a self-employed pest control contractor based in Essex, pleaded guilty to failing to take all reasonable precautions to protect humans, creatures and the environment, contrary to the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986 at Colchester magistrates on 30/1/03. He said that he had been called in to deal with rabbits and was using phosphine gas at an old badger sett. Smith was fined £250 plus £118 costs.

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A hunting trip to Ireland has proved an expensive outing for two shooting enthusiasts after they were caught killing protected species. Not only were they arrested and fined a total of 1,600 euros (£1,113) for shooting wild Red deer, a protected species, but their two hunting rifles, worth £2,500 each, were also confiscated by order of the court. On 9/1/04 the District Court in Killarney, County Kerry, was told that Simon Everett (43) of Hilldene, Westhill, Uttoxeter, and Nicholas Pancisi (44) of Stubbs Farm, Stubbs Lane, Stanton, near Ashbourne, had been arrested in the area in possession of the butchered carcasses of a hind and her young calf. Both had been shot separately and gutted. The two admitted a charge of hunting a protected species, but their defence solicitor, Padraig O’Connell, claimed they had acted out of ignorance of the law. They were also fined each man 800 euros.

Goshen, N.Y. – The publisher of a dogfighting magazine was convicted of animal cruelty and dogfighting felonies on 1/3/04, almost a year after 18 pit bulls were taken from his property. James Fricchione (34) from Westtown was found guilty by a judge of one dogfighting and four cruelty counts, as well as five misdemeanors. He publishes the bimonthly Sporting Dog Journal, with about 6,000 subscribers nationwide, from his home in Westtown, about 55 miles northwest of New York City. Most of the 18 pit bulls had injuries like those inflicted in dog fights. Police also seized equipment used to train fighting dogs. Fricchione, who remains free on $10,000 bail, declined to comment. He faces sentencing 14/4/04 before a Orange County Judge. The sad news is that the dogs have been getting better care in shelters, but they will have to be destroyed.

Damien Penrose (18) of Torrington Court, Park North, appeared at Swindon magistrates on 7/1/04 after he and a 15-year old accomplice shot a male mute swan dead with an air rifle, and hid it in a hedge. They also shot and injured the swan’s mate, leaving it to look after the pair’s four cygnets with blood pouring from its head. The female bird later died. He pleaded guilty to killing a wild bird, injuring a wild bird, having a loaded weapon in a public place and criminal damage. Penrose was jailed for eight weeks. Half of the sentence is to be served in the young offenders’ wing of Reading prison and the rest on licence in the community. Penrose’s accomplice was sentenced in November 2003 to four months’ detention and training, half of which will be served in secure accommodation and half in the community.

Ringgold, Ga. – Three Catoosa County men have pleaded guilty and were sentenced on charges relating to a dog fighting ring. Two of the men were charged with multiple counts of cruelty to animals. Another was jailed on a parole violation after appearing in court. Sentenced on 14/4/04 were Buford Lamar Green (25) Ronald Lamar Kilgore, Jr. (21) and Donald Lamar Kilgore (22). Green pleaded guilty to 10 counts of cruelty to animals and one count of interfering with an officer. The magistrate sentenced him to 30 days in jail and he will not be allowed to have any animals for 30 years. Donald Kilgore pleaded guilty to 10 counts of cruelty to animals and one count of failure to restrain an animal. He got 180 days in jail, 60 months of probation without animals and was fined $3,030. He also will have to pay the county $542.92 for a veterinarian bill. Ronald Kilgore pleaded guilty to one charge of obstruction and received a 36-month suspended sentence. But he was taken to jail on a parole violation and was told he would not be able to own animals for 36 months.

Pittsburgh (AP) – On 24/4/04 five men pleaded guilty to charges of being involved in a dogfighting ring in Pennsylvania. The five men, including a pet store owner, were arrested for arranging fights between pit bulls in basements and warehouses over at least a five-year period. The fights had purses of up to $50,000. According to arrest warrants, members of the ring also trained dogs to fight and had organised and promoted fights in western and central Pennsylvania. Police seized 21 pit bulls, guns, steroids, training equipment, underground dog fighting magazines and a photo album full of fighting dogs. Brothers Harry Ackerman Jr., (32) and Thomas Ackerman (28), Richard Henderson (50) Robert Cooper (48) and Christopher Bryce (28) pleaded guilty to charges ranging from animal cruelty to attempting to buy illegal drugs.

