Three men were arrested in connection with badger baiting at Teesside Retail Park on 7/5/03. The three local men were arrested and then released on police bail after being caught allegedly setting dogs down badger holes.
On 29/5/03 Edward Daniel Phillips of Catbrook, Monmouthshire, will appeared before Newport magistrates. He was charged with interfering with a badger sett under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. The offence is alleged to have taken place at a badger sett in Monmouthshire.
On 24/603 a member of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) wildlife unit admitted putting a badger’s skull on a stick on land at a cull zone in North Devon. The discovery of the skull and a note on DEFRA-headed notepaper giving details of the number of badgers killed in the cull. The Coalition of Badger Action Groups (CBAG) warned that DEFRA staff could be operating illegally. DEFRA pledged to carry out a full investigation into the matter and yesterday it emerged that a member of the wildlife unit had admitted using a skull found on the ground and leaving a message relating to the number of badgers killed in the latest operation. A DEFRA spokesman said: “The member of staff concerned greatly regrets his actions. The incident will be dealt with through internal disciplinary procedures.
Three men were caught digging at a badger sett that had been disused for years, Barnsley magistrates heard on 26/6/03. Darrell Harper (38) of Wellington Crescent, Worsbrough, Anthony Fisher (31) of Monksprings, Worsbrough and Kenneth Hume (54) of Park Road, Grimethorpe, deny the charge of interfering with a badger sett. Hume also admitted he had been rabbiting for 40 years. The three accused were arrested after a swoop by police acting on a tip-off. The trio, who had two Patterdale terriers tethered nearby, told police a third dog had gone down one of the holes after a rabbit. It eventually emerged wearing a locater collar. The site was said to have been recorded as a badger sett by South Yorkshire Badger Group since at least 1996. Dr Barry Peachy was appearing as an expert witness for the defence. On 28/6/03 all three were acquitted of all charges.
On 29/4/03 Trevor Adams (44) from Eildon, near Melrose who is the Master of the Buccleuch Hunt and Rory Innes (26) the Master of the Jedforest Hunt, have both been accused of deliberately hunting a fox with dogs. Also two men aged 19 were charged in the Borders in February for chasing foxes and badgers with their dogs.
At Bishop Auckland magistrates on 13/5/03 the court was told how David Dixon (50) of Keepers Cottage, Stanhope – head gamekeeper on the 7,000-acre Croglin Estate grouse moor – and underkeeper Ian Smith (39) of Hope Level Cottages, Stanhope used a 4ft-high moss-covered pole trap, which was banned 99 years ago, to the trap to try and catch hen harriers. Dixon and Smith admitted setting the trap and possessing a short-eared owl, they said they had been trying to catch crows. Dixon was fined £100 for each offence, and Smith £50. Both were ordered to pay £210 costs. Stephen Graham – for Dixon, Smith and their employers, Croglin Estates, of Wellingborough, Northants – said both men were of previous good character. They had been reprimanded and given verbal warnings by their employers. Dixon, Smith and Croglin Estates also admitted three offences relating to the keeping of pesticides. Smith was fined £50 on each of the three counts, Dixon £100, and Croglin Estates £2,000 on each count. The trap was used to kill birds on Stanhope Common in Weardale, County Durham.
A head gamekeeper laced dead pheasants with illegal poisons to kill predators that attacked the birds he bred for shooting parties, Exeter magistrates were told on 16/6/03. Alan Hetherington (32) of Rackenford, Devon, was responsible for looking after the 20,000 pheasants bred annually at Meadowview and Higher Barns, near Oakford, Devon. The court heard how he had poisoned the dead pheasants because he knew badgers, foxes and birds of prey, particularly buzzards, would eat them.
On 15/7/03 Hetherington was ordered to carry out 240 hours of community service and pay £250 costs when he appeared before Exeter magistrates. At the earlier hearing he pleaded guilty to six offences related to storing or using pesticides – some restricted or illegal – under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985. He asked for one further offence to be taken into consideration. Hetherington also admitted two offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, one under the Protection of Animals Act 1911, and asked for one offence to taken into consideration. One offence involved having two syringes containing carbofuran, bromadiolone and warfarin, and three containers of pesticide, two with carbofuran and one with bromadiolone. Another related to poisonous matter placed at a pheasant release pen at Chample’s Farm, Oakford. A further charge said Hetherington used a dead pheasant poult laced with pesticides containing carbofuran and bromadiolone to kill or take a wild bird. One police officer who took part in the raid spoke of “the awful smell of death and decay” given off by the bodies of dead badgers and foxes littered in woodland at the pheasant shoot.
