Category Archives: rooks

Stapleford Abbotts, Romford: Edwin Harris

#TheList persistent hoarder Edwin Harris, born c. 1939, of Murthering Lane, Stapleford Abbotts, Romford RM4 – kept 13 dogs, six pigs, six cockerels, two ducks, four cats, a pigeon and a rook in foul conditions; breached previous ban

Edwin Harris continued to acquire animals despite being disqualified for life from having any. He then kept them in appalling conditions.
Edwin Harris continued to acquire animals despite being disqualified for life from having any. He then kept them in appalling conditions.

Harris was banned from keeping animals for life for a second time after he admitted breaching a previous ban when he was found to be keeping a large number of animals in appalling conditions.

He also admitted failing to provide the animals with a suitable environment and causing unnecessary suffering to Bella, a Shar Pei-type dog, by failing to adequately investigate and address the cause of her ear and skin conditions.

The RSPCA attended the address in May 2018 with the police and found a large number of animals being kept in appalling conditions.

Edwin Harris continued to acquire animals despite being disqualified for life from having any. He then kept them in appalling conditions.
A Jack Russell rescued from a life of misery at the hands of her cruel owner Edwin Harris

Dogs were found in small cages covered in mess and faeces with little or no water, and one was even found locked inside a cupboard which had been turned into a makeshift cage.

Six pigs were kept in a narrow space in an outbuilding with hardly any room to turn round.
Six pigs were kept in a narrow space in an outbuilding with hardly any room to turn round.

The cockerels, pigeon and rook were also kept in small cages covered in faeces, and the pigs were kept in a small narrow space within an outbuilding with hardly any room to turn round or exercise.

RSPCA Inspector Adam Jones said: “The conditions were appalling, most of the small animals and dogs were kept in cages and probably had not known any other life. They had obviously never been socialised and were scared.

“The cages had not been cleaned out and the animals were surrounded in their own faeces and dirt. If they did have water it was usually filthy. I was horrified to find one small Jack Russell being kept in a cupboard that the defendant had converted into some kind of makeshift cage.

“By his own admission the defendant had claimed he had a compulsion to keep animals because he loved them and he couldn’t stop taking them in. Had we not removed these animals it’s likely the numbers would have only increased – one of the pigs we removed had later had a litter of piglets.

“I hope that now he has been sentenced by the court the defendant will learn his lesson and not get animals which he clearly is unable to look after properly.”

Although the matter had crossed a custody threshold the bench said they had taken into account the defendant’s age and vulnerability and the fact that he has never been to prison before, but were keen for him to have some rehabilitation

In 2014 Harris was disqualified from keeping animals for life following a prosecution by the RSPCA.

Sentencing: Two-year community order with the requirement to carry out 135 hours of unpaid work and 60 days of Rehabilitation Activity Requirement; costs of £1,300 and a £85 victim surcharge. Lifetime ban on keeping animals.

Romford Recorder

Grimsby/Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire: Liam Ardito, Gary Cannon and Mark Smith

#TheList Liam Patrick Ardito, born 28/11/1979, of 4 Westwood Road, Healing, Grimsby DN41 7SA, Gary Lee Cannon, born 12/03/1985, of 2 Davenport Drive, Cleethorpes DN35 9JT, and Mark Wesley Smith, born 05/11/1959, of 16 Broadway, Little Coates, Grimsby DN34 5RN – set dogs on foxes and a badger and watched them being savaged to death

Wildlife criminals from Grimsby/Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire Gary Cannon, Liam Ardito and Mark Smith
L-R Gary Cannon, Liam Ardito, Mark Smith

The odious trio’s sickening activities were uncovered during an early-morning RSPCA raid on Smith’s home in Broadway, as other officers conducted a simultaneous operation in Newbury Avenue, where Ardito was living at the time.

Gary Cannon caught on camera with a brutalised fox
Gary Cannon caught on camera enjoying his sick hobby

Items removed from Smith’s property included an air rifle, a wild bird trap and a terrier-cross dog. Birds of prey, ferrets and dogs were being kept in the back garden of the property which was fitted with seven security cameras.

