Monday, 29 December 2008


An RSPCA inspector is to examine the images, taken by a photographer at Sandringham, Norfolk, on Saturday, to determine whether the animals were subjected to "unnecessary suffering".
Buckingham Palace insisted that the Prince was simply trying to break up a fight between the two labradors and said that the pictures do not show definitively whether he actually struck them.
But animal rights groups condemned his behaviour as "sickening" and "cowardly".
The photographs show the Prince approaching the two dogs waving a long crook as they grapple over a dead pheasant.
One picture shows one of the animals cowering to one side as he swings the stick over his shoulder.
In another, it hovers above the spine of one of the dogs but is not shown making contact.
Onlookers said he appeared to take three swipes at one of the dogs while shooting in a field with his nephew Peter Phillips.
It is not illegal to hit a dog with a stick if it is to save it from some danger but the Prince could be prosecuted if it can be shown that he beat them unnecessarily.
Magistrates can impose fines of up to £20,000 or six months in prison for extreme cases of animal cruelty.
If found guilty, the Prince could also be banned from keeping animals and receive a criminal record.
A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said an investigation was not under way but declined to rule one out.
"We need to look at the photographs and my colleague the inspector will consider whether it is appropriate to take action," she said.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman added: "It has not been determined that he did strike the dog."
The Prince was criticised by animal rights groups three years ago for dispatching an injured pigeon with his walking stick.
Two years ago his father, the Duke of Edinburgh, was also at the centre of an animal cruelty row when a fox was clubbed to death with a flagpole during a shoot at Sandringham at which he was present.
And last year police investigated a claim that Prince Harry had killed a pair of rare hen harriers while shooting at Sandringham.
But no carcasses were found and the case was quickly dropped amid fears of a "dirty tricks" campaign.
The Princess Royal became the first member of the Royal Family to receive a criminal conviction in 2002 when she was fined £500 after her bull terrier Dotty attacked two children in Windsor Great Park.

Saturday, 27 December 2008


It would be hard to think of a charity that stirs more controversy than the RSPCA.

Whole websites are dedicated to it, smarting with injustice, bristling fur balls of virtual rage.

The webmasters are not frustrated badger-baiters, dog-eaters or seal-clubbers thirsting for blood. They are animal lovers in the full, mildly eccentric British tradition of enjoying the company of other species rather more than their own, and placing animal welfare at the top of the moral pyramid.

But it’s “welfare” that is the problem. Welfarists believe they have a duty of care to wild, domestic and companion animals, which, crudely put, means treating them kindly.

Against this school of thought stands the rights movement, which rejects human exploitation of animals in all its forms: as meat, pet, workhorse, laboratory tool, racer, fighter, public exhibit, performer or quarry in the hunt. It is towards this school of thought that the RSPCA, amid much well-publicised clamour, has shifted its ground.

This places in the front line every cat- and dog-owner but especially pet shops, a point made clear by the RSPCA in a letter to local authorities in 1999. “The RSPCA,” it said bluntly, “is opposed to the sale of animals in pet shops.” It is this demonisation of the trade, and what critics regard as the harassment of individuals, that has done more than anything to widen the rift.

Any allegation of cruelty by one person against another is likely to result in the appearance of a police lookalike demanding to inspect or even seize their animals. Widespread misunderstanding of the Animal Welfare Act means that many pet-owners do indeed believe RSPCA inspectors have the power to do this.

It is a misapprehension that the organisation finds convenient and which it seems in no hurry to correct. As the spokesman said, “We would prefer you didn’t publish that.”

It is a position that many might applaud. Legal nicety versus relief of animal suffering? It’s a no-brainer. But it’s not always as simple as that. Conflict arises because the police, who do have bona-fide powers of entry, have neither the resources nor the expertise to enforce the act.

For this reason, says Chris Newman, chairman of the Federation of Companion Animal Societies, enforcement defaults to the RSPCA. “They impersonate police officers and commit trespass. People do believe they have powers of entry.”

