Vermin Patrol 2011


A man who filmed his dog trying to kill a badger was branded “sick and callous” by a police wildlife officer on 11/11/09. Shane Burt, 20, of Dean’s Avenue, Connah’s Quay, was found guilty at Wrexham magistrates of wilfully attempting to kill a badger. The court heard the horrible attack happened in Connah’s Quay. Magistrates ordered Burt to carry out 150 hours of community service and pay £250 costs.He was also banned from keeping animals for three years.When the police seized his phone it was found to have about 30-seconds of sickening footage which showed the dog attacking the badger.

A badger sett was destroyed by a bulldozer at woodland near Turriff during work to make a fire break, a court heard on 24/1/11. A track was cleared and levelled through the creatures’ home at Hospital Wood, St Mary’s Well, Turriff, by plant operator Michael Duguid. Banff Sheriff Court were told that he was unaware of badgers in the area and his actions had not been intentional. Duguid, 58, of Ponoka, Riddoch Road, Turriff, admitted a contravention of the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 and was fined £680.

On 30/1/11 seven men from York were arrested after a badger was shot in North Yorkshire. Police said they also seized 13 dogs, one of which had suffered facial injuries, during the swoop near the village of Howsham between York and Malton. They acted after a tip-off by a member of the public, who reported a group of men acting suspiciously while carrying guns and accompanied by dogs. It is understood the badger was shot dead by one of the arrested men during the incident. The seven men from York were aged from 16 to 33, and were stopped by police while travelling in two Land Rovers. An eighth man, aged 33, from West Yorkshire, was also arrested. All have been released on police bail and have had their dogs returned to them while the inquiry continues.

Terrierman Andrew John BellamyTerrierman Andrew John Bellamy, 39, of The Kennels, Sampford Spiney, Yelverton, Devon, disputed being filmed by the League Against Cruel Sports arriving at a badger sett on a quad bike on and apparently digging a terrier from the ground. Bellamy denied two charges of damaging and interfering with a badger sett at Bridford, on Dartmoor, last year while laying a trail for the South Devon Foxhounds. On 1/2/11 he was yesterday found guilty by South Devon magistrates of both offences under the Protection of Badgers Act, fined £500 and ordered to pay £500 costs plus £15 victims surcharge. In sentencing the chairman of the bench, described evidence by Bellamy, and members of the hunt who acted as witnesses, as “reasonably weak” and containing “contradictions”. “We believe you were the man number two in the film,” Mr Blanchard concluded. “You said you were on the quad with a hunt follower then contradicted that evidence.” Video evidence, showed two men, sweeping the sett with an electronic tracking device connected to the collar of a dog located underground before furiously hacking into the turf with spades. The two offences related to the digging into the sett and the placing of a large boulder to obstruct the entrance. Bellamy was suspended from his job as a terrierman since being charged.

On 9/2/11 police arrested three men in Keighley in a joint operation with the RSPCA to prevent animal cruelty in the area. Officers raided five addresses following a long-running investigation. The arrests included one for suspected poaching under the Deer Act, another for alleged animal welfare offences in connection with suspected badger baiting and for an alleged violation of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, and a third under the Animal Welfare Act in connection with injuries sustained to dogs. All three men were bailed. Officers also recovered several animals including a hawk and five dogs, with bull, lurcher and terrier-type dogs taken to a local vet for treatment to facial injuries.

Wayne LumsdenTwo men from Northumberland jailed after forcing animals to fight to the death and posting footage on the internet. Wayne Lumsden of Park Road, Lynemouth and Connor Patterson, Whitfield, near Hexham both 23, were sent to prison on 18/2/11 for 26 and 20 weeks respectively by South East Northumberland magistrates at Bedlington for offences relating to badgers, foxes, dogs, cats and cocks. The pair were also banned from keeping animals for 15 and eight years respectively after boasting about their antics in text messages and keeping photos. Lumsden had earlier pleaded guilty to willfully killing a badger and two counts of causing an animal fight to take place. Farm worker Patterson who the court heard had been an apprentice gamekeeper, had pleaded guilty to two counts of causing an animal fight to take place. Magistrates were read a series of texts exchanged by the pair in which Lumsden bragged of “killing a badger” with his and another dog – something he described as “mint”. The court was then shown a video of the badger being attacked by the two dogs, then footage of cocks fighting and again men’s voices could be heard encouraging them. Magistrates heard clothes seen in the video were later traced to Lumsden and that a text message of his referred to spurs used in cock fighting. Further footage was shown to the court of a fox which had been snared being attacked by a dog. A stick was thrust into the fox’s mouth and a boot – which was later traced to Patterson – was shown on its neck. Again, men could be heard laughing and encouraging the dog with cries of “kill it”. In the final bit of footage, a fox was shown in a cage with a dog. The animals are seen fighting with men’s voices encouraging them and hands shown holding the fox’s ears through the cage. In interview, Patterson admitted he had been an apprentice gamekeeper and had a national diploma in countryside and game management. While studying for this, he had learnt how to use snares and traps. On 25/3/11 Wayne Lumsden and Connor Patterson had their jail sentences cut because of a legal technicality. Judges at Newcastle Crown Court were forced to cut their prison sentences because the pair had not been given credit for pleading guilty at an earlier hearing. Patterson had his sentence reduced to 16 weeks. Lumsden 26 weeks cut to 21 by a judge at a separate hearing.

On 23/3/11 animal welfare officers appealed for help to track down sick thugs who set their dogs on a defenceless badger. The badger baiters struck at a woodland area in the west of Barrhead but were spotted by a horrified member of the public, who raised the alarm. When inspectors from the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reached the scene, they discovered the badger’s remains lying close to its sett, which had been dug up. A post-mortem revealed that the badger had been deliberately killed and had suffered a painful death. Anyone who has information about the Barrhead incident or any other badger baiting crimes is asked to call the Scottish SPCA animal helpline on 03000 999 999. All calls will be treated in the strictest confidence.

A former Buxton pub landlord was jailed for 12 weeks for causing unnecessary suffering to a dog that was found to have a large infected open wound, believed to have been caused by a badger. Craig Alan Edwards, 26, now of Jacksmere Lane, Scarisbrook, Ormskirk, was also banned from keeping animals for ten years, and banned from challenging the order for five years after he was found guilty after a trial on six charges. High Peak magistrates on 25/5/11 heard the dog had been kept in the upstairs accommodation which was bare, had mould, rubbish, an uncarpeted floor and dog mess everywhere. Vets found two large substantial wounds to the lower jaw were infected and covered in a substantial amount of pus discharge. Surgery was not an option as the wound was too extensive and too infected. Expert opinion was that the wound had been sustained in a fight with a badger.

gamekeeper from Ryedale has been fined after shooting a badger. David Stephen Welford, 43, of Whitegrounds, Menethorpe, Malton, pleaded guilty to wilfully killing the badger, when he appeared at Scarborough magistrates on 29/5/11. Welford was fined £385, and ordered to pay £100 court costs.

Jeffrey Johnson, 34, of Forfar Street, Burnley, was convicted of hunting badgers with dogs. Johnson told Hyndburn magistrates on 13/6/11 that he had been digging close to a badger sett in Altham because his terrier had got trapped after chasing a rabbit down a hole. He denied having any interest in badgers but was convicted after a trial. Johnson was fined £270 and told to pay £265 costs. Johnson was seen stood in a three foot deep hole with a spade in his hand by a badger enthusiast. Johnson told the court he was walking his dogs, the terrier and a lurcher, in the area and they had been chasing rabbits. He said the dogs ran off and he found the lurcher near the entrance to what he now knew to be the badger sett. Johnson could hear his dog crying underground and when it did not respond to his calls decided to go home for a spade so he could try and dig it out. He said he blocked the entrance to the sett so the dog would not get out and run away in his absence. Johnson said he came back with a friend and while he was digging the dog emerged from the sett and his friend caught it.

On 24/8/11 seven men and a 16 year-old were granted unconditional bail at Scarborough magistrates on charges brought under the Protection of Badgers Act and the Hunting Act. Alan Alexander, 32, of Bramham Grove, York; James Henry Doyle, 34, of Eastfield Avenue, Knottingley; William Edward Anderson, 26, of Hillside, Cropton Lane, Pickering; Christopher Martin Holmes, 28, of Bell Farm Avenue, York; Richard Simpson, 37, of Wains Road, York; Paul Ian Tindall, 33, of Bramham Grove, York; and Malcolm David Warner, 28, of Princess Drive, York; and a 16 year-old from York, were each accused of interfering with a badger set, digging for badgers and wilfully killing of a badger. Alexander Holmes and Simpson were also accused of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal. They are due to appear at Scarborough magistrates again on 8/9/11.

Huntsman Derek Hopkins and terrierman Kevin AllenHunt employees used “cynical subterfuge” to disguise the fact they were illegally hunting a fox, a judge has ruled. Leicester Crown Court that Huntsman Derek Hopkins and terrierman Kevin Allen, employees of the Fernie Hunt, had pretended they where following a trail scent to cover up the illegal pursuit of a fox. Dismissing their appeal against convictions for breaching the ban on hunting, The five-day appeal, which concluded this on 14/10/11 followed the convictions of Hopkins and Allen at Harborough magistrates. Hopkins (46), of Welham Road, Great Bowden, was fined a total of £850 with a £15 victim surcharge and £1,250 costs. He was ordered to pay £3,630 additional costs to cover the appeal. Allen (52), of Nether Green, Great Bowden, was fined a total of £650 with a £15 victim surcharge and £900 costs. He was also ordered to pay £2,730 additional costs..

Two poachers caught digging into a badger sett were sentenced to 80 hours’ unpaid community work. James Linsley, 27, of Barnard Castle, and Ian Blakey, 33, of Crook, were spotted disturbing the entrance to the sett near Catterick. Northallerton magistrates heard on 7/12/11 how the police found the pair with terriers and dog collar transmitters and locators. Magistrates ordered the destruction of their poaching equipment, which included a metal spike, and recommended that the Skoda Octavia car used by Linsley to get to the sett be permanently forfeited. They also ordered the pair to each pay £775 towards the cost of the court case.

On 19/12/11 a gang of six men and a youth were found guilty of hunting and killing badgers in what was described by an RSPCA inspector as the worst case of animal cruelty he had seen in 20 years. The men, all but one of them from Photo taken by wildlife artist Robert FullerYork, were all found guilty following a two-week trial at Scarborough magistrates. The judge praised the bravery of wildlife artist Robert Fuller, who managed to take pictures of the men in the act, and police sergeant Paul Stephenson, who investigated the crime. Alan Alexander, 32, of Bramham Close, York, William Edward Anderson, 26, of Hillside, Cropton Lane, Pickering, Richard Simpson, 37, of Wains Road, York, Paul Ian Tindall, 33 of Bramham Grove, York, and a 17-year-old York youth, were all found guilty having pleaded not guilty to charges of wilfully killing two badgers, digging out a badger sett, interfering with a sett, and hunting a wild animal with dogs. Two others, Christopher Martin Holmes, 28, of Bell Farm Avenue, York and Malcolm David Warner, 28, of Princess Drive, York, pleaded guilty at the start of the trial to the charges, and all seven had their cases adjourned for sentence until 10/1/12. Another man, James Henry Doyle, 34, of Westfield Avenue, Knottingley, was cleared of all the charges. The court heard how the men had laughed as they watched a badger being ripped apart in a “tug of war” by dogs. They were also told of the discovery of a pregnant badger, also savaged to death, and two foetuses. Post-mortem results concluded another badger had “suffered a severe and sustained” attack.


