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HomeFarming NewsMan (37) sentenced for poaching with Lurcher-cross dogs
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Man (37) sentenced for poaching with Lurcher-cross dogs

A dog owner has been handed a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) after being sentenced for offences, including animal poaching.

Daniel Ratchford (36) of Wellfield Road, appeared before court on Friday, May 21st.

The order will last for five years and means he is excluded from entering vast areas around West Lancashire and Sefton.

This includes all rural areas between Ormskirk and the Sefton coast, between Ormskirk and Crosby, Maghull, Kirkby and between Wigan and Lancashire around the Douglas Valley.

Also, the order prevents him from being part of a group of two or more people who are in control of any dog anywhere in England and Wales.

In addition, the court is prohibiting him from trespassing on any land and from acting in a manner that causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

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In addition to the CBO, he was also handed a 32-week custodial sentence suspended for two years, a 16-week 7pm – 6am tagged curfew, 50-day Rehabilitation Order, lifetime prohibition from keeping dogs and all of his dogs were forfeited to police for rehoming.

Ratchford was previously found guilty of four poaching offences, hunting wild animals with dogs and five breaches of a dog disqualification order.

Investigation after reports of animal poaching

After receiving information, police launched an investigation that the 36-year-old was committing poaching offences on private farmland, allowing his Lurcher-cross dogs to kill wild rabbits and hares.

Along with Merseyside Police’s Wildlife Crime Unit and RSPCA Special Operations Unit, Lancashire’s South Rural Task Force executed a warrant at Ratchford’s property in the early hours of Thursday, March 11th.

They found five dogs inside, in breach of his lifetime disqualification. The court handed this in 2014 after convicting him of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog.

For this offence, he was sentenced to twelve weeks imprisonment.

‘Suffering and screaming in agonising pain’

Speaking after the sentencing, PC Paddy Stewart, Rural, Wildlife & Heritage Crime Officer in Lancashire’s South Rural Task Force, said:

“Ratchford has shown no regard for animals’ rights to live peacefully in the wild. Instead, he allowed his dogs to maim and kill rabbits and hares cruelly.”

“The fact is that offenders like Ratchford know that animals like hares do not die instantly after one bite from a dog. Instead, they are agile are often are unsuccessfully grabbed several times, causing graphic injuries and distress.”

“And that is if they survive; the vast majority die suffering and screaming in agonising pain.”

Concluding, he said this is a “serious criminal offence, with often misunderstood and far-reaching impacts on our rural communities”.

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