Nigel Weller, a solicitor based in Lewes who specialises in defending RSPCA prosecutions, puts it more strongly: “In every single case I’ve been involved in, they have abused their power.” Often, he says, the RSPCA ask police to attend, ostensibly to avoid a breach of the peace. “Then they argue it was a police officer, acting legally, who seized property, when in fact it was the RSPCA.”
As RSPCA prosecutions are brought privately and do not require the sanction of the Crown Prosecution Service, this raises issues both of accountability and conflict of interest.
Sally Case, head of prosecutions, insists that RSPCA inspectors are trained specifically to make clear to pet-owners that they have no such right.

They act without an owner’s permission, she says, “only if an animal is suffering in a dire emergency. If the court feels evidence has been wrongly obtained, it can refuse to admit it”.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008



A KIRKBY animal lover has criticised RSPCA officials for not doing more to help prevent the death of an injured deer.

Nicki Hill says the organisation failed to attend Thompson's Veterinary Surgery in Sutton, pictured, despite repeated calls to help the dying animal, which had been hit by a car and left to die on 25th November.

The female deer had been brought to the Carsic Lane surgery by passing motorists with cuts to her left underside of the abdomen and was stabilised by vets.

But the deer had to be put to sleep shortly afterwards, with vet officials and Nicki believing the death could have been prevented if they had received expert advice from the RSPCA.Nicki, who was at the surgery getting treatment for her cat, told Chad: "I rushed to help, along with the vet staff and we were able to calm the deer and managed to get her into the vet's on a crash board and they were able to intravenously get her on a drip."The nurse made several phone calls to get someone to help as they did not have the facility to house a deer nor the full knowledge of how to treat it and were told that someone would be out as an urgent call that evening. "As an organisation which is meant to intervene and prevent any animal cruelty, I am utterly disgusted and disgraced that this beautiful wild animal was allowed to be put to sleep because no-one could be bothered to turn up to move the deer to facilities where it could be looked after."I am distraught that this has happened. We all did our very best for the deer and if the RSPCA had turned up things could have been very different and it might have lived."

But RSPCA spokeswoman Sophie Wilkinson told Chad they had offered advice and the decision lay with the vet.She said: "The surgery spoke to one of our officers and told them the deer was badly injured. In such a circumstance it is highly likely that a deer will have to be put to sleep because they are not good in captivity."The officer also provided details about a wildlife sanctuary in Lincolnshire which might have been able to take the deer.

It is not up to us to decide the treatment."Ultimately the decision rests with the vet because they are offering treatment and are on the scene and best placed to make a decision.""It is advisable that people do not pick up deers injured in the road. It can often cause the animal more distress and is dangerous if the deer begins to come around while in someone's car."We advise people to stay with the animal and to call the police or RSPCA for help.
It is safest for both animal and human."

Monday, 22 December 2008


MORE helpless sheep drowned in floods near Tamworth over the weekend.

Following the deaths of 20 sheep in January this year and the successful rescue of a flock in September, floods struck the banks of the River Tame in Hopwas again on Sunday.

Firefighters from Tamworth were called to rescue the animals at 10.20am near Two Tree Close.
Approximately 100 sheep were stranded in flooded water near to the River Tame Bridge.
RSPCA officers and inspectors were also in attendance.

They advised firefighters not to attempt to rescue the sheep as there was a possibility that some might run from approaching crews into the river and be swept away.

Shortly after crews left they were asked to return at 12.35pm due to reports that one of the sheep was tangled in brambles and had fallen into the river.
Despite working through the afternoon and successfully rescuing 80 sheep, around 20 of them drowned.
A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said: "The area has flooded before and it will flood again.
"The inspector has made a complaint to the council because this keeps happening. We can prosecute if we want to."

