On 3/4/02 a hunt leader in the New Forest denied that a badger sett was damaged by terrier men. The New Forest Hounds (NFH) have hit back at allegations made by the New Forest Animal Protection Group (NFAPG) after a kill near Ringwood. Campaigners claim a fox dived down a sett and “suffered four hours of terror” before being dug out and shot. NFAPG members say they have complained to the Forestry Commission and the National Trust, which owns the plantation. Ken James, chairman of NFAPG and vice-chairman of the New Forest Badger Group, said: “This is yet another example of the hunt’s inability to stick to the rules. “They must be prevented from destroying wildlife and its habitat.” But NFH spokesman Nick Smith said: “It definitely wasn’t a badger sett. There’s no record of it being badger sett and there was no evidence of any badgers.” Smith said the hunt disposed of the fox at the landowner’s request and followed rules laid down by the Masters of Foxhounds Association. The NFAPG has made a series of complaints about the hunt in the past few weeks.
An accusation of badger-baiting was dismissed on 1/5/02 after a District Court judge said that the incorrect date was specified in the charges. The judge dismissed the charge against Colin Bowie of Glennorth, Banteer, Co Cork at Kanturk District Court, after animal welfare inspector described the condition of a Fell terrier who had lost half its lower jaw and large areas of flesh as among the worst he had seen in 32 years as an inspector. Police found 22 dogs in kennels behind Bowie’s house. The court heard that four Fell terriers were found in be in a particularly appalling condition. One dog had more than 30 injury or bite marks on it and had lost part of its lower jaw. Bowie claimed that he was out hunting when his terrier had gone into what he presumed was a fox den. However, he realised that a badger must have been in the hole when the dog emerged bearing terrible injuries.
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)
A hunt master was handcuffed by police after she drove away from a hunt breakfast more than three and half times over the limit Northampton Crown Court on 23/4/02. Charlotte Wilson-Smith (39) threatened to punch a police officer in the face when he arrived with two colleagues at her farmhouse after receiving reports that she was driving dangerously. Minutes earlier she had been seen falling out of her car by a driver who followed her home after seeing her straying into the opposite lane and mounting a grass verge. The court was told that when the police arrived at Wilson-Smith’s farmhouse they found her trying to climb over a barbed wire fence into a field. When asked to return to the courtyard, she replied: “I will punch you in the face in a minute,” the court heard. After she insisted on walking off to attend to a horse, she was handcuffed and arrested. Wilson-Smith, Master of the Oakley Hunt, admitted a charge of dangerous driving. The jury heard Wilson-Smith was making her way home from a hunt breakfast held at Newton Bromswold point-to-point racecourse. Wilson-Smith said she had taken part in a sponsored bike ride to raise funds for the hunt before attending a hunt breakfast. She said she had a couple of glasses of sparkling wine but later discovered someone had been topping up her glass. She agreed she had been drinking Bucks Fizz. “With hindsight I should not have driven,” she told the court. She said she had driven cautiously with a bicycle on a rack on the back of her vehicle. At the junction, she thought she had time to pull out. Wilson-Smith said: “I heard a bit of a screech. I looked in the rear view mirror and the van was very close. I remember I was being followed and that is why I may have put my foot down a bit more. I was a little bit concerned because I thought I was being followed by a hunt saboteur. I got out and told him to clear off because it was private property.” Inside her house, she said she drank some German beer and added she was “petrified” when she saw the police arrive. She said that was when she tried to get over the fence and found herself being handcuffed. Asked why she had threatened to punch a PC she replied: “I was quite frightened. Policemen were running after you and all I was doing was trying to catch a horse.” She was later found to be three and a half times over the limit. The jury took 30 minutes to find Wilson-Smith guilty of dangerous driving. She then admitted driving with excess alcohol. Recorder Andrew Tidbury adjourned sentence for reports. He asked for a medical report because of Wilson-Smith’s high alcohol reading. During the trial the court heard she had been taking antidepressants at the time. At Northampton Crown Court on 29/5/02 Charlotte Wilson-Smith of Poplars Farm, Wymington, Northants, burst into tears and wiped her face with a tissue as a judge sentenced her to three months in prison. She was also banned from driving for three and a half years. She was found guilty of dangerous driving and admitted drink-driving after she was found to be three and a half times over the limit.