Nine men were arrested when police and RSPCA inspectors raided a barn and discovered an illegal cockfighting ring on 28/4/04. They found a gang of men betting on the illegal sport in which specially bred cockerels, normally armed with razor-sharp spurs attached to their legs, fight to the death. The police said: ‘The RSPCA obtained intelligence that this was taking place at a location in Mundham. ‘We caught the men in the act when we burst in and they tried to scarper. But our officers were quicker and we managed to catch them all.’ The nine men were all charged under the Animal Cruelty Act. They have all been bailed pending further police inquiries. A total of 15 birds were seized at the address and are being cared for at local RSPCA care centres.

A Curry County jury on 29/4/04 found Fernando Garcia (20) innocent of second-degree murder but was convicted of dogfighting, a felony carrying a maximum penalty of 18 months in state prison. The incident which left Moises Ortiz dead by gunshot occurred during a dogfight at Ortiz’s home in south Clovis. Fernando Garcia’s father Richard still faces charges of dogfighting and assault with intent to commit a violent felony in connection with the same incident.

A hunter who blew a hole in a family home while hunting rabbits with a shotgun in a town centre at 3am when intoxicated has been fined €500. On 9/9/04 Timothy Coakley from Inchigeelagh, Co.Cork pleaded guilty to the charge of reckless endangerment with a firearm when he appeared before Cork Circuit Criminal Court. He admitted that he had been trying to shoot rabbits along the main street of Dunmanway when he accidentally blasted the family
home. No one was injured although the family was shocked at the near miss.

A Whitehill man is due before magistrates on 21/7/04 after RSPCA officers smashed a cockfighting ring. James Stephen Keet (28) of Firgrove, Bordon, was one of nine men charged after animal welfare officers raided a barn near Chichester in April 2004

A hunter who shot a leading wildlife expert after mistaking his night-vision binoculars for a fox’s eyes was cleared of assault on 27/8/04. Anthony Burns (52) from Prestwood, Buckinghamshire, was out “lamping” for foxes late one night last year when he shot and seriously injured journalist Trevor Lawson. Aylesbury crown court heard Lawson had been looking for barn owls along a footpath through farmland when he was shot in the chest with a hunting bullet designed to disintegrate inside the body of an animal to kill it more effectively. The court heard Mr Lawson spent two days in intensive care, lost a lung and still has part of the bullet under his skin. Burns had two decades of shooting experience, including “lamping” –a form of night hunting using a red filtered light which is difficult for the fox to see – without incident. Under an arrangement with the farmer on whose land the accident happened, Burns and a group of friends rear pheasants in pens and organise small-scale shoots. With the farmer’s permission, he and his two fellow lampers would go on periodic expeditions to shoot foxes.

On 25/9/04 an 18-year-old man from Castleford was arrested in connection with an incident and in which a schoolboy was shot in the head in an area popular with lampers. On 27/9/04 three more men, 60, 44 and 25, were arrested on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice. The youngster was walking close to a golf course near Castleford with his father when he was shot.

The case against 12 men charged with running an illegal dog fight was adjourned at Nass District Court on 7/10/04. The case was adjourned until 17/11/04. The alleged offences are said to have occurred at Broclagh, Roberstown, Co.Kildare. The men have all been charged under the Cruelty to Animals Act 1911. They are: Anthony Burke, Corstown, Oldcastle Co.Meath, Richard Bernard, Dark Road, Castletown Carlow, Troy Jordan, River Road, Allenwood Co.Kildare, James Ferris, Allenwood South, Co.Kildare; Richard Somerville, Dunard Drive, Navan Road Carlow; Paul Malone, Dunmore Lawn, Tallaght, Co.Dublin; Karl Bree, Nangor Crescent, Clondalkin, Co.Dublin; John Moody, Coolamber Crescent, Templogue, Co.Dublin; Thomas Codd, Cloonmore Crescent, Tallaght, Co.Dublin; David Deegan, Maplewood Park, Springfield, Tallaght, Co.Dublin; Michael Quinn, Slieve Bloom Road, Drimagh, Co.Dublin and Joseph Blake, Loreto Avenue, Rathfarnham,Co.Dublin