On 12/1/09 at Dumfries Sheriffs Court, part-time gamekeeper Jonathon Charles Galbraith of High Road, Hightae, Lockerbie, pleaded guilty to two charges relating to the illegal use of a spring-trap against wild birds and animals. He was fined £1,400. The SSPCA had an anonymous call about an injured bird in a trap near Kirkhill Farm, Dalton, Dumfries and Galloway. Galbraith, with 40 years’ experience in gamekeeping, was solely responsible for the management of a pheasant shoot there. The following day SSPCA Inspectors visited the area to look for the injured bird. In a wood on Kirkhill Farm they found an active pheasant pen and, close by, an unset “Springer 4” spring-trap next to a dead pheasant poult. The spring-trap had a fox snare attached to it. The inspectors searched the area, and observed Galbraith resetting the spring-trap and placing it on top of the dead pheasant poult. The setting of spring-traps in the open is illegal and these devices should be covered to exclude any non-target animal. The SSPCA Inspectors approached Galbraith, identified themselves, and interviewed him about the trap. Galbraith accepted setting it claiming something was killing his pheasants.

Gamekeeper Lewis Whitham, 20, was fined £800 reduced from £1000 after pleading guilty at Lanark Sheriff Court on 17/11/10 to planting a poisoned rabbit carcass on a country estate. Whitham, a gamekeeper on the Hopetoun Estate in South Lanarkshire, was caught after a researcher from Advocates for Animals saw him walking along a stone dyke on the estate then returning ten minutes later on a quad bike. The researcher saw Whitham look around before removing a rabbit carcase from the quad bike and staking it to the ground using wire then leaving. The researcher looked at the rabbit and saw blue/black coloured granules in the stomach cavity. He contacted authorities and scientific analysis later confirmed that the granules contained a significant quantity of carbofuran, an illegal poison. The conviction of Whitham, from Skipton, North Yorkshire, will mean that he will lose the protection of the general licences.

Three men were caught hare coursing at Six Mile Bottom. Joseph Smith, 51, of Paddock Wood, Kent, William Smith, 42, of Willingham Avenue, Hastings, and Buddy Jarrett, 19, of Atterbury Close, Westerham, Kent, had travelled up to Cambridgeshire from East Sussex. They were convicted at Ely magistrates 6/1/11 and the car was ordered destroyed. Smith and Kent were both fined £300, ordered to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge. Both were also given a six-month driving ban. Jarrett was fined £100, ordered to pay £100 costs and £15 victim surcharge. He was given a three-month driving ban. All had pleaded guilty to illegal hare coursing.

Nicholas ParkerOn 24/1/11 the head gamekeeper at the Holkham Estate, Norfolk was charged with a string of offences after an investigation by police following the death of a wild bird. Nicholas Parker, 41, of Main Road, Holkham, has been suspended from his job at the country estate since the allegations came to light in 2010. Police said he has been charged with killing a schedule one wild bird, taking game out of season, possessing ammunition for a firearm without a certificate, possessing a shotgun or rifle for committing a wildlife offence, possessing a shotgun without a certificate and a charge of contravening the Wildlife and Countryside Act. On 15/7/11 he was given a conditional discharge after pleading guilty to possessing too much ammunition for a firearm. Parker appeared at Norwich magistrates having previously admitted being in excess of his licensed amount of 22.250 ammunition. Earlier the judge had dismissed a charge of possessing a firearm capable of being able to commit a wildlife offence as much of the prosecution’s evidence related to allegations from 2008 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 required evidence to be within two years. A charge relating to the possession of a shotgun without a certificate was also conceded after a certificate was produced.

.Three men accused of illegal hunting with dogs were found guilty at Selby magistrates on 9/2/11. Mark Anthony Tiffin of Derwent Place, Knottingley, West Yorkshire, Ben Scott Lloyd Galworthy of the same address and Neil Burlingham of Clifford, Wetherby were each given a conditional discharge for two years with Galworthy and Burlingham each ordered to pay £500.00 costs. The two dogs, which had been examined by a vet were confiscated by the police but were later taken from the kennels by person or persons unknown. Tiffin is currently serving a 12-month prison sentence for causing death by dangerous driving.

Quantock Staghounds, huntsman Richard Down who became the first person to be convicted twice under the ban on hunting has dropped a planned appeal on the 9/2/11 against his latest conviction. Down was convicted in November last year of illegally hunting a stag in Somerset back in September 2009. It was the second time he’d been successfully prosecuted following video evidence captured under cover by monitors for the League Against Cruel Sports. Down was fined £2,920 by magistrates in Taunton, and later appealed. But now, the huntsman has dropped his appeal and the conviction stands.

A group of illegal hare coursers who drove 150 miles to let their dogs chase hares in north Suffolk were fined and banned from driving on 16/2/11. They were each fined £1,000 and banned from driving for 56 days after they pleaded guilty to hunting a wild mammal with a dog. Magistrates heard the five defendants had driven up from Surrey and Sussex with five dogs and allowed their dogs to chase hares in a field in Flixton, near Bungay. At least one hare was killed by the packs of dog, which included a spring spaniel, a terrier and a seven-month-old puppy. The court heard the men had come to the area after they arranged with a farmer to chase animals on his land, a practice that is legal under the Hunting Act 2004 if given permission by a land owner. However once in the area the men could not get in touch with the farmer and decided to release their pets in other fields. Eddis Cole, 28 from Rudwick, Sussex, Matthew Giles, 31 and his cousin Tony Giles, 25, both from Cranleigh, Surrey, Nelson Hedges, 23, from Normandy, Surrey and Matthew Wenman, 26, from Rudwick, Sussex, were banned from driving for 56 days as a vehicle had been used in the commission of an offence. As well as the £1,000 fine each defendant must pay £100 in costs and surcharges.

George Whitehead admitted two charges relating to a section of the Wildlife and Countryside Act to control the use of snares after two badly-set devices were discovered in a local woodland. At Forfar Sheriff Court on 25/2/11 they heard that Whitehead was part of a syndicate that reared young pheasants in pens at Montreathmont Forest, near Brechin. Whitehead (49), of Glenisla Drive, Arbroath, admitted two charges of setting snares so as to be calculated to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal coming into contact with them. Whitehead was fined a total of £200.

Five poachers who admitted hare coursing on North Kyme farmland, as well as at other sites around the county, received fines totalling more than £1,000. The men, who travelled from their homes in the West Midlands to Lincolnshire to buy dogs for breeding, claim the animals ran away and began chasing a hare. Travelling in one Vauxhall Frontera with two lurchers, they were reported to the police after being spotted trespassing in North Kyme, Nocton, Blankney Fen and Metheringham. Nelson Smith, 47, from Evesham, Worcestershire, Frank Roberts, 42, from Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, Charlie Gaskin, 24, and Leonard Gaskin, 52, both from Ryton on Dunsmore near Coventry, and Jamie Davies, 24, also from Evesham, all pleaded guilty to trespassing in pursuit of game at Lincoln Magistrates on 25/3/11. Davies and Roberts were fined £150 plus £50 costs and the £15 Government surcharge. Charlie and Leonard Gaskin were fined £300 plus £100 costs and £15 surcharge. As father and son had both previously been convicted of poaching, the judge issued them indefinite Anti-Social Behaviour Orders stating they must not trespass in Lincolnshire. Smith the driver and owner of the Vauxhall Frontera, was forced to hand over his car, as well as being fined £300 plus £150 costs and the £15 surcharge.

On 14/3/11 a former gamekeeper was jailed for 16 weeks after he admitted filming an horrific attack by two dogs on a trapped fox. The footage taken by Stephen Metcalfe on his mobile phone was so distressing that it made one of the magistrates cry when viewed in court. The 32-year-old claimed he was not directly involved in the attack – but he refused to name the two other men involved. The court heard the unidentified men had caught the fox and were keeping it in a sack with its mouth bound. The fox was then held down by its neck by one of the men, with its mouth still tied, as the dogs repeatedly tore into it at the unnamed location. It was later shot dead by one of the men, who are both known to Metcalfe. He had previously worked as a gamekeeper for four years and was trained in humane methods of killing animals. Metcalfe, of Cavey Garth, West Burton, near Leyburn, North Yorkshire, admitted causing unnecessary suffering and being present at an animal fight. He was also banned from keeping dogs for ten years.

Jonathan Stephenson, 36, of Great Ayton, John Langan, 24, of Stokesley and Gary Smith, 29, also from Stokesley, were found guilty of hunting wild mammals with dogs following a trial at Bridlington magistrates on 23/3/11. Two other men, Christopher Stephenson, 41, and David Adams, 30, from Stokesley had pleaded guilty to the same offence at an earlier hearing and were fined. Smith who failed to appear was fined £380 in his absence. Langan and Stephenson were each fined a total of £530 consisting of a £300 fine, £215 in court costs and a £15 victim surcharge. The court also ordered the forfeiture of their Subaru.

On 26/5/11 Gamekeeper James Rolfe, 20, of The Gate Lodge, Moy, pled guilty to the possession of a dead red kite which was found in his vehicle during a Police wildlife crime operation at an estate in Moy, near Inverness in June 2010. At Inverness Sheriff Court, the former apprentice gamekeeper was fined £1,500 after he admitted possessing a dead red kite.

Gamekeeper Wayne Grant, 32, of Limetree Cottage, Moy, is charged with having 56 black-headed gull eggs in an out-building at his home in Kune 2010.

The case against a gamekeeper accused of wildlife crime offences began at Inverness Sheriff Court on 18/3/11. Andrew Malcom Slaughter, 34, of Faddock, Killialan, Kyle, faces two charges in connection with setting a spring trap at Glen Elchaig on Inverinate Estate. He also faces a charge that he failed to ensure that a crow which was caught in a trap was “provided with adequate shelter and protection from adverse weather”. A fourth charge states that he “set a spring trap which was capable of catching birds, pine martins, badgers and otters”. The case will continue at Inverness Sheriff Court on 12/10/11 for a debate. This is an intermediate step in procedure when legal points are considered.

Police caught two men and a youth poaching on land and involved in illegal hare-coursing, a court heard. George Hunter, 24, of Killingholme Road, Habrough, Nathan Mawson, 18, of Greengate Lane, South Killingholme, and a 16- year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted trespassing in pursuit of hares at Hayes Farm, Redbourne, near Brigg. At North Lincolnshire magistrates on 19/3/11 Hunter and Mawson were each fined £100 and were ordered to pay £85 costs and a Government-imposed £15 victims’ surcharge. The youth was given an absolute discharge, but must pay £85 costs.

Michael SutherlandMichael Sutherland, 38, of The New Farmhouse, Hillhead of Foveran, Newburgh repeatedly fired a rifle at a terrified shooting party hunting near his farm has narrowly escaped jail on 21/4/11. The court heard how he had endangered the lives of eight men by shooting at them as they hunted geese in a field near his house. The Irish shooting party watched “dangerous shots” whizz past the group as they sheltered in a hide made of shrubbery during the incident. But Sutherland claimed he did not see the men and was merely shooting vermin on his farm to use up unauthorised ammunition. Sutherland was found guilty of a charge of endangering lives by shooting at them. He admitted a further charge of possessing around 230 more rounds of ammunition than he was licensed for on the same date. Sutherland was ordered to carry out two years of probation along with 300 hours of unpaid work in the community. The Irish shooters were Owen Jackman, Liam Burke, Patrick O’Sullivan, John Condon, Peter Butler, Seamus Butler, James Lambert and Kevin Lambert.

