Thursday, 29 April 2010


A GAMEKEEPER convicted of firearms offences died after taking poison which he smuggled into court in his sock.
An inquest into the death of Graham Key heard how he was not searched by a custody officer before entering the dock at Derby Crown Court, despite it being company policy.
After being jailed for two years and taken down to the cells, he was then found in a distressed state.
He told staff he had taken the poison strychnine, for which there is no antidote.
Despite desperate attempts to revive the 48-year-old, he was pronounced dead an hour later in hospital.
The inquest heard that in the days leading up to the case on August 7, 2008, Mr Key had told friends and family he "could not go to prison" and had become increasingly distressed.
His wife, Rachel, told the inquest she had seen him visibly upset the night before the sentencing but did not believe her husband would take his own life.
She said: "He said that he knew what he was going to do. I thought he was just getting it all out of his system. I was a bit more positive and said we just had to try and think positive.
"I did not think he would leave the kids, I did not think he would go through with it."
Family friend John Ayre described Mr Key as an "out-and-out country man" who was "loved by everyone".
He told the jury how he watched his friend become "quieter and sadder" in the weeks before the court date as he was concerned about being handed a prison sentence.
Mr Ayre said: "A custodial sentence to him would be like putting a lion in a bird cage. He was a country, outdoors person. None of us knew what he was going to do, which is tragic."
The hearing was told Mr Key, who had no previous convictions, was initially arrested in February 2008 after police and RSPCA staff executed a warrant at his home at Alkmonton, near Ashbourne – acting on intelligence over suspected badger baiting.
While carrying out a search, officers discovered two unlicensed firearms. No charges were brought against Mr Key in relation to the suspected badger baiting but he was charged with firearms offences.
Three bottles of strychnine, a banned poison commonly used in pest control, were also found during the search.
The jury was told how police consulted English Nature about what to do with the poison. They were advised to leave the bottles and an enforcement officer would contact Mr Key to help arrange their disposal.
During the inquest yesterday, Mr Key's wife and his son, Ben, said they believed all the strychnine had been disposed of correctly and that there was none left on the premises.
But a blood sample taken from Mr Key after his death showed a "toxic" level of the poison in his system.
A blue plastic cup and blue "wrap" found in his cell also showed traces of the poison, which Mr Key was known to have used in his pest control work.
The inquest is due to continue today


Tim Bonner of the Countryside Alliance, said: "The prosecutions of Mr Leadbetter have raised hugely important questions about the legal process.

"A completely innocent man has spent two years clearing his name at the cost of over £250,000 to the taxpayer all because the police and CPS chose to pursue prosecutions based on the spurious allegations and unauthorised surveillance evidence of animal rights activists.
Earlier this month a judge in the case against a Dorset hunt terrier man asked for guidance as to whether secret filming by antis was subject to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) — which gives police and local authorities permission to undertake surveillance (news, 7 January).

The CPS clarification adds that if the police force does not encourage or initiate the surveillance, authorisation is not necessary. But that evidence may not stand up in court.



This is what happened with the police investigation into the alleged cruelty of the RSPCA dead bolt gunning dogs.

 Enquiry re German Shepherd Dogs 24th June 2009 – Swansea

Thank you for your interest and correspondence regarding the above case. I am now in a position to update you that South Wales Police conducted a full and thorough investigation into the above subject matter and allegations surrounding it. This was completed comprehensively and expeditiously by a dedicated team of officers lead by a Senior Detective. As a result a full file of evidence was submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service requesting their advice.

The Crown Prosecution Service carefully considered the evidence presented in this case and concluded that there was not a realistic proposition of conviction in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. The District Crown Prosecutor for Swansea and Chief Crown Prosecutor for South Wales also considered the file and were in full agreement with the decision to take no further action.

I appreciate you will be disappointed with this decision but may I reassure you that this case was treated with the highest priority and no recommendations were submitted by South Wales Police and the file solely focused on evidence available.

Yours faithfully



Now I read this as that the Crown Prosecution has not said this was wrong or illegal, it just said with the evidence presented it could not realistically prosecute. Are we all happy to let this go on? If not like me sit and email 2 letters a night to MPs. media or RSPCA themselves.

