Category Archives: Wildlife crime

Badger baiting, hunting with dogs, foxhunting, hare coursing, animal fighting

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

Walton-on-Thames, Surrey: Joshua Wanless

#TheList career criminal and gang member Joshua Wanless, born c. 1990, of Pankhurst Road, Walton-on-Thames KT12 – encouraged a dog to kill a ferret for his own sadistic enjoyment

Sick animal abuser Joshua Wanless of Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
Twisted Josh Wanless derived pleasure from seeing helpless animals being killed

Joshua Wanless, who has previous convictions for violence, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, a ferret, by feeding it to a dog and causing it to die, and causing unnecessary suffering to a dog by encouraging the dog to attack a ferret.

On January 30, 2019, officers were called to Apple Court Green in Walton after a report that Wanless had forced a dog into a cage with a ferret to kill it.

Officers arrived as Wanless drove into an adjacent road, where they searched his car. In the boot they found a box with a live ferret, a cage covered in blood and a dog with blood on its nose. On the green they also found the ferret that had been killed by the dog minutes beforehand.

Police mugshot of sick animal abuser Joshua Wanless of Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
Gangsta type Josh Wanless is well known to Surrey Police

Wildlife & Rural Crime Co-ordinator PC Hollie Iribar who investigated the case alongside PC Josh Parry, said: “This is an abhorrent crime which involved Joshua Wanless antagonising a dog to kill a ferret for no other reason than his own enjoyment.

“He denied the offences at the time and told officers at the scene that the ferret had escaped from its box and been killed by accident, but subsequent investigation of his mobile phone revealed text messages stating his cruel intention beforehand.

“Using dogs to commit crimes in this way is disgusting. We know that crimes such as organised dog fighting are linked to serious criminal networks where it is sadly viewed as a sport. Bringing offenders to justice for such barbaric activity is just another way we can disrupt organised criminals from committing other kinds of serious crime.”

Wanless, whom Walton locals say has killed a dog and may also be responsible for air rifle attacks on cats in the area, also pleaded guilty to two breaches of his Criminal Behaviour Order. The breaches are that he caused alarm or distress to another member of the public and entered an area he was not allowed in.

Sentencing: 16-week custodial sentence, suspended for two years; 180 hours of unpaid work; costs and charges totalling £200. Banned from owning or keeping all animals for two years.

SurreyLive

Port Glasgow, Inverclyde: Sean Ward

#TheList Sean Ward, born c. 1991, originally from Greenock and more recently of Dougliehill Terrace, Port Glasgow PA14 – kept fighting dogs for killing wildlife including badgers, deer and foxes

Sean Ward from Port Glasgow kept fighting dogs for killing wildlife including badgers, deer and foxes.
Sheriff Craig Harris described Ward’s behaviour ”evil and sadistic” as he jailed Ward for seven months and banned him from keeping dogs for 20 years.

Violent career criminal and wildlife persecutor Sean Ward was jailed for seven months after Scottish SPCA investigators uncovered evidence of his appalling animal cruelty. This included text messages in which Ward described setting dogs on a fox as “some buzz” as well as a sick video showing a live deer being restrained by it hind legs as voices urged dogs to attack it.

Photographs of Ward smiling beside the dead animal later emerged.

Sean Ward from Port Glasgow kept fighting dogs for killing wildlife including badgers, deer and foxes.

The habitual thug, who has multiple previous convictions for weapons offences and violence, pleaded guilty to two charges under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act on summary complaint.

Sean Ward from Port Glasgow kept fighting dogs for killing wildlife including badgers, deer and foxes.

Ward was caught after a dog walker spotted him out with an injured dog in Port Glasgow in April 2018.

The black and white Jack Russell terrier was limping, had cuts and blood on her limbs and chest as well as a severe injury to her face.

The dog walker filmed the injured dog and sent footage to the Scottish SPCA.

Sean Ward from Port Glasgow kept fighting dogs for killing wildlife including badgers, deer and foxes.

The court heard police officers and Scottish SPCA investigators carried out a series of raids at Ward’s home after receiving the video from the concerned dog walker.

On one occasion, they found a Patterdale Terrier with scars on her face.

