Man who held cock fights in Yapton is spared jail

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A MAN who was found guilty of keeping cockerels and forcing them to fight has been handed a suspended jail term.

Wayne Dean, 52, of Valentines Lea, Northchapel, formerly of Chichester, had earlier been convicted of keeping up to 27 game birds in Cinders Lane, Yapton.

Appearing at Crawley Magistrates’ Court on yesterday (Thursday, March 26), Dean was handed a total of 26 weeks in prison, suspended for two years.

Dean was also ordered not to keep cockerels for five years.

Prosecuting, Rowan Jenkins said when an RSPCA officer arrived at the site she found a barn with a series of straw bales arranged in a ring and carpet on the floor.

“This was effectively a cock-fighting ring and that evidence was supported by the fact that there was feathers and blood from some of the birds,” he said.

Court news

Court news

A range of paraphernalia was found at the site, including Vaseline, disinfectant, muffs and scissors which were ‘classic items used in cock fighting’.

Mr Jenkins said, of approximately 27 birds found in pens, three were found with significant sections of their wattles missing as well as head injuries.

A vet who gave evidence at the previous hearing said ‘one (of the birds) suffered an arterial bleed which was nearly fatal’.

An RSPCA chief inspector had also given evidence against Dean, saying the birds were a particular type of fighting bread.

“Cock fighting was banned in 1835, and yet in 2015, people are still involved in this abhorrent activity”

RSPCA inspector Andrew Kirby

The court heard, when the birds and fighting ring were discovered, Dean had been out on bail for a charge of cultivating cannabis.

He was later found guilty of the cannabis charge and given a suspended sentence.

Dean had denied the charges, saying he had cut the birds’ wattles because of frostbite, and that the other injuries had been caused by rats and foxes.

Defending, Adrian Butt said: “Mr Dean still maintains his innocence and has indicated he will be appealing.”

RSPCA vets exam the injured bird  PHOTO: RSPCA

RSPCA vets exam the injured bird PHOTO: RSPCA

He said none of Dean’s other convictions related to cock-fighting or animal cruelty.

Dean was handed 26 weeks in prison for causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, suspended for two years.

His other suspended sentences, all to run concurrently, were ten weeks for causing an animal fight to take place, eight weeks for keeping and training an animal for use in a fight, and four weeks for keeping a premise for use for an animal fight.

Dean was also ordered to pay £80 victim surcharge and £250 towards the court costs.

Speaking after yesterday’s sentencing, RSPCA inspector Andrew Kirby he was pleased with the result.

“Cock fighting was banned in 1835, and yet in 2015, people are still involved in this abhorrent activity,” he said. “The birds bred and used for fighting are caused terrible suffering, often sustaining multiple injuries to head and body.

“Many of the birds used are killed.

“The court’s verdict earlier this month and the sentencing today show how serious the courts take such matters.

“The RSPCA will continue to investigate complaints of organised animal fighting and cruelty.

“Luckily the three cockerels are now in RSPCA care and have made a good recovery, but their story could have been very different.”