South Yorkshire man kept wild birds in 'small, dirty cage'
A South Yorkshire man has appeared at court after wild birds were found in a ‘small, dirty cage’ at his home.
Robert Evans, from Rotherham, admitted illegally having 10 unringed goldfinches, failing to ensure their needs were met and having a wild bird trap.
The 35-year-old, of Thompson Close, Rawmarsh, was sentenced at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday, March 4.
He was disqualified from keeping birds for three years, given a community order with a two-month curfew between 9pm and 7am and ordered to pay £100 costs and a £192 victim surcharge.
The RSPCA, which brought the case, revealed that one of its inspectors visited Evans’ home with the local police wildlife crime officer last October following reports of bird trapping in local hedgerows.
RSPCA inspector and wildlife officer Sandra Dransfield said: “Evans had a legally ringed male bullfinch, two canaries and 10 unringed goldfinches in a small, dirty cage in a shed. The ten goldfinches, a cage trap - which wasn’t set - and other bird trapping paraphernalia were seized.
“The expert’s opinion was that the 10 goldfinches were wild-caught. Some of the birds had injuries from flying at the bars trying to get out, so after a short rehabilitation the birds were successfully released back to the wild, where they belong.”
In mitigation, the court heard that Evans had pleaded guilty and was a long-time breeder of birds.
Ms Dransfield added: “It is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to trap or attempt to trap wild birds and this type of trapping causes immense distress and suffering to them.
“The illegal trapping and trading in wild birds has long been a problem. Taking a wild bird from its natural habitat and shutting it in a tiny cage is cruel.
“These birds can suffer immeasurably, not only physically but also mentally, and they often die shortly after being captured.”
Evans admitted one offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and one offence under the Animal Welfare Act relating to 10 unringed goldfinches in his possession, and a further offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of possessing a wild bird trap.