Four joint hunt masters and two workers were suspended on 28/6/03. It follows allegations that a vixen and two cubs were moved from an earth in breach of hunting rules. An investigation has been launched into allegations of misconduct at the Cottesmore Hunt after pictures were taken by The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). They said its investigators filmed a member of the hunt placing two cubs in an artificial earth in Leicestershire. The artificial earth to which they had been moved was in a field of sheep and lambs and on a path used by hunts. They also said that by moving the foxes, staff were demonstrating that far from trying to keep numbers down, they were trying to encourage foxes to breed in order to have sufficient numbers to hunt. The ones who were suspended are Dean Jones, terrierman for the hunt, Jones admitted that he had moved the foxes and was suspended, as was his boss, Neil Coleman. The four suspended joint masters are David Manning, a businessman, Charles Gordon-Watson, a bloodstock agent, and Nicholas Wright and Roger Dungworth, both farmers. A formal hearing is to take place on 2/7/03.
On 2/7/03 Dean Jones the terrier man employed by the Cottesmore Hunt had his licence withdrawn after he was filmed moving fox cubs. The Master of The Foxhounds Association (MFHA) disciplinary committee launched an inquiry and suspended four masters of the Cottesmore Hunt, a huntsman and their terrierman Jones. Jones, who admitted the offence, told the disciplinary committee that it was done in a ‘moment of compassion’. Neil Coleman, the huntsman, admitted Jones had told him of the matter later but he did not disclose this information to his employers. The MFHA committee found the Joint Masters not guilty of misconduct under Rule 49, not guilty of any other rules and lifted their suspension. They withdrew the terrier man’s licence with the recommendation he should not be granted another licence for three years. Alastair Jackson, director of MFHA said: “The committee was impressed with the Cottesmore Masters’ methods, execution of staff training, records and protocol and was wholly satisfied at no time had the masters acted negligently or deliberately against MFHA rules.” The Masters of Cottesmore Hunt have started their own disciplinary proceedings against Mr Jones and Mr Coleman. On Thursday they announced Neil Coleman, the huntsman, had been reinstated. Discussions are being held about the future of Jones, who is still employed by the hunt staff, but because of the ban can no longer be employed by them as a terrier man.
On 30/6/03 the High Court ruled that Magpies have legal rights. A senior judge declared it is unlawful to allow the birds to suffer unnecessarily if they are used under licence as decoys in traps to catch other magpies. Mr Justice Leveson, sitting in London, allowed an RSPCA appeal against a refusal by Telford magistrates court in April last year to convict a member of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation of causing unnecessary suffering to a magpie kept in a Larsen trap. Norman Shinton of Mendip Close, Little Dawley, Telford set up the trap in his garden. Shinton was accused of causing a single magpie unnecessary suffering as he used the bird over and over again, instead of “rotating” decoys. Mr Justice Leveson said Shinton was authorised as the owner or occupier of land to confine the magpie in a cage trap. There was no doubt that the use of the Larsen trap fell within the terms of the licence, and Telford district judge Philip Browning was right to acquit on that charge. But the district judge had gone wrong in law when he cleared Shinton of causing the bird unnecessary suffering. The High Court judge ruled that, even though the trap might be lawful, it was “illogical” to say its owner was therefore absolved of all responsibility. The judge said it was unnecessary to send the case back to the magistrates court for it to be reconsidered as the RSPCA had only brought the case to clarify the law.
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.
Jonathan Boise (46) of London Road, Petworth was found not guilty on 16/7/03 of causing actual bodily harm to two hunt saboteurs. Video footage had been shown in court of the him punching one sab and fighting with the other. However, Boise who is the huntsman with The Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Cowdray Hunt maintained he had been acting in self-defence.