Friday, 23 April 2010



RSPCA inspector Julie Lyons is a regular at North Staffordshire Magistrates Court, where she has helped to secure banning orders against a number of pet owners.

Miss Lyons, an RSPCA inspector for 12-years, who lives in the Moorlands, said: “We are seeing a lot more cruelty cases against dogs.
“I don't think it's down to people not being able to afford them anymore, “It is up to the courts to sentence people. As long as they leave court knowing they have done something wrong, I am happy.
Although the number of prosecutions are up, the Animal Welfare Act, which came into force last year, has made it possible for action to be taken as soon as animal welfare concerns are flagged up. RSPCA officers can now seize pets immediately if they are not being looked after properly, or are being treated badly.

 Parliamentary Question 23rd Feb 2010

To ask Her Majesty's Government under what authority, controls and supervision and in what circumstances officers of a charity are empowered to (a) remove a pet from its owner's care, (b) keep it in their own care, (c) deny access to it to the owner, and (d) refuse to inform the owner of the place in which it is kept. [HL2038]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham)
Charities have no power under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to seize pet animals. The power of seizure can be exercised only by a police officer, an officer of a local authority or Animal Health.


OVER THE past twenty years Jonathan (‘Joe’) Rich has defended well over 200 people - mainly farmers, huntsmen, kennel owners and dog breeders. In 2007, he famously and successfully defended pet shop owner Simon Gilbert three times. Joe recently acted for Paul Shotton, Labour’s former deputy Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent, and his wife Annette during their successful appeal. He is recognised as a leading consumer specialist by all the main legal directories.

RK:You refer to RSPCA inspectors as ‘ordinary members of the public’. Do you think it is misleading for them to call themselves inspectors?

JR:Yes, I think it is quite misleading - especially when they wear police-style uniforms. There was a very interesting article in the Sunday Times about this issue a year or so ago. The RSPCA is, contrary to appearances, a private organisation. Some people are terrified of the RSPCA, and there is absolutely no need to be. No RSPCA employee, so far as I am aware, has any special powers or is even an inspector for the purposes of the Animal Welfare Act. Indeed, if they are, I want to know about it! The title ‘RSPCA Inspector’ is just a job title, given to an RSPCA employee working for the inspectorate department when they finish their twelve weeks of training.
The society gives some of its more senior employees even more impressive sounding titles: ‘Chief Superintendent’ and the like. However, they are all just job titles; it’s not like the police - RSPCA inspectors are not even constables. To think otherwise is a natural mistake to make. One problem which is regularly encountered is a police officer who thinks that the RSPCA is some sort of agency, or that its employees somehow have more powers than ordinary members of the public. If a police officer tells you, or behaves as if the RSPCA is an agency or has special powers, then that policeman needs to be corrected.

Thursday, 22 April 2010


Rescue centres have criticised plans by the RSPCA to cut costs by focusing on policing cruelty rather than taking in unwanted pets.

From next month 17 RSPCA centres are planning to prioritise animals which are "RSPCA-generated", meaning those seized by inspectors in cruelty cases or those at immediate risk. This means they will not necessarily take in pets which are merely unwanted
Animal centres, already oversubscribed due to the increase in unwanted or abandoned pets during the recession, have claimed this will place them under even greater strain, and could lead to more pets being abandoned.
Roy Marriott, chairman of Animals in Need, said: "I think it's absolutely despicable."It will just put more and more pressure on small organisations like us and we cannot cope as it is."

He added: "Everywhere up and down the country is absolutely full with animals. If the RSPCA aren't going to take them, where are they going to go?
"They will be dumped on the streets, passed around or taken to the vets to be put down, meaning healthy pets will be destroyed needlessly."
Tracy Cook, manager of Jerry Green Dog Rescue, said: "We already cannot cope with the number of dogs that need placement and we have a minimum two-month waiting list. The knock-on effect of this means we are going to have even more of a problem.
"What's going to happen when we can't take a dog for four, five or six months? I think it will have a huge impact on the number of dogs turned out as strays."
She said she believed the policy could end up being more costly for the charity, with the extra costs of cruelty cases compared to those of unwanted animals that are easily rehomed without expensive vet bills and lengthy kennel stays.
She said: "The RSPCA are such a big organisation, how on earth are the rest of us going to cope? They are a well-known organisation with a lot more backing."
Kate Geary, spokesperson for the charity, said the organisation was merely trying to "work smarter" and prioritise the most urgent cases over those where an animal was simply unwanted by its owners.


