RSPCA POLICY NOT TO ACCEPT ABANDONED PETS

HOW THE RSPCA DEAL WITH LOST PETS

WHAT THE RSPCA DONT WANT YOU TO KNOW

Sunday, 30 November 2008

JUDGE CRITICAL OF RSPCA ORDERS THEM TO PAY DEFENDANTS COSTS

Judge critical of RSPCA in case of innocent couple
A judge has criticised the RSPCA for its handling of the prosecution of a Norwich couple accused of causing unnecessary suffering to their 24-year-old horse.
Gina and Martin Griffin appeared in court but district judge Philip Browning found them innocent, and said the "case could have been dealt with in a better and certainly more sympathetic way".
He ordered the RSPCA to pay the Griffins' costs.
The RSPCA claimed the horse, Florry, was too thin. But when the Griffins tried to explain that the horse had laminitis and was on restricted grazing, as recommended by their vet, the court was told the RSPCA inspector and vet refused to discuss the case with them. The court heard that Mrs Griffin bought Florry as a three-year-old, but because of injury, the horse was never ridden, living as a companion to her other horses.
The RSPCA seized Florry on 2 October 2006, despite her vet Charlotte Mayers' insistence that the horse was well cared for.
In a statement to the court, Mrs Griffin claimed the RSPCA inspector had an "aggressive attitude".
"I felt extremely distressed and anxious," said Mrs Griffin, who has kept horses for 30 years and has her BHSAI.
Florry was also diagnosed with Cushing's disease while in the RSPCA's care. Cushing's can cause muscle wastage and the Griffins feel this was responsible in part for Florry's lack of condition. Florry is due to be returned to the Griffins.
A spokesman for the RSPCA said: "An independent vet examined the horse and said it was suffering, that is why the RSPCA decided to bring this prosecution."
Anne Kasica, a spokesman for the Self Help Group (SHG), an organisation set up in 1990 to help people who feel they are being unfairly targeted by the RSPCA, said the Griffins' case was typical of many.
"The RSPCA's aims are to promote kindness and stop cruelty to animals," said Mrs Kasica. "How can it be kind to take a horse away from the loving home she had lived in for two decades?"
Self Help Group. Tel: 08700 726689 http://www.the-shg.org/

http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/397/178608.html

Friday, 28 November 2008

CHALLENGE TO RSPCA PROSECUTIONS

CALLS FOR CPS TO CONTROL RSPCA ABUSE OF POWERS

The Self Help Group for Farmers, Pet Owners and Others experiencing difficulties with the RSPCA (The SHG) is challenging the Crown Prosecution Service to review every RSPCA prosecution following startling revelations.

Two RSPCA prosecutions have collapsed following admissions by the RSPCA that they:

Routinely hold case conferences involving lay and expert witnesses,

Effectively ‘coach’ veterinary experts with the use of an extremely negatively worded pro-forma document

During the trials:
District Judge Grey at Harwich Magistrates Court expressed “grave concerns” about what had happened
Magistrates at Portsmouth Magistrates Court were highly critical of the RSPCA’s conduct and methods of investigation,
The Chairman of the Magistrates, Mr. Jim Morrison, stated that the RSPCA should change their practices in future,
Magistrates made serious criticisms of RSPCA Inspector Janet Edwards’ failure to explain what offences were being investigated.
Magistrates Chairman, Mr. Jim Morrison, stressed that in future the legislation must be explained to suspects and the RSPCA must tell them they have a right to have their own solicitor present during an interview,
The RSPCA must not imply any adverse inference will be drawn if there is an adjournment for this reason,
The revelations did not become known until the trial was under way because the RSPCA’s solicitors:
Steadfastly refused to disclose relevant documents to which the Defence were entitled.
Ernest Vine of the SHG said “We have seen transcripts of RSPCA conferences from other cases, so this is not an isolated incident. In fact we have one transcript from as long ago as 1999. This should raise alarm bells with all of the relevant authorities about the safety of every previous RSPCA conviction. Indeed, it is likely that many people have erroneously pleaded guilty on the basis of the RSPCA prosecution veterinary reports alone.”
“The SHG has been campaigning for the CPS to use their powers to quality control RSPCA prosecutions for some time and we wonder how much public money donated for animal welfare, and how much court time is going to continue to be wasted before the RSPCA is brought under the control of the laws that apply to everyone else in this country.”
Anne Kasica of the SHG concluded: “We told the government that proper protections for the public were needed in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 during the consultation exercise.
We warned them that such abuses of the human and civil rights of animal owners would be inevitable if they failed to implement such protections.”
“How many innocent people are going to be convicted, or put through the agonies of a highly public prosecution that fails, because the RSPCA is out of control and the relevant authorities are doing nothing to protect the public?”

Thursday, 27 November 2008

JUDGE CRITICISES RSPCA PROSECUTION

RSPCA INSPECTOR HAD AN AGGRESSIVE ATTITUDE

A judge has criticised the RSPCA for its handling of the prosecution of a Norwich couple accused of causing unnecessary suffering to their 24-year-old horse.
Gina and Martin Griffin appeared in court on 22 January, but district judge Philip Browning found them innocent, and said the "case could have been dealt with in a better and certainly more sympathetic way".
He ordered the RSPCA to pay the Griffins' costs.
The RSPCA claimed the horse, Florry, was too thin. But when the Griffins tried to explain that the horse had laminitis and was on restricted grazing, as recommended by their vet, the court was told the RSPCA inspector and vet refused to discuss the case with them.
The court heard that Mrs Griffin bought Florry as a three-year-old, but because of injury, the horse was never ridden, living as a companion to her other horses.
The RSPCA seized Florry on 2 October 2006, despite her vet Charlotte Mayers' insistence that the horse was well cared for.
In a statement to the court, Mrs Griffin claimed the RSPCA inspector had an "aggressive attitude".
"I felt extremely distressed and anxious," said Mrs Griffin, who has kept horses for 30 years and has her BHSAI.
Florry was also diagnosed with Cushing's disease while in the RSPCA's care. Cushing's can cause muscle wastage and the Griffins feel this was responsible in part for Florry's lack of condition. Florry is due to be returned to the Griffins.
A spokesman for the RSPCA said: "An independent vet examined the horse and said it was suffering, that is why the RSPCA decided to bring this prosecution."
Anne Kasica, a spokesman for the Self Help Group (SHG), an organisation set up in 1990 to help people who feel they are being unfairly targeted by the RSPCA, said the Griffins' case was typical of many.
"The RSPCA's aims are to promote kindness and stop cruelty to animals," said Mrs Kasica. "How can it be kind to take a horse away from the loving home she had lived in for two decades?"
http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/397/178608.html

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

RSPCA PROSECUTE PENSIONER BUT IT COST THE TAXPAYER £54,000

PENSIONER TO APPEAL FOLLOWING RSPCA PROSECUTION
A pensioner has been banned from keeping animals for life.Sylvia Bailey, 67, , Stevenage, was found guilty at the town magistrates' court today of eight offences of failing to meet the welfare needs of 22 cats under the Animal Welfare Act.
Immediately after the case her defence counsel Sean Smith QC said an appeal would be lodged against both the ban and the confiscation order.
The prosecution was brought by the RSPCA after inspector Melanie Fisher visited Bailey's home with a vet,
"Bailey denied she had mistreated the cats, saying: "I have never failed my cats."All of my savings have gone on these cats."Bailey was ordered to pay £500 towards the total costs for the case of over £54,000.The remainder will come from public funds.
http://www.thecomet.net/content/comet/news/story.aspx?brand=CMTOnline&category=News&tBrand=HertsCambsOnline&tCategory=newslatestCMT&itemid=WEED26%20Nov%202008%2018%3A42%3A48%3A790

