Category Archives: Hunts

South Herefordshire Hunt: Paul Oliver, Hannah Rose, Paul Reece and Julie Elmore

#TheList Paul Oliver, born c. 1978, and Hannah Rose, born c. 1988, both of Sutton Crosses, Long Sutton, Spalding PE12, Paul Reece, born c. 1970, of Grove View, Usk Road, Chepstow NP16 6SA and Julie Elmore, born c. 1963, of 6 Brynarw Estate, Abergavenny NP7 7ND – convicted of animal cruelty after fox cubs were fed to hounds

Fox cub killers Paul Oliver, Hannah Rose, Paul Reece and Julie Elmore - all involved with now defunct South Herefordshire Hunt
Fox cub killers Paul Oliver, Paul Reece, Hannah Rose and Julie Elmore

Footage obtained by a group called the Hunt Investigation Team (HIT) was instrumental in the successful prosecution of Paul Oliver, master of hounds with the now disbanded South Herefordshire Hunt.

South Herefordshire Hunt cruelty case. Fox cub killer Paul Oliver, former huntsman with the now defunct hunt.
Disgraced Master and Huntsman of the now defunct South Herefordshire Hunt, Paul Oliver

Oliver was convicted of four counts of animal cruelty for allowing his hounds to kill four fox cubs and was handed a 16-week suspended jail sentence for causing their “painful, terrifying” deaths.

District Judge Joanna Dickens, sitting at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, also imposed a 12-week suspended sentence on Oliver’s partner, Hannah Rose, the hunt’s kennel maid.

South Herefordshire Hunt kennel maid Hannah Rose pictured outside court
South Herefordshire Hunt kennel maid Hannah Rose pictured outside court

The pair were ordered to pay £300 in costs and a £115 victim surcharge after being convicted of causing unnecessary suffering.

South Herefordshire Hunt cruelty case. Hannah Rose and Paul Oliver pictured outside court.
Hannah Rose and Paul Oliver pictured outside court.

HIT, a relatively new group whose members include ex-services personnel, received training in covert investigative methods.

They fixed a device to Oliver’s Land Rover following a tip-off and tracked him to a site where they suspected he was catching fox cubs in May 2016.

They also set up cameras at the hunt’s kennels and obtained footage they said proved Oliver was catching cubs and taking them back to his hounds to “blood” them.

South Herefordshire Hunt cruelty case. Paul Oliver was filmed taking live fox cubs  from a crate into a kennel block. A short time later he was captured disposing of the cubs' mutilated bodies.
Paul Oliver was filmed taking live fox cubs from a crate into a kennel block at the South Herefordshire Hunt. A short time later he was captured disposing of the cubs’ mutilated bodies.
South Herefordshire Hunt cruelty case. Paul Oliver's girlfriend Hannah Rose looks on as he  handles the fox cubs.  Photo credit: Hunt Investigation Team.
Paul Oliver’s girlfriend Hannah Rose looks on as he handles the fox cubs. Photo credit: Hunt Investigation Team.

The court heard that one camera recorded Oliver dumping the bodies of two cubs in a wheelie bin.

The activists are said to have taken legal advice from lawyers and animal welfare organisations who told them they could not recover the cubs as this would amount to theft.

They said they did not pass the case to the police because they did not believe officers would have the resources to follow it up.

HIT members, who are involved in several ongoing investigations, are so worried about reprisals that one was allowed to give evidence during the seven-day trial from behind a screen.

Fox cub killers Julie Elmore and Paul Reece
Terrierman Paul Reece was filmed delivering a fox cub to the crate. Nathan Parry, who unbelievably was acquitted, was also present along with his girlfriend Julie Elmore (pictured)

Julie Elmore and Paul Reece admitted two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to cubs which were distressed by being transported to the kennels.

Elmore and Reece were given conditional discharges and ordered to pay costs of £50 after the judge said both had been “motivated by consideration” for two fox cubs.

A fifth defendant, Nathan Parry, born c. 1978, also of Brynarw estate, was cleared of all charges.

Acquitted of any involvement in live fox cubs being fed to hounds: Nathan Parry
Unbelievably Nathan Parry was acquitted with judges believing his implausible account

Parry took foxes to kennels but was found not guilty after the judge accepted he believed they would be relocated in the wild.