On 1/5/02 a gamekeeper was spared a jail sentence after admitting keeping a trap and pesticides capable of being used illegally to kill wildlife. Peter Frost (63) who worked at Snailspit Farm, Swaffham, was the first gamekeeper to appear before the courts, now anyone possessing items capable of being used illegally to kill wildlife can be jailed. Frost admitted possessing a Fenn trap with a dummy wooden egg and three syringes that could have been used for such purposes. But magistrates at Swaffham decided against imprisoning Frost and instead fined him £200. Frost also admitted five breaches of the Food and Environment Protection Act by keeping potentially lethal poisons, including cyanide, for which he was fined £150 with costs of £200. Frost had been a gamekeeper for 40 years.
An unemployed gamekeeper was given a 6 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs at Corby Magistrates court on 3/5/02 after he pleaded guilty to smashing a hunt saboteur’s CB radio. Mr W. Playford was arrested at a meet of the Woodland Pytchley hunt at Stoke Albany where he was acting as a hunt steward. A hunt saboteur had been trying to stop the hunt chasing a fox when he was punched to the ground by another man, dropping the CB. It was then that Playford deliberately smashed the radio. Whilst hunt saboteurs welcomed the guilty plea, they were disappointed to receive no compensation for the radio, which will cost around £100 to replace. They were also concerned at the light sentence and the fact that no action has been taken over the assault that took place that day. Hunt Saboteurs Association spokesperson, Nathan Brown said, “Yet again hunting has shown its true nature. Non-violent tactics of hunt saboteurs save animals’ lives and are frequently met with attacks and aggression from the bullies in the hunting fraternity. This hunt has a reputation for the violence meted out to protesters. David Reynolds, Master of the Woodland Pytchley hunt, is a prominent member of the Countryside Alliance, who have now threatened a ‘summer of discontent’ showing total disregard for the democratic process. I fear we will see more attacks on peaceful opponents of hunting.”
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.
A cornish huntsman who admitted to causing unnecessary suffering to his hounds said that foot and mouth restrictions had contributed to his inability to feed them properly. Stephen Heard (45) of Padstow, was banned from keeping animals for ten years after magistrates at Launceston heard on 18/6/02 how two pregnant beagles were found dead at his kennels with no food or water. A previous conviction had already banned Heard from keeping cattle. Heard, a part-time dairy worker who kept the hounds on an “informal” basis, pleaded guilty to three counts of causing unnecessary suffering to two beagle bitches and a beagle puppy which was confiscated by the RSPCA. As well as the ban, he was sentenced to 240 hours of community service to be undertaken in the next 12 months and ordered to pay £559.48 in costs to the RSPCA. David Hobbs was the RSPCA inspector who was sent to the kennels, Rose Avanon near Winnards Perch, St Columb, in Cornwall, after an anonymous tip-off. Outside the court, he said: “The conditions in that ramshackle building were shocking. “The animals were cramped, and there was not a dry area in the whole place. It was soaked in urine and mess. The smell was horrendous. “In one area the dogs had only a raised concrete platform to lie on and in another a wooden platform with nails sticking out of it. “There was no bedding at all and no fixed containers for water. Almost all of the water bowls were empty. It was squalid.” He phoned veterinary surgeon Mr Hill, whose post-mortem examination revealed nothing in the beagle’s entire gastro-intestinal tract, signifying she had had nothing to eat for about 48 hours. The bitch had been close to giving birth to eight puppies. A puppy in the same kennel as the dead bitch was taken away from Heard after it was found to be severely dehydrated. It was later re-homed by the RSPCA. Another beagle bitch was also found dead, again with eight unborn puppies. A post mortem examination revealed the bitch was dehydrated, and the only items in her digestive system were soil and a few leaves. Tissue samples from both dead hounds were sent to a laboratory and came back negative to external illness. They have banned him for 10 years from keeping animals, but in my view it would be better if it were a lifetime.
Hunt saboteurs in East Anglia are fuming after a hunt supporter guilty of assaulting a female protestor and a policeman was given a 12 month bind over on 21/6/02 by Bury St Edmunds magistrates. “This amounts to nothing more than a slap on the wrists for him and a slap in the face for us” said one member of Suffolk and Essex Sabs, the local hunt saboteur group. Sabs had been using non-violent direct action to prevent the Suffolk Hunt killing foxes when Martin Nunn, a supporter of the hunt who is also known to help out with kennel duties, attacked a hunt saboteur. When a policeman intervened to halt the attack, he too was assaulted. The incident at Wepstead near Bury St Edmunds was clearly captured on video. Hunt Saboteurs Association spokesperson Nathan Brown commented: “Is it any wonder that hunt supporters continue to attack people who protest against them when this is the punishment they receive?