DEFENDING RSPCA PROSECUTIONS

Introduction - The Emotional Attitude
If there is such a thing as an honest criminal, then the offences committed by him would in all likelihood fall into the category of dishonesty or violence. By that I mean that there are certain criminal offences which have little emotional effect upon the general public because they identify with the perpetrator as much as they do with the aggrieved. For example, whilst shoplifting is generally condemned the numerous reports of shoplifting court cases in local newspapers receive scant attention by the readers unless of course they have some personal contact with the incident. Likewise an assault at a night-club raises little sympathy with the general public who may well see such people at such premises as deserving what they get. Even professional villains themselves will see it as fair play if having committed a burglary they are caught, plead not guilty but are convicted. On the higher levels of dishonesty complicated fraud matters will raise condemnation at arms length by observers but underneath quite possibly a covert smile if the fraudster has got away with “ripping off” the Inland Revenue, Customs & Excise or one of the big banks.
Then there are those offences which in legal or criminal terms are at the lower end of the scale but which raise disproportionate emotions in the general public. Whilst an indecent assault may be seen as less culpable than murder and the rape of a girl by her boyfriend as less culpable than a violent armed robbery, these classes of offence will result in the public's attention and it will form a much more narrow view of both the victim and the perpetrator than in the former but more serious cases. Even with this class of offence views are polarised. There may be no great argument with the assertion that a sizeable minority of the general public would support the abolition of certain drug offences such as the possession of cannabis. Others would whole- heartedly condemn it in the belief that it leads to far more serious drug-taking and thereby to other offences of a serious nature. But, offences involving animals fall into a totally different category.
There is a small proportion of the population which has either no care for suffering in animals or delights in witnessing or perpetrating suffering. These would be seen by 99% of the population as a sub-species of human endowed with pure evil. Where such persons are convicted of cruelty to animals they are likely to receive sentences of imprisonment and quite properly so, most people would say. Such cases are very well publicised for a number of different reasons. These include deterrence so that the public knows that such people have been caught, convicted and imprisoned. Another reason for publicity, however, is that it is a "purse-opener" for the organisations and individuals involved in the prosecutions. I will however go on to that later.
The Consequences of the Emotional Response
These are far more reaching than those not directly involved with this subject would realise. Animal cruelty prosecutions raise immediate barriers in people's minds and so affect fairness. Witnesses who are involved in shoplifting cases, road traffic accident prosecutions and most criminal cases are at arms length. They may never have been involved in court proceedings before and have no axe to grind with either side in the proceedings. They give their evidence to the best of their ability even though they might be genuinely mistaken and it is clear that people do not always accurately see or hear what is the truth of the matter; only what they believe to be the case. But in animal welfare prosecutions the emotions come into play, colouring and distorting logic. The accusation itself is generally enough to rouse these emotions and it applies not only to witnesses but to the mind of the individual be they a witness, a prosecutor, a court official or a magistrate. Of course such an attitude would be denied not least because the people concerned often do not believe they have been influenced by the subject matter and even if they did realise it they certainly would not admit it. Now this is no idle claim. Although I have been involved with either prosecution or defence of criminal matters for the past 36 years, the past 13 years have been involved in either prosecuting or defending these cases. Examples are numerous but to give two out of hundreds should make the point.
Example One
In a certain north country magistrates' court an electrician, who as a hobby possessed some Jack Russells for fox and other vermin control found himself before the magistrates' court for causing cruelty by neglect. His daughter suffered from epilepsy and was at home from school on her own. The day before, an estate agent had called as the house was to be sold. In surveying the house he saw in cages at the back a number of Jack Russells, one being old with one eye and a few old scars. This is not unusual in terriers which have been used for fox control and which are well into the 10-20 year age range. The result of this observation was a complaint to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (“RSPCA”) by the estate agent that the vendor had a seriously injured dog locked up in his backyard. The result of that without any prior notice was the attendance at the man's premises by three uniformed RSPCA employees and two police officers without any form of warrant and without any intention to arrest. Upon their arrival the girl got out of bed and answered the door. The door was pushed open and she was told that they wished to search the premises. Knowing no different she let them in and they found not the dog which was old but a younger dog which had indeed been recently bitten, which had not been seen by the estate agent, but which was being treated in accordance with veterinary instructions. Nevertheless, the terriers were seized and at court the veterinary surgeon gave evidence that he was aware of the case, had given the owner instructions which were being followed and indeed by the time of the court case the injury had properly healed up. The magistrates nevertheless convicted and gave a conditional discharge. An appeal to the Crown Court would have resulted in an acquittal but the stress and abuse received by the defendant from members of the public who had read about the case was such that he did not wish to pursue the appeal and prolong the agony further.
Such cases receive high publicity, not only after or during the court case but even before because the RSPCA in particular circulate press releases announcing their forthcoming prosecutions to local, regional and sometimes national media.
Example Two
The second concerns a farmer in the south east of England whose 16 year old daughter had over a matter of three years built up for herself a small flock of sheep. The farmer and his daughter attended the local market and paid £25 each for three sock lambs. The lambs were apparently fit and healthy but ten days later they were attacked by a fox and injured. The veterinary practice had supplied the farmer with antibiotics and other drugs in the normal course of business for treating small injuries such as this. Two of the lambs got better and the other was getting better when a member of the public on a farm visit saw the lamb and called the RSPCA. An RSPCA employee arrived, seized the lamb and by the time it reached the veterinary surgeons it was dead. The farmer was interviewed by the RSPCA employee at the veterinary surgeon's clinic in the presence of two police officers and knowing no better and having no rights under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (“PACE”) because the interview was not at a police station, he answered questions which were later used against him despite his Counsel's accurate advice to the magistrates that the interview should not be admissible in evidence. The application under s.78 of PACE Act 1984 to exclude the interview from evidence was rejected. After a two day case in which the prosecution alleged that he had caused unnecessary suffering by not calling his own vet out to the lamb and despite evidence being given by two veterinary surgeons, one an expert in sheep care, that he did all that could have been done by a vet he was nevertheless convicted and fined £500 with £1,000 costs. Again he would not appeal to the Crown Court in accordance with his Counsel's advice because of the financial and emotional strain on himself and his family.
Tiers of Justice
Had either of these, and many other cases, been dealt with in the same manner as straight forward criminal cases there would not have been convictions because where similar cases have been appealed the appellants have been successful in the Crown Court. So what is the difference? The obvious difference is that an impartial professional judge views the facts in accordance with the law, and time and time again in the magistrates' court three ordinary citizens without professional legal training differ from that approach in their decisions. Animal cruelty cases can be dealt with at first instance only in the magistrates' court, being summary only matters. They cannot ever be tried by a judge and jury.
Law and Offences
I now come to what is the hub of this lecture. Animal cases tend mainly to deal with horses, dogs and farm animals although there is a smattering of cases involving exotic animals and wild animals.
Law
The Protection of Animals Act, 1911 has remained unchanged for 88 years. It deals with domestic or captive animals only. The latest cruelty case in the Divisional Court upon the subject of what is or what is not within the definition and in which case my firm was instructed maintained the strict difference between a wild animal and a domestic or captive one. Other than that case (Barrington v Colbert & Ors 1996), there are very few decided cases upon the subject because the main ratio is that decisions are made by the court upon the facts (Dee v Yorke 1914).
Offences
What is clear is that section 1(i)(a) is a remarkable section drafted with perspicacity and which in one sentence can create many offences out of one action. Any combination of the adjectives or verbs contained within that section can amount to a single offence and many offences can be charged based upon the same action by the defendant, (Johnson v Needham 1909). Nevertheless, where this occurs only one sentence can be passed for one action no matter how many are charged. Furthermore it is not only action but inaction that can result in a prosecution. The intention to cause cruelty is not required to be proved by the prosecution only that unnecessary suffering was caused whether it was intentional, through neglect or omission and by not only the owner but by any other person having a duty of care in these circumstances.
Arrest
While the Protection of Animals Act 1911 does provide a power of arrest for police, case law has defined very clearly that Parliament did not intend any other organisation such as the RSPCA to be empowered under the Act and therefore the RSPCA does not have any powers of arrest, or entry or of search (Line v RSPCA 1902). Like any other person or organisation that the law deems to have a duty to investigate - e.g. HM Customs & Excise, Local Authority Trading Standards - the RSPCA is expected to conform to the rules in PACE so far as they relate to matters of investigation.
Procedure
As I have suggested, while the rules apply in a police station (for instance, to inform someone of an accuser's presence there), they do not apply to interviews outside of a police station. Nevertheless, RSPCA employees are trained to tell suspects that they are not under arrest. This is an indication at the least and an inference more assuredly to a person that the uniformed RSPCA employee, does indeed have a power of arrest but is not exercising it. There is no doubt that the wearing of a police-like uniform tends to influence an accused. The lay person is then put in a position where he feels that he is actually obliged to answer questions, even though he is told in the caution that he need not do so. Emphasis is put upon the new ingredients of the caution - i.e. “but it may harm your defence when questioned if you do not mention something you later wish to rely on in evidence".
Some of you may recall the controversy which was raised about the actual wording of the new caution. To find a simple formula of wording was difficult. It is now so short that its meaning has to be explained to suspects who are to be asked to convince the interviewer that he or she does indeed understand it. It is a pity that taken literally the new caution indicates that the suspect will indeed find himself in court.
As in all formal investigations with police or otherwise, we find time and time again an attitude whereby a person is led to believe prior to interview that it is not a particularly serious matter and a little help would be appreciated to clear it up and then the person finds just within the six month limitation on proceedings, a summons requiring him to defend himself in court or admit that he has committed the offence. It is surprising just how long it seems to take from the time of an alleged offence to lay the informations: they tend to be laid a week or two before the six months' limitation expires. This, of course, has the effect of making it very difficult for a defendant to gather evidence because so much time has passed since the incident. With the new moves in the courts to hasten matters, the defendant is left with a very short time, often a matter of weeks, to decide upon plea and a matter of a month or two in which to prepare a defence if the matter is to be contested. The prosecution have had almost six months in which to prepare their case.