On 12/12/02 gamekeeper Philip Holland of West Street, Crewe was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog and the use of non-approved pesticides. The case follows an incident when a golden retriever strayed onto land used by a shooting syndicate in Hanklow, Nantwich. The dog ate part of a dead rabbit and sadly died within minutes. The owner discovered a Fenn trap baited with a rabbit carcass and reported it to the police. The dog and rabbit were sent for tests and they confirmed the dog had died from ingestion of mevinphos, an insecticide that had been banned for 10 years. The rabbit also contained traces of the insecticide. At Vale Royal magistrates he was fined £200 for causing unnecessary suffering and £200 for the use of non-approved pesticides.
A trapper who caught wild birds in the woods around Ongar was convicted and fined £3,000 after an elaborate undercover operation involving the police and the RSPCA. Officers from the RSPCA followed Paul Souter (55) from of Valley Hill, Loughton and watched him inspecting his traps and spreading bird seed on a mist net which he used to catch wild birds. At the same time, police and RSPCA inspectors raided his home and found cages containing wild British songbirds. When Souter’s wife phoned his mobile phone to tell him of the raid he was observed disposing of his traps in a lay-by on his way home. On 3/4/03 at Epping magistrates Souter was fined £500 for possession of the wild birds and a further £500 for taking birds from the wild. He was ordered to pay the £2,000 costs of the RSPCA and forced to hand over his equipment
An application by the wife of a jailed wildlife smuggler to continue keeping birds on her land was granted by West Norfolk Council on 16/4/03. After the meeting, animal welfare campaign group the Captive Animals’ Protection Society said it was taking advice about the decision. “We are now looking at taking further action, including a possible judicial review” . The decision allows Sheila Humphrey of Shepherdsgate Road, Tilney All Saints, near Lynn, to retain existing aviaries at her property. The board also approved retrospective planning permission for a large aviary which had been built on the land without prior permission. Humphrey’s husband Raymond Humphrey was jailed for six-and-a-half years in January last year for his part in an operation to smuggle illegal birds into Britain. During a raid at the couple’s home, Customs and Excise officials found an extensive collection of 54 birds – including crested serpent eagles and changeable hawk eagles, a golden cheeked gibbon, seven slow loris and five tortoises. Humphrey’s application prompted 28 letters of objection, together with six protest petitions signed by a total of 240 people.
A prolific bird egg thief who preyed on the nests of rare species was jailed on 11/4/03 for four months. Anthony Higham (39) of Malmesbury Park, Sandymoor, Runcorn admitted stealing more than 800 eggs, including 160 belonging to threatened species such as the golden eagle, chough and osprey. Police and RSPB officers who raided his home in Runcorn found birds’ skulls and implements to blow the contents out of stolen eggs. They also discovered video footage showing Higham and his accomplices stealing eggs from nests. Higham earlier pleaded guilty to 13 offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. At Northwich magistrates Police were led to Higham after raiding the home of one of his accomplices, Carlton D’Cruze, where they found correspondence between the pair using code to disguise the authors. D’Cruze, 41, of Whitemeadow Drive, Thornton, near Crosby, was jailed last year for similar offences.
On 26/4/03 Lesley Mackiggan (61) from Glasgow who is accused of trapping and killing more than 100 magpies in her back garden to protect songbirds could be acting illegally. Mackiggan catches “pretty evil” birds in a trap and kills them by knocking their heads on the garden wall. Please phone her to register your objection on 0141 563 8687 – polite calls only
A Serial trapper caught more than 200 wild songbirds and kept them in squalid cages piled high throughout his home Berkshire magistrates heard on 14/5/03. collection of chaffinches, yellow hammers, wrens, turtle doves and linnets was one of the largest hauls ever uncovered by the RSPCA. The birds, snared in a field, might have fetched £8,000 on the black market. When RSPCA inspectors raided Phillip Vellas’s (51) home in Pinkneys Green, Maidenhead they found some of the birds dead in the bottom of cages, frozen in a freezer or in need of urgent veterinary care. On 14/5/03 magistrates convicted Vellas of two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to birds, 18 charges of keeping wild birds in captivity and one charge of unlawfully confining a bird in a cage. He admitted 11 charges relating to trapping wild birds. He claimed he was trapping, ringing, then releasing wild birds and the ones in his home had been bred in captivity. On 13/6/03 magistrates in Bracknell sentenced Vellas to 220 hours community service and ordered him to forfeit his trapping equipment he was also banned from keeping birds or animals for a decade and ordered to pay £5,000 costs.