Martin Sims, director of investigations at the League Against Cruel Sports and former head of the police’s National Wildlife Crime Unit, said: “We believe the incidents show that hunts are clearly still hunting as the poor fox cubs were thrown into the kennels to give the hounds a taste for blood.

“The barbarity of these incidents is sickening and will horrify the vast majority of the British public who are overwhelmingly opposed to fox hunting.”

Deborah Marshall, HIT spokeswoman, said: “This case has taken far too long to come to court and we have faced false allegations against investigators and obstruction throughout. We are glad that justice has finally taken its course.

“The capture of fox cubs to be used to train hounds is nothing new and is widespread across Britain, as is the mass destruction of healthy hounds to make way for younger ones. We will continue to expose cruelty and wildlife crime.”

The Masters of Foxhounds Association suspended the South Herefordshire Hunt after the footage emerged and it has since disbanded.

A spokesperson for the association said Oliver’s actions were “completely disgraceful” and had no place in hunting.

Telegraph

Peterborough: George R Adams

#TheList huntsman George R Adams, born c. 1951, of 2 Ramshill Cottages, Stamford Road, Peterborough PE6 7EZ – used a pack of hounds to kill a fox

Fitzwilliam huntsman George Adams was convicted of breaching the  Hunting Act after hounds killed a fox.
Fitzwilliam huntsman George Adams was convicted of breaching the Hunting Act after hounds killed a fox.

Adams, a huntsman with the Fitzwilliam Hunt, was in charge of the pack of hounds when it killed a fox on January 1, 2016.

John Mease was cleared of all charges.

Falconer John Mease was found not guilty of the charge and also not guilty of causing unnecessary cruelty to an animal relating to hunting of a fox in 2013

The court heard that the hunt started in Wansford, Cambridgeshire and that the fox was eventually killed near Elton by the pack of hounds.

Adams’ co-defendant John Mease, of 3 Kennels Cottages, Milton Park, Peterborough PE6 7AB, who was present at the hunt with a golden eagle, was found not guilty after a court heard he used the bird of prey to catch animals, rather than a pack of dogs.

Mease was further cleared of causing unnecessary cruelty to an animal despite ‘dispatching’ another fox by driving a KNIFE through its eye after it was caught by his raptor in 2013.

The court heard from saboteurs Ruth Nichols and Stephen Milton, who had tracked the hunt.

Video footage shown to the court taken by Mr Milton, which involved around 40 hounds – with the sound of a hunting horn clearly heard.

Mr Milton said he had seen the hunt tracking the fox, and had not heard any calls to ward the dogs off from the fox.

George Adams with the kill
George Adams with the kill.

Adams, who joined the Fitzwilliam Hunt in 1981 and became a huntsman in 1984, told the court he had not seen the fox before it was killed.

When asked if it was his intention to kill the fox with hounds, he said: ‘Absolutely not. We wanted to flush it out for the bird of prey.’

Mr Mease told the court there was no chance for him to release his golden eagle to catch the fox because the saboteurs were in the field, which would provide a risk to the bird.

He was asked why he never radioed Adams to call the hunt off.

He said: ‘A hunt is a fluid thing. It was changing minute by minute. It was the heat of the moment and it was the first time I had come across saboteurs in my 11 years.’

He told the court he was in charge of the bird but had no control over the pack of hounds, which was Adams’ responsibility.

Speaking after the trial, Hunt Saboteurs Association spokesperson Lee Moon said: ‘To anyone who witnessed the events on the day in question it was abundantly clear that a wild mammal was hunted and killed illegally, in a most gruesome manner.

‘Although a fox had to suffer and die due to the blatant and remorseless actions of the defendants we are pleased that hunt saboteurs were able to bring at least one of them to justice.

‘We would like to thank Cambridgeshire police who conducted a robust and unbiased investigation.

‘The loopholes and exemptions in the current act have always been cynically exploited by hunts in order to operate much as they would have done prior to the ban.

‘The guilty verdict proves that hunting with a full pack of hounds is not the same as Falconry and the judge in summing up confirmed as much.

‘The outcome will of course have wider reaching implications for all those hunts around the country who claim to use this exemption.

