Category Archives: goldfinches

Rotherham, South Yorkshire: Robert Evans

#TheList Robert ‘Bobby’ Evans, born c. 1984, of 9 Thompson Close, Rawmarsh, Rotherham S62 7LY – illegally kept 10 unringed goldfinches and neglected their needs

Wild bird trapper Bobby Evans from Rotherham
Wild bird trapper Bobby Evans

Gypsy traveller Bobby Evans, whose numerous previous convictions include cannabis farming and making threats of violence towards a female, admitted one offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and one offence under the Animal Welfare Act relating to 10 unringed goldfinches in his possession. He also admitted a further offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of possessing a wild bird trap.

The RSPCA, which brought the case, revealed that one of its inspectors visited Evans’ home with the local police wildlife crime officer in October 2019 following reports of bird trapping in local hedgerows.

Wild-caught goldfinches were kept in filthy conditions by cruel Bobby Evans
Wild-caught goldfinches were kept in inhumane conditions by cruel Bobby Evans

RSPCA inspector and wildlife officer Sandra Dransfield said: “Evans had a legally ringed male bullfinch, two canaries and 10 unringed goldfinches in a small, dirty cage in a shed. The ten goldfinches, a cage trap – which wasn’t set – and other bird trapping paraphernalia were seized.

“The expert’s opinion was that the 10 goldfinches were wild-caught. Some of the birds had injuries from flying at the bars trying to get out, so after a short rehabilitation the birds were successfully released back to the wild, where they belong.”

Goldfinch in the possession of Bobby Evans

In mitigation, the court heard that Evans had pleaded guilty and was a long-time breeder of birds.

Ms Dransfield added: “It is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to trap or attempt to trap wild birds and this type of trapping causes immense distress and suffering to them.

“The illegal trapping and trading in wild birds has long been a problem. Taking a wild bird from its natural habitat and shutting it in a tiny cage is cruel.

“These birds can suffer immeasurably, not only physically but also mentally, and they often die shortly after being captured.”

Sentencing: community order with a two-month curfew; ordered to pay £292. Disqualified from keeping birds for three years,

The Star

Malton, North Yorkshire/Hunslet, Leeds: Michael Price and Shannon Hanrahan

#TheList Michael Patrick Price, born 07/05/1991, of 24 Lime Tree Avenue, Malton YO17 7BZ, and partner Shannon Hanrahan (aka Shannon Price) born 04/06/1993, of Kidacre Park travellers site, Kidacre Street, Leeds LS10 1BD – abandoned several animals at Appleby Horse Fair

Animals abandoned and mistreated by gypsies Michael Price and Shannon Hanrahan
Gypsies Michael Price and Shannon Hanrahan mistreated animals and birds in their care

RSPCA inspectors were alerted after a passer-by saw that a pony had been left tethered beside the A685 just outside of Kirkby Stephen while two dogs were running loose near to two empty kennels.

None of the animals were being supervised or looked after, and the pony had no access to drinking water. Another dog – found in a cage without bedding – had no clean drinking water.

RSPCA inspector Claire Little said: “On Friday 31st May, whilst on duty in Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, my colleague and I received a request from the police to help with some animals.

“As we arrived at the location I saw a brindle lurcher-type dog and what appeared to be a collie-type dog amongst the traffic and the police were trying to catch them.

“We pulled over and I managed to secure the dogs and get them into our van for safekeeping whilst we approached the police officers.

“It was explained to us that the owners of the dogs were believed to be the occupants of a caravan on the side of the road and that they were in Bradford.

“The dogs were wearing collars but there was no tethering equipment of any kind and a small caged area measuring approximately 2 ft x 2 ft x 2 ft with no lid was the only possible living area I could see for them. There was no shelter available for the cage.

“The police were concerned regarding some birds in cages they had seen inside a van next to the caravan so my colleague went to look at those – they turned out to be wild goldfinches.

“I then saw a small cream Lhasa Apso-type dog that appeared young, inside a metal cage at the side of the road. The cage had a lid that was secured but there was no shelter and the dog was laying on wet grass with no access to water. As the weather was wet I was concerned about the dog as they appeared to be shivering.