A nature photographer was jailed on 8/7/03 for hiding and destroying his illegal collection of stuffed wild birds. Dennis Green (60) of Deysbrook Lane, West Derby, Liverpool admitted perverting the course of justice and was sentenced to four months imprisonment at Liverpool Crown Court. Green was prosecuted under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 for possessing 4,000 wild birds’ eggs and 99 taxidermy specimens. He was convicted of illegal possession of birds and eggs and given a 12-month conditional discharge by Liverpool magistrates. The prosecution told the court that Green had given away some of his collection to another collector of wild birds’ eggs. Police and officers from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds searched the home of Carlton Julian D’Cruze (41)of Whitemeadow Drive, Thornton near Crosby. They immediately recognised some of Green’s birds which he had said he had burnt. D’Cruze was jailed for possessing scores of birds’ eggs. Green had originally denied burning and concealing the birds, but changed his plea to guilty before he was to stand trial for perverting the course of justice.
New Forest Owl Sanctuary staff and visitors are in shock following the arrest of owner Bruce Berry on 12/7/03. Callers to the popular wildlife and tourist attraction at Ringwood yesterday were told the sanctuary was closed until further notice “due to unforeseen circumstances”. Berry (62) was arrested at his Ringwood home in an early morning raid. Police officers, backed up by RSPCA inspectors and a specialist avian vet, also converged on the owl sanctuary premises in Crow Lane and a site at Three Legged Cross. They seized almost 100 items, including a filing cabinet and more than 20 live birds that were taken to a safe location. The operation followed allegations of cruelty that were made by TV presenter Chris Packham in a recent edition of the BBC South Inside Out programme. Berry was arrested on suspicion of stealing a saker falcon between 1996 and 2001. He was taken to Lyndhurst police station, where he was questioned about the falcon and allegations relating to illegal trading in protected bird species.
Barbara Joyce (51) of Manor Farm Cottages, South Heighton (51) hit an RSPCA inspector over the head with her handbag and threw two cups of water over him Lewes magistrates heard on 15/5/03. Joyce who runs Quimper Stud at Rodmell, denied two counts of common assault. On 16/6/03 Joyce was given a two-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £300 costs as well as the compensation to the inspector.
On 3/6/03 Donald Edward Perkins was cleared of indecently assaulting a colt after producing a bag of mints in the witness box to back up claims he was only feeding the animal. A jury at Wolverhampton Crown Court, found him not guilty of outraging public decency after accepting his testimony that his approach to the equine world was modelled on that of The Horse Whisperer. Perkins (62) formerly of Wavell Road, Quarry Bank, Dudley, had denied committing a lewd, obscene and disgusting act. The defendant told the jury that he had admitted outraging public decency with a Shetland pony in April 2001.
A man has been jailed for four months after being found guilty of illegally transporting meat that was destined to satisfy demand for a food fad. Another man was given 140 hours community service and ordered to pay £5,000 for his role in trading in the meat known as “smokies”. The pair were caught when the van they were travelling in crashed into a police vehicle at Bronwydd, near Carmarthen, and officers found 124 illegally slaughtered sheep carcasses in the back. Jailed Carmello Gale, from Penlan Farchog, Penrhiwllan, Llandysul immediately lodged an appeal against his custodial sentence. Mohammad Kahn, from Haringey, London, had also denied knowingly taking part in the trade. All carcasses found were smokies, which are prepared by blasting the flesh with a blowtorch. The preparation technique comes from West Africa but none of the carcasses had stamps to show they were killed in a licensed slaughterhouse, nor had the spinal column been removed, as food standards law requires. At Carmarthen magistrates on 27/6/03 Gale was jailed for four months. Kahn was ordered to carry out 140 hours community service and pay £5,000 in costs.