22/04/2010 08:02:20

I have been for over 10 years concerned by how the rspca has changed and have feared that in reality the rspca only want to be a political animal rights organisation with the added power of being the Pet Police answerable to no one.

It appears that my fears have been compounded if a memo obtained by the media is to be believed. The rspca ( the 8th larges UK charity ) which had an income in excess of £119 million in 2008 has apparently stated it will turn away stray or unwanted pets from animal shelters from next month to cut costs and focus on policing animal cruelty.

The excuse given is due to both an increase in the numbers of abandoned pets ( this since the introduction of the rspca`s Animal Welfare Act 2007 ) and that the rspca as suspected want to spend the public`s donations on Policing animal cruelty.

This could directly affect the welfare of at least 75,000 animals a year as our animal charity turns its` back on our beloved pets.

A new terminology " rspca generated " which means seized by inspectors in cruelty cases or those which are at immediate risk or cruelty will be the only ones handled by the rspca. So from May 4th Pets belonging to people who are taken into hospital, evicted from their homes or are simply unwanted or found as strays will from that date be turned away with people being told to contact Vets, The Police or your local Councils.

So as the responsibility of animal welfare in the eyes of the rspca has become somewhat selective the question needs to be asked " Do the RSPCA serve any real purpose ? " Simple answer NO. The rspca do not use their vast wealth for the real purpose it was intended and now the workload, expenditure and responsibility has just been simply dropped by the rspca and left for the independant sanctuaries, Police, Local Authorities, Vets and kind hearted people to address the increasing animal welfare issues forced upon us by this once good dedicated animal charity.

Many of us have warned of the decline in the RSPCA



In many ways I enjoyed my day as a volunteer at a dog rescue centre. If you like dogs it’s a pleasure to do something to help them. But it was upsetting, too, and not because these dogs were victims of cruelty — most were not. They were just unwanted, in some cases dumped with a casual ease that is shocking to anyone who believes that the British are a nation of dog-lovers.
Following the RSPCA’s announcement this week, these dogs will no longer be found homes through its animal welfare services. In future the charity will focus its limited resources on cruelty cases: people with unwanted dogs will be told to contact the police, the council or a vet. This means that healthy animals will die.
In the past the RSPCA has rehomed 20,000 dogs a year and its revised policy will put pressure on the hundreds of animal rescue centres, including the one I visited, that rely on the dedication of their staff and volunteers and on donations from the public.
Of Britain’s eight million dogs, of which three quarters are pedigree, 32 per cent reached their owners via a rescue centre, including Chandi, the latest canine star of Britain’s Got Talent. The recession has not helped: last year the number of stray dogs increased from 97,000 to 107,000.
“There will be a knock-on effect from the RSPCA’s decision,” says Sylvia VanAtta, who runs Many Tears Animal Rescue, near Carmarthen in West Wales. “I’d be delighted if they would refer owners to rescue centres outside their own network.”
Not that Sylvia has any difficulty in finding unwanted dogs. When I visited, the centre was full with 80 unwanted pooches. Yet at 8.50am, when the first call came in from an owner wishing to disown her dog — she cited a marriage break-up — Sylvia agreed immediately to take the five-month-old chocolate labrador.
I had expected to find cages filled with pitifully sad, scraggy mutts: instead I found plenty of pedigree animals, their robustness due largely to the care lavished on them by Sylvia and her team. She rescues and rehomes 1,500 dogs a year and runs the UK’s biggest dog fostering network, and her aim is simple: to provide a happy future for unwanted dogs. Some have been used for breeding at puppy farms, some abandoned or taken to dog pounds, some are from elderly owners no longer able to care for them, some, incomprehensibly, from owners who have grown to regard them as an inconvenience. A far smaller number than you’d expect have been mistreated.
“I’m addicted to dogs,” Sylvia explains. “I think about how they will feel tonight. They suffer a lot of anxiety, especially if they’ve been loved. They are howling for their family who got rid of them — sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for rubbish reasons. But I’m never judgmental. It’s the dog that matters.”
Sylvia works on intuition. She doesn’t care about qualifications, she has chosen her 14 staff because she likes them and they work hard. They include a former solicitor, a computer programmer and an mechanical engineer, none paid much more than the minimum wage. All are quick-thinking, articulate and dynamic.
Standards of care are absolute here, which is impressive, given that this is an operation that is constantly chasing its tail, never calculating whether a dog will cost more to care for than its £160 adoption fee (many do), just saving the life, offering a future and hoping that somehow the books will balance. Last year, Many Tears’s income exceeded its £300,000 running costs by just £180 — the funding comes from the boarding kennels that Bill runs alongside the rescue centre, and from donations from individuals and pet-food companies.
Most dogs spend two to three weeks at Many Tears. A board in the office logs all the residents: on the day of my visit, five dogs were found homes. The newly arrived Potter was not among them but I have no doubt that his day will come, and that his cage will soon be filled by another dog looking for an owner who will give him the loving home he deserves.
If a dog becomes a long-term stayer we get to know him better, so we can describe his qualities on the website,” Sylvia says. “A farmer rang once about a dog that wouldn’t work. We were full. I said, what’s the alternative? He said a bullet. That dog came in terrified and now he’s with a new owner, doing agility classes.

