#TheList tyre fitters Shaun Mark Fussell, born 05/02/1988, of Woodlands Crescent, Quakers Yark, Treharris CF46 5AP, Lee Edward Jones, born 27/07/1975, of Rhydfach, Pentrebach, Merthyr Tydfil CF48 4DJ and William Christopher Morgan, born 02/03/1981, of Upper Fforest Level, Mountain Ash CF45 4HR – hit a wild rat over the head, forced it into a pipe and launched it into the air like a cannonball.
Shaun Fussell, Lee ‘Sooty’ Jones and William ‘Billy’ Morgan were all convicted of animal cruelty after a video was posted to Facebook showing a live rat being fired out of a makeshift cannon.
The horrific footage showed a rat being caught in a tyre fitting shop using pliers, and forced into a pipe attached to an air compressor after being hit on the head with a metal pole. The rat was then shot out of the pipe by Lee Jones using the compressor, into the air and over a neighbouring building.
After issuing a public appeal for information earlier in 2017, the RSPCA received “scores” of calls from people as far as Australia to help track down the men.
RSPCA inspector Gemma Cooper said: “This was such a horrific case where this rat suffered unnecessarily.
“Even though some people see rats as vermin they are still protected by law in certain circumstances. They are still living creatures that feel fear and pain.
“These men purposely attached a gas compressor and put the rat in a tube and fired it. They knew exactly what they were doing.
“We never found the rat, but it surely suffered extremely from the horrifying incident.”
Sentencing: all three men were given a 12-month community order of 180 hours of unpaid work each. They were each ordered to pay a total of £445 in costs and charges.