A man has been sentenced for animal welfare offences after poisoning a fox cub with a harmful chemical and then placing the cub in a wheelie bin.
Richard Rosen, aged 65, was sentenced following a trial in London for causing unnecessary suffering to a juvenile fox.
The RSPCA investigated his property after a call to their emergency line in 2021. Inspector Jack Taylor attended the property alongside animal rescue officer (ARO) Nicola Thomas, who found the fox’s body inside a small metal trap. The empty bottle of the chemical – a poisonous substance sometimes found in paint stripper – and the small trap were later seized by police.
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The investigation revealed that the three-month-old fox cub had been caught in the trap by Rosen who claims he had been trying to catch a rat. Previously, a lodger living at the property had seen a mother fox and her cubs playing in the garden so when she saw Rosen had caught a fox and planned to euthanise the animal, she contacted the RSPCA.
Rosen placed a bowl of dichloromethane, which he claimed he thought was chloroform, inside the trap and placed the trap with the fox locked inside into his wheelie bin. He checked on the fox cub after 30 minutes and found the fox was still alive, so he placed the trap inside a sealed bag and back into the wheelie bin. When he checked again 30 minutes later, the fox was dead.
Inspector Jack Taylor said: “This was a cruel way for this poor animal to die and could have been completely avoided had the young fox simply been released from the trap. Rosen was advised not to euthanise the fox by a vet when he made an initial call to them to say he had caught a fox in his trap, but still he decided to poison the fox and then slowly let the cub die over a period of an hour or more.”
The court heard how the vet report stated that the “fox pup would likely have been distressed by being closed in the bin as well as the irritant properties of the chemical to the lining of her throat and airways.”
The court also heard further evidence from a vet which concluded that “in my opinion, the fox was caused to suffer as a consequence of being held within a squirrel trap for a period of at least 60 minutes. Suffering will have been experienced by this animal via mechanisms of fear and distress for a period of at least 30 minutes.”
In mitigation, the court heard that Rosen was of good character and had lost his job due to being involved in these criminal proceedings.
Rosen was sentenced to a conditional discharge of 12 months, ordered to pay costs of £12,000, a further £3,879 in central funds and a £22 victim surcharge to be paid within 12 months.
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