Sean Ward from Port Glasgow kept fighting dogs for killing wildlife including badgers, deer and foxes.

The animal was taken to a Scottish SPCA facility where she was examined by a vet. He found that the injuries were consistent with face-to-face fighting with a badger.

The vet viewed the film taken of the Jack Russell. In his opinion, the dog’s injuries were also consistent with face-to-face fighting with a badger.

A mobile phone seized during a search of Ward’s home was examined and a number of images and video were found.

One of the photographs showed Ward with a dead deer, a white lurcher and a Jack Russell.

Sean Ward from Port Glasgow kept fighting dogs for killing wildlife including badgers, deer and foxes.

A video of three dogs savaging a deer was also found where people were heard urging the dogs to attack.

Sara Shaw, head of the Wildlife and Environmental Crime Unit at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), welcomed the sentence.

She said: “These dogs caused terrible and unnecessary suffering with numerous wounds and scars.

“COPFS will continue to work to ensure those who participate in this barbaric practice are prosecuted and would encourage anyone who may have information on dog fighting to contact the police or Scottish SPCA.”

Sentencing: Jailed for seven months. Banned from keeping animals for 20 years.

BBC News
The Sun

Southwick, Sunderland: Arron Crighton

#TheList poacher Arron Crighton, born c. 1997, of Kismet Street, Sunderland SR5 2LG – made shocking videos of his dogs brutally killing foxes; posted graphic photos and videos online showing horrific injuries suffered by both dogs and foxes

Arron Crighton from Sunderland set his whippet on wild foxes 'for sport'
Arron Crighton from Sunderland set his whippet on wild foxes ‘for sport’ and bragged on social media about it

Arron Crighton admitted offences under the 2001 Animal Welfare Act and 2004 Hunting Act after using his black whippet, Jet, to attack and kill foxes.

Whippet Jet suffered a catalogue of painful injuries after being forced to fight foxes by his sadistic owner Arron Crighton
Whippet Jet suffered a catalogue of painful injuries after being forced to fight foxes by his sadistic owner Arron Crighton

Police were alerted to a number of videos made by Crighton, which included footage of a dog fighting with a fox and a person appearing to hold the fox down with their foot.

Police mugshot of animal abuser Arron Crighton from Sunderland

A second video showed two dogs with their jaws locked around the fox’s neck and body, while a picture was also taken showing Crighton and others holding a dog which had a bloodied fox in his mouth.

After being made aware of the social media posts, police executed a warrant at an address on Kismet Street, Sunderland, and seized a mobile phone belonging to Crighton.

Arron Crighton from Sunderland set his whippet on wild foxes 'for sport'
Arron Crighton

Investigators discovered hundreds of shocking photos and videos showing the attacks and subsequent injuries of the animals saved on the phone.

Asked why he’d initiated the illegal activity in interview, Crighton responded “for sport”. He also claimed that if one dog was injured by the fox, he would “put another dog on”.

PC Peter Baker, of Northumbria Police, said: “The photographs and videos that Arron Crighton made are incredibly distressing and showed a total disregard for the welfare of these animals.

“Crighton took a great deal of satisfaction out of filming this barbaric and criminal activity and then posted the trophy pictures online.

“It is blatantly clear that he cannot be trusted to own an animal and ensure it is adequately protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease. On this occasion, both Crighton’s own dog and the foxes suffered horrific injuries.

“This investigation was launched following information provided to police by a member of the public who saw the videos online and were rightly disgusted by them. I would urge anyone who sees poaching offences and cruelty of this type online to get in touch.

“This case should act as a reminder to all pet owners that anybody who fails to ensure an animal’s welfare is met could face criminal action. We would always ask anybody who witnesses cruelty or an animal in distress to contact the RSPCA direct or call 101.”

Jet– who was frightened but gentle in nature when officers located him– has been rehomed.

Sentencing: Jailed for 18 weeks. Banned from owning any animal for 10 years.