Ivan Mark CraneA farmer and his son were caught on camera as they illegally tried to snare protected birds of prey, a court heard. Ivan Peter Crane (53), and Ivan Mark Crane (26), appeared at Market Harborough magistrates on 21/4/11. The court heard the men used spring-loaded rat traps to try to stop raptors feeding on young pheasants at Astley Grange Farm, in East Langton. But undercover investigators from the RSPB, who visited the farm last summer as part of a wider investigation into the killing of birds of prey in the county, had set up secret cameras. The investigators found that spring traps, normally used to snare rats, had been placed on top of poles used as perches by birds of prey. Ivan Crane senior, of Astley Grange Farm, pleaded guilty to using a spring trap to kill or take a wild bird. He also admitted possessing a spring trap capable of committing an offence, and two pesticide offences. His son, of the same address, also pleaded guilty to possessing a spring trap. Ivan Peter Crane was fined £1,000 and Ivan Mark Crane was fined £500. Both were ordered to pay £80 costs. Ivan Peter Crane was further fined £2,000 in relation to the illegal and unsafe storage of pesticides on the farm.

On 5/5/11 Huw Green, a member of the Tivyside Hunt, was found guilty of battery against a pensioner. Green pleaded not guilty to assaulting 75-year-old Michael Sharratt of Whitland, Carmarthenshire. Haverfordwest magistrates heard the altercation between Green and Sharrat, who was monitoring the hunt on behalf of the League Against Cruel Sports. Green was fined £55 and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge and £100 costs. The League released footage of the incident, in which a scuffle is seen to develop over pictures of the hunt recorded on a camera and mobile phone. A further dispute then breaks out over alleged trespassing, after which a voice, said to be that of Green, says: “You’re a dirty scum of a man who just wants to make trouble for people.”

Donald ForbesOn 16/5/11 Donald Forbes, 55, of Riverdale, Burnside Road, Peterculterwas found guilty of hitting a tame fox – which later died – with a golf club as he played a round. He was fined £750 for the attack. Forbes denied causing unnecessary suffering by striking the fox with his driver at Peterculter Golf Club, Aberdeen. He went on trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court where he was found guilty and fined £750 and ordered to forfeit the offending club.

A member of an exclusive £2,000-a-year shooting syndicate killed a young swan after mistaking it for a goose and gunning it down with both barrels of his 12-gauge shotgun, a court was told on 17/5/11. Harrogate magistrates heard on 17/5/11 how Simon Quincefatally injured the juvenile male swan while taking part in a pheasant shoot on land in North Yorkshire. Quince, 36, of Hart Hills, Hemingfield, near Barnsley, pleaded guilty to a charge of destroying the mute swan, the property of the Crown. He also admitted using lead shot to shoot a wild bird. The court heard that nine guns had been involved in a beater-driven pheasant shoot at Spellow Grange Farm in Minskip Road at Staveley, Knaresborough. In the first drive, Quince had bagged two pheasants, and when the second drive took place he had been stationed at the end of the line. When Quince spotted four birds he believed were geese. He discharged both barrels, hitting one of the quartet, which fell to ground. The court heard that Quince realised immediately something was wrong and put his gun away before the swan was taken to a vet in Boroughbridge. However, the bird was found to be too badly injured to save and was put down. In an interview, Quince said he had been shooting for three years. In his first year he went to local shoots for woodcock, pheasant and duck, and while he did not shoot during the second year, he then joined the Spellow Grange syndicate. He maintained that he had not known he was firing at a swan, was unaware he could not use lead shot and wished he had done more research before going on the shoot. Quince had paid about £2,000 to be involved in the syndicate which allowed him 10 days shooting a year, had now been “dismissed” from the shoot. Quince was fined £445 and ordered to pay £85 in costs along with a £15 victim surcharge for shooting the swan, and he was given a £100 fine by magistrates for using lead shot.

Trevor HallA Norwich man who set up a cockfighting training farm at his parents’ home and ran illegal fights for nearly three years has been banned from keeping animals for five years. A court was shown a 6-minute video filmed by Trevor Hall showing cockfighting at his parents’ farm in Horsham St Faith, near Norwich. Hall, 45, had previously admitted five charges of holding cockfights, keeping and training cocks to fight, keeping premises for cockfights, taking part in cockfights, and being present at a cockfight. But he claimed that he was forced into holding the cockfights by Travellers who had threatened the safety of his girlfriend and parents. At Norwich magistrates on 26/5/11 they heard that Hall had a collection of cockfighting books including ‘The art of training fighting cocks’, DVDs and videos including ‘Chicken Fights 3’, and had filmed his cockerels fighting. The RSPCA, said 10 cocks suspected of being involved in cockfighting were seized and a number of video tapes and books relating to cockfighting were seized from the address in Vale Green. Two VHS tapes were also seized containing 300 minutes of multiple cockfighting images, some with metal spurs on their legs to cause more injury. At least one fight was to the death. Two Camcorders and a laptop were also seized, also containing footage of cockfighting, and some cockfighting magazines and five cockfighting books. Hall was given an 18-week suspended sentence and a curfew for five months to live at the address in Vale Green between 8pm and 7am daily. He must also pay £250 towards costs. On 1/7/11 at Norwich Crown Court Hall successfully appealed his five-year ban on keeping all animals and instead has had a lifetime ban on keeping poultry imposed.

An illegal animal trap which cut off foxes’ legs was set by a man unhappy the animals had made holes in his fence. Dantai Le, 60, of St Julians Farm Road, West Norwood, pleaded guilty to charges of using and possessing an illegal trap, causing unnecessary suffering, and not protecting an animal from pain, injury and suffering. He was ordered to wear an electronic tag and put under curfew between 9.30pm and 5.30am for 56 days when he appeared at Camberwell magistrates on 24/5/11. He was also told to pay £500 costs.

Dean BarrAn estate worker had enough illegal poison to “wipe out the entire Scottish golden eagle and red kite populations several times over”, a court has heard on 26/5/11. Gamekeeper Dean Barr, 44, of Clashmore, Dornoch, admitted possessing 10kg of Carbofuran. The insecticide, banned in 2005, was found in a farm building, used by Barr, on the Highlands Skibo Castle estate. The sheriff fined the former Ulster Defence Regiment soldier £3,300 at Inverness Sheriff Court. The insecticide was discovered in a locked store by police investigating the deaths of the birds. Barr had the keys to the store. The Carbofuran found had been bought by a farmer to legally treat crops on a Scottish Borders estate where Barr had worked.

Glenn Browngamekeeper working on National Trust land has been found guilty of illegally trapping birds of prey in the Peak District. Glenn Brown, 39, of Old Henry’s Schoolhouse in Upper Derwent Valley, was filmed using a cage with a live pigeon to catch a sparrowhawk. On 13/6/11 Chesterfield magistratest heard Brown trapped the birds to protect grouse where he worked. He was ordered to perform 100 hours community service with £10,000 costs. The traps that he used were designed to catch crows, rooks and jackdaws but were illegal for trapping birds of prey, the court heard. The gamekeeper operated traps on land in the Upper Derwent Valley owned by the National Trust but leased by another party. The RSPB installed video cameras at the trap site in Howden Moor and captured images that were used during the prosecution. Brown was found guilty of seven offences including using a trap for the purpose of killing or taking wild birds.

Two Burnley men were fined for poaching activity in Longridge and Altham. Nicholas Green, 23, of Reynolds Street, Burnley, was fined £400 by Preston magistrates on 5/7/11 when he pleaded guilty to hunting a wild animal with a dog. He was caught after officers attended a report of a suspicious vehicle on the outskirts of Longridge and discovered a man leaving nearby farmland with lamps and two lurcher dogs. Jeffrey Johnson, 34 of Forfar Street, Burnley, was fined £535 after being found guilty of hunting with dogs.

On 7/7/11 an Annan man who neglected his dog and possessed illegal snares was fined £1500 and banned from keeping animals for five years. Carl Conroy, 21, of Brisbane Road, Eastriggs admitted he had in his possession illegal self-locking snares and an electronic bird caller used to attract birds in order to kill them. Conroy was also found guilty of failing to provide veterinary treatment to his male lurcher. The slaughterman was warned he faces 45 days imprisonment if he fails to make payment and ordered to pay £750 in compensation to the Scottish SPCA. Conroy also used his dog to hunt and it had sustained a serious injury to its nose and lower jaw, with its nose effectively having been ripped off. Despite the obvious pain his dog was suffering Conroy did not seek veterinary treatment.

Mark ParsonsA huntsman who claimed the Hunt Master’s foul-mouthed language in the hunting field and elsewhere was a breach of contract lost his claim for constructive dismissal on 19/7/11. Mark Parsons, kennel huntsman and first whipper-in with Mendip Farmers’ Hunttold an employment tribunal of the tense relationship between himself and hunt Master Richard Standing. On one occasion Standing was so frustrated by Parsons’ alleged heavy-handed driving of the hunt’s pick-up truck that he took hold of Parsons by his sleeveless gilet coat and shook him so hard it was ripped to show him what his own experience as a passenger had felt like. On another occasion when a hound walked over the white line marking the centre of the road as they exercised hounds together Standing allegedly said: “Shall I hit the hound or you?” But the employment tribunal found that none of Standing’s actions amounted to a breach of trust or confidence. Parsons brought his claim against Standing and Hunt chairman Peter Williams, representing the Mendip Hunt Committee and against Leicester (Fallen Stock Ltd).

Raymond Foster of Half Moon Lane, Spennymoor, County Durham, narrowly escaped jail after a dog died in a snare which he set. Foster was also banned from keeping animals for life and ordered to pay £500 compensation to the dog’s owner at Darlington magistrates on 21/7/11. At a earlier trial Foster, was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, a female springer spaniel. The court heard how the 55- year-old volunteered to carry out vermin control, killing rabbits and rats for the local allotment association. On the day that the dog died, he had also warned one person that he had set fox snares in a field. A vet’s report confirmed the dog had died of strangulation and would have been in a lot of pain and distress.The chairwoman of the bench, told Foster she was imposing the ban and sentenced him to an 18 week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months, as well as making the compensation order.

A prolific poacher who committed a series of offences over six years was given an anti-social behaviour order on 4/8/11. John Langan from Stokesley was arrested in March 2010 in Bridlington and charged with hunting a wild mammal with dogs. Humberside Police then applied for the Asbo due to the high number of poaching and hare-coursing incidents involving Langan between January 2005 and January 2011. Running for three years, the order features a number of conditions. If they are breached, Langan could face prison. Langan, 25, of Sowerby Crescent, Stokesley, received the Asbo from magistrates in Hull. The order bars him from causing alarm, harassment or distress in the force area and from entering it other than to catch or arrive on a ferry from Hull with pre-booked tickets, to travel to and from Humberside Airport with pre-booked tickets, to work in the East Riding in the construction industry, or to stop to buy fuel.