Entry
The Protection of Animals Act 1911 provides the police with no power of entry - other than to a knacker's yard - they do have a power of entry under the provisions of PACE if they intend to make an arrest. Having made an arrest and entered premises then, the police are in a position to seize evidence. The RSPCA does not have any powers that are not afforded to the ordinary person.
The usual procedure by RSPCA employees who deal with the majority of animal cruelty allegations is, upon the receipt of information, to visit the person and attempt to gain entry to obtain evidence and interview them. Where a person has either refused them entry or has refused to answer questions, they will immediately caution the person and then tell them that they will get the police. The police rely a great deal upon RSPCA expertise in these matters and therefore usually comply with the RSPCA request to accompany them to a suspected offender. The appearance of one or two uniformed police officers usually results in compliance with the RSPCA request. However, once property has been seized, the police then often leave it with the RSPCA to issue the proceedings. Animals which are seized are usually examined by a veterinary surgeon appointed by the RSPCA and thereafter usually disappear to a safe- haven and remain there until the end of the court case. Contact with the RSPCA is difficult. They have a national telephone number for regional centres and only messages can be left there. The speed with which the RSPCA answers, if at all, is entirely in the hands of the RSPCA; the longer an animal seized by them remains unexamined by a veterinary surgeon appointed by the prospective defendant, the more difficult it is for the defence to prove the condition of the animal at the time of the alleged offence.
I am not suggesting that this is a deliberate ploy. While the RSPCA does a magnificent job in dealing with animal welfare throughout the UK, it has a large legal and public relations team at their headquarters at Horsham in West Sussex, nationally-advertised policies reflecting its attitudes, it lobbies Parliament, influences the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and is increasingly using the media and television to improve and secure its position in respect of animals and animal welfare as it sees it. For instance, whatever an individual thinks about hunting, Parliament has not made it an offence to hunt foxes. Nevertheless the RSPCA believes it to be cruel and has made it clear that it will do all that it can to make hunting a crime. It is co-operating with the League Against Cruel Sports and the International Fund for Animal Welfare under one banner - The Campaign for the Protection of Hunted Animals - an organisation directly concerned with using all lawful means to ban hunting.
Species
Whilst this address is primarily concerned with horses, specific matters about which I will cover shortly, animal welfare prosecutions are regularly aimed at cases involving dogs, sheep, cows, chicken, badgers and birds.
The RSPCA's representations to the Government and to the RCVS resulted in tail- docking by lay persons becoming an offence and by veterinary surgeons risking allegations of professional malpractice. Puppy farming is also abhorred. Of all farm animals the creature with an inherent propensity to incur injury or illness is the sheep and it is very difficult to examine in detail each of a flock of a thousand sheep each day. The badger has become sacred and now a badger-related allegation receives more attention in terms of police time than a robbery because the Badger has become the highest priority of all protected animals both in legal terms and in response times. Likewise a warrant to search premises granted to police under s.19 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 will usually be executed with all the facilities expected to be used on a top class criminal.
Horses pose a particular problem to prosecutors because of their size and weight. A dog can be put in the back of a van but to remove a horse requires far more organisation. Cases usually start with a well meaning person telephoning RSPCA to report what he or she believes to be a case of a suffering horse. The first visit is usually by one or two RSPCA employees, occasionally with police. The greatest cause of public concern is emaciation. However, anyone who has any reasonable knowledge of horses will know that a horse whose ribs are showing or whose back bone is prominent is not necessarily emaciated. There may be many causes of apparent thinness: lack of or ineffective worming, age or an illness being properly treated. Sometimes it is just a horse which is not a “good-doer” but which has been well-fed and properly wormed.
It is at this stage of an investigation that a defendant's problems begin. Whilst neither the RSPCA nor police has any legal right to enter a field or stable they will often ignore the deliberate and wilful commission of the tort of trespass or conversion and enter the premises in the knowledge that a defendant will not usually issue proceedings in the civil courts and even if that happened a judge would be most unlikely to award any sort of meaningful damages, especially if a successful conviction resulted from the trespass and conversion.
It is a moot point whether the seizing of a horse from a field upon the assertion that it is evidence of an offence of cruelty is lawful. Clearly police have power to seize property when lawfully upon premises but what of an unlawful seizure during an unlawful trespass? Of late some forces have claimed to use the power contained in s.17(1)(e) PACE - i.e. that granted to police officers to enter and search any premises for the purpose of saving life or limb or preventing serious damage to property. Animals, they claim, are property and serious illness would cause serious damage. This idea has yet to be tested in the higher courts.
Penalties
Being summary only offences magistrates are limited to passing a sentence of 6 months in custody on a single offence and no more than one year on two or more offences plus fines of up to £5,000 on each conviction. Of course, there are standard guidelines as to the monetary penalties such as the defendant's ability to pay off fines within a year.
In addition to monetary penalties the courts have power under s.3 of the Protection of Animals Act 1911 to order the forfeiture of the animal concerned if it were owned by the offender but not otherwise. However, before the court can exercise this power it must be satisfied by evidence being called that the offender has a previous conviction or that the animal is likely to suffer further cruelty.
Also, under the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954, the court has power to disqualify an offender from having the custody of animals or any specific species of animals for any length of time.
Where a case is not strong but a conviction has resulted, a conditional discharge is often applied. In an average case fines extend from a few hundred pounds up to the thousands and where the cruelty is deliberate without good cause and a positive act of cruelty, very often imprisonment results. One thing which is also a regular feature is a request for prosecution costs from those private prosecutions which normally run into thousands. Of course, courts are guided in their penalties and a defendant should be in a position to pay off any monetary penalties within one year. Other than that, the normal considerations of sentencing apply. The penalties for animal cruelty are generally higher than the penalties for shoplifting or equivalent standard of criminal behaviour.
It is not, however, just a court that the defendants have to contend with. Hate- mail, abusive telephone calls, criminal damage to homes and vehicles are all a regular result of a conviction for cruelty. There seem to be more nutters concerned with animal welfare than with child abuse or for ordinary criminal offences by the honest criminal involving dishonesty or violence or both. There is remarkably little interest although the serious effect of these crimes is much greater.
Lessons
There are two areas that the defence lawyer must address as swiftly as possible when involved in the defence of animal welfare prosecutions. The first is, as with most offences, trying to advise the prospective defendant before he undertakes any interview. So often the defendant does not realise the position he or she is in, does not realise the relevance of questions that are being asked by the investigator and often makes unfortunate and misleading answers to questions which result in a prosecution or a conviction which otherwise might have been avoided.
Experts
Competent and recognised experts, often veterinary surgeons, must be put into a position to gather evidence on behalf of the defence at the very first opportunity. In animal cruelty cases the veterinary surgeon must be experienced in the type of animal concerned. In badger cases it is an expert on badgers; likewise with birds you have to decide whether it is an ornithologist or an aviculturist that you need to support the defence contentions. Knowing the procedures and personalities concerned is very important. For instance, in a case of a horse trampling on a person a few years ago we discovered that there were few experts on the subject. The British Army no longer use horses in battle and the only real expertise lay with mounted police officers who have experience in riot situations involving horses. Because it is an emotive subject there are few experts upon badgers who are prepared to act for defendants whereas every member of a badger watch group seems to consider himself or herself an expert upon the subject and will willingly see badgers emerging from any hole in the ground at any hour of the day or night. There are probably half a dozen avian veterinary surgeons in this country who regularly deal with bird related prosecutions and defences and there are even fewer veterinary surgeons who are experts with elephants, tigers, monkeys and the like.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of veterinary surgeons specialising in equine matters; however, they do vary. Always consider the client's own horse vet first but do not reject a higher level specialist to support his evidence. Many veterinary surgeons specialise but they do not all pass the necessary examinations for additional qualifications. The RCVS and the universities will often provide an individual who can throw unexpected light on a particular case. Reference sources for equine experts can also be found in the Law Society Directory of Expert Witnesses, other directories and more directly The Equine Lawyers Association, which lists over a hundred members concerned with the equine legal world. Little things often make a difference such as whether the prosecution veterinary surgeon carried blood samples in a refrigerated container in the boot of his car; or were they left on the back seat in the sun!
Funding
Good funding is essential for a successful defence in an animal welfare prosecution. Many of the experts are very busy and financially successful in their expert areas. Do bear in mind, however, that the Costs in Criminal Causes (General) Regulations created under the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 lay down the basic rule that witnesses are paid out of Central Funds unless the court directs otherwise. The allowances are laid down in the regulations and although they are not generous they are certainly a substantial way of resolving a defendant's dilemma when it comes to funding expert evidence. While Legal Aid is possible in some of these cases, especially where there is a genuine risk of imprisonment or a loss of business through a conviction, there can generally be no topping up of funding once a Legal Aid Order has been made. Do not forget the exception which is where the Legal Aid Board have refused to cover a disbursement then you may be at liberty to obtain funding from elsewhere. Any person with any sense these days either individually or through an organisation to which he or she belongs should have or obtain Legal Expenses Insurance. Many of the national organisations which my firm represents have such insurance packages and it is a life-saver for members who find themselves in trouble.
Conclusion
Do not fall into the trap of believing that in an animal welfare prosecution your client will be treated in the same way as an honest criminal. It is a much more arduous journey to reach a successful conclusion when defending animal cruelty prosecutions. It is not just a matter of fact and law but gaining the court';s sympathy for the client as well as for the animal. This is the pathway which leads to acquittals. Many cases should not and would not have been brought had the subject matter not been about animals. But a court will quite often make a criminal of a well-meaning and caring defendant just because his or her husbandry did not reach the standard insisted upon by the prosecutor.
_________________________
The author, Jeffery Hide, is one of the lawyers at Knights Solicitors, a specialist litigation practice well-known for representing clients with animal and countryside interests on a national level. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives and a Commissioner for Oaths. Formerly a Police Inspector and lecturer in criminal law, he is an examiner for the British Horse Society in Riding and Safety and is presently Vice-Chairman of the East Sussex County Committee of the BHS.
DEFENDING ANIMAL WELFARE PROSECUTIONS
Notes prepared by
Knights, Solicitors of Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