VANCOUVER – On 7/11/04 a trial date of 25/3/05 was set for Eduardo J. Ribaya, a Vancouver man linked with dogfighting. Ribaya (52) is charged with five misdemeanors stemming from a raid at his home. The charges include possessing animal-fighting equipment and keeping an unlicensed kennell, and three counts of keeping unlicensed animals. Ribaya was convicted of 1995 dogfighting charges in California. Acting on a tip, Vancouver police raided Ribaya’s rental farm house on Port of Vancouver property looking for signs of animal fighting. Seized items included a stick thought to be used to pry open a dog’s mouth in a fight, veterinary medicines for wound treatment, a suturing kit and photos of dogfighting. Officers also found 21 pit bulls, including five puppies.

On 25/11/04 four police officers were injured and three bloodpsorts supporters were arrested during a protest outside an hotel where a Labour Party dinner was being held. Eggs were thrown during the confrontation at the Holland House Hotel and a Welsh MP claimed he received homophobic insults. “At one stage, missiles were thrown and previously unseen levels of aggression were shown to police officers. The Rhondda MP said he received homophobic insults. “When I was trying to come in there were a large number of people shouting very unpleasant homophobic stuff at me”. “One of the police officers was from an Asian family and she had all sorts of racist taunts. “The irony was that people were carrying banners that said, ‘Fight prejudice’.

A hunter was jailed on 3/12/04 for having an illegal shotgun to shoot foxes. Darren Burton (35) of Fairwater, Cardiff had the shotgun pistol and ammunition hidden in his car. The court heard police searched the vehicle after he was arrested on suspicion of drink driving. Burton had gone to Fairwater Police Station in Cardiff to give cigarettes to a relative in the cells. Police smelled alcohol on his breath and arrested him but he told them he wanted to move his car somewhere safer because there was a gun in boot. The court heard how Burton was “keen on outdoor pursuits” and used an air rifle to hunt rabbits on a farm near his home. A situation arose that when Burton was shooting rabbits he saw an owl being taken by a fox. “He decided to kill the foxes in the area and was given this weapon by a man he knew.” Burton admitted possessing a prohibited firearm and ammunition. The judge jailed Burton for two years.

On 12/4/05 at Haywards Heath magistrates Joseph Keet (54) from North Mundham, Chichester, West Sussex, was jailed for 90 days for organising a cockfight in which one bird was killed and several others injured. Keet (see pic left) was found guilty of four charges relating to the illegal cockfight. The RSPCA and Sussex Police raided the cockfight after being tipped off. They went to Keet’s Southgate Duck Nursery, in North Mundham, and discovered cockerels already fighting in a pit made out of hay bales. Fifteen birds were taken to vets for treatment. The court heard how one was already dead while a number of others had bleeding wounds and swollen eyelids caused by recent fighting. They had been used in a “naked heel” event, meaning the cockerels were not made to fight with artificial spurs attached to their legs. A video tape containing footage of two cockfighting bouts was later recovered. When the authorities arrived a number of men tried to flee the scene but were arrested. Keet, described in court as the “main player”, had denied charges of causing unnecessary suffering to animals, aiding and abetting, being present at a cockfight and using his premises for a cockfight. He was given a 90-day prison sentence, fined a total of £5,000, and banned from owning a cockerel for life. Nine other men were each fined a total of £400 for their involvement. William Green (28) from Cowplain, Hampshire; Stephen James Harrington(29) from Horndean, Hampshire; James Stephen Keet (29) from Whitehill, West Sussex; Frank Smith (37), from Tangmere, West Sussex; and George Sean Stonestreet (19) and James Christopher Bird (21) both from Hailsham, East Sussex, had previously pleaded guilty to attending a cockfight. Bill Smith (44) from Burgess Hill, West Sussex, pleaded guilty to attending a cockfight but was found not guilty of aiding and abetting and of causing unnecessary suffering. Ashley O’Brien (35) from Fareham, Hampshire and George Ripley (24) from Westham, East Sussex, both pleaded not guilty to causing unnecessary suffering, aiding and abetting and of being present at a cockfight. They were found not guilty of the first two charges but guilty of being at the cockfight.