‘We will continue to vigorously oppose those who gain enjoyment from the torture and killing of our wildlife and will use all the tools at our disposal to those ends.

‘We have the overwhelming support of the general public who wish to see an end to the barbaric minority pastime.’

Sentencing: fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £950 costs.

Daily Mail

North Wales badger baiters: David Thomas, Marc Wynn Morris, Jordan Houlston

#TheList badger baiting gang members David Thomas, born 21/03/1966, of Cwm Bowydd Farm, Blaenau Ffestiniog LL41 3EL, Marc Wynn Morris, born 19/05/1991, of Jones Street, Blaenau Ffestiniog LL41 3YF, Jordan Alexander Houlston, born 04/08/1993, of Alexandra Road, Llandudno LL30 2DQ and an unnamed 17-year-old

Convicted badger baiters and dog abusers David Thomas and Jordan Houlston
Convicted badger baiters and dog abusers David Thomas and Jordan Houlston

The four men were convicted following an RSPCA probe into badger baiting and animal fighting at Cwm Bowydd Farm, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, North Wales LL41 3EL.

The undercover investigation into the activities of Houlston and co, which was led by Ian Briggs of the RSPCA’s special operations unit, featured in a May 2018 documentary produced by BBC Wales entitled ‘The Secret World of Badger Baiting’.

The programme also uncovered a scene of horror at Cwm Bowydd farm, which is co-owned by David Thomas, sole master of the Dwyrd hunt .

Animal cruelty on a massive scale was taking place at the farm with dozens of neglected dogs found locked away in brick enclosures with no natural light.

Dogs discovered living in damp, cold and dirty conditions at the farm co-owned by David Thomas
Dogs discovered living in damp, cold and dirty conditions at the farm co-owned by David Thomas
Dogs discovered living in damp, cold and dirty conditions at the farm co-owned by David Thomas
Several dogs were kept in appalling conditions at the farm
Dogs discovered living in damp, cold and dirty conditions at the farm co-owned by David Thomas
Dogs discovered living in damp, cold and dirty conditions at the farm co-owned by David Thomas
Dogs discovered living in damp, cold and dirty conditions at the farm co-owned by David Thomas
Dogs discovered living in damp, cold and dirty conditions at the farm co-owned by David Thomas

Two foxes were found in a cage which had been placed close to a barn in which fox hounds were being kept.

The RSPCA discovered this caged fox at the farm
At the farm the RSPCA discovered two foxes in a cage placed near to a barn containing fox hounds
The foxes were trapped in a cage which was placed next to kennels containing hunting hounds
The terrified foxes were trapped in a cage which was placed next to kennels containing hunting hounds

A search of Jordan Houlston’s flat found several dogs in external and others living in tiny enclosures inside including in the property’s bathroom.

Investigators discovered animal medication at the flat and a number of books on hunting with dogs and badger baiting.

A total of 31 dogs were taken from Houlston’s flat and the farm to be examined by a vet.

One rescued Patterdale terrier had fresh injuries to her nose, damage to her jaw and a peeling wound on her chin.

The court heard how artificial badger setts were found at the farm along with seven skulls, possibly those of foxes or badgers.

The RSPCA said this fake sett was used to hold a badger
The RSPCA said this fake sett was used to hold a badger

Pipes were used to hold captive animals and dogs were brought to a copse and forced to fight with them.

Video footage showed badger baiting, which has been illegal since 1835.

A badger had been brought to the area in advance and arrangements made for dogs to chase and injure the animal.

The presiding judge Gwyn Jones said: “Fortunately, we didn’t see how the badger was ultimately killed, but it’s quite clear the death would have been slow and no doubt extremely painful.

“That activity would also have had an adverse impact on the dogs.

“This was a deliberate and planned venture to cause suffering to an animal,”

“Mr Thomas and Mr Houlston played a leading role.”

Thomas was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a badger by causing it to fight with dogs.

One of the two terrified foxes saved from a cruel death at David Thomas’s farm

He was also found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to two foxes by keeping them caged close to dogs, causing the foxes to be terrified, and other animal welfare allegations.

Jordan Houlston was convicted  of ill-treating a badger, and unnecessary suffering by causing a badger to fight with dogs at Cwm Bowydd Farm in February 2017.