Robbie Lees, David Cassels and Samuel BurgoyneThree men have admitted deliberately hunting foxes in the east end of Glasgow. Samuel Burgoyne, 44, Robbie Lees, 26, and David Cassels, 24, used dogs with radio collars to hunt the animals on the Clyde Walkway. On 30/8/11 Glasgow Sheriff Court heard that the trio was caught by a wildlife crime officer who saw one of them holding a fox by the scruff of the neck. Sheriff Daniel Convery deferred sentence for good behaviour. The three men, all from Alexandria, Dunbartonshire, pleaded guilty to deliberately hunting foxes with four dogs. The court was told the area of ground is a badger sett which has been used by hunters in the past and regular visits are made to ensure the safety of the animals. The court heard that two of the dogs were found with fox hair and fox DNA in their teeth. All three accused used their dogs to hunt rabbits and rats and that was their initial intention when they set out that day. The court was told that their dogs names were Nipper, Bruiser and Asbo and had cared for them for years The courtalso ordered that the dogs are re-homed and disqualified all three from owning dogs for two years.

Malcolm HughesA gamekeeper from Wiltshire has been given a suspended five-month jail term after he drove his Land Rover at a low-flying Army helicopter. Malcolm Hughes, 61, of Pewsey, was told he could have killed the two crew members in the incident. The pilot, who was flying at 5ft (1.5m) at one point, avoided a collision when he spotted Hughes’ vehicle. Hughes, who said he was trying to see the aircraft’s registration, was sentenced at Swindon Crown Court on 2/9/11. He was also told to carry out 120 hours’ unpaid work and pay £1,000 prosecution costs. Hughes was found guilty of endangering an aircraft, at an earlier hearing and was suspended for 12 months.

David BevanAn employee of the West Somerset Vale Fox Hounds was convicted of assault by beating, after he attacked Paul Tillsley, an investigations officer for the League Against Cruel Sports. Tillsley was monitoring the activity of the West Somerset Vale Fox Hounds when David Bevan, the hunt’s whipper-in, attacked him and took his video camera. Bevan was given a conditional discharge for twelve months, and ordered to pay £150 compensation and £85 costs at Taunton magistrates on 6/9/11. The court heard how Bevan used his horse to push Tilsley along while he struck him a number of times with the handle of his whip. He then also knocked him down and pinned him to the ground while Bevan forcibly took his camcorder and gave it to another man.

On 8/9/11 hunt supporterAndrew Leaver, was convicted recently of the use of threatening words or behaviour to cause harassment or distress. He recieved a 12 months conditional discharge and had to pay costs of £85. He is a foot follower on the Crawley and Horsham Hunt and on the 5th February, while the Croydon Hunt Sabs Land Rover was blocked in by hunt vehicles, he was filmed trying to punch through the side passenger window of their Land Rover, apparently trying to reach the driver. This was filmed by other Hunt Saboteurs who he then proceeded to threaten. Initially denying the charges he pleaded guilty after being show the video evidence.

A farmer and his company face a £310,000 court bill for damaging a famous North Yorkshire daffodil valley in their quest for bigger profits from game shoots. Residents of Farndale, near Pickering, told York Crown Court on 10/9/11 how they saw “waves” of pheasants on the roads and 20 at a time in one field after Yorks Sports Ltd and its director, Michael Wood, defied official warnings and illegally increased the number of game birds in and around the valley’s conservation area. The court heard how, in 2006, sportsmen shot nearly 15,000 birds on the Farndale Estate where the farmer and company had shooting rights, double the bag of three years earlier. Between 2006 and 2009, the tens of thousands of birds on the land significantly damaged the landscape on top of considerable damage caused by flooding in 2007 in the Farndale site of special scientific interest. The company and Wood are now working with Natural England on restoring the Farndale SSSI to its former state. Wood, 66, and Yorks Sports Ltd, both of Cropton Lane, Pickering, both pleaded guilty to seven offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. They were each fined £20,000, plus a £15 victim surcharge and £125,000 between them towards prosecution costs. Natural England, who brought the case, had applied for £200,000. In addition, the defendants must pay a total a £145,000 defence costs bill. The company was valued in court as worth about £245,000. Wood and Yorks Sport Ltd have shooting rights in Farndale Estate, owned by Sir Lawrence Barratt.

The master of a Teifi Valley hunt was obstructive towards a council animal health officer and a veterinary surgeon who visited the kennels. Robert Gordon Thomas, master of the West Wales Farmers Bloodhounds, of Cwmdu, Cwmcou near Newcastle Emlyn, appeared at Ceredigion magistrates Court on 28/9/11 and pleaded guilty on five charges. He admitted obstructing the officials and four offences of breaching animal by-product regulations. He was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £9,000. Thomas was fined £2,000 for the obstruction offence, £1,000 on each of the four by-product offences and ordered to pay £3,000 costs.

A court hearing for four people accused of illegal fox hunting has been adjourned. The quartet, who are all members of the Crawley and Horsham Hunt, are accused of hunting a fox with a dog contrary to the Hunting Act 2004. Sussex Police launched an investigation after videos allegedly showing a fox being killed during a hunt. The four are joint master of the Crawley and Horsham Hunt – Henry James Hawksfield, 58, of Bines Road, Partridge Green, near Horsham, Rachel Holdsworth, of Rock Road, Washington, near Storrington, Neil Millard, 44, of Dragons Lane, Heythrop Hunt huntsman Julian BarnfieldShipley, near Horsham, and Andrew Phillis, 50, of Halwell, Totnes, Devon. The hearing was adjourned to 10/11/11 at Haywards Heath magistrates.

On 25/10/11 the Heythrop Hunt huntsman Julian Barnfield, 48, of Kennel Lane, Chipping Norton, pleaded not guilty to hunting foxes with dogs. Banbury magistrates heard the offences allegedly took place in Oxfordshire. The case has been adjourned until 9/12/11.

John NorrishA huntsman appeared in court on 18/10/11 accused of raping a woman at a ball. John Norrish, 67, who is a member of the Tiverton Staghounds, did not offer a plea but Exeter Crown Court was told the charge is being contested. Norrish, of Mouseberry Farm, East Worlington, near Tiverton, is accused of raping a woman at the event, A case management hearing will take place on 6/1/12 and the three-day-long hearing is set to start on 14/5/12.

On 24/11/11 two men were charged with laying snares to trap rare mountain hares on a Highland estate. Kevin Begg, 45, of Keepers House, Lochindorb and David Taylor, 64, Relugas Kennels, Dunphail, Forres, are alleged to have used 24 snares to trap the white hare on Lochindorb Estate at Grantown-on-Spey. At the time of the alleged offence the estate was owned by Alistair Laing, chairman of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust. Mr Laing has since sold the estate on. Both deny setting the traps. Their trial was set for three days, starting on 28/3/12 at Inverness Sheriff Court.

A previously convicted gamekeeper admitted to poisoning four buzzards with Alpha-chloralose laced baits. At Lanark Sheriff Court on 1/12/11, David Alexander Whitefield (45) of Coulter, near Biggar in Lanarkshire, pled guilty to the offences at Culter Allers Farm, near Biggar, where Whitefield was employed as the sole gamekeeper for pheasant and partridge shooting. He has reportedly blamed his employer (the landowner), whom Whitefield claims told him to reduce the number of buzzards. In addition to the four poisoned buzzards found on the shooting estate, a large quantity of Alpha-chloralose was found inside unlocked outbuildings, some of it inside a coffee jar. Whitefield’s previous convictions include failing to ensure the welfare of a buzzard and possession of a buzzard. These offences took place at Culter Allers and he was convicted at Lanark Sheriff Court in September 2008. He received a pathetic £300 fine (see here). Just six months later he was poisoning buzzards. At the time of the first conviction (Sept 2008), he was reported to be a self-confessed member of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA). The SGA has issued a statement after today’s conviction, that says Whitefield’s membership will be suspended with immediate effect. This is welcome, if belated, news. But why wasn’t his membership terminated after his earlier conviction for wildlife offences in 2008?

On 6/12/11 Allan Armistead appeared at Furness magistrates in connection with the poisoning and shooting of red kites in south Cumbria. He was charged with a string of offences concerning the illegal storing of pesticides, firearms and ammunition. Armistead pleaded guilty to seven counts of storing a pesticide, which included Strychnine, Cymag, Phosdrin and Rentokil Phostoxin, without approval. The substances were found after police executed searches at Armistead’s home at Hulleter Farm, Oxen Park, Ulverston. He also entered guilty pleas to possessing a rifle and a quantity of ammunition without a certificate. Armistead entered not guilty pleas to three offences of storing a pesticide without approval. He denies one charge of storing a product of an unknown name containing sodium cyanide and another of storing Strychnine, and a further charge of storing a product containing lead arsenate. He will appear for sentence for the offences he entered guilty pleas to at Lancaster Crown Court on 6/11/12. He will appear at Furness Magistrates’ Court for committal proceedings on 31/1/12.

Christopher John CarterNorfolk gamekeeper was told on 8/12/11 he could be sent to prison after admitting causing a fight between two dogs and a fox. Christopher John Carter, 49, of The Burrows, in Gayton Thorpe, pleaded guilty at King’s Lynn magistrates to causing the fight between the animals. Appearing alongside Carter was Luke James Byrne, 19, of Mill Houses, King’s Lynn, who admitted causing three animal fights on Westacre Estate. The 19-year-old also admitted possessing three dead wild birds, a heron, cormorant and a buzzard, in King’s Lynn. In court magistrates watched video footage, recorded by Bryne, of the fights which saw dogs attacking animals trapped in a snare. The first clip showed a fight between a dog and rat. The other videos showed two dogs attacking a fox on and a fight between a dog and a fox. During each of the videos, Bryne was heard laughing as the fights took place and encouraging the dogs to attack. He was also heard screaming “kill it” repeatedly and during the second video, Bryne was heard saying: “That didn’t last very long”. A number of pictures were also found on Mr Bryne’s father’s laptop of dead animals – three of which were dead wild birds. The conclusion was made that he must have been in possession of these birds to take pictures of them and he has pleaded guilty to these charges. The pair will return to King’s Lynn magistrates on11/11/12 to be sentenced.

Horrific mobile phone footage of dogs ripping apart a fox was used to convict three men of animal cruelty offences. The men have been given suspended sentence after the sick video clip was passed to the RPSCA. In it terriers are seeing pulling and tearing at the animal, while being goaded on by their owners. Most shockingly, in one of the clips, young children are watching the bloody scenes. At Sunderland magistrates on 15/12/11 gamekeeper Ian Raymond Moralee, 25, of Swaledale Crescent, Houghton, pleaded guilty to arranging a fight between a fox and terrier dogs and causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal. Terry Stavers, 30, of Handley Crescent, East Rainton, pleaded guilty to being present at an animal fight and causing unnecessary suffering to his dogs, which were left with injuries to their noses and paws. His brother Jonathan Stavers, 31, of Lloyd Avenue, East Rainton, also admitted being present at the fight and causing unnecessary suffering to the fox. All three entered guilty pleas. Moralee and Terry Stavers were given an 18-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, with a year’s supervision. Both were also told they are to be electronically tagged and made subject to a four-month curfew. Jonathan Stavers was given 18-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months and made subject to an 18-month supervision order. He is no longer allowed to keep three dogs which he owns. All three men were banned from owning dogs for life, a ruling they cannot appeal against for the next five years.