On 15/4/05 a man was arrested on suspicion of being involved in cockfighting, following a joint operation between police and the RSPCA earlier this week. Officers from the RSPCA’s special operations unit, along with uniformed inspectors and Humberside Police, raided two premises in the Scunthorpe area. An RSPCA spokeswoman said a 21-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of cockfighting and was later interviewed at the police station. Two cockerels were seized, and they are currently being cared for by the charity. It is believed two other people were involved in the incident and investigations are proceeding into their whereabouts.

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A grouse shooting company was fined £7,500 and ordered to pay £6,787 costs after pleading guilty to damaging important heather moorland in the North York Moors Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Faccombe Estates Limited runs grouse shoots on Westerdale Moor in the North York Moors National Park and elsewhere in the north of England. At Northallerton magistrates on 25/4/05 they admitted constructing 620 metres of three metre-wide stone track across the moorland without English Nature’s (EN’s) consent. The track smothered over 1,800 square metres of healthy heather moorland. A restoration order has now been imposed, which means that Faccombe Estates Limited will have to pay to restore the damage to the satisfaction of EN.
Two men have been warned they face jail after guns and a dead young deer were found in a pick-up truck in the New Forest. The pair were arrested after being stopped by a police anti-poaching patrol on a country lane. Police found two loaded rifles in the rear of the vehicle and the 12-month-old fallow prickett underneath. A search of the home of David Cailes (33) from Dugdell Close, Ferndown revealed a sawn-off shotgun as well as ammunition. Cailes and Robinson appeared before Southampton Crown Court on 6/5/05 where they admitted firearms offences. Cailes (a vermin controller) admitted unlawfully killing the deer, and possessing a shortened .22 calibre Martini rifle and ten cartridges and a .243 Steyr Mannlicher rifle with ammunition. Ian Robinson (43) of Dudsbury Road, West Parley, pleaded guilty to possessing a .22 calibre Marlin Golden 39-A Mountie lever action rifle and ammunition. Cailes and Robinson were bailed for sentence on13/6/05.

A man who held organised dog fights in an outhouse behind his father’s pub has been sent to prison. Ian Draper (41) of Walker’s Close, Asthall, was arrested during a nationwide swoop on people involved in what the RSPCA described as the “Premiership” of dog fights. Appearing at Banbury magistrates on 16/5/05 Draper admitted six charges, including causing unnecessary suffering to dogs, keeping a place for dog fighting and owning an illegal breed of dog. Investigators conducting a search of a the New Inn in Minster Lovell, owned by Draper’s father at the time, found a blood-stained room in an outbuilding where the fighting took place. The former greyhound breeder and one-time boxer was sentenced to three months in prison, which could be cut in half for good behaviour, and was banned from owning dogs for 10 years. A charge against Draper’s father, Martin Draper (67) of Wenrisc Drive, Minster Lovell, was withdrawn.

USA – On 24/5/05 three people were arrested and charged with organised dog fighting and cruelty to animals. Hampton police went to the home near the corner of Walnut Street and Shawen Drive, and saw at least two dogs fighting and another dog standing to the side. Four people were encouraging the dogs, police said. Cynthia Kay Curry (44), Lushawn Beneie Carolina (18) and Kelvino Breon Hunter (18) were charged with organised dog fighting and cruelty to animals. Tracy Arleaene Curry (39) was charged with disturbing the peace. Animal control picked up the three dogs and treated them for their injuries

Armed police were called in and the force helicopter scrambled to track down Peter David Jones. He was arrested in the car park of Tesco’s supermarket in Mold by officers who seized his air rifle. On 16/6/05 Jones (25) of Bromfield Park, Mold, was fined £100 and ordered to pay £55 court costs after he admitted possessing a loaded weapon in public. Flintshire magistrates at Mold also ordered the BSA Hornet .77 calibre air rifle should be destroyed. Jones admitted owning the air rifle. He was arrested and told police he had been out shooting rabbits. Jones said he was bored and started shooting near the law courts at rabbits.

USA – On 19/6/05 Suffolk police interrupted a cock fight and arrested a Brentwood man on charges of running an operation in his backyard. Miguel Perez (56) of 9 MacArthur Avenue in Brentwood, had a large pen for fighting in his backyard and 18 cocks housed separately to limit their socialisation skills. When officers arrived, they found women, children and 15 men in the backyard. The fighting male roosters were found shaved with spurs on their legs. Although some of the men ran, police arrested Nelson Marmol (52), of Freeport; Jose L. Torres (51), of Bay Shore; Narciso Rodriguez (39) of Baldwin and Nelson Peralta (29) of Brentwood. The men were charged with animal cruelty, a misdemeanor, and given field appearance tickets. Perez was charged with prohibition of animal fighting, a felony, and is being held at the Third Precinct. He is scheduled to be arraigned Sunday in First District Court in Central Islip, Groneman said. The 18 male roosters, including the rooster that died Saturday afternoon, were seized by the Islip Town Animal Shelter.

