Man described as ‘danger to animals’ sent to prison

A man has been jailed after breaching a court order to protect animals from him.

Michael Andrew Hawkswell, 40, of Ralph Garth, Tockwith, was sentenced to a total of six months in prison on 31 January 2017 at Harrogate Magistrates Court, for breaching an animal disqualification order. He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £115.

Hawkswell is subject to the order under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which disqualifies him from owning or keeping animals.

However, on 28 August 2016, Hawkswell’s vehicle was stopped by a North Yorkshire Police roads policing officer on the A65 near . He was found with cardboard boxes containing a total of 14 chickens and one duck.

A few months later, officers on a routine patrol again stopped Hawkswell in a vehicle, near Bagby on the A19 on 11 December 2016. This time they found a sheep, two hens, two pigeons and four dead turkeys.

On both occasions, Hawkswell was arrested and subsequently charged.

Sergeant Kevin Kelly, from North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, said: Hawkswell is a danger to animals. As we became aware of him breaching his animal disqualification order, we raised his profile among officers in North Yorkshire Police and worked closely with the RSPCA, leading to the arrests and subsequent jail sentence.

We take rural, wildlife and animal-related extremely seriously, and are leading the way nationally in how such offences are dealt with. This result is testament to our commitment. While Hawkswell or anyone else continues to breach an animal disqualification order, we will continue to bring them to justice.

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