Protect Our Wild Animals was informed on 18/12/11 that, following incidents at a meet in February and complaints to the police, the Huntsman of the Cotswold Vale Farmers Foxhounds Alan Morgan has pleaded guilty to racially abusing a hunt sab, fined £100 and ordered to pay £200 compensation to his victim. As Morgan’s offence was, apparently, fully captured on video, a guilty plea was probably wise.

An RSPCA prosecution in which two men are accused of hunting a wild fox with a dog and failing to ensure animal welfare by confining a fox in a barrel will go ahead at Spalding magistrates on 18/1/12. John Bycroft (66), of Weston Hills Road, Low Fulney, and Jamie Round (24), of Washway Road, Holbeach, deny the charges which arise from an incident in the vicinity of Fen Road, Holbeach. Bycroft denies three further charges of aiding a person unknown in the vicinty of Spalding to fail to ensure the needs of an animal were met. These cases relate to the following day and the alleged abandoning of different numbers of fox cubs – seven, six and five – in a sack without adequate ventilation and light. Neither man was present in court on 27/12/11 when their solicitor entered not guilty pleas on their behalf.

Dogfighting and Pit Bulls

On 20/1/11 a number of addresses in the north east of Scotland were raided by police investigating reports of dog fighting and animal welfare issues. Grampian Police and the Scottish SPCA carried out searches at four addresses in Banff and Macduff. The force said nine dogs were seized, along with equipment. Four men – aged 22, 24, 30 and 35 – are being reported to the procurator fiscal.

Mohammed YounisA man has been banned from keeping animals after three ‘skeletal’ dogs were found in squalid conditions in his home. Mohammed Younis admitted a series of animal cruelty charges after the American Pit Bull and her two emaciated puppies were discovered in a bedroom covered in their own faeces. Magistrates heard on 11/5/11 how the animals were found when the RSPCA and police raided the property in Bolton Street, Glodwick, Oldham. Younis, 35, now of Cottage Gardens, Oldham, pleaded guilty at Oldham magistrates to three animal welfare charges and also admitted one charge of possessing a dangerous dog. Younis who runs a takeaway in Gorton, was banned from keeping animals for five years. He must also carry out 100 hours of unpaid work as part of a 12-month community order and was ordered to pay £2,000 of the £6,700 vet and investigation costs.

Two “barbaric” brothers have been jailed for their part in a dog fighting ring after an undercover investigation by an animal welfare charity. David and Colin Reid admitted taking part in an animal fight and keeping a dog for fighting purposes when they appeared at Banff Sheriff Court on 21/9/11. Scottish SPCA inspectors removed six animals from the Reid brothers and discovered graphic video footage of dog fights during raids on their homes. David Reid, 22, of Boyndie Street West, Banff was jailed for six months while 24-year-old Colin Reid, of Moray Street, Macduffwas jailed for four months. Both men have been banned from keeping dogs for five years.During raids on the Reid brothers video evidence was found which not only proved their guilt but also clearly demonstrated their fascination in watching the poor dogs involved viciously fight each other. In 2006, David Reid was banned for two years from keeping animals and fined £300 after pleading guilty to cutting off part of both ears of two bull terrier dogs, cruelly ill treating them and causing them unnecessary suffering at Banff Sheriff Court.

Ian Draper and son DannyOn 20/10/11 a father and son received prison sentences for owning and training dogs for illegal fighting. Ian Draper, 47, of Sylvester Close, Burford, was jailed for 20 weeks and disqualified from handling dogs for life at Swindon magistrates after he admitted seven charges, including a breach of a previous 10-year ban on keeping dogs. His son Danny Draper, 25, of Tapells Avenue, Witney, was jailed for 12 weeks after admitting his part in the dog fighting. He was also disqualified from handling dogs for 15 years. The pair’s girlfriends, Katy Davies (33) and Laura Hornsby (24), also appeared before Swindon magistrates on28/9/11 where they pleaded guilty to related offences, Laura Hornsby was disqualified from keeping dogs for 12 months and ordered to pay £300 in costs. She was also given a three-year conditional discharge. Katy Davies was ordered to pay a £300 fine, £300 in costs and a £65 surcharge.

A dog owner whose pet mauled a woman to death at a south London home admitted that he kept his animal in a cage more than six inches shorter than the dog. Barbara Williams, 52, suffered a severe haemorrhage to her head and neck when she was attacked by the Neapolitan mastiff at her home in December 2010. Alex Blackburn-Smith, 35, pleaded guilty at Croydon magistrates on 6/12/11 to failing to ensure the dog’s welfare, as well as being in possession of a banned pitbull terrier. The dog was shot dead by the police and another dog, a pitbull puppy was removed from the property. Blackburn-Smith was charged with breaching the Dangerous Dogs Act for the possession of a fighting dog. The case was adjourned for pre-sentence reports. He was banned from owning any animal, or having anything to do with keeping or transporting animals. Blackburn-Smith will be sentenced at Croydon magistrates on 3/1/12.


On 6/5/10 Peter Andrew Seed, of Low Willington, County Durham, was sentenced at Durham Crown Court following an earlier plea to 17 offences. These included four offences relating to the smuggling of CITES-listed birds’ eggs from the USA and Australia, 11 charges of trading in birds’ eggs and two charges relating to the possession of 223 birds’ eggs and collecting equipment. He also asked for a further 22 offences to be taken into consideration. He received a nine-month sentence, suspended for two years, plus a confiscation order with costs totalling £3,607.03.

Adam James White, 21, of Bedford Place, Liverpool, received a custodial sentence after the court witnessed six minutes of brutal CCTV footage showing him kicking and stamping a bird to death. White was recorded on CCTV kicking a herring gull to death, he pleaded guilty at Liverpool magistrates on 25/8/10 to a charge of intentionally killing a herring gull. He received a 20-week jail sentence.

On 21/8/10 at Exeter magistrates Thomas Philip Cook pleaded guilty to intentionally killing a wild bird. Cook was sentenced to a six-month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £85 costs. Cook was so outraged by the disallowed goal during the World Cup game between England v Germany that, come half time, he took his air rifle and shot a gull off a roof opposite the hair salon on Queen Street, Seaton, firing

Darren Davies, aged 40, of Suffield Close, Bransford, near Worcester, admitted illegally owning wild birds has been given a conditional discharge by Worcester magistrates on 21/1/11. Davies kept the birds at his home. He told RSPCA officers that he had inherited them from his late father, but could not prove that they had been legally bred in captivity. Davies admitted possessing the goldfinches, along with possessing a cage trap. Magistrates gave Davies a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered him to pay £350 in costs. The two surviving birds were also to be released into the wild and a forfeiture and destruction order was made on the cage.

Steven HartyA farmer and pet shop owner has been banned from keeping animals for five years after he was convicted of 39 welfare offences. Steven Harty, 57, of Blaeunwaun, Aberarth, Aberaeron, Ceredigion was also ordered to do 225 hours community service and pay £11,240 in court costs. Harty was found guilty of 39 charges against 25 birds and a Shetland pony. He was sentenced at Aberystwyth magistrates on 2/2/11.

Edward William EasterEdward William Easter (71), of Hollycroft Road, Emneth must pay nearly £20,000 after being found guilty of keeping wild birds. The RSPCA prosecuted Easter and on 24/2/11 he was convicted of 13 charges relating to the possession of wild birds and possession with intent to sell. King’s Lynn magistrates heard Easter failed to provide adequate evidence that the birds found at his home were legally bred in captivity. He was fined a total of £9,750 – £750 for each offence – ordered to pay £10,000 costs and was ordered to forfeit the birds subject to the charges and their subsequent offspring. Easter denied having a dead wild red-backed shrike, as well as a number of other live wild birds – including goldfinches, nightingales, skylarks, wagtails, stonechats, warblers and shrikes.

Robert WrightRobert Wright, 47, of Wasdale Gardens, Estover, appeared in court accused of causing unnecessary suffering to five wild birds kept at his home. Wright faced Plymouth magistrates on 21/6/11 charged with having the finches in his aviary even though they are protected wild animals. Wright is also charged with causing the linnets, two siskins and two goldfinches unnecessary suffering by keeping them in captivity. He is finally accused of having equipment for the commission of a wildlife offence, namely 11 cage traps and a portable clap net, a net which can be closed by pulling a string which can be used to catch birds. Magistrates adjourned the case until 15/8/11, for reports to be prepared by experts.

A man has been arrested on suspicion of intentionally killing a protected wild bird and on poison and firearm offences. Cumbria police’s wildlife crime team carried out a search warrant at a farm in the Ulverston area on 5/7/11. The warrant came about after inquiries into the alleged illegal poisioning and shooting of Red Kites. Police allege that a number of illegal poisons and pesticides were found and removed from the farm and firearms were seized.

A man was caught red-handed by a police officer in possession of a wild bird and using a trap to take protected wild birds in Scarborough, a court heard on 19/7/11. David Farrow, 64, was fined £200 following a hearing at Scarborough magistrates. He must also pay £100 costs. Farrow, whose home address is a caravan site in Osbaldwick in the York area.

A falconer who ended up in court for illegally selling endangered birds in Torquay has had his conviction upheld. Paul Hillwas found guilty of five charges when he appeared at Torbay and Newton Abbot magistrates. Following an appeal at Plymouth Crown Court on 4/8/11 had two of his convictions upheld and three others successfully overturned. Hill’s appeal failed on one bird registration offence and one charge of exposition for sale.However, one charge of selling a goshawk was dropped along with two registration offences. Hill’s original five-year ban to own ‘schedule four’ birds of prey, the rarest types of birds, was upheld. However, his 300 hours of community work was reduced to 150 hours and his legal costs of £5,585 were reduced to £500. Hill’s previous convictions.

Roger DeadmanParish council chairman Roger Deadman, 70, stunned golfers at the private members club when he shot a Canada goose, with two cartridges from his shotgun. Deadman, a former club captain and member of Petersfield Golf Club in Hampshire for more than 30 years, blasted the bird as it sat by the reservoir next to the sixth fairway. He claimed he had authority from the club’s general manager, saying he told him to “sort it” after making a quip about putting goose on the club’s menu. When a guest confronted Deadman about the shooting he allegedly told him the birds were “nothing but crapping machines” and the player reported him to police. On 14/10/11 Deadman appeared at Aldershot magistrates where he denied intentionally killing a wild bird. He was cleared after a four-hour trial during which the court heard he had acted lawfully by killing the bird for public health and safety reasons.

Matthew GonshawAn egg collector has been jailed for stealing hundreds of eggs from birds including a golden eagle and osprey. More than 700 eggs – stolen from nests in Scotland and Essex – camouflage clothing, climbing equipment and maps of nesting spots were found at the home of Matthew Gonshaw in Bow, east London. Gonshaw, 49, has previously been jailed for similar offences. On 13/12/11 he got six months after admitting 10 charges of theft and possession of rare eggs, at Thames magistrates. He also confessed to stealing 12 avocet eggs from a nesting site on Two Tree Island in Essex. Gonshaw also took eggs of other birds including peregrine falcons, dotterels, redwings and merlins. In 2002 Gonshaw was jailed for three months over his egg collection. An Asbo application relating to Gonshaw is due to be heard on 17/2/12 at Stratford magistrates.