RSPCA INSPECTOR A LIAR ?

PENSIONER BRANDS RSPCA AS LIARS AS SHE DENIES CONTENTS OF STATEMENT

A pensioner appeared in court after 22 cats were removed from her home by police following an investigation by the RSPCA.

Sylvia Bailey, 67, of Stevenage, pleaded not guilty at the town magistrates' court to eight offences of failing to meet the welfare needs of the cats under the Animal Welfare Act.
On one occasion Ms Bailey was told to keep quiet by chairman of the magistrates Dr David Izod after she whispered "liar" as an RSPCA inspector gave evidence on the treatment of the cats. Ms Bailey later broke down in tears and the case was adjourned for 10 minutes while she recovered.

RSPCA inspector Melanie Fisher told the court how Ms Bailey's home was in a bad state on December 15 last year,

Accompanied by an animal warden, Insp Fisher said the RSPCA had gone to the property after a report from a member of the public about the cats.
Ms Bailey was then served with a notice to have the cats examined and treated by a vet.
But when Insp Fisher returned to the property on Christmas Eve nothing had been done and the flat remained dirty.

At another meeting at her home, the court heard, there was a clash between Ms Bailey and the RSPCA inspector who tried to interview her."She became extremely hostile," added Insp Fisher. "She just kept calling me a bitch. She was hostile and aggressive and she would not agree to the interview and made derogatory remarks so I left."Under cross examination by Sean Smith, QC, the inspector refused to disclose who had notified the RSPCA about the cats.

Mr Smith told the court: "She (Ms Bailey) says there are large portions of your report of the interview with her which she says are not what she said at all."Insp Fisher replied: "I beg to differ."

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RSPCA PROSECUTIONS

I read with interest the article "Maltreatment of Animals"
I am a Franchised Criminal Solicitor who is also a member of the NSA and I have a small farm at the foot of the Sussex Downs. Being a Franchised Criminal Solicitor means that I am approved by the Government for a contract to supply criminal defence services, which means that I provide those services under the Legal Aid System. Whilst I agree with the general advice given of seeking advice and help from a solicitor at the earliest opportunity, that advice should be taken a stage further.
Obviously RSPCA prosecutions are extremely stressful and distressing for those on the receiving end. However the article fails to mention what I consider the most important point. An RSPCA prosecution is a criminal one. As a result, if you are convicted the repercussions can be disastrous because of the draconian powers that the magistrates have by way of disqualification from keeping animals and, in the worst cases, imprisonment. It is my view therefore, being a criminal lawyer of twenty-seven years admission, that whilst you need to seek expert advice, the solicitor that you have used all your life to deal with family matters and aspects such as conveyancing may not necessarily be the best person in these cases as he may not have the experience to deal with an RSPCA prosecution.
When the RSPCA appear at you gate, you need the expert advice of a Franchised Criminal Lawyer. Not only will he be familiar and have the skills to deal with the RSPCA and the police, but he will also have the added benefit of being able to provide you with his services under the Legal Aid Scheme. You will therefore not have to fund your defence - it will effectively be free. As a result of the Human Rights Act coming into force in this country, Crimi8nal Legal Aid is no longer means-tested and is not dependent upon your financial situation. In my experience all RSPCA prosecutions attract Legal Aid because of the serious nature of those prosecutions, the expertise needed to defend them, and the serious punishments the Court can impose if convicted.
Criminal Defence Solicitors who are contracted to the Government advertise this fact in the local press and in Yellow Pages, but if necessary you should contact either the Law Society or the Legal Services Commission direct who will supply you with a list of solicitors who have a Criminal Defence Contract. However, you should go one step further and ask whoever you contact whether they have defended an RSPCA prosecution before. This is a specialist area that requires specialist skills and there will be a solicitor in your area who is both franchised and has experience in dealing with the RSPCA.
If you are represented by a Franchised Solicitor, the added stress of continuing to try and find money to fund your defence privately will not be an issue. Defending RSPCA prosecutions is expensive because it requires the instruction of numerous experts. The trial by its very nature can last several weeks. The worry of funding your defence is therefore removed which relieves you of that added burden. I have heard of some farmers who have been forced to remortgage their premises to pay their solicitors when the chances are that a Franchised Solicitor who is an expert and is approved by the Government to do such work has been practising in their locality.
There are other aspects of the article that I disagree with. For instance, in my experience the RSPCA do not enter into a dialogue - the first you know about them is when they seize your animals. My advise is fairly simple; don't talk to the RSPCA about any allegations unless in the presence of a Franchised Criminal Solicitor, endeavour to keep the RSPCA off your property, remember they have no right to enter unless in the company of the police and, most importantly, try to avoid the animals being seized by the RSPCA. Unfortunately that is normally unavoidable as the first you will know about their interest is when they are in the field rounding up your animals in the company of the police. It is then absolutely vital that you contact an expert because those animals will have to be seen by your independent expert vet or nutritionist within the first twenty-four hours. Unfortunately this is not covered by Legal Aid and this is one expense you will have to be responsible for but it is vital to the conduct of any defence that a independent vet and any other appropriate independent expert does see them.
Nigel WellerSolicitors
Lewes,
East Sussex

Monday, 24 November 2008

ANOTHER HUGE BILL FOR RSPCA PROSECUTION

The Prosecutions Department of the RSPCA, led by barrister Sally Case, has been handed another large bill for the charity’s donors to pay.
Gateshead Magistrates in Tyne and Wear, for prosecuting Michael and Sharon Finnie who mistakenly treated their pet dog Pebbles for fleas when he had a skin condition.
The RSPCA recently sought to characterise Tyne and Wear as the cruellest locality in the UK.
Anne Kasica of the SHG said:
“The Magistrates have sent another clear message to the RSPCA.”
“The message, in my view reads:
‘Stop wasting our valuable court time and resources by prosecuting decent, hard working people who are trying their best and living on a shoestring budget just to get free publicity from a cheap headline’”
Ernest Vine, also of the SHG said:
“The way that the RSPCA have chosen to present their statistics this year is misleading. The SHG don’t believe for a minute that Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, or anywhere in the UK is the ‘heartland of animal cruelty’.”
“In Tyne and Wear, far too many cases are being taken to court by McKeags and the RSPCA. It is this disproportionate prosecution rate that is distorting the statistics.”
“In the past, magistrates gave far too much taxpayers’ money to the RSPCA and their independent expert vets and lawyers. Even failed prosecutions are frequently rewarded, making welfare cases very cheap advertising for the RSPCA.”
“RSPCA lawyers and vets can earn more for an hour than some people earn in a week.”
“The Finnies had clearly tried their best. Why didn’t the RSPCA help them? If the RSPCA had simply provided free veterinary treatment for Pebbles they would not have run up the costs of prosecuting the case and boarding fees for Pebbles.”
“They would also have avoided the heartache that both the Finnies and Pebbles have gone through by being separated.”
“The RSPCA should remember that one of their charitable objects is ‘to promote kindness’”
Anne Kasica concluded:
“The SHG believes that the CPS should actively quality control all RSPCA prosecutions by taking over and dropping those which are clearly not in the public interest and which no responsible prosecutor would bring"
“The SHG calls for a full public inquiry into the RSPCA and its activities.”

Sunday, 23 November 2008

MORE RSPCA ARROGANCE

JANES EXPIERIENCE WITH THE RSPCA WHEN SHE TRIED TO GET DAUGHTER ALICE A RABBIT FROM THEM

Alice, had a single rabbit, Coco, and who was eager to do the right thing when she found out that pet rabbits happiest iving in pairs.

Instead of simply going to a pet shop, Jane phoned the Gonsal Farm Animal Centre just outside Shrewsbury, which is run by the RSPCA.

She explained the situation and was told that they had a rabbit who would make a perfect companion for Coco. She was called Skittle and they'd had her since June.

She would cost £35. Would Jane like to meet her? Jane said she would.

She duly drove up to Shrewsbury from her home in a village south of Ludlow, a round-trip of more than 60 miles, to meet Skittle.
They got on famously, and Jane filled out the relevant paperwork, in the mistaken belief that she would be taking Skittle home with her. No, said the woman in charge, they would first require all the family to meet Skittle.
Jane patiently explained that she didn't think her husband, a busy dentist, would be willing to take half a day off work to visit a rabbit. The woman was unmoved. "That's our policy," she said.
So they would have to make another 60-mile round trip? "Afraid so, yes. And then we'll make a home visit, to decide whether you are suitable for adoption."
Jane digested this, and asked whether they could skip straight to the home visit? No. Well, could she come back just with Alice? A grudging OK.
So, a few days later, Jane drove back to Shrewsbury with Alice, who fell in love with Skittle. She explained that they would be making a family trip to the cinema in Shrewsbury the following Sunday afternoon, and was there any chance of the home visit being organised before then, so that, assuming they got the green light, they could pick up Skittle then (without having to make a fourth 60-mile journey).
The woman said she'd do what she could, and on the Saturday the RSPCA home visitor arrived, and promised to give Jane and family a lavish testimonial.