Saturday, 20 December 2008


TWO pet dogs drowned after being swept into a drainage gulley while out with their owners on a canalside walk.
Lesley Weare and her husband Paul, of Scotland Road in Melksham, were left shocked and angry after losing their dogs, Lady and Kaitlyn, during the torrential downpours on Saturday.
Their pets were swept into a drainage gulley and tunnel running under the Kennet and Avon Canal near The Barge Inn in Seend, by floodwater pouring off nearby fields. They had been on a towpath walk heading towards Bradford on Avon when the tragedy happened.
After realising their pets had been swept away, the distraught couple called police for help and were directed to the RSPCA charity.
But Mrs Weare, 40, and her husband, 41, were unhappy at the charity’s call handler’s response, and were left trying to find the bodies of their dogs alone.
She said: “I ran down the field sobbing to where the tunnel came through the other side.
All I could see were branches and debris and concrete blocking up the exit, the water was so fast.
“In the meantime my husband had rung the police who directed him to the RSPCA and this was where our anger started.
“The woman at the RSPCA told my shaking, freezing cold, distraught husband that if he thought the animals were probably dead then there really wasn’t a lot she could do.”
Shortly after, the couple found the body of their four-year-old springer spaniel Lady before heading to the nearby Barge Inn to see if they could find out who owned the fields next to the towpath to continue the search for Kaitlyn.
Mrs Weare said staff were very helpful and both they and a local farmer offered to go back to the scene the next morning to search for Kaitlyn, the two-year-old offspring of Lady and another of the couple’s dogs, golden retriever Boomer.
They found Kaitlyn’s body at about 8.30am on Sunday.
Mrs Weare said they were furious at the response of the RSPCA.
She said: “I can say now that the RSPCA will never get another penny of my money. Why didn’t they help us when it mattered?”
An RSPCA spokeswoman said: “We received a call at 14.25pm from the police passing on a message from a member of the public that two dogs were trapped in a tunnel. No mention was made of water but it was still logged as an emergency.

Friday, 19 December 2008


I have just finished reading Bleak House. My favourite author is Jane Austen (favourite book, Emma – not Pride and Prejudice) and I am afraid I do not enjoy reading Dickens very much. I know his plots are wonderful and his characterisation incredible and appreciate the sections when the story moves forward but there are just too many unnecessary words. I know the reason for the dense, impenetrable and opaque verbiage (you can tell it is having an effect on my own style)but why did he not have the common sense to edit the novels after their publication in the weekly magazines and before they were published as books. Who has ever actually read the opening chapter of A Tale of Two Cities? It is a mountain of language, piled up into an impassable wall of words which quickly becomes not just futile but meaningless and empty. On the other hand, properly and sensitively edited, his work can be fantastic as can be appreciated in the current radio version of A Christmas Carol being read by David Jason on Radio 4.

However, to return to Bleak House, Angela has always said I should not comment on things I know nothing about and while I have usually replied that there is no point at my age of changing the habits of a lifetime, I did agree that I would stop criticising Charles D until I had actually read a complete book. So now I have and I am pleased to have done so although I found much of it very heavy going. But it was particularly interesting because it is his book that focuses most sharply on the workings of the legal system. It seems to me that there is a great deal in the truism that the more things change the more they stay the same. Both Dickens in Little Dorrit and Trollope in The Way We Live Now, write in considerable detail about the irresponsible activities of banks and bankers and it seems to me that great chunks of their plots and characters are still relevant today as evidenced by the current hedge fund scandal in the Untied States.
The law is no exception to these observations and these thoughts passed through my mind as I sat in a Crown Court this week, the activities of which, other than their length, would have done credit to Jarndyce v Jarndyce, the core of the plot of Beak House, in which a case in Chancery goes on for so long that every last penny of a valuable estate being challenged by competing claimants is absorbed by the lawyers so when it is finally resolved there is nothing left.
The case being heard is one in which I have been involved as an expert witness and was an appeal against a very questionable judgement by a Magistrates Court earlier this year in a case brought by the RSPCA.
I should explain at this point that the RSPCA is not one charity but many and while the small locally based organisations do excellent work in caring for and rescuing animals in their region everyone should be aware although they have ‘the name’ they are independent, separate organisations who have to fund themselves and receive nothing (yes – nothing!) from ‘head office’. If you leave money in your will to ‘the RSPCA’ (and most of its income comes from this source) it automatically goes to headquarters at Horsham when you pop your clogs: your local charity (other than the very few shelters which are directly controlled) will not receive a penny. So when I talk about the RSPCA, I am referring to ‘headquarters’ and their income of around £100m a year. Its main preoccupation seems to me just to generate publicity which will keep the charity in the forefront of the minds of people who love animals so that when their solicitor suggests bequests, they are the organisation which comes to mind.