A man convicted of stealing rare birds’ eggs has become only the third person in the UK to be jailed for the offence. Matthew Gonshaw from Bow, east London, was sentenced to three months in prison by Thames magistrates on 22/4/02. Although police found no eggs at his home, they found a range of egg collecting equipment. Gonshaw’s home was raided after he was arrested in Scotland for disturbing a Golden Eagle’s nest.
Cromer magistrates confiscated a car used by an egg collector who stole rare and wild birds’ eggs. Mark Whitcombe (36) from Manor Way, Risca, Gwent, Wales, stole eggs in Scotland and Norfolk for his personal collection. His car was confiscated and he was placed on probation for one year on 10/5/02. He had denied taking the egg of a rare red-throated diver and two eggs of the wild great skua. The court was told his house was searched after he was found with two wild bird eggs at a nature reserve. Whitcombe had admitted eight other charges at an earlier hearing. He had pleaded guilty to two charges of taking wild birds egg. He admitted one charge of recklessly disturbing little terns and another of going equipped to commit the offences. He admitted two counts of possession of rare bird eggs at his home in Wales, another of being in possession of 181 wild bird eggs at his house and a further charge of being equipped at his home address to commit the offences. He was also ordered to pay £100 court costs.
A couple convicted in their absence of causing unnecessary suffering to a six-month-old foal may be imprisoned. Emlyn John Williams (57) and his wife Barbara Alice (30) both denied the offence relating to the Shetland pony. The foal died in a field just moments before a vet was due to put it down. She told Chester, Ellesmere Port & Neston magistrates on 12/4/02 the colt was emaciated, dehydrated and had extensive septicaemia. “I believe the foal had not been receiving the correct or enough nutrition,” she said. “This had to have been over a period of weeks for the foal to be in that condition.” Magistrates found the couple, who were not in court, guilty of the charge and asked that the pair be arrested on a warrant so pre-sentence reports could be prepared. The court heard that Williams had a previous conviction for causing unnecessary suffering to a horse in August 1994, and were disqualified from owning animals for five years.
At Chester magistrates on 9/5/02 Emlyn Williams was sentenced to four months imprisonment. His co-accused wife Barbara was given a 180-hour community punishment order and ordered to pay £1,560 costs. The couple, who live on a farm in Derbyshire, were banned from keeping horses and ponies for life. Williams used to live in Pensarn, Abergele.
A trader who runs a street business in which tourists have their pictures taken with a snake is being prosecuted by the RSPCA. Philip Prior (34) of Walter Avenue, St Annes faces 11 summonses alleging unnecessary suffering to snakes. On 14/3/02 Blackpool magistrates adjourned the case until 3/4/02.
On 10/4/02 the owner of Dartmoor Wildlife Park has been charged with breeding Siberian tigers illegally. Ellis Daw’s case went before Plymouth magistrates for a brief preliminary hearing in his absence. He is also accused of housing tiger cubs in inappropriate conditions at his park at Sparkwell, and failing to dispose of animal carcasses safely. The case was adjourned for two weeks.
Farm Animals (Guardians Of The Land – My Arse!!!)
A pig farmer was found guilty of keeping quiet about an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease among his livestock. Bobby Waugh (56) St Luke’s Road, Pallion, Sunderland who ran a pig fattening farm in Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland, was found guilty of nine animal health and cruelty charges on 29/5/02. His farm supplied livestock to an abattoir in Essex where the foot-and-mouth was first detected. Waugh faced at total of 15 charges at South East Northumberland magistrates. He was found guilty of five counts of failing to notify the authorities of the outbreak at Burnside Farm. He was also found guilty of one count of feeding unprocessed waste to his animals and one charge of failing to properly dispose of animal by-products. Waugh was convicted of two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to pigs and cleared on two similar charges. He was also acquitted of one charge of bringing unprocessed waste on to the farm and a further three charges of failing to dispose of animal by-products. A charge of failing to keep records of pig movements was dropped during the three week trial. The hearing was adjourned for pre-sentence reports and Waugh was expected to be sentenced 28/6/02. The case against his brother Ronnie (60) who also ran the farm, was adjourned indefinitely due to ill-health.