Derek Woods, 26, from Exeter, was caught on a covert infra-red camera performing a sex act on a horse at a stable in Devon. Woods was caught when he triggered alarms at the stable which had been set up by police after they were alerted by the animal’s owner. On 28/1/11 Woods admitted charges of animal cruelty and one of committing a sex act on a horse. Sentencing him to a supervision order, the judge said Woods had acted in a deviant and depraved way. In addition to the 24-month supervision order, Woods ordered to undergo treatment for alcohol dependency. He was also banned from going within a one-mile radius of the horse owner’s stables and fields.

A horse show competitor was convicted on 2/2/11 of animal cruelty after nine emaciated horses were seized from her care. Joanne Bristow of Poplar Farm, Ferry Lane, Thearne, near Beverley, was banned from keeping horses for 15 years. One stallion was so underweight, it could not stand up on its own and none of the horses had access to shelter or clean water. Bristow pleaded guilty at Beverley magistrates to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering and one count of failing to provide a suitable environment. Her former partner Paul Plaxton initially also faced charges brought by the RSPCA, but these were dropped. He was jailed for six years in December 2010 for running a cannabis factory from the farm and for possessing amphetamines. Bristow was ordered to pay £750 in fines and £700 to the charity’s costs.

James MainVet James Main has been struck off by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) after administering a banned substance to a horse belonging to The Queen. An RCVS disciplinary committee inquiry on 14/2/11 into Main’s actions ruled that he had: “acted dishonestly” and found that his “evidence was evasive, lacking in candour and on some aspects of the case his evidence was untrue”. He was struck off for an indefinite period after being found guilty of “disgraceful conduct”. At the inquiry Main admitted injecting Moonlit Path, a mare trained by Nicky Henderson, with the banned drug tranexamic acid, which aids blood clotting, on the morning of her racecourse debut. In a random drugs test the horse, which finished sixth at Huntingdon, tested positive. It is illegal to give anything other than food and water to a horse before racing. At the time Henderson was fined £40,000 by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and banned from making entries for three months. After the incident Main stepped down from the BHA veterinary and counter-analysis committees. He also parted ways with Henderson. The BHA is now considering further disciplinary proceedings. Nicky Henderson’s assistants Tom Symonds and Ben Pauling could also be a risk of disciplinary action after admitting knowing the vet had been asked to inject the horse.

Julie Wilkinson, 51, from Cannock in Staffordshire, has been banned from keeping horses for six years after admitting five charges of causing unnecessary suffering to animals kept in her Shropshire field. Wilkinson was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for a year, on each charge. She must also carry out 240 hours of unpaid community work. Wilkinson was also ordered to surrender her remaining 23 horses to the RSPCA. She admitted the charges on 21/3/11 at Shrewsbury magistrates. She was placed under supervision for a year and ordered to pay £4,000 costs.

Philip McAteerA rogue horse trader has been ordered to pay more than £4,400 in fines and court costs after admitting illegally selling animals without the correct paperwork. Of four horses sold by Philip McAteer, one had a broken pelvis and had to be destroyed within weeks, Durham Crown Court was told on 22/4/11. Another, sold to a riding school, could not be ridden because of behavioural problems, while two more sold to families were several years older than they had been told. McAteer, 40, of West View Farm, Cockfield, near Bishop Auckland, pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to four counts of failing to provide a horse passport at the time of sale. He also admitted moving a horse without the necessary document.

Three members of a family were brought before the courts to answer charges of animal cruelty. Melanie Ann Tasker(51), Steven Tasker (55) and Victoria Rosalie Warwick Tasker (22), all of Holme Road in Market Weighton, were each charged with causing unnecessary suffering to a female pony, failing to provide the appropriate care and maintenance of its hooves which resulted in a leg wound. All pleading guilty at Beverley magistrates on 1/7/11, Melanie was handed a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for a year and told to carry out 220 hours of community service. Steven was also ordered to do 220 hours of community service, while Victoria was handed 180 hours. An order was given to all three banning them from keeping equines, Steven and Victoria for five years and Melanie for ten years.


Two managers at a Shetland salmon farm have been reported to the procurator fiscal following a five month investigation into chemical poisoning of fish at Burrastow, on Shetland’s west side. Regional manager Graham McNally and site manager Ross Morrison, both of whom work for Hoganess Salmon, have been charged with animal cruelty after at least 6,000 farmed salmon died in 2010. These case surround the use of chemicals to kill sea lice, the poisons, which are used to remove the lice, are highly toxic to marine life and strictly controlled. In September 2010 Marine Farms sold Lakeland to the world’s largest salmon processing company Morpol, who had moved into the business of farming salmon the previous month by purchasing Mainstream, which also owns sites in Shetland.

Emma BentA woman who ran a pet crematorium in Derbyshire was jailed for eight months for dumping the bodies of her customers’ pets in a field. Emma Bent, 35, of Heage, was described by the judge at Derby Crown Court on 2/2/11 as “cynical, callous and calculating”. Three dogs, two cats and a guinea pig were dumped in a field in August 2009. Some of the pets had been microchipped, which helped RSPCA inspectors identify the remains. Bent, who ran Peak Pet Cremations in Heage, initially blamed burglars, but later admitted six charges under the Environmental Protection Act and 13 charges under the Animal By-Product Regulations Act. The court was told Bent had a contract with a local veterinary group to collect and dispose of clinical waste and pet carcasses. She also offered an individual pet cremation service, but did not have the required licences. Officers found a metal shed in a field with more than 100 bags of clinical waste such as used syringes, hypodermic needles and medicines as well as decomposing animals and body parts. The court heard that she did originally operate an incinerator but it broke down and she did not replace it, but burned and buried the bodies in a field. She invoiced a local veterinary firm more than £91,000 between November 2006 and August 2009 for disposal of waste and 2,838 pet carcasses, the court heard.

A man accused of illegally owning a fighting dog and two shotguns at an illegal travellers’ site at Shepton Mallet has appeared at South Somerset magistrates on 7/7/11. When police searched Steven John Tarrant’s belongings and found the two guns he said he had owned them for years and regarded them as antiques. And when they questioned him about his Pit Bull type dog he claimed it was not an illegal breed. Tarrant, 49, of Nunney Road, Frome, pleaded guilty to being in possession of a double barrel side by side 12″ brake action shotgun without a firearms certificate. He also admitted possessing a single barrel brake action 12″ bore shotgun without a certificate. However, he denied possessing a fighting dog. The magistrates adjourned the case until 28/7/11, to allow a veterinary examination to be carried out on the dog and in the meantime the defendant was released on unconditional bail.

On 8/7/11 thirteen people were convicted in connection with what has been described as Europe’s biggest ever illegal veterinary medicine business. They smuggled more than £6 million of unauthorised and prescription-only medicines into the UK, selling them to more than 4,000 British customers. The ringleaders, Ronald Meddes, 73, and his wife Regine Lansley, 62, sold the products from properties in France and from warehouses in Belgium and Kent. Six other ‘key players’ unlawfully distributed the products on the black market to British farms, stables, kennels and vet surgeries. The case also resulted in the conviction of three major customers, including a Leicestershire beef farmer as well as one man responsible for laundering the proceeds. The medicines included non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, anabolic steroids, antibiotics, sedatives, and pain control treatments for a variety of species including horses, cows, sheep, pigs and household pets. Meddes and Lansley ran a series of businesses under the ‘Eurovet’ banner, including ZAO Eurovet International, Euro Exports CIS Limited, Global Animal Pharmaceuticals and the Animal Pharmacy. At Croydon Crown Court, Meddes, of Picardy and Charing, Kent, and Lansley, of Picardy, and Chelsea, London, admitted illegally importing and supplying unauthorised and prescription-only veterinary medicines. He was sentenced to 28 months imprisonment, while she was handed 20 months imprisonment. Among the other convictions, beef farmer John Andrew Hawley, of Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, admitted possession for use on his own animals and was sentenced to community order 100 hours unpaid work and £2,500 in costs. Richard James, 44, of Carmarthen, Wales, admitted supply, possession and administration for use in his artificial insemination business. He was sentenced to 100 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £45551.88 by 7/10/11 or face prison. Another four defendants admitted illegally supplying unauthorised and prescription-only veterinary medicines. They were Igor Kantov, 54, a driver and assistant from Normandy and Southend-on-Sea, and his wife Cherryl Kantov, 64, who were both was sentenced to two years conditional discharge; Alexandra John, 50, an agent from Capel, Surrey, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for 2 years and 200 hours unpaid work; and Andris Friend, 45, a wholesaler from Spalding, Lincolnshire, was sentenced to 13 months imprisonment. Two others were found guilty at trial of illegal importation and supply: riding school boss Peter Lock, 53, of Doddinghurst, Essex, was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment suspended 2 years and 250 hours unpaid work; stud boss Richard Jones, 60, of Sedgeberrow, Worcestershire, was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment suspended 2 years and 200 hours unpaid work and [his partner] June Connelly, 68, of Sedgeberrow, Worcestershire, who pleaded guilty was sentenced to 4 months imprisonment suspended 2 years and 140 hours unpaid work. Mark Harvey, 52, of Sissinghurst, Kent, admitted money laundering and was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended 2 years and 275 hours unpaid work. Lee Wilson (aka Leonard French), 73, of Langworth, Lincolnshire, admitted charges of possession, importation, supply and will be sentenced on 9/9/11. Leonard French has a previous conviction for importing and selling drugs.

Two North Yorkshire businesses have been fined for dumping food waste including meat on land to feed sheep and cattle. The companies – FD Todd & Sons Ltd and Coast to Coast Recyling Ltd – were fined a total of £35,000 by Harrogate magistrates on 26/10/11. Another company, Pro-Pak Foods Ltd, was fined £3,200 failing to properly complete a waste transfer note. Coast to Coast Recycling pleaded guilty on the basis that it has wrongly assumed the waste originated from the manufacture of vegetarian ready meals. It was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,766 to the Environment Agency. F D Todd & Sons did not enter a basis of plea but offered an unqualified apology for the failings which had given rise to the offences. The company was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,781. Pro-Pak Foods Ltd, of York Road Industrial Park, Malton was fined £3,200 and ordered to pay costs of £1,848.

Farm Animals (Guardians Of The Land – My Arse!!!)

A father and son were fined more than £6,000 for breaching TB restrictions on the movement of cattle. Cheshire Hunt supporters Anthony Kirkham and his son Nicholas Kirkham, of Ridley Farm in Tarporley, appeared before South Cheshire magistrates on 21/1/11 to face charges brought by Cheshire East Council’s animal health department. The charges were in relation to the movement of cattle on and off Ridley Farm and Butlands Paddock, based in Spurstow, in breach of tuberculosis restriction notices served by DERFA in 2009. The original notices were served in order to prevent the spread of the disease after a case of TB was confirmed in an animal originating from Ridley Farm. At the hearing on, Anthony Kirkham admitted 87 offences of moving cattle between January and June 2010, and asked for 102 offences to be taken into consideration. He was fined £5,756 and ordered to pay costs of £4,561.83. Nicholas Kirkham admitted eight offences and asked for 29 others to be taken into consideration. He was fined £558 and ordered to pay costs of £2,374.