Jordan Houston is approved by the Master of Foxhounds Association

He was also found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to four dogs and failing to meet the welfare needs of seven dogs.

Dogs rescued from the farm and Houlston's flat
Dogs rescued from the farm and Houlston’s flat
Dog rescued from Jordan Houlston's flat
Dog rescued from Jordan Houlston's flat

Morris pleaded guilty to wilfully injuring a badger, being present at an animal fight and causing unnecessary suffering to a badger by causing it to fight with a dog.

Sentencing:
David Thomas –  imprisoned for 22 weeks, and placed under close supervision for a 12-month period; costs of £5,000. Disqualified from keeping dogs for eight years.

 Houlston – imprisoned for 20 weeks, and also placed under close supervision for a 12-month period; total of £750 costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping dogs for eight years.

Morris – 10-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months; 150 hours of unpaid work; total of £650 costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping dogs for four years.

The unnamed 17-year-old who had pleaded guilty to being present at an animal fight was ordered to pay a total of £220 in costs and banned from keeping dogs for four years. 

Daily Post
BBC News

Brent Pelham, Buntingford, Herts: Samuel Lyas and Valentine Baldock

#TheList Samuel Lyas, born 27/03/1990, and Valentine Baldock, born 26/05/1984, both of Brent Pelham, Buntingford, Herts, for leaving their injured dogs to suffer after forcing them to fight foxes and badgers

Photo shows Samuel Lyas and two badly injured dogs. One of the dogs  has a degloved jaw and the other has facial scarring.
Samuel Lyas and injured Max and Bronson. Max’s lower jaw had exposed flesh where the skin had been ripped off. His injury was untreated.

Lyas (pictured) and Baldock admitted causing unnecessary suffering to terriers, some of whom were left with the skin ripped from their lower jaws.

The RSPCA’s special operations unit began investigating Lyas, who is originally from Witham in Essex, after being made aware of allegations that he used his dogs to attack wild animals. A warrant was executed by Herts Constabulary’s rural operations team at his home in April 2015.

RSPCA officers found six terriers, including a red male called Max and a black longhair called Bronson who both needed treatment for their injuries. Max was suffering ‘de-gloving’ injuries – the dog had no skin on his lower jaw, leaving the flesh exposed after it had been ripped off.

A tethering post was found by RSPCA and police officers, which pictures on Lyas’ phone showed was used to tie up foxes for the dogs to practise on.

A homemade noose was also found.

A separate warrant the same day at Baldock’s address, also in Brent Pelham, found more dogs, including black terriers called Gravel and Todd, with head, facial and jaw injuries which had not received proper treatment.

A vet also found staples in the corner of Gravel’s mouth, some of which had become partially detached from the skin. These had been inserted by Baldock.

A series of text messages between Lyas and a friend revealed Bronson had been involved in a fight with a fox. One text said: “Had hold of him from start to finish not a noise from him just grunted with his mouth full.”

Prosecutor Lauren Bond told the court: “These people are not fit and proper to look after animals.

“They have shown a complete contempt for the safety of animals, not just the dogs but the foxes.

“These are not injuries that have occurred by accident, they have occurred through deliberate placing of a dog in that situation.”

Lyas and Baldock lived in neighbouring houses in Brent Pelham, which were provided by their employers, who have since sacked and evicted them. While the employer is not named in the linked article, it is known that both men worked for the Puckeridge Hunt, Lyas as a terrierman and Baldock as a kennel huntsman. It is alleged that the hunt paid their legal costs but then cut ties just before conviction following negative publicity.

Screenshot of the Puckeridge Hunt webstie shows Valentine Baldock listed as a kennel huntsman.
A screenshot of the Puckeridge Hunt website lists Valentine Baldock as a kennel huntsman.

The decision to seize a dog found in Lyas’ home drew an angry reaction from the public gallery, with his friends and family claiming she belonged to his partner.

One of his entourage shouted: “How much more do you want to take away?”

Lyas has a history of violence being part of a gang of thugs convicted for assault in 2010.

Sentencing: Lyas – 26-week custodial sentence, suspended for two years; £3,600 in costs; 280 hours’ unpaid work. Baldock – 225 hours’ community service; £3,025 in fines. Both banned from keeping animals for life.

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