Case study 4: CPN for wildlife lover feeding foxes and birds

A lady has been feeding wildlife in her area for the past 8 years, particularly foxes and birds. She is very attached to the wildlife and feels that they depend upon her, especially in the winter.

She had a dispute with her neighbour – she said that she was harassed, and threatened, and had her car keyed and tyres slashed. She was issued with a CPN last year by the police for feeding foxes.

This CPN was withdrawn, but this year she was issued with a CPN by the council for the offence of laying down food for animals. She submitted her appeal and paid her fee within time (in spite of spending several days being passed from pillar to post in the council, because no one seemed to know the correct appeals procedure). A few minutes before the deadline, the court sent her an email saying that they needed the CPN to accept the appeal. As soon as she saw the email she replied, but this was just after midnight on the day after the deadline.

When she turned up for the appeal, the Magistrate said that she was there for her prosecution for breach of a CPN. She said that her payment for the appeal had been accepted and that this was why the court was sitting that day; she requested her right to an appeal. But the Magistrate took the side of the council lawyer, and dismissed her arguments. She was threatened with security officers to remove her from the building if she continued to request her appeal.

She said that there were several lies in the witness statements from her neighbours. She says that her neighbour lied about the amount of birdfood she was using – he claimed she was using 20kg a day – and he also claimed she was feeding outside his house, whereas she only fed in parks and open spaces. Her neighbours also falsely claimed that they were no longer able to enjoy their gardens because of the birds. One of the neighbours even made the absurd accusation that she had defecated in the street. When she spoke to other residents on the street they said that they had never seen rats, that there were a normal number of pigeons in the area, and her bird feeding did not have a detrimental effect on the locality. However, due to the aggressive nature of her male neighbours, the other people on the street were afraid to give witness statements or testify in her favour.

The lady feels that she is subject to a witch hunt. She says that her neighbour gets up at 3.30am to follow her and film her when she is feeding wildlife, and has a CCTV camera trained on her house. At night, he jumps out of bushes filming her, and appears to have a walkie talkie system set up with her other male neighbour to monitor her movements.

She was sent another prosecution breach notice for a court date. This prosecution was adjourned because the council prosecution lawyer said that they have a lot more evidence against her that they want to prepare. Her request for an appeal has been dismissed and she has a prosecution pending.