The owners of the South West’s largest dairy herd have been ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £14,340 after a government vet spotted a report in the press about their cow winning a top prize in the Midlands when the herd was under a disease movement restriction order. The Defra vet read the story about an animal from Wills Bros Ltd’s 900-cow herd at Pawton Dairy, near Wadebridge and launched an investigation, which discovered a range of errors in the herd’s records. Wills Bros pleaded guilty to seven offences under the tuberculosis and cattle identification legislation. The firm was fined £7,200 and ordered to pay costs of £7,140 at Bodmin magistrates on 23/2/11. In January 2010, Wills Bros dairy was put under bovine tuberculosis restrictions following the discovery of an inconclusive reactor on their premises at Pawton Dairy. This restriction prevented any unlicensed movements onto or off the premises until a second and negative TB test had been obtained at least 60 days after the initial test. During the investigation it came to light that cattle had been moved between premises run by Wills Bros Ltd without appropriate TB pre-movement testing, in contravention of TB restrictions, without passports being completed and without the British Cattle Movement Service being informed of the movements. Also 58 passports were found on the premises for cattle which had died more than seven days previously, the time limit for registering deaths.

A farmer who exposed his cattle to danger by housing them in a collapsing barn was fined £750. Walter Watson, 48, of North Park, Lonmay, also faces a court order restricting the number of cattle he can own. Animal welfare officers found a young bull trapped between floorboards within the dilapidated steading, which was home to about 50 livestock. The roof of the building had caved in and there were wooden and sharp metal pieces protruding from the floor and ceiling. Inspectors also found a young heifer that had recently given birth to a calf, which is thought to have died. Watson appeared at Peterhead Sheriff Court on 3/3/11 having earlier admitted causing unnecessary suffering to cattle, The sheriff imposed a court order preventing Watson from keeping more than five cattle. The order will stand for three years. Two years ago, Watson’s company A1 Clear Drainage and Plumbing Solutions was fined £6,000 for breaking strict environmental protection rules. The firm admitted a charge of disposing controlled waste at North Park Farm without a licence.

On 22/2/11 a Cornish dairy company pleaded guilty to seven offences under Tuberculosis and Cattle Identification Legislation. Wills Brothers Ltd, of Pawton Dairy, Wadebridge, which runs the Willsbro Holstein was awarded to pay Cornwall Council full costs of £7,140 and fined the business a total of £7,200. In January 2010 Willsbros Ltd was put under TB2 restrictions following the discovery of an inconclusive reactor on their premises at Pawton Dairy during a pre-movement TB test. This restriction prevented any unlicensed movements onto or off the premises until a second and negative TB test had been obtained at least 60 days after the initial test. During an investigation it came to light that cattle had been moved between premises run by Willsbros Ltd without appropriate TB pre-movement testing, in contravention of TB restrictions, without passports being completed and without the British Cattle Movement Service being informed of the movements. Furthermore, 58 passports were found to be on the premises for cattle which had died more than seven days previously. On 15/6/11 Wills Brothers Limited were banned from showing for six months starting on 3/6/11. The decision was made by Holstein UK following a meeting of its Rules Committee. Holstein UK has also requested that Willsbros also pay back all the costs associated with the case and the disciplinary action. Wills Brothers also own a partridge shoot at Pawton Manor.

A former National Farmers’ Union official has been fined for causing unnecessary suffering to 21,000 chickens reared at his Dorset farm. John Riddell, director of R & J Farms Limited, pleaded guilty to 12 Animal Welfare offences after many of his birds from Sherborne were found with skin burns on their feet. Some had deep lesions on their breast and legs as a result of the poor conditions, including being made to stand in wet and acidic dirty bedding. Riddell, 56, and his company also pleaded guilty to two offences of transporting the chickens when they were not fit to travel. The whistle was blown on the animals’ suffering by an official vet following two deliveries from Dyers Farm, in Holnest, to a processing plant in Warwickshire. Riddell, of Merriot in Somerset, and the company also both pleaded guilty to misleading advertising in delivery forms falsely listing R & J Farms Ltd as belonging to an assured chicken production scheme.At Weymouth magistrates on 7/6/11 they also ordered him to pay costs of £1,960 and imposed a three year conditional discharge on Riddell and his company.

A farmer and market trader known as the Lamb Man admitted animal neglect charges including causing unnecessary suffering to a lamb. On 8/6/11 Sebastian Peissel, of the Meat Joint butchery business in Iron Down, Deddington pleaded guilty to charges relating to a flock of diseased and neglected sheep discovered in fields in South Newington. Peissel was convicted of causing a lamb unnecessary suffering and failing to provide three other sheep with appropriate care. Peissel was fined £150 for each of four Animal Welfare Act offences and £50 for each of the ten Animal By-Products offences which relate to the disposal of carcases. He was also ordered to pay £1,618 costs.

On 17/6/11 farmer William Thomas Lloyd Jones, 73, of Hafod y Bryn Farm between Llandegla and Coedpoeth was jailed for a series of animal neglect charges. Jones was sent down for 22 weeks after Flintshire magistrates heard he had been convicted of the same type of offence on three previous occasions. He was also banned from keeping any animals for 10 years. The court heard he had been subject to a cattle owning ban previously but animals were kept at the farm in his partner’s name. He had been to prison for such offences on three previous occasions and had now been found guilty of 14 offences. His partner, Lynn Elizabeth Smith, 66, of the same address, had been convicted of six offences. She was placed on a community order and must remain indoors between 9pm and 6am for the next two months. Smith was also banned from keeping all animals, apart from dogs,for a decade. Lloyd Jones and Smith denied all offences but were convicted after a trial at Wrexham. Lloyd Jones was convicted of 14 charges, six of causing unnecessary suffering, five of failing to provide a suitable environment and diet and three of failing to provide a dry lying area. Smith was convicted of five counts of failing to provide suitable environment and diet and one of failing to provide a dry lying area, but was cleared of other charges. The animal ban has been put on hold for a month so the remaining sheep, horses and a goat at the farm can be sold.

A Powys farmer received a suspended prison sentence for breaching bovine TB regulations. Mold Crown Court heard on 30/6/11 that Emyr Jones Evans of Llanfihangel-yng-Ngwynfa, near Llanfyllin, put his financial interests ahead of public health. He admitted six offences after the identities of cattle were swapped. He received a 12-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months and was placed on supervision for a year. He also has to pay £28,900 in court costs. The charges related to fraud, cattle identification and TB regulation breaches, with 21 other offences taken into consideration. The court heard that when cattle with TB were found on the farm, which Jones Evans ran in partnership with his mother and brother, a large number of animals had to be slaughtered. The judge said the most serious of the six offences was the fraud Jones Evans committed, when he kept an animal due for slaughter, which was a pedigree animal, and presented an inferior cow instead.

A farmer has received a suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to animal cruelty. Christopher Neil Dowler, 56, of Crimscote Fields Farm, Crimscote, near Stratford, was prosecuted by Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Service at Leamington Spa magistrates on 22/8/11. Trading Standards discovered the carcasses of 48 cattle and 24 sheep in various states of decomposition amongst live cattle at the farm. The farmer had previously pleaded guilty to 17 animal health-related charges and was sentenced to an eightweek custodial sentence for causing unnecessary suffering, six weeks for failing to comply with animal by-products regulations and four weeks for failing to identify cattle and register their births as well as for failing to register the deaths of bovines. All were to run concurrently and were suspended for six months. The farmer was also ordered to make a £750 contribution towards prosecution costs.


Arthur Kent, 24, of Langley Road, Welling was caught deliberately kicking his dog on camera and was sentenced to eight weeks in prison and banned from keeping animals. Shocking Youtube footage showed Kent pulling the dog into the air by his collar and lead while taking him for a walk in Knee Hill Park near Woolwich. The film, which was taken by a member of the public and circulated widely on the internet, also saw him kicking his pet with some considerable force. Kent pleaded guilty after the RSPCA prosecuted for causing unnecessary suffering to a dog. He appeared at Bexleyheath magistrates on 20/12/10 and the case was adjourned until 19/1/11 when he was given a custodial sentence of eight weeks and a five-year ban on keeping animals.

Stacey RavenallStacey Ravenall, 19, of Larch Walk, Yardley, hurled a kitten to its death from the 11th floor of a Birmingham tower block escaped an immediate prison sentence. After hitting the ground, four-month-old kitten continued to suffer for about 15 minutes before it died from internal bleeding. On 27/1/11 Birmingham City magistrates told Ravenall that, although what she had done was serious enough to pass the custody threshold, they accepted it had been an “impulsive act”. Ravenall who had previously admitted a charge of animal cruelty, was sentenced to four months in custody suspended for two years. She was also ordered to do 30 hours’ unpaid work, pay £200 costs and was also disqualified from keeping any animal for ten years.

On 27/1/11 Jasminz Walcott, 26, from Byrom Street in Altrincham, appeared at Trafford magistrates charged with depriving a pet Pit Bull Terrier of food and water for two weeks in October 2010. Walcott pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a pet dog and was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months. She was also ordered to complete 100 hours of community service and to pay costs of £500.

On 31/1/11 a scandal hit kennel owner was condemned again after a pedigree pet golden retriever left in her care – was found hanged. Award-winning Jessica Valpied, 26, once pretended a millionaire surgeon’s dog had escaped when it had actually savaged to death by two bull terriers at her pet care centre. She was fined by a court in 2008 for secretly burying the bloodied remains of the border collie savaged in her care. But another customer hit out after her cherished golden retriever was gruesomely strangled while being ‘cared’ for by staff at 24-7 Petcare. The five-year-old dog had been secured with a wire grooming noose around its neck – which was attached to the wall – before being placed on a raised table to hold it in place. But the beloved pet was then left unattended and is thought to have died an agonising death after throttling itself whilst desperately trying to escape the noose. The dog was being groomed by Claire Lofts, 22, who was filling in for Valpied, who was on maternity leave. Lofts, who is in the final stage of her City & Guilds dog grooming, tied the dog to a hook on the inside of the van by the lead, before leaving it unattended. She returned minutes later to discover the dog lying unconscious on the van floor. A vet confirmed the animal had died of strangulation. Valpied was previously fined £400 after pleaded guilty to a charge of stealing the carcass of a dog in 2008. Valpied then swore employees at 24-7 Petcare to secrecy and forced them to pretend to search for the dog by walking around the area calling Arte’s name and whistling.

Caroline Andrews, Ronald Andrews and daughter Stephanie Andrews A family who caused so much suffering to their pet collie that it had to be put down have been banned from owning an animal. The RSPCA found the 10-year-old dog lying on the kitchen floor at the home of the Andrews family on Grasmere Road, Swinton. The dog was covered in fleas and had a large tumour on his head – he was underweight, dehydrated and couldn’t open his eyes because they were stuck together with discharge. A vet called in to investigate said he couldn’t get the dog to open his jaw because the pain made him cry out. Caroline Andrews, 69, her husband Ronald Andrews, 71, and their daughter Stephanie Andrews, 43, pleaded guilty to failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the health of the family pet, and failing to take him to for treatment. On 4/2/11 they were all banned from owning any animal for 10 years – Caroline Andrews was ordered to hand over her pet cat to the RSPCA for rehoming. They were also each given 12 month community orders with a supervision requirement, and eight week curfews, and each was required to pay £200 costs to the RSPCA. Chairman of the bench Michael Kenny ordered that each should pay off their £200 costs at £5 a week.