We do get happy endings.”      BUT NOT THANKS TO THE RSPCA!
TEL 01269 843084 (10am-4pm)

Wednesday, 21 April 2010




The assistant chief constable Nigel Yeo, said the dog was just a piece of equipment which should be disposed of if it goes wrong.
Mr Nigel Yeo, now the RSPCA's south east regional manager.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010



The RSPCA will turn away stray or unwanted pets from animal shelters from next month to cut costs and focus on policing animal cruelty, according to a memo obtained by Channel 4 News.

The decision could affect as many as 75,000 unwanted animals a year which are currently taken to RSPCA centres across England and Wales.
It comes after the RSPCA admitted that the number of abandoned pets is soaring.
The documents show that from May 4, 17 RSPCA animal centres will only take in animals which are “RSPCA generated”, which means seized by inspectors in cruelty cases or those which are at immediate risk or cruelty.
Pets belonging to people who are taken into hospital, evicted from their homes or are simply unwanted or found as strays will from that date normally be turned away. Unfortunate visitors holding the animal will be told to contact the police, the local council, or a vet.
The move has been criticised by vets and animal lovers who called it a “dereliction of duty”.
Harvey Locke, president-elect of the British Veterinary Association warned if the RSPCA begins turning away animals which are merely unwanted, it could result in even more pets being abandoned.
“I think the concern is that more unwanted pets may be left to fend for themselves, that people will just leave them on the streets or turf them out of their cars on the motorway. I would like to think that that would not happen but that is a risk,” he told Channel 4 News.
The RSPCA defended the decision to phase out the service, saying it had no alternative but to make the change because of financial pressures.
The report will be screen on Channel Four news tonight (tues) 20th April.
The RSPCA is Britain’s eighth largest charity, with an income of £119 million in 2008. The move comes as the organisation is making savings of £54 million over three years, with donations falling due to the recession.
In recent years it has expanded its role as the unofficial animal police, bringing criminal cases against owners for cruelty and neglect.
The charity investigated 140,575 cases in 2008, up from 110,841 three years earlier. It spent £11.1 million on prosecutions in 2008, compared with £7 million in 2007.
The rise is in part the result of the Animal Welfare Act, which came into effect in 2007 and which was strongly supported by the RSPCA, which introduced new offences of failures in animal welfare, rather than just cruelty.

Thursday, 15 April 2010


Dog wrongfully taken by the RSPCA, to which they denied ever taking Cassie, . After a long battle and seeking to find his lost pet this group has been created to help find Cassie.The RSPCA now admit to having visited the property, but will not give further information to where abouts of Cassie.This Dog was never ill treated,but handed over by somebody else!!!!!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010



Pensioner banned from keeping pets.
A pensioner has been banned from owning any animals for life after causing suffering to his cat by failing to provide adequate veterinary care for a problem with its mouth.

