Wareham man sentenced to animal ban after filming cockfighting

A 23 year old man from Wareham has been banned from owning cockerels and dogs for ten years after Dorset Police found distressing videos on his phone of cockfighting and a fox being attacked by a dog.

Jack William Haskell, aged 23, was sentenced at Poole Magistrates’ Court on Monday 9th May 2022 after admitting two offences of being present at an animal fight and an offence of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal under the Animal Welfare Act. Haskell was fined £562, as well as being ordered to pay costs of £720 and a victim surcharge of £56.

Court evidence

The video clips of cockfighting were shown in court

Police raid on a Purbeck property

Dorset Police’s Rural Crime Team, with support from the National Wildlife Crime Unit and the RSPCA, raided an address in Purbeck on Friday 21st August 2020, following a tip off.

During the raid, a phone was seized that had on it three videos, two showing Haskell involved in cockfighting, and a third, showing a fox being bitten by a dog.

While the ban prevents Haskell from owning, keeping or transporting cockerels or dogs, it still allows him to keep sheepdogs as part of his work as a farmer.

Dog attacks a fox
Court evidence

There was also a video of a dog attacking a fox

“This case saw us take robust action”

Police constable Sebastian Haggett of the Rural Crime Team, said:

“We take all offences involving animal welfare extremely seriously, and this case saw us take robust action with our partners in response to concerning information we received in relation to suspected cockfighting and the attack on a fox.

“We were able to secure evidence to bring Haskell to court for his offending and also to obtain a Criminal Behaviour Order, which we hope will serve to protect animals from the defendant’s behaviour in the future.

“If Haskell breaches the terms of the order, he faces being brought back before the courts.

“We will always act on intelligence we receive and would urge anyone with concerns relating to animal welfare offences to please report them to us.”

Court evidence

Cockfighting has been illegal in the UK for nearly 200 years

“Deeply disturbing and cruel”

Angharad Thomas from the Crown Prosecution Service said:

“Cockfighting has been banned for almost two centuries and absolutely has no place in today’s society. The suffering and distress such activity causes animals is deeply disturbing and cruel.

“Jack Haskell filmed cockerels fighting each other even though he knew that they shouldn’t be placed together because of their aggressive nature towards one another.

“In addition, Haskell filmed a dog attacking a fox which was exceptionally cruel and undoubtedly distressing for both animals.

“The CPS is working closely with the police to build strong cases against those who seek to exploit and disregard the welfare of animals for their own so-called entertainment.”

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