Live updates

Man banned from keeping animals after cruelty to cat

Chilli was found with head injuries Credit: RSPCA

A pet owner has been banned from keeping all animals for five years.
He admitted owning a cat, found abandoned in a park with severe head injuries.

Joshua Penrice’s kitten, Chilli, was found by a member of the public in the Berryfield area of Aylesbury in April this year.

The black male kitten was taken to a vet who discovered a number of trauma injuries. He had swelling to the front of his head and his nose was bleeding.

The RSPCA were contacted, and Penrice admitted kicking and abandoning Chilli.

The 22-year-old, of Chilton Street, was handed the ban on keeping animals, along with a £60 victim surcharge, ordered to pay £500 costs and carry out 140 hours of unpaid work in the community.

The RSPCA said: “Chilli is still very timid and is clearly still showing signs of the cruelty he suffered. However, he is now in a new home with a new owner and is making good progress.”


India's dancing bears swap lives of torture for sanctuary, thanks to Sussex charity

An animal charity from Sussex is celebrating the success of its mission to save India's dancing bears from lives of cruelty and exploitation.

It's five years since International Animal Rescue took the last Sloth Bear off the streets and into a sanctuary.

Now, to mark the anniversary, the charity has released remarkable footage showing the bear's new life.

Malcolm Shaw spoke to Alan Knight who spearheaded the project.

300 fish receive tattoos so they can be monitored

300 fish receive tattoos so they can be monitored Credit: Environment Agency
300 fish receive tattoos so they can be monitored Credit: Environment Agency

Over 300 tattooed fish have been released into a Kent river as part of a partnership initiative between a local angling group and the Environment Agency.

The fish were released into the River Medway at Barming and their distinctive markings will enable the Environment Agency to monitor their progress over the coming years.

Maidstone Victory Angling Society purchased 300 barbel and chub from Riverfield Fish Farm before they were marked with a harmless dye. The project will enable anglers who catch the fish in the future to submit their details, including date, weight, location, and size to the Environment Agency before releasing them back into the river.

The information will be assessed by the Environment Agency to determine how well the fish are growing in the Medway, their migration and dispersal, as well as to determine if the quality of the river is suitable for healthy fish growth and population.

Angling clubs around the country have used similar techniques to monitor fish stocks, and the Environment Agency use the data gathered to inform future work around habitat quality and fish restocking.

This is an excellent example of the Environment Agency working in partnership with an angling group to assess fisheries stocks and the success of stocking the River Medway. This initiative will allow the Environment Agency to determine if there are any underlying issues preventing the fish from healthy growth and dispersal, as we want to improve fish stocks and provide a better environment for wildlife and people.

– Joe Kitanosono, Fisheries Officer at the Environment Agency


Rabbit squashed into guinea pig cage and dumped in alleyway

Rabbit squashed into guinea pig cage Credit: RSPCA

he female grey lop-eared bunny was discovered dumped at 2.30pm by a passer-by last Tuesday (9 December) between Ethelbert Road and Athelstan Road in Margate. The same member of the public had passed the spot at 11am and had not seen the animal, so it is believed the abandonment happened between these two times.

The rabbit, now named Ethel because of where she was found, was in a good state of health despite the conditions she was found in and was taken into RSPCA care. It is hoped she will soon be rehomed.

RSPCA inspector Deborah Pert said: “Poor Ethel had been completely squashed into what I think must be a guinea pig travel cage.

“It was completely barren and she had no food or water, or even bedding. She was far too big for the cage and could barely even turn around.

“It was really lucky that Ethel was found down this hidden alleyway when she was. The weather was really bad that day, the temperatures had really dropped, and the cage she was in was really open to the elements.

“Rabbits are more difficult animals to care for than most people realise, and need a constant supply of hay. She is likely to have suffered from welfare problems had she been left where she was for too much longer.”

Anyone with any information about Ethel should call us on 0300 123 8018.

If you would like to rehome Ethel or one of the other rabbits please contact the Isle of Thanet branch on 01843 826180 or email

Number of tree sparrows on the increase

The Wiltshire Tree Sparrow community is thriving according to MDNIA Credit: MDNIA
The Wiltshire Tree Sparrow community is thriving according to MDNIA Credit: MDNIA

The Wiltshire Tree Sparrow community is thriving according to the Marlborough Downs Nature Improvement Area (MDNIA) project. The MDNIA covers 10,370 hectares (25,625 acres) of chalk downland to the south of Swindon, within the North Wessex Downs.

In 2014 the number of Tree Sparrows in Wiltshire has increased. Across the county in total 170 pairs were nested, raising 1542 nestlings to fledgling's, which is an increase on last year when 890 fledged from 125 pairs in 2013. The MDNIA recorded 76 pairs in its boundary that had fledged, with 623 nestlings to fledgling's (510 fledged from 62 pairs in 2013. See table below).

The species is reaping the benefits of the MDNIA Tree Sparrow project. Working with the MDNIA farmer's, 1000 nest boxes have been sited across 300 square miles, creating sparrow villages in the area surrounding Marlborough. This has resulted in the majority of Tree Sparrows nesting within five miles of the MDNIA, growing their colonies beyond the nature improvement area boundary.

Since 1999 circa 14000 Tree Sparrows have been ringed in the Marlborough Downs area.

Last winter's feeding has definitely helped the birds survive. A great breeding season last spring combined with us putting out large quantities of food again this winter means we are very excited about the prospects for Tree Sparrows in the Marlborough area next year.

– Matt Prior, who manages the MDNIA Tree Sparrow project

Alfie was dumped and left to fend for himself with a broken leg

The crossbreed puppy, now named Alfie Credit: Dogs Trust

Every dog deserves their own ‘furry-tail’ ending and none more so than Jingle, who found himself cold, homeless and hungry after being abandoned just before Christmas last year.

The crossbreed puppy, now named Alfie, was just four-months-old when he was dumped and left to fend for himself in freezing conditions, despite having a badly broken leg. Miraculously, he was found in time and immediately brought to Dogs Trust’s rehoming centre in Newbury where he began to recover after vets operated to pin his broken leg.

After spending the festive season at Dogs Trust, Alfie was soon on the mend and in January this year, it was puppy love at first sight when he caught the eye of new owners Liz Bowman and Sandi Laugharne. Alfie has since gone from strength to strength and he is now looking forward to his first Christmas in a loving home.

It was so shocking to see that someone could abandon a dog in this way, especially so close to Christmas. Jingle was in a bad way when he was brought in to us last year - it’s a miracle that he was found in time. Thankfully, we were able to give him the care and treatment he needed and I’m so thrilled that he has since gone on to find the loving home he deserves. It’s important to consider the responsibility and lifelong commitment involved before bringing a dog into your home - after all, a dog is for life, not just for Christmas.

– Jenny Hopkins, Rehoming Centre Assistant Manager at Dogs Trust Newbury

Seagull proof sacks help litter problems in Hastings

Rubbish collection from seagull proof sacks in Hastings Old Town Credit: Hastings Borough Council

The council has supplied many residents in Hastings’ Old Town with seagull proof sacks to store their rubbish.

Cllr Peter Chowney, Hastings Borough Council’s lead member for Regeneration and Waste explained:

“Seagulls are a pest on waste collection day as they tear open sacks of rubbish to gorge themselves on the pickings inside. The new peck and rip proof sacks are helping to alleviate the problems of rubbish on the pavements and highway, making the streets cleaner and reducing the risks of other pests.”

If you would like to take advantage of this service contact the council’s waste and recycling team on 01424 451077 or email

Load more updates