In this case, a man had collected his two ten year old bitches from a kennel - which I have visited and can confirm is one of the best in the UK. One, it is suggested, may have been lethargic and had been off a food for a day or two. Having actually managed kennels I know that most dogs are healthy and behave normally and consequently you remember very little about them and their stay. If a dog is not behaving normally and/or shows signs of sickness you spot them quickly and do something about it. The kennel’s veterinary surgeon gave clear evidence that the kennel tended, if anything, to be over cautious and that if there was ever a problem dogs were taken in straight away and having been established for twenty years the kennel has an unblemished record. The bitches were brought out of the kennel when their owner came to collect them and one was quieter than usual but not showing any symptoms of illness. It’s hind quarters were wet but it was explained that she had apparently and inadvertently fouled herself and been bathed – entirely reasonably.
On his way home, the owner become concerned and told the Court that he had smelled urine. The dog had not urinated in the car (and I personally wonder whether he smelled the remains of disinfectant) and did not urinate at the veterinary surgery when he took the dog to his own vet two hours later. The young veterinary surgeon examined the bitch and diagnosed a likely pyometra for, by the time it arrived on his table there was some puss seeping from the vulva. The bitch was put on a drip and was successfully operated on the following day.

As you will know, a closed pyometra is extremely difficult to diagnose. It develops slowly, usually a few weeks after a season but shows no symptoms until the final few hours when it advances rapidly and can lead to sudden death. Owners have put their pet to bed last thing at night and come down in the morning to find the dog dead or dying having had no indication that anything was wrong other than, perhaps, she was a bit below par on the preceding day.

Given the quality of care at this establishment I am certain that had the bitch remained in the kennels for a few more hours the discharge would have been noticed and she would have been taken to their vet but the owner reported the matter to the RSPCA saying that the kennels had not properly cared for his dog. An inspector interviewed the owner and then turned up at the kennels, unannounced, and took witness statements from the owners and the manager. The kennels owners wanted to co-operate.
They did not realise that the RSPCA inspector had no rights to take statements and, in fact, the procedure was so poorly prepared that they were not acceptable to the Court. However, despite the facts set out above – an unfortunate coincidence in effect – the RSPCA decided to prosecute.
They got their headlines ‘ XXX kennels to be prosecuted by RSPCA’. On both occasions, had the whole process not been so distressing for those involved in the farce, I could almost feel sorry for the Barrister acting for the society. He had no evidence of any substance and spent hours (and I mean hours) repeating questions over and over again trying to get an admission on which he could hang some sort of case. In my evidence I was asked a number of questions about the 1963 Act, about the Model License Condition (which I helped to write) and the Animal Welfare Act. His point was that kennels had a responsibility to take a dog to a vet if it was ill. I agreed – of course they do. Unfortunately they was no evidence that the dog showed any symptoms of illness.
At the Magistrates Court hearing the kennel owners were exonerated but the kennel manager was found guilty by a magistrate sitting alone who during the two day hearing complained of a headache and insisted that she need to go home early.
Even in my layman’s view there was no case to answer and the evidence presented was both insubstantial and unsatisfactory: how she came to her conclusions is a mystery. Fortunately at the appeal, there was a ‘proper’ judge who was patient and fair, had a grasp of relevant evidence (none), was understanding and sympathetic to the distress of the kennel manager, was unbelievably reasonable in allowing what arguments there were to be put across, sensible in his assessment (although, I felt, was clearly frustrated by the determination of the RSPCA’s barrister to drag inconsequential arguments out until they were stretched beyond reason) and came to the conclusion that was blindingly obvious from the start, ruling that there was, in effect, no evidence of any value. He and his colleagues brought in a verdict of not guilty and awarded costs against the society.
In my view, the RSPCA should be ashamed of themselves, not just because of the misery caused by this action against hard working and innocent people but for the inevitable damage the media inflicted on the business by responding to the Society’s publicity machine as well as the waste of the enormous sum of money expended - which had been collected from ordinary people who believed they were contributing to an organisation which would use it to help animals in real distress.
Be assured this is one of many such actions.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008


Sorry we killed your cow, RSPCA tells Hindus – have another one !
Archbishop of Canterbury helps to heal bitter rift after temple animal is put down
By Jerome TaylorSaturday, 13 December 2008

Gangotri the cow suffered paralysis after a vigorous mating session and was put down
When animal welfare officers walked into the grounds of Watford's Bhaktivedanta Manor Temple on13 December 2007 and put down one of its cows, the local Hindu community was outraged. Gangotri, a 13-year-old blue Jersey cross, was being nursed by temple officials after becoming paralysed during an overly vigorous mating session with Karma Deva, the resident bull. But the officials, from the RSPCA, believed Gangotri was "suffering unnecessarily" and killed her.

