71-year-old pensioner fined for trapping squirrels and then drowning them

A squirrel was found “alive, screaming and clearly in pain and suffering” in October (Images: SWNS)

A pensioner who drowned gray squirrels and then shot them was fined.

David Farrow was reported to the RSPCA after neighbors spotted him trapping the rodents.

Inspector Tamsin Drysdale visited his bungalow in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, last June.

The 71-year-old explained that he had been using spring traps, legal under the Pest Act 1954, to catch squirrels that had caused problems in his pigeon loft.

But Farrow also told Mrs Drysdale how he then drowned the animals in a water butt after catching them.

Then an act was drawn up explaining to him that this was illegal.

Mrs Drysdale told Doncaster Magistrates’ Court: “He said he didn’t know about it and that he was now going to send them off with an air rifle.

Then he said he was going to have his nephew kill them with a rifle. I got the impression that he was not taking the situation seriously.

Farrow claimed the squirrels were causing problems in his dovecote (Image: RSPCA/SWNS)

Mrs. Drysdale visited Farrow again two weeks later and was told that he was no longer drowning the creatures he caught.

The pensioner was given instructions on how to legally use the fenn spring traps – making sure they had an artificial tunnel attached.

But when inspectors returned to Farrow’s home in October, they found a badly injured squirrel hanging from a trap.

Mrs Drysdale said: “The squirrel was hanging by its front leg from the trap which was suspended by a rope from the roof of the slope. The squirrel was alive, screaming and clearly in pain and suffering.”

Farrow trapped the squirrels because he saw them as pests causing problems in his dovecote (Image: SWNS)

A veterinary surgeon told the court that one of the animal’s front legs had been crushed by the trap and it would have been in “considerable pain”.

Farrow insisted on checking the traps twice a day and would have sent the squirrel away much sooner if he had known it was there.

He also claims he was unaware of the trap requirements and was trying to control the local squirrel population because they were causing problems in his loft.

In court this week, Farrow pleaded guilty to one count of causing unnecessary suffering to a squirrel under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

He also admitted to using a fan trap in circumstances for which he was not approved.

Farrow was fined £160 and told his actions were incompetent but not of “someone who wants to deliberately mistreat animals”.

He also stressed that as the pensioner now lives in a bed with no access to outdoor space, it is unlikely that he will be able to continue such behaviour.

He was told to pay a £34 victim surcharge and £100 court costs.

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