The next day, Jane rang to ask whether they could call in for Skittle on the way home from the cinema.
Whether the woman at Gonsal Farm was affronted at being fitted in round Mamma Mia! she didn't say, but she was adamant that Skittle would not be available for collection, because they had not yet had the home visitor's report.
"In any case, she added, they were too busy, with several cats, two guinea pigs, and a dog to hand over"
Jane spent Mamma Mia! seething about this, but when James came out of the Bond film, he very masterfully suggested, in a Daniel Craig kind of way, that they should call round for the rabbit anyway. Which they did, but got short shrift. There was no question of their taking Skittle, not with pussies galore to see to, said the woman, if not in so many words. "So we have to drive back yet again?" "Yes."
"Well in that case, you can keep Skittle and we'll just go to a pet shop," said Jane, storming out.
That night, however, Alice cried herself to sleep at the thought of losing Skittle. So Jane had a change of heart and phoned the next morning, offering to drive back the following Thurs-day. "Sorry, Skittle's gone," said the woman.
"What, you've had her since June and someone's miraculously taken her this morning?" "Yes." Jane suddenly felt blacklisted.
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/columnists/brian-viner/brian-viner-they-just-wanted-to-pick-up-the-rabbit-ndash-and-avoid-a-fourth-60mile-trip-1015667.html

Friday, 21 November 2008

PETITION TO PRIME MINISTER AS RSPCA KILL PET WESTIE

As dogs owners are on honeymoon the RSPCA put down their pet dog, we support the petition to the PM to stop this attrocity happening again.

The laws relating to dogs and other animals are outdated and urgently need to be reviewed and updated. Animals are being destroyed at RSPCA and SPCA facilities all over the UK, through no fault of their own.

Documentation should be provided and be available to the public to prove that All methods of contacting the rightful owner have been used before an animal is PTS.

The current practice to hold a dog for only 7 days is wrong and totally inadequate. We, the undersigned request that the 7 day rule be changed to 28 days.

This petition has been set up in memory of Sal the 8 year West Highland terrier, from Liverpool that was sadly put to sleep at RSPCA HALEWOOD when her owners were on honeymoon and for all the other dogs who have suffered a similar fate.
Please click on the link below to sign this petition


Wednesday, 19 November 2008

RSPCA SLAMMED YET AGAIN, COMMENTS FROM NEIGHBOURS FOLLOWING RAID

AS THE RSPCA WASTE £100K ON PROSECUTING A HAMPSHIRE RABBIT BREEDING COUPLE, WE LOOK AT SOME OF THE COMMENTS DIRECTED AGAINST THEM AND THEIR INSPECTOR CHRISTINE COLEMAN IN THE LOCAL PRESS !

"The way the RSPCA handled this was appalling, they treated the family and rabbits with no respect, and the woman from the RSPCA leading the raid, was rude, nasty and vindictive"
(Above RSPCA Inspector Coleman)

"They were simply doing it to make themselves look good. The RSPCA woman was heard to say to a police officer that she would get a recomendation from her boss as she had now rescued so many animals"

"The RSPCA officer clearly didn't know a thing. She should be stuck off and made to return all the rabbits, with a full apology and compensation"

"The woman from the RSPCA was very sneaky, underhand and extremely rude to the family, lauding it over the whole process and showing her ignorance of the subject she claimed to know everything about"

"It seems that this woman was simply power mad and determined to snatch beloved animals no matter what the cost to the family or even the animals themselves. If I was her boss, she'd be sacked on the spot"

"Many of us stood back and watched in horror, unable to do anything to help, while the distraut family were treated like dirt by the woman from the RSPCA who was running the raid. WHY did they need 7 police officers for this raid?"

"It was simply that the Gestapo like RSPCA woman couldn't be seen to have got her facts wrong"

"The RSPCA are supposed to educate people about animal welfare, not bully them into giving up their hobby and family pets! Leaving them in cardboard boxes in the back of a van overnight? Surely this is neglect! What a bunch of hypocrites!!! "

"What is going on with the RSPCA these days? They seem to make a lot of mistakes which end up with animals suffering or even dying"

"The RSPCA (and the NSPCC) lost my support a long time ago. Both have lost sight of their objectives and seem to be like the Police is some respects - target based and after the easy wins"
"THAT RSPCA officer should all grow up and get a life and another thing has that officer got animals of her own maybe we should visit her one day see how she looks after them bet she havent crack a smile in years"

"I stopped supporting the RSPCA several years ago after observing that many of them (the women especially) were cranks, not governed by reason and logic but by perverse imaginings and confabulation. All RSPCA inspectors should take an annual personality test and I suspect half of them will fail it due to their mental imbalance"

"BUNDYS I PRAY TO GOD YOU GET UR LITTLE ONES HOME AGAIN!!!! R.S.P.C.A GET ON YOUR HORSE AND F*** YOURSELF"

"I think the RSPCA Officer needs to be retrained in their people skills as well as animal welfare"

http://www.thisishampshire.net/search/1731162.RSPCA_removes_73_rabbits_from_family___s_backyard/

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

RSPCA PROSECUTIONS UNDER FIRE FROM YET ANOTHER MP

The RSPCA, is it in danger of being kind to animals but cruel to humans in its treatment of animal welfare? Inside Out's Glenn Campbell investigates.

In August 2008 I started to hear stories that innocent farmers and pet owners were being wrongly accused and charged with animal cruelty.
(Above) ROGER GALE MP, CRITICAL OF THE RSPCA

But is the RSPCA's reputation being jeopardised ? After three months of research looking at how the charity investigates and then presses ahead with its private prosecutions, I think there is need for concern.
Unlike the Scottish Society For the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which investigates and then puts a case forward to the equivalent of the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration, the RSPCA does both of these tasks in-house.
It investigates and then its own team of lawyers decide who to prosecute and who to let off with a warning.
If you are ever unlucky enough to find yourself on the receiving end of an RSPCA summons accusing you of animal cruelty, then beware, you could lose a lot.
You could find yourself banned from keeping any animal for life.
You could face a six month prison sentence and you could get a £5,000 fine.
All this could happen in a magistrates court under a private prosecution bought against you by the RSPCA.
I know because I've spoken to the people who've found themselves in this position... the beef farmer from Kent, the kennel assistant from Portsmouth and the pensioner from Petworth in Sussex.
Human impact
My investigation looks at how these people found themselves facing a private prosecution by the RSPCA.
Prosecuted for animal cruelty - found not guilty.
They face the very real prospect of financial ruin and having their reputations destroyed.
All of them were actually found not guilty of animal cruelty charges in the end.
But I'll let you decide for yourselves whether I've managed to present a case worthy of inclusion in 'Rough Justice'.
Video - RSPCA >

Monday, 17 November 2008

RSPCA WASTE £100K OF DONATIONS ON 1 PROSECUTION

RSPCA LEFT WITH MASSIVE BILL, AS WE ASK; IS THIS WHAT DONATIONS ARE FOR ?

Most cases are bankrolled by the charity, each year costing millions of pounds.
As reported in the Daily Echo, the RSPCA was successful in banning a Hampshire couple who kept rabbits.


The result was the one they were after – but they were left with a bill for more than £100,000 for the prosecution.


The charity brought the case against Dawn and Pete Bundy after discovering animals kept at the pair’s house in October last year.

The couple were ordered to pay £1,000 towards the cost of the case – but the RSPCA was left to pick up the £101,465.63 balance.
Legal fees set the charity back around £20,000 – the rest was made up of veterinary bills and the cost of housing the animals for a year.
Speaking after the case, RSPCA inspector Christine Coleman explained the cost of the case is something the charity had to accept.
She said: “It is a huge bill to pick up but our aim is to prevent cruelty to animals so it had to be done".
Although animal cruelty is a criminal offence, the RSPCA takes on the role of the prosecutor – and therefore is liable to pick up the fees.
RSPCA spokeswoman Emma Nutbrown said: “The downside is that it costs us a lot of money each year “It is a balancing act we can’t put a price on enforcing it.”


In 2007 the RSPCA investigated 137,245 cases of animal cruelty, 1,860 of which were reported to the charity’s prosecutions department.


That resulted in 1,104 convictions and 861 orders banning people from keeping animals.
“We don’t go into houses looking to prosecute people,” said Mrs Nutbrown.
http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/3851143.Animal_rescue____at_a_price/

Saturday, 15 November 2008

RSPCA GUILTY OF OVERCROWDING CATS ?


cats in china
HIPOCRACY AND DOUBLE STANDARDS AS RSPCA ADMIT TO CRAMMING CATS INTO CONFINED CAGES, AND BREACHING LICENSING CONDITIONS, IF IT WERE ANYONE ELSE THEY WOULD PROSECUTE !

Extract of article by TIM FLETCHERAN

The RSPCA's Burton animal home, in Hillfield Lane, Stretton, is struggling to cope after being inundated with the animals during the summer, according to branch and welfare secretary Margaret Jenkinson.


