A BIRD breeder who caught wild goldfinches and illegally kept them in a small dirty cage in his shed has been banned from keeping the feathered creatures.
Robert Evans (35) kept ten unringed goldfinches at his home on Thompson Close, Rawmarsh.
He was prosecuted by the RSPCA and was banned at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday from owning or keeping any species of bird for three years.
Evans was also prosecuted for keeping a cage trap (pictured, below) capable of taking a wild bird.
He admitted having control of live wild birds and possession of the cage trap, which are both offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and failing to meet their needs for a suitable environment, an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
RSPCA inspector and wildlife officer Sandra Dransfield said had visited Evans’ home with the local police wildlife crime officer, a special operations unit inspector and a bird expert on a warrant on October 16 last year, after reports of bird trapping in local hedgerows.
“Evans had a legally ringed male bullfinch, two canaries and ten 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 ten 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.
Insp 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 was given a two-month curfew and was ordered to pay £100 costs.
He is also banned from participating in keeping any species of bird and from controlling or influencing the way in which any animal can be kept for three years.