Sunderland Echo

Ilkley, West Yorkshire: Austin Hawke

#TheList gamekeeper Austin Hawke, born 1967, of The Bungalow, Ling Park, Ilkley LS29 0EJ – killed a badger in a trap

A badger died a cruel and horrible neglect as a result of gamekeeper Austin Hawke’s cavalier attitude towards wildlife management

The badger had been lured to a ‘stink pit’ at High Denton Farm, near Ilkley, where dead and decaying animals are legitimately placed in a pile to lure vermin so they can be destroyed.

Austin Hawke – a head keeper of the Denton Park Estate, had denied failing to inspect a snare every day it remained in position. The offence was contrary to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Hawke had set eight wire snares at four entrances to a 25 metre by 25 metre fenced off area of moorland before Easter 2018.

The aim was to lure foxes, the target species which Hawke had a licence from Defra to destroy, to the pit.

The square pit had four entrance holes cut into the fencing mesh with the snares placed nearby.

The pit was around 100 metres away from a footpath.

However, Hawke claimed the snares had been ‘deactivated’ on Good Friday (March 30, 2018) because he was conscious there could be an increase in visitors and walkers to the moorland over the Easter break.

The RSPCA is against the use of snares because they trap animals indiscriminately and cause tremendous suffering. Not that this would faze a gamekeeper like Austin Hawke

He said, generally, deactivating snares involved loosening the wire so the loop part, which the animals are snared by, is made smaller and wrapped around a ‘tealer’, a semi-rigid wire which holds the loop in the air at the correct height, and laying it down in undergrowth nearby.

On this occasion he admitted the snares had been left in situ but said the loops had been loosened and made so small as to prevent hares or badgers getting tangled in them.

He said the idea was to re-set them after a few weeks.

Prosecuting Rob Yates said the badger had been found by walker and bird watcher Andrew Jowett on May 28 last year.

The police were called to the site. Sergeant Stuart Grainger, of North Yorkshire Police, said he attended the site, one kilometre north of High Denton Farm, on May 29. The dead badger was in one of the snares which was attached to a wooden stake in the ground and “looked as if it had been dead for several days”. He said it was in such an advanced state of decay that its innards fell away when it was raised from the ground. He said the snare had cut into the badger’s flesh.

Hawke acknowledged legislation required gamekeepers to check snares at least once every 24 hours but he argued that as he had deactivated them there was no reason to check them.

He said he had been a gamekeeper for 35 years.

He said when in use, the traps and snares are checked daily and any non-target species trapped in them, such as hares and badgers, are released.

“We don’t want to cause unnecessary suffering,” Hawke said, stating he regarded the capture of a non-target species as a ‘tragedy’.

He said he had made an inspection of the area prior to setting the snares and he had seen no evidence of badgers being present, which can be seen through their droppings or hair on fences.

Defending, Amber Walker said her client had an exemplary record as a game keeper and was skilled in his job and honest.

“The snares were not left in such a state they posed a threat to non-target species. Mr Hawke has said if he had not been sure of this he would have gone back to check,” she said.

She also claimed there was a possibility that animal rights activists could have been responsible in order to have the blame laid at the feet of the game keeper.

“Removing a head keeper (through conviction) would be quite a scalp (by some activists) even if it meant the death of a badger,” she said.

Mr Yates claimed it was unlikely that animal rights people who campaigned against animal cruelty and disapproved of capturing animals would set snares.

Instead, he said Hawke had left the snares in position and was under a legal obligation to check them every 24 hours.

Magistrates found Hawke guilty of the charge, but stated it was an ‘isolated act of negligence, rather than intent’.

Sergeant Kev Kelly, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Task Force, said: “This case was reported following a member of the public who was aware of our proactive work under Operation Owl.

“From the evidence collected, it was apparent that the badger had suffered before it had eventually died after being caught in the snare. Therefore this case was fully investigated to ensure other animals didn’t undergo the same fate.

“If the defendant had been using breakaway snares it is less likely that he would have killed the badger.

“I am disappointed as we have been doing some really good partnership working with local Nidderdale keepers who want to show the public good practice and accountability.

“Hawke’s conviction will no doubt have an impact on how his profession is viewed. I think he has done his wider colleagues a disservice.”

Geoff Edmond, RSPCA National Wildlife Coordinator, said: “The RSPCA continues to work closely with the North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Task Force and this result highlights the strength of partnership working under Operation Owl.

