RSPCA: Jailing of Grimsby trio for torturing wild animals should serve as warning to others
RSPCA inspectors hope the jailing of three Grimsby men who "tortured" wild animals – including foxes and a badger – by forcing them to fight dogs to the death will serve as a warning to others.
Yesterday, Liam Ardito, 33, of Newbury Avenue, Great Coates, Gary Cannon, 27, of Alfred Bannister Mews, Laceby, and Mark Smith, 53 of Broadway, Grimsby, were each jailed for four months.
Ardito and Smith were banned from keeping dogs and birds for at least 10 years and Cannon from keeping dogs for at least 10 years.
However, District Judge Daniel Curtis, sitting at Grimsby Magistrates' Court, said he believed the severity of the trio's offences outstripped the sentencing powers available to him.
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The three were brought before the courts following a prolonged investigation by the RSPCA, working alongside the League Against Cruel Sports and Humberside Police, after photographs of the trio's activities were uncovered.
Ardito, who was seen smirking and smiling throughout the hearing – and giving the thumbs-up to his supporters as he was led away – admitted 12 charges, mostly relating to causing unnecessary suffering to animals through fighting.
Cannon, who like Ardito is already in custody as a result of an unrelated offence, admitted a further five similar charges.
Smith had "thousands" of images of dogs attacking animals on his computer, and memory sticks found in his home, the court heard.
He admitted 13 charges, many of which related to aiding and abetting others and the possession of dead wild birds.
RSPCA inspector Cliff Harris, who led the investigation, said in his 23 years with the charity, the case was the worst his team "has ever seen" – adding, "and that's not a cliche".
Speaking after the hearing, he said: "The most important outcome is that none of these men will be able to keep dogs – and in the case of Ardito and Smith – birds, for the foreseeable future, which will deter them from being involved in any more of this significant cruelty.
"I do hope that all of these men accept what they have done and never offend in the future and I hope that this sends a message to the many other men out there who are committing similar acts of cruelty to defenceless animals."
He also praised the public for their help in alerting the RSPCA to cases such as this, and urged anyone with concerns about animal welfare to continue to do so, by calling 0300 1234 999.
THE horror to which the three men from North East Lincolnshire put animals through is simply dreadful.
It is barbaric and simply does not reflect the civilised times in which we are now supposed to live.
But is it representative of a certain section of our society, which has the bloodthirsty mentality that goes with this type of behaviour?
You will often see, although not as much of late, shaven-haired tattoo-clad hard men strutting down the street with their aggressive looking dogs proudly displayed as a badge of honour .
Now we know why some such folk have these animals – it would seem to satisfy their desire to kill.
And this is pleasure?
THE RSCPA has a difficult job to do and it is not made any easier by the nature of some people’s desires and the lengths to which they will go to, to satisfy those desires.
It is unfortunate that the actions of these people give these dogs such a bad name!
Let’s hope these men abide by the sentences that have been delivered to them.
Follow the editor on Twitter @michellelalor