Gravesend man fined £500 for illegally trapping goldfinches in his garden
PUBLISHED: 11:12 19 December 2017
A supposed bird lover has been fined for keeping 14 wild birds in agonisingly tiny cages after snaring them with a booby-trapped feeder in his garden.
The RSPCA was so shocked when its inspectors saw them in captivity at a house in Gravesend, it felt prosecution was its only course.
Frantisek Fercak, 40, of Albion Terrace, appeared at Chatham Magistrates’ Court on Monday, December 11 and admitted five offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
RSPCA inspector Cliff Harrison, who led an investigation into the bird keeper, said: “When we visited Mr Fercak’s home on September 8 along with Kent Police we found 13 goldfinches being kept in little cages around his home as well as one siskin.
“Sadly, we also found one goldfinch who had died. These wild birds can’t cope in captivity and become very distressed being shut in cages. They don’t understand the concept of being confined and, tragically, they often die.
“As well as the birds, we also found various tools at his home that suggest he was also trapping the birds himself.
“A bird feeder in the garden as well as twigs attached to the seed holders were covered in a glue-like substance. This is a tactic we’ve seen before by bird trappers who are trying to attract the birds to food and then capture them.
“We found an open tube of rodent glue nearby. Not only is it illegal to trap these birds but the RSPCA also has real concerns about these glue products that are used to catch any bird or animal as they can be extremely painful and distressing for animals who get stuck in them, and can cause them to die slow, agonising deaths.”
The inspector said three packed cages were found in the living room. The survivors were later released.
“When we asked Mr Fercak about the birds he said they were his and he’d bought them back from his country of the Czech Republic,” Mr Harrison added.
He was fined a total of £500 and ordered to pay £300 court costs and a £50 victim surcharge.