“This badger will have suffered a horrific and prolonged death having been snared in this way.

“The RSPCA is against the use of snares because they are indiscriminate in what they catch and they cause tremendous suffering. But while they remain legal we hope we can work together with the Police and National Gamekeepers’ Organisation to raise awareness of the good practice guide so as to improve accountability.”

Sentencing: 12-month conditional discharge. Costs and charges totalling £645.

Telegraph and Argus

Badger Baiters from Doncaster, Bridlington and Hull

#TheList Andrew Booth, born c. 1974, of West Road, Moorends, Doncaster; George Horner, born c. 1992, of 30 Brett Street, Bridlington; John Horner, born c. 1999, of 77 Constable Road, Bridlington; Kirk McGarry, born c. 1968, of Southfield Road, Thorne, Doncaster; Richard Willey, born c. 1972, of Westlands Road, Hull – used dogs to attack a badger sett

Cruel badger baiters Andrew Booth, Kirk McGarry, John Horner, George Horner and Richard Willey and terrier Paddy who suffered serious facial injuries

Andrew Booth, Kirk McGarry, John Horner, George Horner and Richard Willey used two dogs, one of whom was heavily pregnant, to attack a badger sett.

They were each found guilty of wildlife and animal cruelty offences at Beverley Magistrates’ Court.

Badger baiter John Horner from Bridlington
The youngest of the five convicted men: John-Joe Horner
Badger baiter Richard Willey from Hull
Richard Willey

On the afternoon of 30 December 2017 a concerned member of the public reported to the police that five men with dogs were digging into a badger sett at Melton in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Badger baiter George Horner from Bridlington
George Horner is a failed professional boxer

A number of officers including several wildlife crime officers quickly attended the location and found four men continuing to dig into what appeared to the officers to be an active badger sett.

Jess and Charlotte were found at the scene

Four terrier-type dogs were seized at the time of the incident. One dog, Paddy, was seriously injured and was lucky to survive. A second dog, Dizzy, was heavily pregnant when she was seized and gave birth to a puppy, named Romeo, who is now one year old. Two other dogs, Charlotte and Jess, were also seized. All five dogs have been kennelled and have responded well to the care and attention they have received.

Paddy nearly died from his injuries, which were consistent with badger fighting

Ch Insp Iain Dixon said: “Badger digging is a cruel and barbaric activity and involves horrendous suffering to both the badger and any dog involved.

“In this particular case one dog, named Dizzy, was very far into pregnancy, giving birth within a few weeks of the incident which shows the uncaring and callous nature of those involved all the more.”

Sentencing: the five men were sentenced to a maximum term of six months in prison. They have each also received three year Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBOs) and were told to pay £2,000 costs for dog kennelling and vet’s fees. All are banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

BBC News

Carnforth, Lancashire: Joe Whittam

#TheList Joe Whittam, born 07/06/1990, of Langdale Road, Carnforth, Lancashire LA5 9AU – set his dogs on a pet cat and fox; failed to provide vet treatment for his injured dogs

Two photos of convicted animal abuser Joe Whittam from Carnforth, Lancashire.
Joe Whittam from Carnforth was jailed after filming “blood-curdling” videos of his dogs killing a cat and fox

Joseph Whittam, who also uses the surname Riding, pleaded guilty to four offences under the Animal Welfare Act in relation to encouraging his two dogs to attack a cat and a fox, as well as failing to provide veterinary attention for the dogs themselves.

The RSPCA joined Lancashire Constabulary to execute a warrant at Whittam’s address in August 2017 after intelligence that suggested he was involved in wildlife crimes with his two dogs.

The dogs – a terrier called Rex and a lurcher called Zip – were removed by police and placed into the RSPCA’s care. A mobile phone was also seized and investigators discovered a number of shocking videos saved on the phone.

RSPCA special investigation officer Jason Bowles said: “In one video, the two dogs are going crazy, barking and snapping at the mesh of a trap with a black and white domestic cat inside.