A Luton man who was banned from keeping animals for 10 years after being caught on camera kicking and punching a dog has been jailed after the same dog was found in his flat, the RSPCA said. Simeon Major, 20, was given the ban, as well as a custodial sentence, in August 2010 after he was caught on CCTV attacking his Staffordshire bull terrier-type dog. The attack, which happened in Brantwood Road, Luton, in March last year, lasted 15 to 20 minutes. Footage showed Major kicking and punching the female dog, which was around seven-months-old at the time, in front of a group of friends. The dog was kicked against a wall and punched, and dragged onto the wall only to be punched down again. The RSPCA said that Major, of Buxton Road, Luton, was jailed again on 3/2/11 at the town’s magistrates after the same dog was found in his flat. Major pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to breaching a ban on keeping all animals for 10 years. He was jailed for 136 days, and had already served 68 on remand.

A father and son who ran a Paignton puppy farm in which animals lived in filthy conditions were banned from keeping dogs on 12/3/11 at Torbay magistrates. The bans, 10 years for James Noon and two for his son, follow a 12-month investigation after the discovery at their home in Blagdon of dozens of Doberman puppies that were being kept in ‘conditions unfit for dogs’. At a previous hearing James Noon, 58, pleaded guilty to failing to protect a Jack Russell and Doberman puppy from suffering. He also admitted failing to provide a suitable environment for 39 dogs seized from his property. Hamish Noon, 27, also pleaded guilty to failing to protect the two puppies and failing to provide a suitable environment for 23 dogs. He also admitted possessing cannabis with a street value of £35. As well as a 10 year ban from keeping and transporting dogs, James Noon was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work as part of a 12-month community order and pay £500 in costs. His son, who was banned from keeping dogs for two years, received a six-month community order and was ordered to pay £100.

An ‘evil’ thug was jailed after smiling in the dock as he watched sickening footage of him brutally attacking his dogs. Azad Khan could not keep a smirk from his lips as he viewed hour-long footage which showed him kicking, pressure hosing and beating his terrified pets with a bar. After he was locked up for 18 weeks, Khan, who showed no remorse, was branded “evil” and barbaric” by RSPCA officials. Khan, 35, of Findon Road, Ward End, was jailed at Birmingham magistrates on 24/6/11 and banned from owning animals for life after admitting cruelty charges against two Staffordshire Bull Terriers. He was already serving an eight-week prison sentence for breaching a non-molestation order. The shocking footage, secretly filmed by a stunned neighbour, showed a female dog who was beaten so badly that one of her legs was effectively hanging off.

After a trial lasting 11 days at Salisbury magistrates, Grafton couple Claire Strong and Paul Wilson were sentenced on animal cruelty charges on 18/2/11. Strong, 22, was given a three year conditional discharge and disqualified from keeping animals and reptiles for ten years. Wilson, 44, was given a two year conditional discharge and disqualified from keeping animals and reptiles for ten years. They each had denied 12 charges of cruelty to animals including dogs, rabbits, mice and reptiles at their home in The Severalls in East Grafton where Strong ran the Wiltshire Animal Rescue and Sanctuary. When the RSPCA raided their house, magistrates heard they found dead dogs in the kitchen, a dead cat in a bathroom, dead reptiles and mice in the house and a dead rabbit in a hutch in the garden. Magistrates were shown sickening video and still photographs of the carcass-littered house where the couple lived but none of the charges they faced related to the dead animals because there was no evidence whether they had suffered or died naturally. The charges included failing to ensure a dog had a nutritionally balanced diet; failing to provide veterinary care for a dog; failing to protect an animal from pain, injury or suffering; not ensuring the welfare of an animal by failing to treat flea infestation; failing to protect lizards and a snake from pain, injury and suffering and failing to provide shade for a rabbit in a pen in the garden. Strong and Wilson employed Nigel Weller and Co from Sussex, lawyers who specialise in fighting RSPCA prosecutions, but their expertise and explanations failed to convince the magistrates who convicted the pair. Magistrates ordered Wilson to pay £1,000 costs but made no order for costs against Strong because, they said, she had no income.

Shareem Humes, left, and Violet HumesA total of 104 dogs were discovered in cramped conditions and surrounded by their own faeces when RSPCA officers raided the the house in Bradford, West Yorkshire of Violet Humes, 71, and her daughter Shareem, 45. Some of the dogs were kept in filthy cages with no lighting, bedding or fresh water and some were injured or diseased, with untreated ailments. On 15/6/11 Humes and her daughter pleaded guilty to 23 animal welfare offences. They were sentenced to a three-year community order and a three-year conditional discharge. However, they were both allowed to keep five dogs each. It is believed that the judge’s decision was based on the fact that the women were capable of looking after animals if they had fewer numbers of them.

A serial animal welfare offender was jailed for 12 weeks on 17/6/11 after he admitted keeping animals in squalid conditions while flouting a life ban. Eric Buckley, 56, of Pontypridd, South Wales, was caught with a menagerie of two dozen animals at his Rhondda Valley home. At Pontypridd magistrates he was due to appear jointly with wife, Doreen, 46, after the pair admitted seven animal welfare-related charges. Eric Buckley admitted keeping a cat, 11 dogs, nine geese, a pony and two goats in the shocking filth of a former pub basement. He was banned again for life from owning, keeping or controlling animals. He was also ordered to pay £750 costs. In 1995 Eric Buckley was banned for life on keeping animals from magistrates in Kingston upon Thames, where they were then living. On 24/6/11 Doreen Buckley was convicted of animal cruelty and given a suspended prison sentence. Doreen Buckley, who was also ordered to wear an electric tag, agreed to sign over all the animals the couple owned to the RSPCA. A life ban on keeping animals was also reimposed with more stringent conditions than previously.

Andrew PainterTwo men from the North East have been jailed after causing ‘gross cruelty and tremendous suffering’ to a dog that had already been bit by a car. The dog’s owner failed to get veterinary attention for her and tied chopsticks to her broken leg before his friends tried to kill her. The two men stood on the six-month-old lurcher-type dog and forced her back legs over her head, breaking her neck. She was stabbed several times with a potato peeler and then dumped on a grass verge to die. Kevin Stuart Varty (D.O.B 20.4.68) of Magdelen Place, Ferryhill and Andrew Painter (D.O.B 30.8.78) of Church Close, Kirk Merrington, Spennymoor were sentenced at Newton Aycliffe Kieran Wynnmagistrates on 1/8/11. They were jailed for 18 weeks and banned from keeping animals for life. The sentencing of owner, Kieran Wynn (D.O.B 19.2.93) of Hallgarth Terrace, Ferryhill, was adjourned until 22/8/11 at Newton Aycliffe magistrates. The court heard that the dog had been run over at around 8pm on Saturday night (5 March), just hours after Wynn bought her, and that he couldn’t afford vet treatment so tied chopsticks to her broken leg with red lace and Sellotape. The leg was later amputated. Friends Varty and Painter visited his home the following day and decided to kill her. Wynn pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to Maggie May by failing to provide her with veterinary care following a road traffic accident. Varty and Painter admitted causing unnecessary suffering by subjecting her to physical trauma resulting in a fractured neck. Painter also admitted causing unnecessary suffering by repeatedly stabbing her with a potato peeler.

Two emaciated dogs were found along with the four dead greyhounds A man who left four dogs to starve to death has been banned for life from keeping animals. Martin Carr, 27, of Whitwell, Nottinghamshire, kept the greyhounds in “appalling conditions” locked inside a garage in Grantham, Lincolnshire, the town’s magistrates heard on 21/9/11. The dogs were discovered along with two other emaciated dogs and seven puppies. Carr admitted cruelty to animals and was given a 90-day suspended sentence and 100 hours of community work. Carr’s partner Dawn Campbell, 31, also of Whitwell, admitted two cruelty charges and was also banned for life from keeping animals.

Jonathan BloomfieldA Grimsby man whose house was besieged by an angry mob after footage of him subjecting his dog to violent abuse was posted on Facebook is “still getting threats” according to his family. Jonathan Bloomfield, 36, formerly of Stanley Street, Grimsby, was banned from keeping dogs for 15 years after admitting two counts of animal cruelty. Appearing before Grimsby magistrates on 24/11/11, he pleaded guilty to failing to protect the 18-month-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier – and causing unnecessary suffering to the dog by hitting it with an object, punching and kicking it. At his first appearance before the court, Bloomfield was ordered to move to his mother’s home in Brent Park, London to protect him from public outrage. Bloomfield was arrested after neighbour posted a video of the abuse on Facebook. Grimsby magistrates were warned the footage contained “disturbing” images, before it was played to the court. It showed the dog – who vets said may have always had sight problems or even be blind – whimpering and cowering as Bloomfield punched it twice in the face and told it to “shut the **** up”. He was also ordered to complete 260 hours of unpaid work and pay £100 costs.

It was a cruelty case that uncovered dozens of animals living in cramped cages, found cats so ill they had to be put down and left a dog needing its eyeballs removed. RSPCA inspectors visiting the home of Kindred Hummer and her daughter Lauren Stead also discovered a grey squirrel, Arnold, living in a cage in the attic. The court heard how the RSPCA found 36 cats, kept in five large cages, in a bedroom and five “exceptionally thin” cats suffering from diarrhoea in a cage in a second upstairs room. Sadly, four cats failed to respond to treatment and had to be put down by a vet. The RSPCA also found a bulldog who had ear and eye conditions so severe she was later put down to alleviate her suffering. A cream and black pug had conjunctivitis and a prolapsed eyeball, causing him to go blind. A vet recommended both of his eyeballs be surgically removed. A third dog was found with a chronic skin condition and severely infected ears and needed four months of veterinary treatment. Hummer, 47, and Stead, 23, now of Cadogan Street, West Hull, were sentenced at Beverley magistrates on 24/11/11 after pleading guilty to 12 charges relating to animal cruelty. They each received a ten-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and were ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work. They were disqualified from owning animals indefinitely, for a minimum of five years, and ordered to pay £2,500 costs.

A Devon woman who killed a 10-week-old kitten in a microwave was jailed for 168 days. Gina Robins, 31, of Salisbury Avenue, Torquay, was found guilty of causing the animal unnecessary suffering. Robins had claimed the kitten had been shut in the microwave oven by other cats. On 14/12/11 Torquay magistrates banned Robins from keeping animals for 10 years.Matthew Blagborough

Matthew Blagborough punched a puppy in the face to ‘reprimand’ it for soiling some clothes walked free from court with a suspended sentence on 20/12/11. He gave his then girlfriend Rachel Edwards a puppy before he violently turned on the 12-week-old dog, a Shropshire court heard. When the puppy ‘messed’ on his clothing, Blagborough grabbed her by the scruff of the neck, held her out at arms length and punched the terrified animal several times. At Telford magistrates Blagborough, from Cardiff, was given a 26-week prison sentence suspended for two years. He was also ordered to complete 200 hours unpaid work, banned from keeping any animal for two years and ordered to pay £1,200 towards court costs.

Robert PayneOn 23/12/11 a former Bradford councillor was jailed for killing four kittens in “appalling scenes” of “unimaginable cruelty”. Robert Payne, a former councillor for the Keighley West ward of Bradford Council, swung the four-month-old cats round his house, broke their skulls and most of their limbs, and decapitated two of them. Police and RSPCA officers called to his home in Ethel Street, Keighley, found three kittens in a freezer, blood spread around the house and fragments of the animals in the living room. He was jailed for five months for causing unnecessary suffering to the kittens and was handed a month to be served consecutively for breaching a previous suspended sentence for fraud. He was also banned from keeping animals for life. Payne was handed a suspended sentence in June 2011 for fraud by abuse of position.


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