Lifetime ban for bird of prey man

6th June 2011'Pictured: KARL LEADLEY Catches a Pigeon after leaving Wakefield Magistrates court relating to CRUELTY TO BIRDS OF PREY.' PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE'Also saved as y1KarlLeadleyPigeonB201
6th June 2011'Pictured: KARL LEADLEY Catches a Pigeon after leaving Wakefield Magistrates court relating to CRUELTY TO BIRDS OF PREY.' PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE'Also saved as y1KarlLeadleyPigeonB201

A FALCONER whose protected birds of prey starved to death in filthy conditions, has been banned from keeping animals for life.

RSPCA officers found a peregrine falcon, a steppe eagle and a male harris hawk all dead at the Altofts home of Karl Leadley.

A court heard he failed to adequately provide food and water and a proper diet for the raptors.

A female harris hawk was also found in a very poor state, but was alive.

Last year Leadley, 35, denied three counts of causing unnecessary suffering and one of not protecting the female harris hawk from pain, injury suffering and disease.

But he failed to appear at his trial last week and was found guilty in his absence.

On Wednesday at Wakefield Magistrates’ Court

he was given a disqualification order, banning him from owning, keeping or having any involvement with any animals.

He was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison, but the term was suspended for 12 months.

He was also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £500 in fines.

A deprivation order was made for any other birds, but Leadley of Pope Street told the court he had given away and rehomed any other animals he had.

Leadley, who was unrepresented, said: “I do intend to appeal against this.”

Ian Drummond, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, told the court the birds were “severely decomposed” and the peregrine falcon was “mummified”.

He said the aviaries were filthy, covered in maggots and faeces and officers found a dead rat.

He said the investigation, including vets bills, had cost the charity more than £8,000.