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Only two arrested during this years' badger cull

Gloucestershire Police regard their reponse to the badger cull as a success Credit: PA

Gloucestershire Police are regarding their response to this years' badger cull as a success.

Operation Themis focussed on community policing as opposed to public order policing, like last year. Officers found that most people were co-operative and courteous because of this style of policing.

In 2013, the first year of the cull, 38 people were arrested. This year two were arrested and one was served a court summons.

We would like to thank everyone involved and directly affected by the badger cull for their help and understanding during what could be a very difficult time. Those directly involved or indirectly involved in the cull were helpful, co-operative and courteous to our officers. Their positive conduct was reflected by the fact that very few criminal incidents took place during the whole 6 week cull period.

– Assistant Chief Constable Richard Berry

Five cats poisoned in two weeks on one Somerset road

Five cats have been poisoned with antifreeze in a single road in Somerset over the past two weeks, prompting fears it's being done on purpose.

Some owners in Woolavington are now keeping their pets indoors out of fear their animal could be next. Tamsin Wheeler has already lost one cat, Bluebell, and is concerned for the safety of her two other pets.

But Bluebell wasn't the only one. Five cats from this one road in Woolavington in Somerset have died from antifreeze poisoning in the past two weeks - prompting fears that somebody's been doing it deliberately.

Of course there's a chance the cats could have got hold of this antifreeze accidentally and the RSPCA is reminding people to make sure it's stored properly and cleared up if it's spilled but if it was left out on purpose, that's an offence which could lead to a £20,000 fine and up to six months in prison.

For now this family is taking no chances - Max the dog stays shut in the garden and the cats are kept indoors.

Panda doesn't go out so he's safe enough but I'm more worried about Tinkerbell because she likes to come up the shop with me. She doesn't like staying inside She's more of an outdoor cat but I'm just afraid that it's going to happen to her and to other cats around this area.

– Tamsin Wheeler, cat owner

Animal welfare officers say the five cats that were poisoned would have suffered a lot of pain and distress - they're hoping no more have to suffer in the same way.


Five cats poisoned in two weeks on a Somerset road

Five cats have been poisoned with antifreeze in a single road in Somerset over the past two weeks, prompting fears it's being done on purpose. Some owners in Woolavington are now keeping their pets indoors out of fear.

I could hear her crying and I thought something's not right here. She sounds in distress, she sounds in pain and when I got a chair and looked over at number 3's door, there she was lying there lifeless, unable to move. When I got him to open his back gate to let me in, she was paralysed.

– Tamsin Wheeler, cat owner

DEFRA defends cost of badger cull

DEFRA has defended the high cost of last year's badger culls Credit: PA

It's been revealed that last year's badger cull in Somerset and Gloucestershire cost taxpayers £6.3 million - an average of £3,350 for every animal killed.

The Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs has justified the figures.

England has the highest incidence of bovine TB in Europe. The cost of the badger culls need to be seen in the context of the devastating scale of the threat bovine TB poses to our farming industry and food security - £500 million over the last decade. Doing nothing is not an option.

We are pursuing a comprehensive strategy, including tighter cattle movement controls, badger vaccination and culling.

Many of the costs associated with the pilot culls last year were one-offs and have not been repeated this year.

– Defra spokesperson

It adds that the costs were largely due to ensuring the pilot culls were rigorously monitored for safety and humaneness to provide robust data for the Independent Expert Panel to assess.

The cost of last year's badger cull is revealed

Each badger killed during the culls cost more than £3,000 Credit: PA

It's been revealed that last year's badger cull in Somerset and Gloucestershire cost taxpayers an average of £3,350 for every animal killed.

1,879 animals were killed in the pilot culls - 955 badgers in Somerset and 924 in Gloucestershire. The cullings are aimed at stopping the spread of TB in cattle and cost a total of almost £6.3 million according the Government figures.

DEFRA says the costs were high because of the need to monitor the operation for safety and humaneness.


Start of pre-Christmas anti-puppy-trafficking campaign

Today marks the beginning of a six-week rise in the number of puppies being illegally imported into the UK for Christmas.

The Dog Trust warns that importing animals from abroad brings with it an increased risk of disease and behavioural problems.

The owner of a kennels near Bristol says they're being brought in before they're old enough to be vaccinated.

Many puppies are too young to be vaccinated. (File photo) Credit: PA

There are hundreds and hundreds of puppies coming through, not detected. And they're coming through in van loads - they're brought in at very early ages. The ones that we've had - and we've been quite busy with them - we've had little ones coming in that have obviously never been wormed. They're very tiny. They're under-size and they're under age.

– Meg Purnell-Carpenter, Overhill Kennels

Young swans are rescued in Bath

Two PCSOs have come to the rescue of two young swans in Bath. They were called to St Mark's Road in Widcombe by concerned passers-by. One cygnet was dozing in the road while the other had got itself trapped in the cemetery by the former church.

Passers-by had put road cones about one of the swans, which was dozing in the middle of the road Credit: Anthony Grimley

We’ve had to deal with swans a couple of times before so we knew how to handle them. We put blankets over their heads and bodies to pacify them, then we lifted them and carried them to the canal nearby.

– Mike Symonds, PCSO

They were young birds but pretty big and strong. Luckily they stayed quite calm, although one tried to give me a good pecking and the other left Mike needing a change of trousers.

They seemed happy enough to be back on water and soon paddled off. Hopefully they’ll stay off the roads in future.

– Ashley Bintcliffe, PCSO
  1. West Country (W)

'17 ugly ducklings' start new lives on the Somerset Levels

At this time of year young swans rejected by their parents can find themselves with nowhere to go.

Underweight and confused, they struggle to fend for themselves. These 17 were rescued by Secret World Wildlife, fed and looked after until they were strong enough to make it in the wild.

They have now been released onto the Somerset Levels, where there should be enough space for them all to start new lives and find new homes.

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