WARNING: HORIBBLE ARTICLE
10th May 2022
A FARMER who goaded a black lurcher dog into attacking and killing a fox and filmed cockerel fights has been banned from keeping the animals for ten years.
Jack William Haskell, 23, of Wareham, will only be allowed to keep sheep dogs after he filmed two fights between cockerels and also encouraged the dog to attack the fox, saying “get on” and “good boy”.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of being at an animal fight and one count of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, all at Stokeford Farm, and was sentenced at Poole Magistrates’ Court on Monday, May 9.
Prosecuting, Jason Spelman told the court the matters came to light when police attended Haskell’s address for a separate matter.
Officers seized the 23-year-old father-of-one’s phone and found three videos, two clips of cockerels fighting from March 15, 2020 and April 6, 2020, and one of the lurcher dog attacking a fox on April 13, 2020.
Mr Spelman said the fox was “clearly” trying to defend itself with the “fox on its back and the dog in the neck area”.
“You can hear the person saying ‘get on’ and ‘good boy’,” Mr Spelman told the court.
The prosecutor said Haskell failed to prevent the dog, a protected animal, from coming to harm and said the fox was killed.
The video, which was played in court, shows the dog biting the fox’s neck and jumping on top of it.
He added cock fighting had been banned in this country for 185 years and it was “obvious” the birds came to harm.
When interviewed by police, Haskell claimed someone else had used his phone to film the cock fighting videos and the dog which attacked the fox didn’t come to any harm.
He claimed he didn’t encourage the dog to attack the fox, however Mr Spelman said the video was filmed at 4am which was a “odd time” to be there by accident.
Mitigating, Clive Rees told Magistrates Haskell said the fox ran off and the defendant had “matured” since the offending two years ago.
He said Haskell has taken over the hands-on running of the farm from his ill father and needed to own sheep dogs for the business.
Magistrate Caroline Foster fined Haskell £562, ordered him to pay a victim surcharge of £56 and costs of £720.
He was also made subject of a criminal behaviour order, banning him from owning dogs, apart from sheep dogs, or any cockerels for ten years.
Ms Foster said: “We are satisfied you have engaged in behaviour that has caused or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
“Making this order will prevent you engaging in such behaviour, we are making this order because we obviously have to protect animals.
“If you do not comply with the order you will be committing a serious offence and may be sent to custody. We could have imposed a custodial sentence today.”