David Rathbone, aged 66, was prosecuted by the RSPCA after they found Titch with a lesion on her mouth which was causing her severe discomfort.
Northampton Magistrates' Court heard on Friday that a RSPCA officer had visited Rathbone's home on September 22 last year after they were alerted to the cat's condition by one of his neighbours.
Rod Stephenson, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said that, after seeing the state the cat was in, the officer had taken it away to Roade Vetinary Surgery where it was euthanized on humane grounds to prevent it from further suffering.
Mr Stephenson said; "It was the examining vet's professional opinion that the mass on the cat's mouth would have grown over a period of one to two months and possibly longer."
Mr Stephenson said that, in interview, Rathbone said he had not been able to get the cat to a vet due to his own problems with his stomach which caused him pain whenever he went out of the house.
Andy Hopkinson, defending, said Rathbone had looked after the cat for 10 years without any previous incident and had not deliberately tried to cause it any pain.
He said: "He did everything he could to alleviate the cat's pain in his limited fashion. He used a cloth with distilled water for the lesion and always made sure she had food where possible. He did so in the forlorn hope the lesion would go away."
Chairman of the bench Derek Loud, sentencing, said: "We believe you should have tried harder to get some advice and treatment for her. Animals don't deserve to come to an end like this."
Rathbone was given an indefinite ban from owning or being involved in the keeping of animals, fined £150, ordered to pay costs of £200 and victim surcharge of £15


A woman has been jailed for the neglect of her pets.

Tiffany Starkey, 24, was locked up for four months and banned for life from keeping animals by Bradford magistrates yesterday.
She had pleaded guilty to five animal cruelty charges including failing to provide food and water for the six-month-old terriers – a post-mortem examination revealed starvation was the cause of their deaths.
 Sentencing Starkey, chairman of the bench Peter Walker said: “We feel custody is the only option for these offences as they are so serious.
“We deem this matter as prolonged neglect for all the animals, particularly the puppies.”
The hearing was told Starkey had claimed she had entrusted the care of the animals to someone else – a Lizzy Stone, but failed to provide an address or a phone number for her.
Nigel Monaghan, for the RSPCA, said the charity believed Miss Stone was fictional.
Of the puppies, he said: “They were soaking wet, coated in their own urine and faeces, totally filthy.
In mitigation for Starkey, solicitor Damian Walsh described photos taken by an RSPCA inspector as depicting the dogs as in a “grotesque parody of sleep”, and admitted no-one could fail to be moved by the images, including Starkey, whom he said was sorry for what she had done.
After the hearing RSPCA inspector Emma Brook said: “I am very happy with the outcome, it reflects the severity of the case, it was an horrific case.
“We are very happy the husky and snake will now go to loving homes.”



Former deputy prime minister John Anderson is calling for a federal inquiry into the RSPCA's seizure of koalas from a zoo in north-west NSW in February.

RSPCA officers alleged the eight animals had been mistreated before they were removed from Gunnedah's Waterways Wildlife Park, but have not laid animal cruelty charges against the park's owners.
Mr Anderson will today be the MC at a rally supporting the wildlife park and says he is personally appalled at what seems to be heavy-handed tactics from the RSPCA.
"The RSPCA has a responsibility to come clean, if necessary apologise, and tidy up their act, particularly given this body enjoys considerable taxpayer support, and I think there needs to be some form of federal inquiry into the appropriateness of the powers that are given to the RSPCA and the way in which they use them," he said.
A 1700-signature petition delivered to NSW Parliament seven months before the Gunnedah raid - also demanding an inquiry into the RSPCA's powers - will be produced at today's rally.

Friday, 9 April 2010


Tuesday, 6 April 2010


As part of the review of legislation concerning dogs, a new proposal has been released with the intention of banning smoking in pet owners’ homes. A spokesperson for DEFRA is quoted as saying “Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, if a pet owner knowingly exposes a pet to a risk of disease, they are committing an offence. Smoking in the presence of a pet will inevitably expose the animal to known irritants and carcinogens, which are likely to cause both disease and suffering to the animal.”

