#TheList Noel Taylor, born c. 1997, of Old Kirk Road, Dunfermline KY12 7SQ – kicked a hedgehog to death
Noel Taylor inflicted so much injury on the hedgehog that when police found it, its internal organs were outside its body.
Taylor admitted that on August 28, 2016, at St Margaret Street, Dumfermline, he, whilst acting with others, repeatedly kicked the wild mammal with intent to inflict unnecessary suffering contrary to the Mammals (Protection) Act 1996.
Depute Fiscal Azrah Yousaf said police were alerted at around 4am by CCTV operators who had spotted three males kicking a hedgehog down the street.
The men, including Taylor, denied the actions and the CCTV operators directed the police officers to where they believed the hedgehog was lying.
“On examination, it was clear it had suffered severe injuries and its internal organs were outside the body,” she told the court.
“CCTV clearly showed that following kicking the hedgehog off the street, all of them clear the remnants of the animal off their shoes.”
Taylor’s solicitor, Jonathan Matheson-Dear, said his client was intoxicated but this did not excuse his behaviour.
“He was out with friends and had been to a nightclub. He was very drunk and clearly it was an action of stupidity and bravado,” he said.
“On the way home, in high spirits, he decided to harm this animal. I don’t know if his kick was the one that killed it but he is responsible and is accepting full responsibility.
“He should not have behaved in the way he did and he is not seeking to minimise the seriousness of his conduct.
“It is unfortunate the others haven’t been brought to justice for this but it in no way minimises his responsibility. He now recognises that hedgehogs are an endangered species.”
Since the incident, Mr Mathieson-Dear said, Taylor had reduced his alcohol intake.
“He now seldom goes out drinking,” he added. “Alcohol is not something that mixes well with him.
“Hopefully, this is a one-off aberration on his part and he recognises he should not behave in this way in the future.”
Sheriff Richard McFarlane described Taylor’s conduct as “abhorrent” and said the explanation that alcohol was a “fuelling factor” was not an excuse.
“There are real concerns for the species of hedgehogs and indeed they are becoming endangered,” he told Taylor.
“The maximum penalty for a charge of this nature is a significant fine or six months’ imprisonment.
“The fact is this is your first, and I hope your last offence, and you are taking steps to address your alcohol intake. You have also kept yourself out of further trouble and you continue to hold down two jobs and you were not alone in this dreadful acts so I will deal with this by way of a fine.”
Sentencing: £300 fine.