Hampshire men given suspended sentences for ‘horrific’ animal cruelty

A female lurcher was found collapsed in a pile of hay in a barn
A female lurcher was found collapsed in a pile of hay in a barn

TWO men have been slapped with suspended sentences after a dying dog was found in a barn with a huge tumour, and videos were discovered of dogs being set on a wild rabbit. 

Scott Bicknell, 41 and from Alresford and George Cole, 72 and from Upham, previously pleaded guilty to one animal welfare offence each and were given 12-week prison terms, suspended for two years, at Southampton Magistrates’ Court.

Videos were found on a phone of dogs being set on a wild rabbit

Videos were found on a phone of dogs being set on a wild rabbit

A mobile phone was seized as part of a separate police operation which led to evidence of animal welfare concerns being uncovered and prompted warrants at two addresses in Hampshire.

At the Upham property, officers found a female lurcher collapsed in a pile of hay in a barn.

RSPCA chief inspector Will Mitchell, from the special operations unit, said: ‘The vet checked her immediately and she cried out in pain when he touched her.

‘Her breathing was laboured and she was shaking. She was emaciated and weak.

‘When officers helped her onto her feet they made a shocking discovery - a huge, ulcerated tumour under her abdomen.

‘The vet said it had been there for months, possibly years.’

The dog was sadly put to sleep to end her suffering.

The RSPCA joined Hampshire Constabulary’s Countrywatch Team to execute the warrants in April.

Mr Mitchell added: ‘On the phone - which belonged to another man who isn’t part of our investigations - we found videos and Whatsapp messages.

‘One of these videos showed Mr Bicknell in his garden setting his dogs on a wild rabbit and encouraging them to kill it. It’s really horrific footage to watch.’

Bicknell, of Kiln Lane, was ordered to complete 80 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £300 in costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

He was disqualified from keeping all animals for two years.

Cole, of Alma Lane, was ordered to pay £300 costs and a £140 victim surcharge. He was disqualified from keeping all animals for five years.