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Dorset policeA man has been banned from owning cockerels and dogs for ten years after he was sentenced at court for animal welfare offences.

Jack William Haskell, aged 23, was sentenced at Poole Magistrates’ Court on Monday 9 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.

On Friday 21 August 2020, following intelligence received, officers from Dorset Police’s Rural Crime Team executed a warrant at an address in the Purbeck area with support from the National Wildlife Crime Unit and the RSPCA.

During the raid a phone was seized that had on it two videos showing Haskell involved in cockfighting, and one showing a fox being attacked by a dog following a pursuit.

Following an investigation by the Rural Crime Team, officers liaised with the Crown Prosecution Service and charges were brought against Haskell.

Officers also compiled evidence to secure a Criminal Behaviour Order, which has been put in place for ten years and bans the defendant from being involved in any way in the owning, keeping or transporting of cockerels or dogs, except for sheepdogs.

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.’

Angharad Thomas, CPS Wessex Senior Crown Prosecutor and Wildlife Lead, 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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