The decision caused a bitter rift to develop between Britain's Hindus, who regard cows as sacred, and the RSPCA. But a year on, the two groups have buried the hatchet thanks to a series of high-level talks and a little encouragement from the Archbishop of Canterbury, a patron of the society.
The Independent has learnt that a meeting between temple officials and the RSPCA's chief executive, Mark Watts, took place earlier this week. The society agreed to apologise for upsetting the Hindu community and offered to give a replacement cow to the temple as a goodwill gesture.
Officials from Lambeth Palace yesterday said they played no part in brokering that final meeting but one temple official admitted that progress in the talks only came about once Rowan Williams was contacted. "The Archbishop is a patron of the RSPCA and we wrote to him asking for his help," said Stuart "Shyamsundar" Coyle, the chief herdsman on the temple's farm, which claims to be Europe's largest cow sanctuary.
"The Church of England worked very hard in getting the RSPCA to talk to us about our concerns and we are extremely grateful for their help."
A spokesman from the RSPCA stressed yesterday that its vets had acted within the law when they put Gangotri down but admitted that they had upset the Hindu community in the way it was carried out. "We recognise we offended religious sensibilities," the spokesman said. "We know what happened caused a lot of offence to the Hindu community and we wanted to show that we want to work with Britain's Hindus in the future. The RSPCA has so much in common with Britain's Hindus when it comes to our attitude towards animal welfare."
Kapil Dudaki, who led the temple's "Gangotri Task Force" campaign group, said the donation of a new cow would help calm tensions between Hindus and the RSPCA.
"It is a wonderful gesture and we gladly accept it," he said. "It will very much help repair some of the damage done to our community in the past year. It was the way and the manner in which the RSPCA killed Gangotri which upset our community the most. To see a cow killed on the temple's grounds was utterly devastating."
In Hindu culture and scripture cows are considered sacrosanct. Bhaktivedanta Manor, a community of Hare Krishna devotees that was set up by the Beatles guitarist George Harrison, has a herd of 48 cows, most of which are milked or used to work the land.
Other temples have clashed with the RSPCA and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) over the care of sick animals. Under the Animal Welfare Act officials can kill an animal if they believe it is suffering unnecessarily. Defra has powers to destroy any animals that have contracted a contagious disease.
But most Hindus believe that killing a cow, even for merciful reasons, is sacrilegious because only God can decide when a sacred animal should die.
Yesterday Defra released a new set of guidelines on how to deal with sacred temple animals without offending the Hindu community. A spokesman from the Hindu Forum of Britain welcomed the new protocol.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008



Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Simon Hart says that this week's ludicrous convictions under the Hunting Act are exactly what we predicted:

A few years ago we produced a series of adverts of ‘ordinary’ hunting people with text asking whether they were “criminals”.

This week saw the strongest evidence yet that our prediction was right. On Tuesday in Kings Lynn Magistrates Court Les Anderson, 80, and Mary Birkbeck, 77, were convicted of a criminal offence under the Hunting Act.

Mr Anderson is Chairman of the Kimberly and Wymondham Greyhound Club and last winter organised two events in December and January on Miss Birkbeck’s farm with her consent. These events were not coursing as Les had known it during the 62 years he had been involved. They were trials held under a set of rules developed with legal advice to fit within the terms of the Hunting Act. The greyhounds were muzzled, the field surrounded by netting to ensure that hares could exit but the greyhounds could not; guns were placed in adjacent fields to shoot hares and three judges were tasked with deciding which dog was most useful in driving hares to the guns.

Not content with simply implementing these rules Mr Anderson also informed the police when events were taking place and sent a copy of the rules to them. The police sergeant who received the rules considered them with the local wildlife officer, and they advised Mr Anderson that they thought the events would be legal.
Meanwhile the animal rights movement had swung into action against these ‘dangerous’ people. The League Against Cruel Sports commissioned Mike Huskisson, an individual with a nasty animal rights past, to “co-ordinate” an operation that also involved professional activists from IFAW as well as the RSPCA.