“In a second video, the cat is released along with the dogs and the dogs grab the cat and literally start to rip it apart while the cat screams and cries in pain. It is horrific and absolutely blood-curdling. Many of our staff here at the RSPCA haven’t been able to stomach watching it.

“One of the magistrates had to leave court after watching the sickening footage.

“The cat was killed although we never found the body and never traced the poor cat’s owners.”

He added: “In another video, the dogs can be seen attacking and biting a fox. In all the footage Whittam can clearly be heard encouraging the dogs and egging them on.”

Rex and Zip both had old injuries – thought to be caused by their attacks – which had not been treated. They received veterinary care and remain in the RSPCA’s care. They will be rehomed once the case has concluded.

Further analysis of Whittam’s phone uncovered images of a dog being encouraged to attack a gerbil and still images of the fox attack which show the animal being baited by the dog.

Whittam claimed the fox had been shot and injured before his dogs got hold of it.

Lancashire Constabulary’s Sgt James Pinder said: “This investigation began as a result of community information in relation to animal welfare and poaching offences.

“I hope the investigation clearly demonstrates that we will work with our partner agencies and will deal with offenders in a robust manner.

“The sentence, which marks the end of a 16-month investigation, is welcomed by Lancashire Constabulary and we hope it will send a clear message to those who think it is acceptable to partake in these criminal activities.”

Sentencing Whittam at Preston Magistrates’ Court, the chairman of the bench said the offences were sustained, deliberate and gratuitous

Sentencing:
Jailed for 22 weeks; ordered to pay a total of £490. Disqualified from keeping animals for life. 

Westmorland Gazette

Cumbria: Richard Todd and Wayne Lawson

#TheList Wayne Lawson (DoB: 28/09/78) of Sheehan Gardens, Carlisle, Cumbria, and Richard Todd (DoB: 20/07/78) of Mills Road, Wigton, Cumbria – made a video as they tried to kill a badger by setting their dogs on it

Badger baiters Richard Todd and Wayne Lawson from Cumbria
Badger baiters Richard Todd (left and in green top in middle photo) and Wayne Lawson both from Cumbria plus Scooby the dog who had facial scarring consistent with animal fighting

Lawson and Todd admitted trying to kill the badger while Lawson also pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a black Patterdale terrier called Scooby.

Lawson failed to get  veterinary care for injuries to Scooby’s ear and lower lip.

The men were due to stand trial but after charges of interfering with badger setts and of causing an animal fight to take place were dropped, they admitted the attempt to kill.

Speaking after the sentencing, RSPCA officer Jason Bowles said: “We received intelligence that Mr Lawson was involved in badger digging and found two dogs at his property with extensive scarring and nasty injuries consistent with fights with badgers.

“We seized a mobile phone which had saved videos showing him and another man digging down to tunnels before placing the dogs underground to find the wild animals.

“This case really shows the suffering caused to the poor badgers who are hunted for fun as well as the dogs used in this barbaric blood sport. They are often left with hideous injuries and disfigurements and rarely receive appropriate veterinary treatment or pain relief.”

Sentencing:
Both – 140-day prison term, suspended for a year.

Lawson – 160 hours of unpaid work in the community. Disqualified from keeping dogs for four years. Total costs and charges of £1,415.

Todd – 100 hours of unpaid work in the community. Total costs and charges of £1,115.  Banned from keeping animals for two years.

News and Star

Gravesend, Kent: Julius Gadzor

 #TheList Julius Gadzor, born c.  1979, of Wellington Street, Gravesend, Kent  DA12 – trapped and kept wild birds by putting rat glue on feeders in his garden

Julius Gadzor from Gravesend is originally from Slovakia
Julius Gadzor from Gravesend is originally from Slovakia

Slovakian Gadzor admitted possessing wild birds and trapping them.

Officers from the Rural Task Force for Kent joined forced with the RSPCA on Thursday, June 14, 2018, to conduct a search of Gadzor’s home following a tip off they received from the RSPB.

A number of caged wild birds were seized as well as rat glue and other bird trapping equipment.

Some of the cages in which Julius Gadzor kept the wild birds he'd trapped

Gadzor was interviewed four days later where he admitted that he was trying to catch them illegally in his garden.