Local authority and RSPCA officers have already been instructed to investigate possible instances of smoking in pet owners’ homes. If smoking is proven to have taken place, the pet owner will be given two options: surrender of the animal into local authority care, or confiscation of all smoking materials.
Harvey Locke, vet and President Elect of the British Veterinary Association, said: “Household pets can become very ill because of their owners smoking in the home. There is evidence that passive smoking in dogs causes chronic bronchitis and can aggravate feline asthma in cats. Animals don’t have a say about where they live. We would urge the public to think about the effect smoking is having on their pets and for them to not to expose animals to second-hand smoke or to any smoking products.”
Dogs are twice as likely to develop a cancerous tumour when living with a smoker – the most common forms relate to second hand smoke including cancer of the nasal passage and lungs.
Cats can swallow smoke and soot when they groom themselves. The risk of developing feline lymphoma cancer is also two and a half times more likely for cats living with smokers.
Birds cannot filter the air that they breathe in, causing smoke to become trapped which blackens their lungs and can lead to pneumonia and secondary infections.
DEFRA accepts that implementation of the new proposal may be problematic, and liaison with local police forces, with powers of arrest and detention, is expected to be necessary in some instances.


Request "Ref: 2287 - Firearms Licences"
1. How many RSPCA inspectors hold firearms licences?

2. Are there any other RSPCA employees in your area other than
inspectors that hold firearms licences?
3. Can you name these individuals that hold licences? If you are
unwilling to provide the data, then would you say in what capacity the
people who work for this private charity who you enumerate have a
firearms certificate?
4. What "ranks" within the RSPCA do these people possess and how long
has each person worked for the charity? When was each of the people
granted their licence to carry such weapons?
5. What type and calibre of firearms are carried by each RSPCA employee?
6. Which RSPCA employees carry captive bolt guns and how many of them
carry them?
7. What reasons were given by the RSPCA employees for requiring the
8. Where do RSPCA employees indicate that they will use the firearms?
9. If you state that the "Inspectors possess the firearms referred to
for the humane despatch of animals" - do you mean in all circumstances
where an animal might require euthanasia, or only where the opinion
and expertise of a veterinary surgeon in "despatching" an animal
cannot be obtained?
10. Do they have an 'open certificate'
Response 11th January 2010

In accordance with section 1(1) (b) of the Act our response is provided below;
Question 1: 7 RSPCA employees
Question 2: All such officers are recorded as per the NFLMS prescribed list and are RSPCA employees
Question 3: This information is exempt information in accordance with Section 40 (2) of the Act, Personal data. The disclosure of this information would breach Principles 1 & 2 of the data Protection Act 1998 and as such would be unlawful.
Question 4: This information is not held.
Question 5: 2 x .32 singles shot pistols and 5 x .32 slaughtering instruments.
Question 6: This information is not held. Captive bolts are no longer required to be on an FAC
Question 7: This information is not held. There is no requirement for them to state where they will use them as its in line with their duties as an RSPCA employee
Question 8: N/A
Question 9: The firearms are permitted for us wherever there is a requirement in line with the holders duties.
Question 10: There is no closed or open certificate in relation to these certificates and the conditions placed on them are on accordance with national systems.


A great-grandmother has been ordered to wear an electronic tag for breaching new animal welfare laws by selling a goldfish to a 14 year-old boy.

She was then prosecuted in an eight month court process estimated to have cost the taxpayer more than £20,000.

