Thursday, 27 May 2010


A COUPLE who took in a squirrel have been warned they face prosecution unless they allow him to be put down.
Patricia Faulkner and Dave Armitage built a run in their Colchester back garden for the squirrel they have named Squeaky.
Although he cannot climb trees, he is able to run about.
Squeaky has been with them for about seven years, but they are moving from Hazelton Road to a smaller home in Norfolk and had to call in the RSPCA as they will not have room for him.
The animal charity told the pair they had broken the law by keeping a wild animal without a licence and said Squeaky would have to be put down.
If they defy officials, they could face prosecution.
Ms Faulkner, 50, who works as a medic on film sets, said: “I can’t believe they would want to get rid of him.
“It’s like they are the Royal Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals, except squirrels.
“He can’t climb, but he’s fat and healthy and he’s not like a pet. I’ve tried to keep him wild and he would take your finger off if you went near him.
I wish I hadn’t got the RSPCA involved now, because there is just no good reason to put him down.”
Mr Armitage built Squeaky’s garden run when Ms Faulkner moved in with him a few years ago, bringing the squirrel along with her from her old house in Wivenhoe.
He said: “We’ve got him in a cage temporarily because we had to clear out the garden before we move, but he had loads of room to run about in the run.
“Squirrels normally only live for five years in the wild and ours is about nine-years-old.”
Ms Faulkner said she first started to feed Squeaky when she spotted him in her garden and realised he was not well and was unable to climb.
She said he mostly sleeps in his run by day and gets up at night to run around.
“We call him Squeaky because if you go out there when he’s up and about, he will squeak at you,” she said.
RSPCA spokeswoman Katy Geary confirmed the couple had unwittingly broken the law by keeping a grey squirrel, as a licence was required under restrictions laid down by Natural England.
She said it would also be illegal to release Squeaky, in the knowledge that he was not fit to survive in the wild.
That means the RSPCA’s only option, other than to put him down, is to find a sanctuary which does have a licence to keep squirrels.
The restrictions are tougher than for many other species as moving grey squirrels into certain areas of the country could put native red squirrels under threat.
Ms Geary said: “It is a bit of a legal minefield.
“It is one of these cases where people are doing what they think is best to care for an animal, but technically they are breaking the law.”


A BARMOUTH woman who was having money problems and could not afford to feed her two dogs, took photographs of them and e-mailed them to the RSPCA.

But when the RSPCA called at her home, she refused to hand them over, Dolgellau magistrates heard.
Huw Wyn Williams, prosecuting at Dolgellau magistrates, said that following the second visit to Emma Jane Parry, 26, at her home at Flat 1, The Haven, Aberammfra Terrace, Barmouth, the RSPCA removed a bull mastiff called ‘Vodka’ and a Staffordshire bull terrier called ‘Dribbles’ and they were cared for at a rescue centre in Colwyn Bay. Mr Williams said that the bull mastiff weighed 39 kilos whereas the average weight for a similar dog was between 50 and 59 kilos and that it was 27 per cent under weight.
The Staffordshire terrier weighed 12.8 kilos compared to an average weight of 18.5 kilos and was 30 per cent under weight.
Parry pleaded guilty to neglecting and failing to address the poor condition of both dogs.
The prosecutor said that he was pleased to announce that both dogs were now doing well, improved their weight and had been rehoused.
Iestyn Davies, defending, said that his client was in dire financial difficulties and had barely enough money to feed herself.
“She did try to find someone to take the dogs and actually e-mailed the RSPCA with photographs.
“But they told her that there was a waiting list for re-housing dogs and the RSPCA could not take them, “ said Mr Davies.
Following the second visit the dogs were removed and when told that the dogs were now doing well Parry broke down and cried in the dock.
She was fined £200 for neglecting the dogs and ordered to pay £127 towards the prosecution costs and was banned from keeping a dog for five years.

Monday, 24 May 2010


A dog rescue centre shut down after a raid by the RSPCA amid concerns over conditions was back in business today after winning its licence back.