A butcher who was found guilty of causing an E-coli food poisoning outbreak must pay a £10,000 court bill. Paul Harman(39) of Darley Road, Hawkley Hall, Wigan allowed meat to be contaminated at his butcher’s stall based in Kwik Save supermarket, Eccleston, near Chorley. Thirty people were taken seriously ill and 22 were treated in hospital, including Harman’s son, Preston Crown Court was told on 28/6/03. Harman was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £7,500 costs. All the victims will be compensated under Harman’s insurance cover after he accepted liability.
Restaurants and takeaways across England were duped into buying diseased meat prepared at a maggot and rat-infested factory, Nottingham Crown Court heard on 7/7/03. The outlets were among hundreds of customers who used chicken and turkey supplied from Denby Poultry Products, based in Denby, Derbyshire. Five men deny conspiracy to defraud in connection with the supply of the meat. They are Peter Roberts (68) of Francis Street, Chaddesden, Derby; and van driver Simon Haslam (39) of Shalfleet Drive, Derby. Also accused are Brian William John Davies (64) of Walmsley Road, Bury; Brian Paul Davies (37) of Moor Road, Bury; and David Watson (38) of Paxton Crescent, Bletchley, Buckinghamshire. Roberts has failed to appear at court and jurors have been told that he is being tried in his absence. The case continues.
Farm Animals (Guardians Of The Land – My Arse!!!)
A 10-year-old crossbreed dog was virtually bald when it was taken from its owner by the RSPCA Blackburn magistrates heard on 21/5/03. Clive Atkinson (48) of Princess Street, Great Harwood, pleaded not guilty to failing to act, therefore causing unnecessary suffering. The case was found proved after a trial and Atkinson was banned from keeping any domestic animal for three years. He also given a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered to pay £100 towards the costs of veterinary care for the dog.
On 21/5/03 a three-day trial was set down in the case of a Gorseinon couple accused of 64 offences of animal cruelty. Five snakes and three lizards feature in the summonses brought by the RSPCA as well as 23 cats and a rabbit. Glyndwr Jones(52) and Margaret Jones (46) of Llanerch Crescent, have pleaded not guilty to all charges. A trial date has been set for July 23-25 with a pre-trial review in the interim.
On 22/5/03 a Fleetwood pet shop owner was fined for keeping animals in conditions branded in court as “dirty, smelly and overcrowded”. Conditions at Pets’ Corner on Poulton Road came to light when a woman who visited was so appalled by conditions that she complained to environmental health officers. Wayne Garside (43) of Poulton Road, admitted eight cases of failing to keep to the conditions of a pet shop licence and was fined £750 and ordered to pay £450 costs.
Wayne Pearce (37) of Byland Court, Washington, Tyne and Wear was jailed on 30/5/03 for six months for beating the family pet dog whose charred body was later found in discarded woodland. Pearce pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering. The court heard that after beating the dog with a stick, Pearce then dragged the injured animal off telling his family it was “going to die”. At Houghton-le-Spring magistrates Pearce was also banned for life from keeping animals.
A pet shop owner has been banned from selling exotic pets for ten years after a collection of his reptiles were found close to death. Robert Allen (57) of Rockbourne Avenue, Woolton, Liverpool, was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £2,600 in costs after neglecting to care for two pythons, an iguana and a lizard. Allen who was described at Liverpool magistrates on 27/6/03 as “ignorant” of how to care for exotic reptiles after RSPCA officers inspected his Lister Drive Fisheries and Pets Centre in Old Swan, Liverpool. They found a 5ft long green iguana which had severe lesions across its body, mites, roundworm, tapeworm and was losing its scales. Two Burmese pythons were found to be malnourished and suffering from burns, lesions and a loss of skin. The burns are believed to have been caused by housing the snakes in tanks set at the wrong temperature or with naked bulbs. A collared lizard had to be destroyed after it was found to have a pus-filled wound, two fractured ribs, warts and a missing toe. Allen pleaded guilty to four charges of causing unnecessary suffering to animals, although the prosecution accepted he had not been deliberately cruel. Liverpool City Council will now decide whether to renew his general pet selling licence.