A man found asleep in his car whilst two and a half times the drink drive limit has been banned from the road for 2 years. Christopher Harrison (55), attended a hunt meet in Cradley, Worcestershire and then drank whisky with friends, Worcester magistrates heard on 19/6/05. Police later found his car protruding into a main road. Hardman was asleep at the wheel with the keys in his lap. Hardman of Pump House, Acton Green, Acton Beachamp who pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol and leaving his car in a dangerous position was banned from driving for two years. He was fined £550 with £43 costs and given three penalty points.

Randolph Clayton (27) of the 21000 block of San Filippo Road, Bridgeville, Delaware was sentenced on 16/7/05 to three years in prison after being involved in a dogfighting incident while he was on probation. The incident sadly resulted in the death of a pit bull. Clayton appeared in Sussex County Superior Court to face two counts each of animal cruelty and dogfighting and he was sentenced to three years in jail for violating his probation. As part of a plea agreement, he was convicted of one count of possessing a dog for dogfighting purposes, and given 18 months probation following his three-year jail sentence. The other three charges were dropped. The court suspended a $5,000 fine but Clayton was ordered to pay SPCA officials $543 in restitution. He was also banned from keeping a dog for 15 years.

William Smith (39) of Ribblers Lane, Kirkby was convicted of allowing illegal dog-fighting bouts at his secluded home, despite claiming to be a dog lover. Huyton magsitrates heard on 26/7/05 that searches of the property revealed blood-spattered sticks used to prise animals apart, fitness schedules, a treadmill and weighing scales and boards used to construct fighting pits. Smith also had three heavily-scarred illegal pit bull terriers at the property, which were taken away and put down. The court also heard that boards used to construct a pit for fighting had blood on them that was linked through DNA tests to an Oxfordshire dog whose owner Ian Draper had been convicted for dog fighting. Smith denied allowing illegal dog-fighting and denied that his home was known in fighting circles as “Lion Heart Kennels”. Smith was sentenced to four months.

A Devon man has admitted the manslaughter of his 13-year-old stepson while he was out lamping. Byron Evans (13) was shot while out lamping with his stepfather Philip Rowe (50) of Stafford Lane, Colyford. Rowe pleaded guilty at Exeter Crown Court on 26/7/05 to manslaughter by gross negligence. Rowe’s sentencing was adjourned until 2/9/05.

Troy Jordan (35) of Blackthorn Cottage, River Road Allenwood was jailed for 18 months at Naas Circuit Court on 4/8/05 on Cruelty to Animal charges for attending a dog fight. The court heard that Jordan had previously been found guilty at Naas District Court of animal cruelty to six pitbull terriers in 2000 where he was fined €6,475 and banned from owning a dog for three years. Four other defendants received suspended sentences on condition they sign a bond to be of good behaviour.Thomas Codd (39) 18 Cloonmore Crescent, Tallaght, who has been on disability benefit for 16 years, was given a nine-month suspended sentence on condition he pay €500 to the ISPCA. Karl Breen (25) 5 Nangor Crescent, Clondalkin, was given a nine-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay €5,000 to the ISPCA., Richard Somerville (34) 26 Dunard Drive, Navan Rodd, Cabra, was handed an 18 month suspended sentence on condition he pay €3,000 to the animal rescue charity. David Deegan (22) from Co. Offaly was also ordered to hand over €3,000 to the ISPCA and received an 18 month suspended sentence. There were originally 11 co-defendants in the case but six were acquitted.

On 18/8/05 six dogs were seized and a man arrested and bailed following the undercover operation at a disused industrial premises in the Preston. The man, in his 20s, was questioned after a joint operation with RSPCA inspectors. Three homes were also searched as well as the industrial site, believed to have been used as a base by the dogfighting club. Items associated with dog fighting were seized as part of the series of raids, including what is believed to be a pit in which dogs fight. The arrested man was released on police bail until 18/10/05.

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