They staked out the first event, hiding in hedges (as they love to do) with their long lens cameras. The intended dramatic effect however went rather flat when it was revealed that when Michael Butcher of the RSPCA turned up at the second event in January of this year he was invited in, shown what was happening and even given a cup of coffee.

Notwithstanding the welcome he was given, Butcher, having ‘discovered’ who had arranged the event and on whose land it took place, started the process of bringing a private prosecution against them and a third man, Bob Fryer.

The trial, which started on Monday, was in turn both farcical and disturbing. A local policeman, dragged into a case he clearly wanted nothing to do with, denied having approved the clubs plans until his own voice on Mr Anderson’s voicemail was played back to the court.

An RSPCA employee failed to properly administer a caution, which led to all charges against Mr Fryer being dropped. But then there was the unedifying scene of the RSPCA’s barrister cross examining the 80 year old Mr Anderson, who spent two hours in the witness box, on pathetic points of law, as if he was some risk to society.

The District Judge could only rule on the law, stupid though we know it to be, although he does have latitude in sentencing which he made full use of. Instead of a fine he issued Mr Anderson and Miss Birkbeck with a Conditional Discharge, which is judicial shorthand for a mild ticking off.
And whilst the RSPCA tried to recoup the £15,000 of their members money they had spent in bringing the prosecution he ordered that just £2000 should be paid.

“ No-one should have to go through the nonsense that Mr Anderson and Miss Birkbeck did this week.”Of all those involved in this farce the RSPCA has the most questions to answer. Why is a charity which is supposed to focus on animal welfare wasting thousands of pounds dragging elderly people (who even the Judge acknowledged had no criminal intent) through the courts?
The answer from that organisation is, unbelievably, that they “believed it was in the public interest”. If anyone needed any evidence of the nonsense of that statement it was readily available in court. On one side sat the professional animal rights activists. Not a single member of the public supporting them, or the prosecution, attended the trial. On the other side were packed sons, grand-daughters, nephews and friends of the accused. Kings Lynn Magistrates can rarely have seen such a crowd and the case had to be moved to the vacant Crown Court to accommodate them. The feeling in Norfolk was quite clear.
No-one should have to go through the nonsense that Mr Anderson and Miss Birkbeck did this week.

However, they can be proud of the fact that their honesty has made a mockery of this prosecution and provided the clearest illustration yet of why the Hunting Act is on borrowed time and must be repealed.

Monday, 15 December 2008


Appalling behaviour by supposed animal welafre charity as they ignore mums cry for help and then prosecute her for alleged cruelty !

A MOTHER-OF-THREE who caused unnecessary suffering to her pet dog is facing a jail sentence.
Flea-infested collie Julie, had rotting teeth was humanely destroyed to end her misery.
Her owner, Nicola Bayford, 37, was warned that she could be locked up after Chelmsford magistrates saw photographs of the mange-covered dog.

When she appeared before the court on Monday, Bayford, of Witham, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the dog on July 28. She was bailed for probation reports until January 5.
Magistrates imposed an interim order banning her from keeping or having responsibility for animals.
"She put Julie's bad health down to her being 16 years old and was faced with a choice – feed the kids or take the dog to a vet.
"They loved the dog and that it why she put up posters trying to find her," he said.
He said Bayford had asked the RSPCA, PDSA and Blue Cross animal charities for help but was told Witham did not come within their area and she got the same answer from an animal sanctuary.
After the hearing an RSPCA spokeswoman said: "An inspector took the dog to a vet to be put to sleep to end her suffering.
"The normal process would then be to put together a case file with a view to possible prosecution. In this case, because the inspector had a huge workload a file was not put together and the case was investigated by the local authority.
"The RSPCA is often passed information by the local authority and we investigate on their behalf. We are grateful that they were able to help on this occasion."