She said: "It's always pretty bad during the summer due to the kitten season but this year we've had a lot of adult cats as well - many of which have been pregnant."The cats come to us as strays but they are all friendly and handleable, so they must belong to someone."We are licensed to hold 30 cats but at times we've had up to 65 - we've had to put them in cages, in the shower room and every possible place we can think of, but it gets to a point where you run out of options."It's been very worrying for us because we have exhausted every angle of housing these cats.
http://www.burtonmail.co.uk/burtonmail-news/DisplayArticle.asp?ID=365614

Friday, 14 November 2008

WE CHALLENGE CPS TO SCRUTINISE RSPCA PROSECUTIONS

HOW MANY RSPCA PROSECUTIONS ARE UNSAFE ?


In the wake of the BBC Inside out Exposure of RSPCA prosecutions travesties Animal Owners Against Persecution joins SHG and challenges the Crown Prosecution Service to Review every single RSPCA prosecution after several RSPCA prosecutions collapse following evidence of witness coaching, RSPCA expert veterinary evidence described as ‘unsafe’ or prosecutions are overturned at appeal.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00fj230/?src=a_syn31

Recent RSPCA prosecutions have collapsed following admissions by the RSPCA that they:
• Routinely hold case conferences involving lay and expert witnesses,
• Effectively ‘coach’ veterinary experts with the use of an extremely negatively worded pro-forma document

During trials: District Judge Grey at Harwich Magistrates Court expressed “grave concerns” about what had happened, Magistrates at Portsmouth Magistrates Court were highly critical of the RSPCA’s conduct and methods of investigation,

The Chairman of the Magistrates, Mr. Jim Morrison, stated that the RSPCA should change their practices in future, Magistrates made serious criticisms of RSPCA Inspector Janet Edwards’ failure to explain what offences were being investigated.

Magistrates Chairman, Mr. Jim Morrison, stressed that in future the legislation must be explained to suspects and the RSPCA must tell them they have a right to have their own solicitor present during an interview.

The RSPCA must not imply any adverse inference will be drawn if there is an adjournment for this reason,The revelations did not become known until the trial was under way because the RSPCA’s solicitors: Steadfastly refused to disclose relevant documents to which the Defence were entitled.
Ernest Vine of the SHG said “We have seen transcripts of RSPCA conferences from other cases, so this is not an isolated incident. In fact we have one transcript from as long ago as 1999.

This should raise alarm bells with all of the relevant authorities about the safety of every previous RSPCA conviction. Indeed, it is likely that many people have erroneously pleaded guilty on the basis of the RSPCA prosecution veterinary reports alone.

”“The SHG has been campaigning for the CPS to use their powers to quality control RSPCA prosecutions for some time and we wonder how much public money donated for animal welfare, and how much court time is going to continue to be wasted before the RSPCA is brought under the control of the laws that apply to everyone else in this country.”Anne Kasica of the SHG concluded: “We told the government that proper protections for the public were needed in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 during the consultation exercise.

We warned them that such abuses of the human and civil rights of animal owners would be inevitable if they failed to implement such protections.”How many innocent people are going to be convicted, or put through the agonies of a highly public prosecution that fails, because the RSPCA is out of control and the relevant authorities are doing nothing to protect the public ?”

Thursday, 13 November 2008

RSPCA OVERZEALOUS PROSECUTIONS FAIL

BBC EXPOSE THAT THE APPEAL RATE FOR RSPCA PROSECUTIONS IS 26 TIMES GREATER THAN APPEALS FROM CPS PROSECUTIONS, AND AMAZINGLY THE SUCCESS RATE OF APPEALS AGAINST THE RPSCA IS TWICE AS HIGH AS THE CPS RATE.

The RSPCA is Britain's favourite animal charity, but is it pursuing an
overzealous prosecution policy? Inside Out meets the people found not
guilty of animal cruelty.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00fj230/?src=a_syn31


http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00fj254

YET ANOTHER RSPCA PROSECUTION THROWN OUT AT CROWN COURT

CALLS FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW INTO THE RSPCA PROSECUTIONS DEPARTMENT

As the RSPCA lose yet another case at appeal they still refuse to acknowledge that they are too fast to prosecute and dont apply adequate and meaningfull test criteria, despite the fact that they both investigate and prosecute, have no independant safeguard or monitoring and have a conflict of interest due to the revenues raised from the publicity generated from prosecutions media coverage.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7724956.stm

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

RSPCA PROSECUTE RABBIT COUPLE

AWARD WINNING BRITISH RABBIT COUNCIL MEMBERS PROSECUTED BY THE RSPCA BECAUSE THEY SAY THAT THEIR HUTCHES ARE TOO SMALL !



A PAIR of rabbit enthusiasts won top awards for one of their animals the day before being seized by RSPCA officers, a court heard.

Southampton Magistrates’ Court was told a rabbit belonging to breeders Dawn and Peter Bundy won two prizes for “best in show” at an exhibition of rabbits.

The following day RSPCA and environmental health officers went to the couple’s home in Southampton, and took 73 of the pair’s 126 rabbits.
Officers removed the specialist rabbits – worth about £3,000 – from the back yard of the house on the advice of vet Kimberly Evans on October 1 last year.
The bench heard the animals were in such small hutches some could not sit up on their hind legs. Mrs Bundy, a member of the British Rabbit Council, told the court the animals had been kept in small hutches to stop them becoming too long in the body.
She added the rabbits had not been exercised in winter months to keep them in prime condition for showing.
Mr Bundy added: “They didn’t need to stand on their hind legs. They only do that to look out for danger and there was none.”
Mr and Mrs Bundy said they thought the animals had been kept in “perfect” condition.
Mrs Bundy said: “I love my rabbits. I looked after them to the best of my ability.
“The ones with dirty hutches were going to be cleaned that afternoon but I got interrupted.”
Miss Evans previously told the court the seized rabbits were found to have long claws and were slightly overweight but not unhealthy. She added that 16 of the animals had since died or been destroyed humanely.
Mr and Mrs Bundy, who have been breeding show rabbits since 1991, deny contravening two sections of the Animal Welfare Act.

http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/3839137._I_love_my_rabbits__court_told/

RSPCA SHEEP RESCUE HIPOCRACY



ONLY A MATTER OF DAYS AFTER THE RSPCA THREATENED CUMBRIAN FARMER JEFF BELL WITH PROSECUTION IF HE LOST ANY SHEEP DURING FLOOD RESCUE THEY DO THE EXACT OPPOSITE.


FIREFIGHTERS have rescued more than 200 sheep after rising flood waters threatened to sweep the animals to their deaths.
Four Staffordshire Fire and Rescue vehicles and a water rescue unit, as well as the RSPCA, were called to fields opposite the National Arboretum in Croxall Road, Alrewas, at 8.45am.

They were unable to save 15 of the animals, which died of hypothermia. However, more than 200 sheep were removed from the danger by teams of firefighters and RSPCA officers. As the clock chimed for the two-minute silence at the nearby arboretum, a boat rescue crew was battling to rescue the flock. Assistant area commander Rob Barber, who led the operation, said: "This is a huge operation where we have been working hard to ensure we can rescue as many sheep as possible. Unfortunately we could not save 15 of them who have died from hypothermia."We believe there has been heavy rainfall during the night and the sheep have moved nearer and nearer to a hedge and got trapped by the rising water.
This is hard to drain as there is nowhere for it to go so we had to conduct an emergency rescue mission."We asked the RSPCA to come in order to advise us on how to handle the sheep and have some experts on site"

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

RSPCA EXAGGERATE CLAIMS TO AID PROSECUTION

Cruelty-charge woman says RSPCA exaggerated claims

Tuesday, November 11, 2008, 09:30

A pet owner facing 10 cruelty charges has told a court the RSPCA exaggerated the state of her animals and her home.
Patricia Wyer, is accused of unnecessary cruelty towards four dogs and a rabbit.

However, Wyer, 54, told District Judge Tim Daber at Leicester Magistrates' Court she did not believe the dogs had suffered or were in pain and refuted evidence from RSPCA inspectors about the state of her home.

She described how Twinkle, was taken to a vet in October, last year, when she started to lose the use of a hind leg.
Both legs were paralysed. Mrs Wyer was told that if an injection given to the dog had no effect within 48 hours, the only other solutions would be surgery or to have Twinkle put to sleep.

She said: "She showed improvement one day after the injection. If I had not observed any, I would have taken her back to the vet myself, not because anyone had advised me."
She said when the animals were seized by the RSPCA on November 23, she received no communication from the charity.
Mrs Wyer said an description given to the court by RSPCA inspector Sarah Bate of her home as "smelly and sticky underfoot due to dog faeces" was because she was away from home due to a double family tragedy.
"My sister died suddenly the previous week and my brother was in a motor accident which left him paralysed.
"The state of the house was not as bad as it was made out to be – there were faeces in only one room and, with Dolly being in season, we had to mop up everywhere.
"I did not have time to clean up."
She stressed even at the point when the three dogs were taken away to be destroyed, none was showing signs of suffering.
She said: "When they were taken [by the RSPCA] they all walked out to the van wagging their tails – they thought they were going for a walk."
She said she was treating the rabbit, Gizmo, for poorly eyes and had taken advice from a friend who bred rabbits and kept a pet shop.
Her son, Carl Stein, yesterday told the court he regularly visited the house every two or three weeks and saw nothing wrong with any of the dogs.
He said: "I do not think Twinkle was in pain because she was eating and wagging her tail."
The case continues.