Under new animal welfare laws, passed in 2006, it is it illegal to sell goldfish to under 16s. Offenders can be punished with up to 12 months in prison.
Mrs Higgins, 66, who thought the boy was much older than 14, escaped jail but was instead ordered to wear an electronic tag and given a night time curfew. She was also fined £1,000 by Trafford Magistrates Court.
Her son Mark Higgins, who was also proscecuted in connection with the case, described the treatment of his mother as a "farce" and "legal lunacy". He said the punishment she had received would prevent her from attending her weekly bingo sessions as well babysitting her one month-old great grandchild.
Mr Higgins, 47, from Sale, Greater Manchester said: "I think it's a farce and legal lunacy and I told the council that.
"What gets me so cross is that they put my Mum on a tag - she's nearly 70, for goodness sake."
He added: "She's a great grandma - so she won't be able to babysit a new born baby, all because of this tag. You would think they have better things to do with their time and money."
He and his mother were caught out by a new bill passed in 2006 which makes it illegal to sell goldfish to under 16s.
In July 2009, Trafford council sent a 14 year old boy to the shop and after Mrs Higgins failed to ask the boy for identification she and her son were summoned to court.
Mr Higgins labelled the incident "entrapment", saying the boy looked older than 14: "The council sent the 14 year old into us - in my book that's entrapment.
"And besides which is it hard to tell how old a lad is these days. He looked much older than 14. I go to my local pub where they sometimes have a fayre and I see youngsters walking round with goldfish that they have won by hooking a duck.
"I said that to the council and they told me that wasn't my problem."
Mr Higgins was fined £750 and ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work. However, because his mother was not fit enough to do the same she was issued with a ten-week 6pm to 7am curfew instead.
The pair pleaded guilty at Trafford magistrates court to selling the fish to a person under 16 and for causing unnecessary suffering to a cockatiel by failing to provide appropriate care and treatment after council officers noticed a cockatiel bird in the shop in need of veterinary care with a broken leg. It was later put down.
Trafford Council said they had decided to investigate the shop, called Major Pets, in Sale, Greater Manchester following a complaint that it had sold a gerbil to a 14 year-old girl with learning difficulties, without the presence of a carer or parent.
Iain Veitch, Head of Public Protection at Trafford Council, said: "The evidence presented for this conviction clearly demonstrates that it is irresponsible to sell animals to those who are not old enough to look after them.
"We have many responsible pet shops in the borough who provide adequate advice and care for animals however let this conviction send out a message that we will not tolerate those who cause unnecessary suffering to animals."
A spokesman for Trafford Council said their legal costs were met by the total fines paid by Joan and Mark Higgins of £1750.

Saturday, 3 April 2010


POLICE are investigating after an 11-week-old puppy went missing from his owner's back yard.

Officers are refusing to rule out the possibility that the black Labrador may have been stolen.
And the dog's owner, Nigel Rowley, from Biddulph, is now offering a £150 reward for the return of his pet Oliver.
The 24-year-old, who lives in Albert Street, said: "I'm gutted to be honest. I'd been saving up since October to buy him and he was a lovely dog."
Mr Rowley left Oliver in his yard when he went to work at 8am on March 26.
But when he returned at 6.15pm, the dog was nowhere to be seen.
And plumber Mr Rowley, who paid £450 for the dog, believes Oliver has been stolen.
He said the yard was secure and there was no way the puppy could have got out on its own.
Mr Rowley added: "When I realised he had gone missing I asked my two lodgers if they had seen or heard anything and they hadn't.
"On the day he went missing, I had a card pushed through the letterbox from the RSPCA.
"When I rang them up to see what it was about they said they had received a complaint about me being heavy-handed with the dog when it comes to toilet training, which I hadn't.
"I'd left a toolbox in the yard and there were some ladders as well, but none of that was taken. The whole thing is just very odd."
Mr Rowley said he had been in touch with kennels in the area and that neither they nor vets had seen Oliver.
He added: "One of the neighbours told me they saw someone wearing a hat climbing the gate into the back yard.
"I've spoken to the police and they have taken some statements from neighbours and they are viewing the CCTV tapes from one of the shops on the road.
"Hopefully somebody somewhere knows what has happened and I can get him back."
Oliver was wearing a black and red collar when he went missing.
And the puppy walks with a slight limp, according to his owner.
A Staffordshire Police spokesman confirmed the investigation was ongoing.
She added: "We are not ruling out the possibility that the dog may have been stolen."
Anyone with information should call Staffordshire Police on 0300 123 4455, quoting incident number 739 of March 26.

Friday, 2 April 2010


Chris Wyatt, representing the RSPCA said Ahmed had come to the police's attention when he had attended the court case of dog fighter Liaquat Ali, 40, of Steiner Street in November 2008.