“A grey shetland pony tethered with a length of blue nylon rope tied around their neck was nearby. The rope was so tight that I couldn’t get my finger between the rope and the neck and I was concerned that this may start to injure the pony if they remained in this situation. The rope was tied to a nearby branch of a hedge that was quite flimsy. The pony’s hooves appeared overgrown.

“The police took the three dogs and pony into possession and placed them in RSPCA care.”

Michael Patrick Price admitted not ensuring the needs of the pony were met, and the same charge for a lurcher dog and a collie cross.

He also admitted having two goldfinches.

His co-accused Shannon Hanrahan admitted failing to ensure the proper care of the caged dog, and illegally having the two goldfinches.

A deprivation order was placed on the pony and two dogs who will now pass into RSPCA care and be rehomed. The birds were released back into the wild.

Price was given 60 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs and charges totalling £690. He was banned from owning or keeping any animal for four years.

Hanrahan was given a 14-day curfew at an address in Byker, Newcastle. She must pay also £250 costs and a £32 victim surcharge.

News and Star

Willenhall / Bilston / Birmingham, West Midlands: Chad Worgan, Jake Higgs, Thomas Knox

#TheList Chad Paul John Worgan, born November 1995, of Moxhull Gardens, Willenhall WV12 5XX, Jake Higgs, born February 1992, of Walnut Close, Bilston WV14 8QJ and Thomas James Knox, born July 1995, previously of Dudley Fields, Bloxwich, and more recently (September 2020) of White Road, Quinton, Birmingham B32 2AE -squeezed, kicked and battered dozens of rare birds to death

Chad Worgan, Jake Higgs and Thomas Knox
L-R Chad Worgan, Jake Higgs and Thomas Knox

The trio of Chad Worgan, Tom Knox and Jake Higgs, together with a 16-year-old youth from Erdington who wasn’t named for legal reasons, stole the birds from an aviary in Brownhills, Walsall, belonging to Mr Lee Williams, and bundled them into sacks and containers. The thugs then took them to Dolphin House in Goscote, Walsall.

Once inside the building, the birds were emptied onto the landing. From there, the abuse got underway although police believe a lot were already dead at that stage. CCTV revealed the horror as the rare birds were tortured to death.

One of the yobs can be seen smirking and then appearing to aim a kick at an innocent bird as others are scattered across the floor.

Stills of CCTV footage showing Chad Worgan attacking birs

Other footage shows birds being chased by a dog, jammed into drawers and squeezed to death. Some were posted through letterboxes and dropped through people’s windows.

Worgan admitted an offence of receiving stolen goods and causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal on the basis that he kicked a pigeon.

It was said there was a ‘sick grin across his face’ as he appeared to be enjoying what he was doing, appearing to grab one of the perched birds and visibly squeeze it.

A dog was let into the flat and terrorised the birds. The animal belonged to Knox.

Knox was criticised for spending most of the trial giggling with his co-accused in the dock. He denied causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and receiving stolen goods, along with the 16-year-old.

Higgs admitted receiving stolen goods but denied causing unnecessary suffering. Magistrates found all four guilty of the charges after the trial.

Knox was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, receiving stolen goods, common assault and using threatening words or behaviour.

The latter charges related to his behaviour towards a dog warden and housing staff when he was told his dog was going to be taken away.

Vaughn Whistance, defending, said Knox was a vulnerable young man who suffered with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism.

Co-accused Jake Higgs was also due to learn his fate but failed to show up and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Chairman of the bench, Mr Bob Thomas, said the youths’ actions amounted to ‘joint enterprise’. He added CCTV showed all of them playing some part in the birds’ suffering.

Rare bird breeder Mr Williams had built up his collection of rare jays, finches, doves, budgerigars, quails and pigeons over a number of years.

Maggie Meakin, prosecuting, said it would cost £1,500 to replace the birds, and added: ‘He cannot afford to replace the birds and he cannot claim on the insurance.’

Sentence: Worgan and Knox were jailed for six months and ordered to pay compensation. The 16-year-old minor was given an 18-month rehabilitation order. No details are available on Jake Higgs’ sentencing.

Express and Star