Man told to pay $2,290 for drowning squirrel

Raymond Elliot admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, a grey squirrel, by drowning it to death, Daily Mail reported on its website.

Native to the US and Canada, the grey squirrel has become increasingly common in Britain, displacing the resident red squirrel.

The RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has claimed the "test case" ruling could pave the way for hundreds of other cases across the country as the killing of squirrels continues to be a surpirsingly common problem nationally.

A court heard how grey squirrels had persistently targeted Elliot's bird feeders in his garden in Burton on Trent, driving him to buy a cage before trapping a squirrel.  

He then drowned the animal by immersing it in water, killing it "almost instantaneously".
Magistrates gave the 58-year-old a six-month conditional discharge and ordered him to pay 1,547 pounds to cover investigation and legal costs incurred by the animal welfare charity.

Prosecutor John Sutcliffe said: “This is a very unusual case indeed. It is the first ever case brought under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 in respect of a non-domestic animal. I have prosecuted for over 30 years and with this case I feel considerable sympathy for Elliot.”
“Catching and drowning squirrels is becoming a prevalent act and the RSPCA wants it known that this is illegal,” he added.

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