Speaking after the case, RSPCA Chief Inspector Ian Briggs said: "Under the circumstances, a life-time ban is a good result.

RSPCA chief inspector Ian Briggs said outside court: “Having 26 people arrested at one fight hasn’t happened since the late 1980s, and shows how depressingly popular dog fighting has become again in our major cities, despite being banned almost 200 years ago.”

RSPCA chief inspector Ian Briggs said: "We can only imagine how many dogs have suffered at the hands of Mr Ali and his friends, and the kind of things they've had to endure at a premise kept by him for that very purpose.

Mike Butcher, of the RSPCA’s Special Operations Unit, said: “The West Midlands region is an area where we are getting a lot of intelligence about organised dog-fights in the Asian community.
Ian Briggs, chief inspector of the RSPCA’s Special Operations Unit, said dog-fighting is up 400 per cent in the past three years in the UK.

“Out of all the work my unit now does about 98 per cent is related to Asian gangs,” he said.

Aftab Razzaq, 25, and Usman Hussain, 22, admitted goading their dogs to brawl.

Razzaq made his pitbull terrier Benny fight with Hussain's Staffordshire bull terrier Reefer on Troy Street Fields on September 8 last year
Chief inspector Ian Briggs, from the RSPCA's special operations unit, said: "Dog fighting is barbaric and causes horrific injuries and suffering to those animals involved. Just because these men claim they were only showing off, it doesn't make it any less serious or cruel

Farooq, of Daniels Road, Bordesley Green, Birmingham, was found guilty on two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and possessing training equipment for dog-fighting.
Chief inspector Ian Briggs, from the RSPCA's special operations unit, said: “Dog-fighting is a barbaric and cruel so-called sport which belongs in the Dark Ages and horrific suffering is caused to the dogs involved.

Ch Insp Ian Briggs, of the RSPCA's Special Operations Unit, said: “Where once there was a hardcore of around 20 people, who had contacts around the world and imported dogs from abroad to fight, now that's broadening out to groups of youths.
Of the 10 found guilty, five were fined between £750 and £1,400 for attending the fight while five others, all Asian men from the Birmingham area, were found guilty of more serious offences.

Barkat Hussain, 42, and Intikab Hussain, 31, were found guilty of attending the fight, causing animals to fight, possessing a pit bull and causing unnecessary suffering.
Sohail Hussain, 27, and Zahir Ahmed, 31, were both convicted of attending the fight and possessing a pit bull, whilst Ummar Ahmed, 26, was found guilty of attending the fight and keeping premises for dog fighting.
They will be sentenced next month, along with two others who pleaded guilty at the outset; Waqquas Mughal, 18, who admitted being at the fight, causing animals to fight, causing unnecessary suffering and possession of a pit bull, and Zahoor Hussain. 40, who admitted attending the fight and possessing a pit bull.$1343373$366366.htm

Thursday, 1 April 2010


Today we name-check "Keep Fascists Out of Animal Rights".
We are concerned that the same thing is happening to the animal rights movement today that happened in the 1930s. Mary Dudley Ward's book "Jewish Kosher" was published by a well-known animal rights charity and if you are unlucky enough to see a copy of the original 1944 RSPCA version (not the 1951 watered down one) you will be as taken-aback as disgusted by its raw anti-semitism. Why, exactly, is animal rights SHAC jailbird Charlotte Lewis a BNP candidate? Why is BNP Councillor Mark Logan allowed to get his fat ugly mug in the local paper with RSPCA Inspectors when a bunch of BNP thugs did up their office? That won't help minorities trust them when they get raided (and don't forget that "98% of dog fighting work is Asian", according to the RSPCA's team leader Ian Briggs).
Police officers are kicked off the force for being BNP members, but RSPCA staff get their picture on the front page and nothing is said or done. Why is the RSPCA trying to get kosher and halal meat banned in the EU - don't they like the idea of school children getting a proper meal? Why does BNP Deputy Leader Simon Darby keep name-checking the RSPCA?
Why is the RSPCA doing nothing to control BNP fascists with fighting dogs and focussing on Islam?
There are more questions than answers.