Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Campaigners protest about Oxenhope dog-killings sentencing
5:02pm Monday 19th August 2013 in News
An animal rights group today turned up outside a Bradford court to protest at the trial of a farmer who killed two dogs – only to find he had already been sentenced.
The trial of farmer Simon Tidswell was due to start today, but on Friday he entered a last-minute guilty plea and avoided jail at Bradford Magistrates’ Court.
The dogs’ owner, who was planning to sit through the trial, has now spoken of her frustration at not hearing about the change of date until it was too late.
Zoe Kerr lost her two dogs, Frank and Macy, on the moors near Oxenhope in March. Their bodies were found on nearby Sandbeds Farm in Trough Lane.
Tidswell admitted shooting them with a bolt gun after finding three dead lambs, saying it was his right to do so.
Miss Kerr said she had been left devastated by their deaths, and had wanted to have her day in court to bring about “closure”.
She said: “I built myself up for Monday to be D-Day almost, to be able to say that not only have I tried my hardest to get justice for my dogs, but in doing that I didn’t allow them to die in vain.”
Miss Kerr, of Haworth, said her dogs had been much-loved members of the family and she had to have counselling after they were killed.
She said: “It sounds very daft because if you don’t have dogs or animals, it’s very hard to understand what they give you. They were very special.”
But Miss Kerr said if the case had brought about greater understanding between farmers and dog owners, the deaths of her dogs – a German Shepherd cross and a Husky cross – would not have been for nothing.
She said: “It was my fault, I let them escape and I will live with that guilt. But at the same time if there is more tolerance from farmers, and dog owners are more conscious, especially at lambing season, and if there’s respect between the farmer and dog owner, then maybe their deaths haven’t been in vain.”
On Friday, Tidswell admitted the offence of failing to make sure the needs of an animal were met, and was sentenced to 12 weeks in jail, suspended for 12 months. He was ordered to complete 120 hours’ unpaid work in the community.
Animal rights group Caged, which is campaigning for bolt guns to be banned, taged a demonstration outside the court today, and said the sentence had been too lenient.
Volunteer Rita James said: “It’s disgusting. It’s absolutely saying to everyone else out there you can use a bolt gun and you are going to walk free.”
Tidswell declined to comment when contacted by the Telegraph & Argus.