Saturday, 3 December 2011


 John Warwick-Huckvale, Devastated

“I’VE SPENT 15 years of my life helping animals and people with animals. I just don’t know what I am going to do now.”
These were the words of John Warwick-Huckvale, the devastated owner of the Swindon and District Animal Haven, who will be forced to close his business after being found guilty of four animal welfare offences.
John, who suffers with severe MS, was given a 10-year ban on owning farm animals and a four-year ban on owning domestic animals by district judge Simon Cooper on Friday.
He will not be able to appeal against the sentences for seven years and two years respectively.
The sanctuary was visited by the RSPCA on five separate occasions between November 29 and December 21 last year, with a police accompaniment on the final occasion.

RSPCA prosecutor Gibney
Prosecuting, Malcolm Gibney said that as a result of the neglect, a Tamworth boar had to be put down last year.
But John, who pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and failure to comply with duty in respect of farmed animals, said he was shocked at the severity of the sentences and said his future is currently unclear.
“It was totally unexpected,” he said.
“I expected, possibly, to get banned from having pigs because I did agree and I did plead guilty that I kept him alive too long, but it was only because I got too attached to him.
“We called him Matty, he had dodgy hips, but we gave him medication and he would be fine. But you can’t say I didn’t care for my pigs, they were well looked after.
“One of them called Betty came to me when she was just eight inches long and we had her for 12-and-a-half years.
“I’ve spent 15 years of my life helping animals, and people with animals, and to be done for animal cruelty is just madness. I would never intentionally hurt an animal, ever.”
The 40 to 50 chickens, seven geese, three turkeys, eight guinea fowl, six quail, four sheep, two goats, six dogs, 30 rabbits and 29 cats currently on the farm will now be rehomed, or seized and removed.
John was also sentenced to 60 hours of community service to be completed within a year, and ordered to pay costs of £2,000.
“I have had so many calls from people already who just can’t believe what has happened – everyone is very supportive,” he said.
“All the volunteers are so shocked. Nobody expected it because they all know what goes on here. We always let the public in to see what we are doing, we don’t hide anything.
“My family are so distraught. If the council had somewhere for all these animals I wouldn’t be so concerned but they don’t.
“I am worried because the RSPCA have just 49 spaces for cats. I rehome seventy cats in a month, I just don’t know where they are all going to go.”


Queenie said...

It appears that animals are not allowed to die natural deaths any more, and that the rspca is becoming more vindictive and spiteful.
It has GOT to be illegal for one charity to raid another and yet nobody stops the rspca.
We, as pet owners, live in very dangerous times.

Rebo said...

It was in fact Wiltshire County Council that took this prosecution not the RSPCA following a long investigation and multiple offences where the animals had to be destroyed due to Mr Warwick-Huckvale's neglect. The local paper's coverage was completely inaccurate and strangely biased.

You may have your own opinions on the RSPCA but I don't like to see inaccurate information being used to form such opinions. Not this website's fault of course

Anonymous said...

Gibney and his chambers depend on a very large amount of work for the RSPCA and Trading Standards, and those clients pay him, and his chambers, well.

David Tyne said...

The RSPCA and Trading Standards work very closely with each other - this is particularly so in Wiltshire, where they use the same barristers. I'd hate be a farmer there - apparently the RSPCA and their colleagues in Trading Standards make hundreds of visits to farms outside their Freedom Food protection scheme.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the position here in Northamptonshire, where the RSPCA and their animal rights lawyers are completely embedded in the Council. There was a terrible injustice involving the Drurys a few years ago. Doubtless you'll have read about what the Magistrates did to them, but not their eventual acquittal. He was in a wheelchair by then, but the RSPCA wouldn't let their colleagues in Trading Standards drop it.

Anonymous said...

Slightly more accurate article

Anonymous said...

The RSPCA are complete crap. John was the only person who would help when I found a stray rabbit. I phoned the RSPCA countless times to be asked what did I expect them to do about it.

Anonymous said...

Of course Wiltshire Aniaml Health and Welfare Inspectors make farm visits from outside the Freedom Food scheme, Freedom Food is an RSPCA scheme where a farmers pays the RSPCA to become approved under their scheme, it has NOTHING to do with Local Authority Animal Health and Welfare Inspectors!! Queenie, if an animal is suffering pain, it is in the animal's best welfare interests to be put to sleep. The RSPCA ARE NOT embroiled in any council, historically there are numerous occasions where councils have refused to take cases that the RSPCA want to prosecute. No one takes a prosecution lightly, they cost far too much money to be done lightly. Of course the barristers used are the same, specialist animal law barristers are very few and farr between. Mr W-H has been offered help for over 10 years and despite this has continued to run his centre in an unacceptable manner, he is a very nice man who has become blind to the problems at the sanctury because he has taken on too much, sadly a prosecution was the only option after so many attempts to work with him had failed. Very sad.

Queenie said...

I am assuming that the last comment, Anonymus, either works for the RSPCA, the Council or Trading Standards. He or she doesn't seem to grasp that the RSPCA do not pay for prosecutions themselves, they come from the public purse via donations which were intended for the animals. I still maintain that the RSPCA, as a CHARITY, has NO right to raid other animal rescues, none at all.