What really aggravates me about both the story and the above comments is that everyone is blaming Nicky for Neglect of Julie, but no one is picking up on the fact that she did actually ask for help from the PDSA, RSPCA and Blue Cross and they all refused to help her as she was not in their area and none of them gave her contact details of where she could get help in her area isn't this also neglect? Also the fact that the dog was 16 years old would say that it was looked after and loved wouldn't it and also the fact that posters were put up about a missing dog which lead the warden to Nicky, if Nicky neglected and didn't care about the dog would she have done this, and walked the streets to try and find her ? As Leigh said, none of you know Nicky or the family you are only judging on what a 100 or so words say in the paper. As for Charlottes comment, think you are the stupid woman as just because you had a 17 year old dog that looked completely healthy ,doesn't mean that every dog or animal is the same, I have seen plenty of dogs or cats with bad teeth and matted hair o fur and there is nothing wrong with them other than age, humans get wrinkles and aches and pains, and loose there teeth when they get old does that make them neglected? Gwen will reverse the same on you, were you in court for this case, you know Jack too. I am not denying the dog should have been seen by a vet, but again its not as though Nicky didn't try if she had as other people have comment, mistreated, abused or neglected her why would she bother trying to get help to get her seen, which by the way for all those people who have used mistreated and abused get you facts straight and read properly as neither of those words are used in the story, the case is about neglect! Also picking up on what Charlotte said your right about the family, but to the fact of don't you think that if the dog was a bad as what is being made out a member of the family or a friend would have done something about it? I personally don't think that she was left untreated on purpose, and Nicky should not be punished when she so obviously did care for that dog. As Alan said, look at your own lives, and get the facts before judging other peoples.
Sue, Witham

commented on 12-Dec-2008 20:51
Nikki is my sister & what ppl are saying about her is ridiculous. Do not believe what is written in the papers about her as it is not true, the papers always exagarate the truth so pls dont judge her.Nikki is a kind loving caring person & a wonderful mother who wouldnt hurt a fly but due to financial problems when her hubby left made money very tight. Julie was loved by all the family & was looked after as best she could over the 16 years that the family had her. Nikki also worked to help support her family so please dont judge her as none of you know her or the situation apart from what has been written. If any of you out there have a heart then think of what this is doing to her, her children & the family. We all support you Nikki @ this terrible time as we all love you.Thanks to Alan from Shenfield & T.H from Witham for your comments & support x
Emma, Witham

commented on 12-Dec-2008 12:31
Much as I love animals it seems to me that this woman does not deserve prison. She must have been at her wits end as to what to do, with no money, three children and no partner. Just leave her alone all you hysterical Hangers and Floggers out there who have not an ounce of charity among the lot of you. Look at your own lives first before judging her.
Alan, Shenfield

commented on 12-Dec-2008 11:32
I too know Nicky Bayford and her family circumstances. I don't know the full details of what happen to this poor dog only what the papers say and if that's true she should be punished but I dont think prison would be the answer. Nicky has 3 children none of whom have any contact with their father and to jail Nicky would only punish them because like the dog they are victims of a situation not of their making.
T. H., Witham

commented on 11-Dec-2008 18:35
Leigh, Please try to get Miss Bayford to phone The SHG, who help people having problems with the RSPCA, on 0844 700 66 90. You can see their website at Note that from the date of sentencing there is a time limit of 21 days in which to lodge an appeal.
You could also take a look at and
There is quite a lot of controversy over RSPCA prosecutions!
Nick, Birmingham

commented on 11-Dec-2008 09:44
this is a load of crap, i personally know miss bayford and the story printed couldnt be further from the truth, she is a loving, caring person who is incapable of such things. The whole family loved and cherised julie right to the very end, she was well looked after and cared for throught her 16 years, i can gaurentee that julie was not suffering at all and was just like any normal dog. the allegations are ridiculous and untrue, there are many of people out there that are guilty of much worse crimes but its the innocent that get labelled the justice system in this country is disgusting and by this false claim being made lives are being ruined, all i can say is dont judge until you know the REAL story
leigh, manchester