Des Goodall, owner of Rosedene Animal Rescue Centre, said the past four months had been a “mess”. Last week the Rushall centre was visited by Walsall Council officers who ruled it was fit to begin rehoming animals again. Their first was an unwanted husky called Skye brought in over the weekend, and they are expecting another 20 dogs today.
Mr Goodall, who has owned the centre for seven years, said he was delighted to be open once again but added: “It has been a mess for everyone.
“I have had to finance all of the repairs and everything we have had no funding but I have still had bills going out.
“If it was a proper business, I would not be doing it, as it doesn’t make any money. But I am passionate about animals, and so are all of the people who work here.
“If I had the money to do it, I might consider legal action against the RSPCA.
“We took our first dog in yesterday it was a husky which someone dropped off because they were given it as a present and couldn’t look after it.
“We have another 20 being brought over from Dudley Council, and Sandwell Council also has some dogs for us to kennel.”
The centre in Radley Road was raided on January 21 after the RSCPA said conditions were unsatisfactory for animal care.
(RSPCA) Officers seized 56 dogs and destroyed three, prompting a massive backlash from supporters.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010


The court heard from the RSPCA prosecution lawyer Jonathan Eales how RSPCA Inspector David Podmore had discovered the situation in January.

When Inspector Podmore forced the front door open he discovered a black liquid underneath the debris and was hit by the stench of ammonia and decay.

Thursday, 6 May 2010




Spindles Farm — the site from which 115 horses, ponies and donkeys in a poor condition were removed in January 2008 — is up for sale.

Owner James Gray appeared in court in January to appeal against his conviction and sentence for cruelty to hundreds of horses in his care.
More than 100 equines were removed from Spindles Farm, Chalk Lane, Hyde Heath by RSPCA officers. A further 31 were found dead.
He will learn if the judge will overturn his 6-month jail sentence and lifetime ban from keeping horses next week (6 May).
The property is up for sale in four lots with PJSA Ltd in Windsor.
Lot one is the farmhouse and garden, which is for sale at £1.1million.
Lot two is a 2.8 acre patch of land — £100,000
Lot three is 13.33 acres — £150,000
Lot four is a farmyard with 22.69 acres — £450,000
Lot 4 is subject to an interim charging order on behalf of the RSPCA on the beneficial interest of James Gray made at Winchester County Court on 23 September 2009.
PJSA confirmed Spindles Farm has received a lot of interest and that the property splits naturally into two parts.
James Gray received the maximum penalty possible for animal cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 on 12 June 2009.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010


Former East Grafton couple Claire Strong and Paul Wilson who ran the Wiltshire Animal Rescue and Sanctuary appeared before magistrates in Salisbury on Monday charged with cruelty to animals, including a dog, rabbit and reptiles.

However the case was put back at their request and is now due to be heard on May 24.
Strong, 21, and Wilson, 43, were living at The Severalls in July last year when the RSPCA, acting on complaints, went with police officers to their home and later brought the 12 charges each defendant faces.
They both face similar allegations which include failing to provide a nutritionally balanced diet for a German shepherd dog; failing to provide veterinary care to deal with weight loss is a GSD; failing to protect an animal from pain, injury, suffering and disease; failing to treat flea infestation; keeping animals so that they could not exhibit normal behaviour; not providing an animal with water; failing to provide a suitable diet or suitable environment; keeping a rabbit where it was unable to seek shade; keeping a king snake, Uromastyx lizard and a bearded dragon that were not protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease.
The RSPCA was represented in court by solicitor Matthew Knight but the defendants asked for an adjournment to give them more time to obtain legal aid.
No indication of pleas was given but the court said that if the pair plead not guilty there will have to be a trial lasting up to a week.
The couple had a website for the Wiltshire Animal rescue and Sanctuary (WARAS) which was shut down following their arrests.
On the website they appealed for food, bedding and toys for the animals and for “funds to pay for a few larger vet bills we have had lately.”
It included photographs of dogs, cats and rabbits the couple claimed to be trying to re-home.