A Florida man has admitted killing and skinning his pet cat because it kept him awake at night. Lee Circuit Court heard on 4/4/02 how Scott Herrin (26) of North Fort Myers killed the cat then posed for photographs with its body. Herrin said the cat meowed loudly and brought in fleas, so he thought it would be a good idea to kill it. He faces a maximum sentence of up to a year in jail after pleading guilty to animal cruelty. The judge said he would probably be ordered to work at an animal shelter instead. The court heard his girlfriend at the time Leeah Shepardson (19) also helped skin the cat. She has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and is also awaiting sentence. Herrine was arrested in a camera shop after they alerted the police after developing pictures of the killing. Herrin told police he worked nights and could never get any sleep because the cat was meowing loudly.
Three dog owners have been jailed for three months each after 11 puppies died in a “gross and barbaric” tail-docking operation. The trio inflicted enormous cruelty on the Rottweiler puppies without giving them any anaesthetic, Birmingham magistrates heard on 26/4/02. The agony was so excruciating that two of the litter died almost immediately, while another three were in such severe shock they had to be put down. The rest passed away within three weeks. The puppies’ spinal cords were left exposed by the operation, while the two main arteries had been severed in many cases, rendering the wounds virtually impossible to suture. Lloyd Earlington (35) of Watson Road, Alum Rock, Birmingham, had admitted 11 counts of animal cruelty at a previous hearing. He had also admitted one count of practising unregistered veterinary surgery, for which he received an £1,100 fine or an alternative of an extra day in custody. David Hunkins (33) and mother-of-four Julie Ward (37) of Harts Road, Washwood Heath, Birmingham, both admitted 11 counts each of animal cruelty. The court heard how a Rottweiler bitch owned by Ward and a dog of the same breed belonging to Hunkins had produced the litter. The couple believed that docking the tails of the puppies would make them more saleable but wanted to avoid veterinary fees for the operation. Earlington arrived at Hunkins’ and Ward’s home with supplies of Stanley knife blades and mixed a supposed painkiller solution. Ward and Hunkins passed each puppy through to Earlington in the utility room where he sliced their tails off.
On 7/5/02 a man and three women admitted charges of conspiring to publish obscene videos showing scenes of a “cruelly terrifying” nature involving animals. Craig Chapman (27), Christine Besford (26) Sarah Cooke (22) and Tharaza Smallwood (22) all pleaded guilty at Stoke on Trent Crown Court to conspiracy to publish obscene material. All four also admitted separate charges relating to the cruelty and torture of small animals. Chapman pleaded guilty to a charge of securing another to cruelly terrify or torture a guinea pig and a charge of cruelty to a kitten. Besford admitted cruelly terrifying or torturing a kitten and Cooke admitted two charges of cruelly terrifying mice. Smallwood admitted two charges of cruelly terrifying a guinea pig. All the offences took place in the Stoke on Trent area. The judge adjourned the hearing for pre-sentence reports and remanded the four in custody pending an application for bail. They were jailed on 28/5/02 by Stoke on Trent Crown Court. The gang tortured mice, a guinea pig and a kitten in a “cruelly terrifying” nature in order to make the obscene video tapes. Craig Chapman (27) of Ironbridge Drive, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Christine Besford (26) of Heaton Terrace, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Sarah Cooke (22) Woodgate Street, Meir, Stoke-on-Trent and Tharaza Smallwood (22) of Wileman Street, Fenton, Stoke all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to publish obscene material. All four also admitted separate charges relating to the cruelty and torture of small animals. Horrific scenes on the tape included scenes of small animals being stamped on with high heeled shoes and the worst scenes on the tape showed the killing of a kitten, which had its hind leg glued to a wooden board. Besford, Cooke and Smallwood were paid between £100 and £700 each for taking part in the torture. Chapman was sentenced to two years imprisonment for conspiracy to publish the video and four months for cruelty to a guinea pig and cruelty to a kitten, to run concurrently. Besford, Cooke and Smallwood were each jailed for four months for conspiracy to publish obscene material and for cruelly terrifying animals, to run concurrently. They were all banned from keeping animals for life.
A woman whose filthy and neglected dog was rescued by RSPCA officials after they received a tip-off from burglars has been banned from keeping animals for life. The dog was found trapped in a kitchen, with his matted fur covered in faeces and urine and was unable to walk as its toenails had overgrown Bolton magistrates were told on 17/5/02. Joyce Jones(52) of Upper Lees Drive, Westhoughton, Bolton, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal. She was given 100 hours’ community punishment and ordered to pay costs of £250. The dog was taken into care.