Thursday, 11 December 2008



ANIMAL rescuers had their heads in the clouds yesterday when a concerned postie called for help after spotting what he thought was an owl in distress.
RSPCA officers watched the bird for several hours and were so worried it had not moved they called out the fire brigade.
But on closer inspection it was found to be a fake which phone company BT put on top of the pole, in Cordelia Crescent, Rayleigh, to stop birds perching there.
Carolyn Dyerson, 43, of Cordelia Crescent, said: “I couldn’t believe my eyes. The woman from the RSPCA had been sitting outside for two hours watching it. She thought it was real and had even brought a net with her to catch it. I felt like telling her it hadn’t moved in three weeks.”
Ms Dyerson said the owl was put on the pole by BT after her neighbour complained about bird muck landing on her car.
Southend’s aerial ladder platform was called in at 10.40am yesterday. Sub officer Paul Tregear said: “Just to make sure, the aerial ladder was called out to rescue this so-called owl. But we were told by neighbours it was a decoy. We obviously didn’t know this until we arrived.”
An embarrassed RSPCA was tipped off about the owl by a postman who said he had the seen the bird in the same position while on his rounds. RSPCA spokesman Klare Kennett said: “It’s not the first time we have been called to rescue an animal that isn’t real, but we’d rather be safe than sorry.”

Sunday, 7 December 2008



SENIOR Councillor Paul Shotton and his wife Annette have won their appeal against an animal cruelty conviction and sentence.

The couple, were yesterday cleared of causing unnecessary suffering to their 13-year-old labrador Baron.

Last November they received two-year conditional discharges and were banned from keeping dogs for the same period after being found guilty at North Staffordshire Magistrates' Court.

Councillor Shotton, who sits on Stoke-on-Trent City Council and is a former deputy elected mayor, was forced to stand down from the authority's cabinet.
But yesterday judge Mark Eades, sitting with two magistrates at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court, said evidence from veterinary pathologist Dr Udo Hetzel cast a new light on inferences from the first case.

Dr Hetzel, who carried out a post-mortem examination on Baron, said the dog had a heart condition and could have had a "sudden event" after the Shottons left him to go on holiday at 2pm on Saturday, July 15, 2006, and before the RSPCA inspector found him about eight hours later.
Judge Eades said: "Dr Hetzel said the factual accounts could all be true and the dog could have had a sudden event after 2pm. That could have been precipitated by heart problems and heart failure and therefore the inference the prosecution has been asking us to draw – that Mr and Mrs Shotton have been telling untruths – is not the case.

Dr Hetzel had also said the degree of suffering was not serious and would not reach the level of significance to amount to an offence.
"We are therefore formally of the view that when it comes to proof the prosecution cannot meet the required standard of proof."

After the judgment, councillor Shotton, aged 48, released a statement. It said: "Annette and I are pleased that after two-and-a-half years we have been cleared of every one of the RSPCA's allegations against us.
"At the original trial they claimed that our much loved family pet Baron was emaciated and dehydrated. He was not."

Tuesday, 2 December 2008



A few months back we rocked up to the RSPCA rescue centre and adopted not 1 but 2 cats, Lucy and Maya.

The adoption fee is £60 each, which includes, vacinations and most importantly, neutering, this involves, according to the leaflet the removal of the reproductive organs.

Anyway, 7am this morning, my daughter Taer runs upstairs to our bedroom freaking out saying theres something wrong with Lucy.

Fearing the worst, like she might be dead or something. Leeann goes down to her room and a few seconds later screams for me.

Shit I thought, Lucy died on Taers bed and shes gonna be traumatised for life! Running down to her room, I am faced with a sight that I will never forget.

Lucy, overnight, in Taers bed while she was sleeping gave birth to 3 kittens.

How the hell does a neutered cat have babies?

Anyway, her duvet is covered in blood and fluid from the birth but snuggled in amonst the toys are 2 of the most beautiful kittens I have ever seen an a extremely contented but tired mother.

Monday, 1 December 2008


RSPCA Prosecution and Conviction Figures, Obtained via Mr Charles Hendry MP, reveal that:

(a) the number of Defendants who appeal Magistrates' convictions is more than 26 times greater in RSPCA prosecutions than those progressed by the CPS; and

(b) the number of subsequent successful appeals at Crown Court is well over two times greater in RSPCA prosecutions than those progressed by the CPS.

These figures cause great concern, and their implications, in terms of financial costs, waste of human resources, court time and human misery, are appalling. It is a great pity that the RSPCA refused to make these figures public years ago so that the position could have been corrected.

Each case over and above the CPS norm absorbs court time and resources that are at a premium. It ties up members of the legal profession and expert witnesses, both defence and prosecution, all of whom have to be paid for, ultimately from public funds, whether via the legal aid budget, wasted RSPCA donations, awards from central funds or those few individuals who go so far as to sell their houses and everything they own to fund their defence.