Gary Cannon and Mark Smith drag a screaming fox from her den before throwing her to a pack of dogs to be savaged to death
Gary Cannon and Mark Smith drag a screaming fox from her den before throwing her to a pack of dogs to be savaged to death

Ardito, Cannon and Smith carried out the sickening attacks – some of which they recorded on video – between April 2010 and August 2012.

Smith had thousands of images of dogs attacking animals on his computer, and memory sticks found in his home.

Twisted Mark Smith with a helpless fox
Twisted Mark Smith with a helpless victim

The men’s lawyer Clive Rees of Clive Rees & Associates admitted there was “no justification” for his client’s actions. He added the best he could say for his clients was they had been winding down their activities, saying they believed it was “getting too hot and too heavy.”

Nigel Burn, prosecuting for the RSPCA, described their behaviour as “intentionally cruel”, telling the court, it amounted to “torture”.

The men's dogs suffered a catalogue of facial injuries
The men’s dogs suffered a catalogue of facial injuries

Liam Ardito admitted the following charges:

  • Causing unnecessary suffering to dog by causing it to fight with another animal
  • Jointly causing unnecessary suffering to a fox by causing it to be attacked by a dog
  • Causing an animal fight between a dog and a fox
  • Jointly with Gary Cannon causing unnecessary suffering to a fox by causing it to be attacked by a dog
  • Causing an animal fight between a dog and a badger
  • Causing unnecessary mental suffering to a fox by caging it
  • Jointly with Gary Cannon causing unnecessary suffering to a fox by causing it to be attacked by a dog
  • Jointly with Gary Cannon causing unnecessary suffering to fox by causing it to be attacked by two dogs
  • Jointly with Mark Smith causing an animal fight between two dogs and another animal
  • Jointly with Mark Smith causing unnecessary suffering to a black and tan terrier by making it fight with another animal
  • Jointly with Mark Smith, taking wild birds, namely sparrowhawks
  • Keeping premises for use in animal fighting

Gary Cannon admitted the following charges:

  • Jointly with Liam Ardito causing unnecessary suffering to a fox by causing it to be attacked by a dog
  • Jointly with Liam Ardito causing an animal fight between a dog and a badger
  • Jointly with Liam Ardito causing unnecessary suffering to a fox by causing it to be attacked by dog
  • Jointly with Liam Ardito causing unnecessary suffering to a fox by causing it to be attacked by two dogs
  • Jointly with Mark Smith causing unnecessary suffering to a fox by causing it to be attacked by a dog

Mark Smith admitted the following charges:

  • Being present at an animal fight between a fox and a dog
  • Aiding and abetting Liam Ardito in causing unnecessary suffering to a fox by causing it to be attacked by a dog
  • Two counts of aiding and abetting Liam Ardito and Gary Cannon in causing unnecessary suffering to a fox by causing it to be attacked by a dog
  • Being present at a fight between a dog and a badger
  • Being found, in Broadway, in possession of a trap for the trapping of wild birds
  • Aiding and abetting Liam Ardito and Gary Cannon in causing unnecessary suffering to two terrier dogs by causing them to fight with a fox
  • Aiding and abetting an unknown person to cause unnecessary suffering to a fox by causing it to be attacked by a dog
  • Together with Liam Ardito, at Littlecoates Road, causing an animal fight between two dogs and an unknown animal
  • Together with Gary Cannon, causing unnecessary suffering to a fox by causing it to be attacked by a dog
  • With Liam Ardito, causing unnecessary suffering to a black and tan terrier by causing it to fight with an unknown animal
  • Possessing a wild bird, namely a curlew
  • Possessing a wild bird, namely a rook

Sentencing: four-month custodial sentence for each count to run concurrently. Ardito and Smith were banned from keeping dogs and birds for at least 10 years and Cannon from keeping dogs for at least 10 years (expires March 2023).

North West Hunt Saboteurs

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After Ardito, Cannon and Smith were sentenced, the RSPCA released a series of photographs of men believed to be associates of the trio. It is unknown whether any of them were ever traced or prosecuted.

Unidentified associates of Ardito, Cannon and Smith

Source: North West Hunt Saboteurs Association