RSPCA HAVE ASSETS WORTH OVER £110 MILLION WHILST BENEFACTORS FAMILY LIVE IN POVERTY

RSPCA PROSPER WHILST FAMILY LIVE IN CARAVAN

Legal Services UK (LSUK) ran a news item a few weeks back which covered how a family expected to gain a father’s inheritance, except, he left his estate to a charity, the RSPCA.

Here’s another person who has clashed with that same charity.

LSUK received a comment directly from Victoria Devlin, one of the grandchildren involved.

My grandfather died and left all his estate to the RSPCA leaving my parents living in a caravan. He was coerced into leaving his estate to the RSPCA as his first love was for his grandchildren who are now living in virtual poverty. I hope you are happy with this!
LSUK asked her to give us further information and her viewpoint.

Here’s how she replied:
I made a comment regarding the blog about the RSPCA receiving inheritance money. My family has lost approximately £250,000 because my grandfather changed his will that he made with my grandmother where everything was to be left to my parents. My parents are now living in a caravan and caring for my Grandfather in his later years has contributed to this.
My grandparents were a loving couple and we (I and my brother and sister) spent a lot of time with them in our childhood, we were a totally devoted and very close family.
My Grandmother died of cancer and my Grandfather died later after spending a while living with my parents who looked after him. He had changed his will some time earlier leaving his whole estate to the RSPCA I must say that he was not lucid during the last 3/4 years of his lifetime.
I know my Grandparents and I know how much they loved their family, for this to happen is just inconceivable.
My original post was intended to re-iterate the fact that though animals cannot help themselves against the atrocities that humankind can sometimes inflict on them - how would these people (who are self opinionated and self confessed animal lovers) feel if they thought their actions and beliefs had left a couple of married pensioners living in a state of near poverty?
(Probably they would not care because my parents do not have fur coats and wet noses).
I am an animal lover, I do not wear fur and I have two very well cared for and pampered Border Collies!
LSUK asked what the family were hoping to do next, in their fight to gain some if not all of the assets they believe they should own:
Sorry to say the fight is over - neither I or my parents can afford to fight such a massive corporation as the RSPCA.
I just wanted to put my point across that even though we are all a massive animal loving family, and would never wish harm to any animal, I wish I could make my parents happy and comfortable in their retirement.
Legals UK are pleased to be able to show the granddaughter’s viewpoint on this subject. Readers will see two distinct points of view. You almost certainly had to be there to know the full truth which this family and the RSPCA will probably never agree upon.
Being sufficiently mentally capable to make a will is a vital legal requirement, as is the need for a charity to chase money it believes is rightly left to it.
http://www.legalsuk.com/blog/rspca-prosper/

Monday, 10 November 2008

MOTHER FIGHTS RSPCA FOR HER £2.34 M INHERITANCE


A Woman who left her £2.3m farm to the RSPCA had 'psychiatric problems'

An elderly woman was suffering from psychiatric problems when she made a will leaving her £2.34million estate to the RSPCA, a court heard today.

Joyce Gill suffered from agoraphobia with panic disorder when she and her husband, John, made their wills, leaving their 287-acre farm to each other and then to the animal charity when both died, a medical expert told a High Court hearing in Leeds.

The couple's daughter, Dr Christine Gill, 58, (pictured) from Northallerton, North Yorkshire, launched a legal battle in July this year to challenge the will, which she claimed her father coerced her mother into making.

Dr Christine Gill has challenged her parents' will
Today Rob Howard, a consultant psychiatrist, told the resumed hearing he had compiled a report about Mrs Gill's mental health based on witness statements and came to the conclusion she suffered from agoraphobia with panic disorder, which began in her childhood.
Professor Howard told the court he believed Mrs Gill would have been very anxious when faced with meeting a solicitor and would not have been able to take much in.
In his statement, he said: 'Seeing a solicitor, even with Mr Gill being present, would have been outside the set of situations within which Mrs Gill would have been expected to have been able to prevent the emergence of severe anxiety symptoms.
'My opinion would be that this would be likely to have materially affected her ability to concentrate upon and digest what was being said to her during such a meeting.'
Professor Howard agreed with Claire Royston, a consultant psychiatrist giving evidence for the RSPCA, that it was likely Mrs Gill would have conformed with the wishes of her husband when they made their wills in 1993.
The court heard previously that Mr Gill was stubborn and domineering towards his wife, who went everywhere with her husband and was dependent on him to make decisions for her.
Professor Howard's statement continued: 'Her dependence upon Mr Gill would have made it very difficult for her to express a wish to make a will that was different from one that he wished to make.'
But the two medical experts disagreed about Mrs Gill's mental state.
In a joint statement, Professor Howard and Dr Royston said: 'Dr Royston does not believe that Mrs Gill would have met criteria for any formal psychiatric disorder but should most usefully be viewed as having been an eccentric woman.'
The court has heard that Dr Gill - an only child - was given repeated assurances that she would inherit Potto Carr Farm, in North Yorkshire, when her parents died.
The university lecturer told the court she had devoted most of her spare time over a period of more than 30 years to voluntarily helping out at the farm.
When Mr Gill died in 1999, aged 82, she was left to look after her mother and run the farm, the court has heard.
It was only when her mother died in 2006, also aged 82, that Dr Gill saw the will, which left everything to the RSPCA.



Vena Says


The RSPCA recently advertised (in The Guardian,) for an £110,000-a-year chief executive and an £80,000-a-year head of finance. Both packages come with company car, private health insurance and ´ performance-related´ bonus. No wonder they couldn´t give a stuff where the money comes from, just so long as a large wedge finds its way into their bank accounts. Isn´t there something rather disgusting about a charity worker getting a ´performance-related´ bonus? That´s the reason I try to make it a rule never to give a penny to any of these mega-charidees, stuffed with six-figure salaries and vast public relations departments, who dream up ever more expensive and offensive advertising campaigns to try to shame us into handing over our hard-earned.Instead, I support small charities, run in the main by compassionate volunteers who never seek any payment in return. If you want to give to animal welfare, make your donations out to a local sanctuary or dog´s home.


The hearing is due to last until the end of the week.


Sunday, 9 November 2008

RSPCA THREATEN RESCUE FARMER WITH PROSECUTION

A FARMER WHO RISKED HIS OWN LIFE TO SAVE HIS SHEEP WAS THREATENED WITH PROSECUTION BY THE RSPCA.

FARMER criticised for saving his breeding sheep from flood water in Rickerby Park has defended his actions.
Mr Bell was criticised for his actions by the RSPCA
Jeff Bell, of Hallbankgate, drove a tractor and trailer onto ground flooded by the River Eden to rescue 100 ewes.
He feared they would swim for shore and drown, so ignored advice from fire officers, the RSPCA and police and went to the aid of his livestock.
Mr Bell said: “The Environment Agency said the water was at its maximum. I knew they were not going to get washed away but I thought they might try and swim across the river and drown.
“The RSPCA threatened me with prosecution if I tried to reach them and they were frightened into the river"
“I thought it was safe enough to do it.”
He said the sheep were fully recovered after standing for hours knee-deep in water.
A crowd gathered to watch Sunday’s rescue as some of the sheep swam to shore.
John Baillie, Carlisle group manager with Cumbria Fire and Rescue, said Mr Bell had put himself and others at risk as turbulent waters rushed past just metres away.
He added: “Our first priority is human life and we put that above animals. I put water teams into position to rescue Mr Bell if anything went wrong. We just monitored the situation and in the end no one lost their lives.
“My advice to farmers would be if it is going to rain, get animals to higher ground.
“This could very easily have been a tragedy.”

Saturday, 8 November 2008

RSPCA TRANQUILISE FRIGHTENED PONY INSTEAD OF CATCHING HER HUMANELY

RSPCA EMPLOYEES AND 3 POLICE OFFICERS TURN UP TO DART AND SEIZE PONIES, 1 IS ALLEGEDLY OVERWEIGHT AND 1 NEEDS ITS HOOVES TRIMMING !

The RSPCA have taken a second pony from a Thornton field.

Now the owner of the remaining five animals at Fleetwood Road fears he may be prosecuted by the animal charity.

On Wednesday, Keith Hall, of Cleveleys, stood by as the RSPCA removed Shetland stallion Dale, claiming the animal was obese.

Now they have also removed mare April – amid accusations the animal needed its hooves trimmed.

Mr Hall, said : "All they are saying is it's under investigation, that's all I have got."They won't correspond with me, they have not informed me of anything."They say I have to get an independent vet down there.

None of the local vets will say anything against each other so I'm stuck and I can't get a vet."There has been no negotiation.

They could have come to me to discuss it and try to sort things out."Mr Hall claims that his animals have gained weight because members of the public insist on feeding them.

The field is next to a main road and people regularly stop to feed and stroke them.

He added that when the RSPCA attended the field for the second time on Thursday they were intent on tranquillising the mare with a dart rather than attempting the tricky task of trying to catch her.

He said: "They were intent on darting her."There were seven of us, them and five of us and there were three police."I said we could try to catch her but they wouldn't help. So we set off to try and they only decided to help after the police had a word with them."Mr Hall said they succeeded in catching the mare but he still has no idea where his two animals were.

The RSPCA have declined to comment but it is not believed there are any health concerns over the other animals.

