Two countryside wardens from Stockport, Cheshire, have been jailed for eight months, after they indiscriminately poisoned fish with cyanide. Tony Senior aged 46 of Weybourne Drive, Bredbury and John Fitzpatrick aged 30 of Compstall Road, Marple Bridge, both admitted conspiring to poisoning the rivers Alde and Elwyn in Wales. Defending barrister Mr John Philpotts said “These offences arose out of frustration at being able to see large and attractive fish and being unable to catch them.” Both worked at Etherow Country Park in Stockport, with Senior formerly chief warden. It later emerged that Senior had been buying cyanide since 1986.
Three pet lurcher dogs involved in savage attacks on cats and dogs were led astray by two rogue animals according to their owner. Michael Murtagh aged 52 of Warrener Street, Sale, Cheshire has since given the terrier and lurcher greyhound back to their original owner, and taken out extra precautions with his remaining dogs. Murtagh admitted two offences of being the owner of dangerous dogs not under proper control. The court heard that an order had already been made following two incidents in 1984, when two cats were savagely killed in the Sale area. Murtagh was again cautioned in February 1995 when two other dogs were attacked by three greyhounds. Then on March 31 1995 another dog was savagely attacked by four Lurchers and a terrier on some fields, the dog had to jump into the River Mersey to escape, the pet dog was lame for two weeks. Another dog was attacked on May 31 1995 by four Lurchers and a terrier. Mr Michael Hamlin, defending, said Murtagh had taken “corrective action” by giving the two dogs he believed to be responsible back to the person he had got them from. Mr Hamlin added Murtagh had since got new muzzles and now exercised them on farms in Knutsford, Cheshire. (What does he mean by exercised, coursing maybe?) The magistrates made an order that the three dogs should be kept under proper control.
A pensioner who killed his neighbours pet cats in home made traps (to save the fish in his garden pond), he claimed they were stealing the fish and had eaten five of his pet doves. Doug Poyner aged 67 of Knutsford, used wire snares and baited cages to lure the family pets. The animals would die in agony as the wire bit into their flesh. One was even shot then left in the street to fake a road-kill death. Poyner was fined £500 with £285 costs.
Bernard Perry of Green Avenue, Little Hulton, Salford and David Worrall of Willdale Close, Clayton, Manchester have admitted interfering with a badger sett and causing unnecessary suffering to a dog. Leek magistrates heard that a Peak Park warden called police after seeing two men acting suspiciously around a badger sett in woods near Longnor, Staffordshire. One appeared to be digging in an entrance hole and he heard dogs barking. When they were confronted they said they had been given permission by a farmer to hunt foxes and rabbits. A dead fox and two terriers were found at the scene. One of the terriers had part of its ear missing and scratches to its face. A vet said this was caused by a fox. Defending Mr Mark Davies said that his clients had caught and killed a fox before their dogs chased another into the badger sett. Where have I heard that old story before! They were both sentenced to 100 community service, ordered to pay £260 costs and banned from keeping a dog for 5 years.
Keith Blakeman aged 25 of Fryer Road, West Heath, Birmingham and Mark Hadley aged 32 of Kinlet Grove, Northfield, Birmingham have both been found guilty of attempting to take a badger, digging for a badger and interfering with a badger sett. The court were told how the two men were found by the police near a badger sett on a farm near Bromsgrove, Worcestershire on February 12 1995. Both men were sentenced to 50 hours community service and ordered to pay £750 costs by Redditch magistrates on December 8 1995.
Three North Tyneside men pleaded guilty to interfering with a badger sett when they appeared before South East Northumberland magistrates on November 16 1995. Spencer William Burgo aged 25 of 5 Trinity Buildings, North Shield, Mark Templeton aged 26 of Gordon Square, Whitley Bay and Mark Graham aged 23 of 11 St Lukes Road, North Shields. They were all given conditional discharges for 12 months and ordered to pay £100 each towards the costs. They were caught on October 25 1994 at Low Angerton near Hartburn, Northumberland. Burgo (who is keen on hunting rabbits, foxes and now it seems badgers) told the magistrates they were looking for foxes and did not know there was a sett in the area.
Three Englishmen were freed by a Dublin court on October 10 1995 after charges of cruelly treating and causing unnecessary suffering to three terriers were dismissed. They were arrested on October 9 1995 at Dublin’s North Wall docks following a tip-off. Judge Desmond Hogan ruled the charges against Graham Evans aged 44 of Higher Charge Villas, Todmorden, Lancashire, Paul Cunningham aged 34 of Hawthorne Road, Bacup, Lancashire and David Atkinson aged 38 of King Edwards Crescent, Oxford, Leeds, had been incorrectly brought, as they did not specify where the offence took place. “As far as I am concerned they could have taken place on the moon” the judge said. Three dogs with horrific injuries had to be put down “on humane grounds” one had its lower jaw torn and this had become infected; another was blind; while a number had pus coming from their mouths, as well as deep lacerations to the face. Four surviving dogs, which included a six week old pup, were moved to a secret location.
Two men caught blocking up a badger sett appeared before Seisdon magistrates on 24 October 1995, they said they were asked to do so by the landowner, who thought they were rabbit holes (they must have very big rabbits in the Midlands). Gary Pearce aged 21 and his father Robert Pearce aged 48 both of 5 Kipling Road, Lower Gornal, Dudley, West Midlands, pleaded guilty to interfering with a badger sett at Sedgley after being caught there on June 4 1995. Robert Pearce also admitted possessing a shotgun for which he was fined £250. The landowner Stephen Shakespeare of Greenhill Farm, Lower Gornal, Dudley, West Midlands, who did not appear in court, pleaded guilty through his solicitor. All three men were fined £750 each with court costs of £50.