Man 'tried to shoot pet ferret'

A MAN attempted to shoot his pet ferret before smashing the animal against a wall in a horrifying "moment of madness", a court has heard.Peter Hinton, 58, admitted the crime and claimed he had become angry after getting embroiled in a bitter dispute with a neighbour in Godfreys Close, Horringer.

A MAN attempted to shoot his pet ferret before smashing the animal against a wall in a horrifying "moment of madness", a court has heard.

Peter Hinton, 58, admitted the crime and claimed he had become angry after getting embroiled in a bitter dispute with a neighbour in Godfreys Close, Horringer.

But Hinton escaped a lifetime ban from keeping the animals and was allowed to keep his pet dog after he told magistrates he regretted the "out of character" incident in May.

The defendant was fined £350 and disqualified from keeping ferrets for 12 months – a sentence described by RSPCA inspector Jason Finch after the hearing as "appropriate".


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Mr Finch, who attended the property and witnessed the aftermath of the incident, said: "There has been an ongoing neighbour dispute about the smell of the ferrets and this case shows you cannot let any personal feelings affect the way you treat animals.

"I think the sentence was fair as Mr Hinton does show regret and remorse about the incident."

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And the RSPCA also had no concerns about Hinton being allowed to keep his pet dog.

The court heard Hinton was spotted attacking the ferret at his home address on May 13 of this year during a spate of violence which lasted for about half-an-hour.

Don Sheahan , prosecuting, said: "A neighbour of the defendant's had seen him attempt to shoot the ferret and later saw him hitting the ferret against a wall in the garden on at least two occasions.

"The neighbour became so concerned that he went and saw the state of the ferret himself and he felt the kindest thing to do was to put the ferret out of its misery."

During a police interview, the defendant revealed he had been drinking and had attempted to kill the ferret.

Representing himself, Hinton told the court that his actions were "out of character". He said: "I have had a bit of an ongoing situation with a neighbour – he didn't want to live next to my ferrets.

"I fully regret what I did and that I shouldn't have done it. I overreacted to the situation but I was under pressure from certain circumstances."

Magistrates fined Hinton £350 and ordered the remaining ferrets at his home to be taken into the care of the RSPCA. He was also disqualified from keeping any ferrets for 12 months.

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