Friday, 7 November 2008

RSPCA PROSECUTE THEIR FORMER KEEPER

In the wake of the recent Pat Seager prosecution case that was severely criticised by MP Frank Field. We ask, is this part of an overall RSPCA strategy to prosecute animal lovers who take in stray and unwanted animals ?

A well respected dog breeder who looked after rescue dogs for the RSPCA has been banned from keeping animals indefinitely.
Kennel owner Joyce Denwood, 43, took in animals for the animal charity and councils, a court heard.

RSPCA inspectors allegedly discovered animals in appalling conditions when they raided her home in March.
Joyce was banned from keeping animals indefinitely and must wait at least a year before applying to have the ban lifted.
Denwood must also do 120 hours’ unpaid work and pay £1,750 RSPCA costs. The charity claimed the case cost them almost £5,800.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

RSPCA SEIZE FAT PONY

RSPCA CONDEMNED FOR FAT PONY SWOOP AS THEY IGNORE INJURED ANIMALS.
THE RSPCA have swooped to confiscate a Shetland pony amid accusations the animal had been over-fed by the public.
This happens as in only several weeks they fail to come out to distressed and injured animals as featured previously on this site
Dale, a 13-year-old stallion, is one of around six Shetland ponies in a field at Fleetwood Road, Thornton, which regularly attract members of the public who stroke and feed them.
But angry owner Keith Hall, of Anchorsholme Lane East, Cleveleys, claimed he was doing all he could to stop the public feeding the animals.
He said: "It's the general public feeding them and making them overweight."I have put signs up saying 'Please do not feed the horses' and I find signs thrown over the road."I'm blaming the general public, but Dale isn't hurting. If he was badly overweight he would be ill.
"They're taking my property away and are not telling me where they are taking him – is that right? He's a horse, not a child."
"Dale is a lovely animal. We have not shown him for a couple of years but previously he has won every show we have entered him for."An RSPCA inspector arrived at the field yesterday morning accompanied by police and a vet was on hand to examine the animals.
Eventually Dale was led away into a horse box belonging to the RSPCA at about 2pm.
The RSPCA declined to comment. ( What, No Film Crew !)
http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/blackpoolnews/Welfare-swoop-on-overfed-animals.4666763.jp

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

RSPCA IGNORE INJURED CAT FOR 3 MONTHS

CAT LOVERS DISGUSTED AS RSPCA DO NOTHING FOR INJURED SMUDGY.
IF HE HAD AN OWNER THEY WOULD BE PROSECUTING AND,
WASTING DONORS MONEY, BUT THEY CANT EVEN BE BOTHERED TO TURN UP !

ANIMAL lovers are hoping the RSPCA will take care of this injured stray cat.
Smudgy the cat, who wanders the area of Brynithel near St Illtyd’s Church, is looked after by a community of animal lovers who are becoming concerned about his welfare.
Three months ago the residents noticed Smudgy had got tangled in some metal wire that was cutting into his flesh.
The residents contacted the RSPCA and are still waiting for something to be done.
“When we noticed his injury we phoned the RSPCA straight away but they have done nothing to help him, it is horrible to see him in pain and we really wanted to do something for him.
I have phoned several times and we think it is disgusting that the RSPCA is ignoring this case, if we could catch Smudgy we would take him to the vets.
As the weeks have gone on the residents fear Smudgy’s injury has got worse and the only option may be to put him down.
“If the RSPCA had come when we first phoned I think looking after Smudgy would have been quite easy,” Miss Combstock added.
“However, the longer it has gone on the worse it has got, he walked near me the other day and I could smell his flesh rotten.

“I would hate to see him put down but I can’t stand the thought of him dying slowly either. If the metal wire gets caught he could starve to death.
“I am really disappointed with the RSPCA because if Smudgy was my cat they would prosecute me for letting him live in this way but it is okay for them to leave him like this when they have known about it for months.”
At the time of going to press, the RSPCA were only available to issue the following comment: “We take this matter very seriously and we are looking into it.”

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/south-wales-news/blaenau-gwent/2008/11/06/brynithel-residents-concern-for-stray-cat-smudgy-91466-22178247/


For more on this story as it develops visit website www.walesonline.co.uk

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

IS THE RSPCA, ANTI PET ? OH YES !

RSPCA POLICIES ANGER AQUATICS OWNERS, HOW LONG BEFORE THEY SEIZE FISH ?


'The more I learn about the RSPCA and its policies, the more I think it is anti-pet', says Jeremy Gay.
I've just returned from the fourth Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA) conference in Buxton, Derbyshire. OATA do many key things to aid the aquatics industry and its members, like working with CEFAS and DEFRA, making sure that imports of fish are allowed through, and basically lots of behind the scenes stuff that makes sure that our hobby continues to be what it is today, and could grow to be in the future.They are a trade organisation, so only retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers can join. Many of their policies concur with what shops, experts and hobbyists feel is fair to fish and the right way to handle and sell them. They address many crucial matters along the supply chain too as the fish travel from reef or river to retailer.You would think then that such an organisation would be able to work closely with the RSPCA, who are essentially an animal welfare organisation, and probably the most famous animal charity in the world. But the answer is, apparently not.
RSPCA policies
The RSPCA have several policies that if OATA adhered to, and we all had to adhere to, the fishkeeping hobby in the UK would be a very different place indeed. In my opinion, and the opinion of many OATA delegates, that is certainly not a place where we want to be.Referring to my news story on the OATA event, I've highlighted several RSPCA policies that John Rolls, RSPCA Director of Animal Welfare Promotion, read out to the OATA delegates, which he believed were relevant to them.
Confinement
The first is policy that raised my eyebrows was policy 3.1.2 that states: "The RSPCA is opposed to any degree of confinement which is likely to cause distress or suffering to the animals concerned."Whether we all admit to it or not, fish tanks cause confinement and can cause distress or suffering to fish so if you want to stick with the RSPCA and their thoughts on animal welfare, you had better ditch that tank.
Purchase from the breeder
The next one to catch my significant attention was policy number 3.2.1 which states that: "The RSPCA advocates that all animals should be acquired by the prospective owner from the place where they were born or from an RSPCA animal centre (or other reputable rescue organisation)."For those who know anything at all about our hobby, they will know that many fish species are wild caught, and even though many more are captive bred, the majority are bred in hot countries far away from the UK. To acquire a Platy we would have to travel to Singapore to go and get it, as that is where the owner will be, and that is where it would have been born. And correct me if I am wrong, but I am not aware of any RSPCA animal centres that re-home fish (although such a place would be a great idea - you could go and buy a rehomed Oscar for instance.)
Opposed to wild caught animals
Policy 9.6.1 states that: "The RSPCA is opposed to the trade in wild caught animals and products derived from them."This is great in respect to seahorses taken in their millions for the Chinese medicine trade, or shark finning, for example, that every fishkeeper is absolutely opposed to. But follow it word for word and you can say 'goodbye' to your plecs, most of your marines and in fact, most of your catfish and hundreds if not thousands of other wild caught, traded species.Furthermore, on the morning before Mr Rolls speech, Project Piaba advised that the trade in wild caught cardinal tetras on the Rio Negro is both sustainable and supports thousands of people, helping to alleviate poverty and protecting natural resources and biodiversity by preventing the local populations from logging, mining and generally wrecking the natural environment around them.
Opposed to captive-bred wild animals
And lastly Policy 9.6.2 reads that: "The RSPCA is opposed to the trade in captive-bred wild animals and products derived from them, where there are grounds for believing that suffering may in practice be caused as a result of breeding, holding, transportation or use of the animal."I read in to this that they should only be opposed to captive bred wild type animals if they believe that trade in them causes suffering, but then that leads to me the first policy that I highlighted, that I read into meaning that tanks, vats etc cause stress and suffering so if everyone adhered to that all that was left in the hobby that wasn't wild caught, but was bred from stocks that once were, there would be no species left. This has further connotations and meanings for the rest of the pet trade too, as every animal that is in captivity had ancestors that were once wild, and can now be classed as confined.
Unworkable for the aquatic trade
I made a statement to John Rolls that in my opinion, the aquatics trade could not adhere to the above four policies, and also put it to him that in my opinion, although I would not hesitate in going to the RSPCA over matters of furry animal welfare like cats dogs, horses etc, I believe that few if any RSPCA representatives know anything at all about the proper welfare of fish. I also asked who they would get involved in matters of fish welfare cases and how they would prosecute a retailer for example on a matter that they seem to know very little about. Mr Rolls stated that he would not be pressed to an answer there and then but that they would probably consult a vet. I put it to him that even the vets know very little about fish in the majority of cases and that if there was a welfare issue that the best organisation to consult would be OATA.
Prosecution
He replied that there had not been a prosecution in 11 years, which I interpreted to mean that given their lack of prosecutions and seeming lack of experience in fish, to ignore anything that the RSPCA has to say about our hobby.Keith Davenport of OATA asked Mr Rolls if the RSPCA would rather that fish were not sold in shops. He did not offer an answer, but in answer to many of the questions posed to him he invited OATA delegates to write to him. No one cares more about the welfare of animals than me. I love natural history and have several pets, but the more I learn about the RSPCA and its policies on the keeping of animals in captivity, the more I feel that it is anti-pet.


http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/pfk/pages/blog.php?blogid=212