Sergeant Darren Walshaw, who co-ordinated the search, said: “This is an excellent example of partnership working. The intelligence received from the RSPB allowed us to gain enough information to request a search warrant and the case built by the RSPCA resulted in the man having to admit his guilt.

“Bird trapping is not only illegal, it is incredibly cruel. We are committed to working with our partner agencies to put these criminals, who illegally trap birds for their own financial gain, before the court.”

A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “To take a wild bird from its natural habitat and shut it inside a tiny cage is so cruel. They suffer greatly in captivity, are not used to being in cages and, sadly, often die.

“All wild birds in England and Wales, their nests and their eggs are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and actions may only be taken under specific licences.’

“It is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to trap wild birds.”

Sentencing:
28-day curfew; total of £385 costs and charges. 

Metro
KentOnline

 

Meir, Stoke-on-Trent: Natalie Keenan and David Knight

#TheList Natalie Keenan, born c. 1989, and David Knight, born c. 1977, both of Sandon Old Road, Meir, Stoke-on-Trent ST3 – kept 23 pets – including a barn owl, a fox and a raccoon dog – inside a smelly and flea-ridden house of horrors

David Knight and Natalie Keenan of Meir, Stoke kept 23 pets - including owl, fox and raccoon dog - inside 'smelly and flea-ridden' house of horrors

David Knight pleaded guilty to five charges related to animal cruelty, while Natalie Keenan admitted four offences under the Animal Welfare Act.

The pair’s mini-zoo was discovered by chance when a utility company official went round to the Meir home to execute a warrant as they hadn’t paid their gas bill.

He alerted the RSPCA, who were confronted by the stench of neglect, with piles of dog poo in the kitchen, rotting chickens in a snake tank and animals covered in fleas.

David Knight and Natalie Keenan of Meir, Stoke kept 23 pets - including owl, fox and raccoon dog - inside 'smelly and flea-ridden' house of horrors

Other creatures – from pets to exotics to wild animals – were being kept in tiny filthy cages, with barely enough room to move and without ready access to water.

A raccoon dog kept in a foul cage by Natalie Keenan and David Knight from Meir, Stoke

One terrier-type dog, called Lexi, was in such a poor condition that she had to be put to sleep.

Hazel Stevens, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said Lexi was experiencing ‘significant suffering’. She was virtually blind, emaciated with protruding bones, had little fur and an infected tumour that was hidden underneath a ‘foul-smelling mess’.

The dog was found curled up on a pile of dirty nappies and had to be carried out of the house as she couldn’t walk.

The couple also had:

  • another dog, Mocha the French bulldog
  • a cat called Gizzy, who both had skin and flea problems;
  • a barn owl caged up in a bedroom
  • a fox living in a cage in another room;
  • a racoon dog
  • a rat
  • a bearded dragon
  • five snakes
  • eight degus;
  • and an African grey parrot called Charlie.

David Knight and Natalie Keenan of Meir, Stoke kept 23 pets - including owl, fox and raccoon dog - inside 'smelly and flea-ridden' house of horrors
Lexi was in such poor condition she had to be put to sleep

RSPCA Inspector Charlotte Melvin said: “When I arrived at the property the couple wouldn’t let me inside so I waited outside for over two hours until police arrived.

“During that time the family carried bin bag after bin bag of rubbish out of the house.

“When I finally went inside it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Even though they’d been clearing out for two hours it was still absolutely filthy and the animals were being kept in horrifying conditions.

“There was cage after cage and animal after animal. The rooms were strewn with rubbish, all of the animals’ accommodation was filthy and their welfare needs were clearly not being met.

“It was disgusting and it was mass-scale neglect.”

The other animals remain in RSPCA care and can now be rehomed or moved to suitable keepers.

“Many of these animals simply shouldn’t be kept as pets let alone kept like this,” Inspector Melvin added.

“To see these poor animals living in such squalor was heartbreaking. I’m just glad they can all now have a second chance at find loving new homes where their needs will be properly catered to.”

Sentencing: 12-month community order including a 30-hour rehabilitation requirement. Total of £235 each in costs and charges.  Both were disqualified from keeping animals for three years.

Stoke Sentinel
Signal1