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Two men convicted for assault on charity investigators
Sentencing has been adjourned until 14 June.
Former police officer suffered a broken neck during the attack

A father and son have pleaded guilty to a serious assault on animal charity workers who were monitoring fox hunting activities in Leicestershire, according to the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS).

The defendants, George Grant, 57, and Thomas Grant, 25, of Briary Cottage, are associated with the Belvoir Hunt. They are reported to have appeared at Leicester Crown Court yesterday (10 April), regarding the alleged attack on Darryl Cunnington and Roger Swaine, who were working as investigators for the league.

Mr Cunnington, a former police officer, was treated for broken neck vertebrae after the incident, which took place on 12 March 2016 close to the village of Stathern. The two convicted men and four unidentified masked men are said to have punched, then pushed the investigators off a 14-foot ledge, before escaping with one of their cameras.

George and Thomas Grant pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm on Mr Cunnington, actual bodily harm on Mr Swaine, theft of a video camera and criminal damage to a memory card. Sentencing is adjourned until 14 June.

Mr Cunnington, who is LACS head of field operations, said: “Hopefully this will send out a message to all hunts that they cannot carry out assaults on people who wish to monitor their activities.

“If they are operating within the law as they claim, then they have nothing to hide. By attacking monitors and stealing camera equipment they have shown they fear their hunting activities being recorded, and the possibility of prosecution.

“l am very lucky that the assault has left me with no long-term serious injuries. After falling fourteen feet, finding myself unable to move, I feared I was paralysed. The offenders showed no remorse and left us injured. The fact they refused to cooperate with the police shows no remorse or concern.”

Mr Swaine added: “I’m delighted by the result today. The Investigations team have a policy of non-interference and we are there purely to record any hunting or other cruelty offences. We were filming the Belvoir Hunt from a public bridleway from a distance of 1km. This violent response by an employee of the Hunt and five others was unprovoked and a complete overreaction.

“My colleague Darryl Cunnington was lucky not to have been killed. This conviction sends a powerful message to hunts up and down the country that you cannot simply attack anyone in the vicinity who happens to have a camera or who may disagree with your activities.”

The East Midland BBC Inside Out programme filmed with the investigators during the 2016 fox hunting season and captured footage of the aftermath of the assault: https://www.facebook.com/bbceastmids/videos/1474890175861401/

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Amur leopard cubs caught on camera

News Story 1
 A pair of Amur leopards have been captured on camera for the first time since their birth. The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland announced the birth in July, but with human presence being kept to a minimum, it was not known how many cubs had been born.

Motion sensitive cameras have now revealed that two cubs emerged from the den - at least one of which may be released into the wild in Russia within the next two or three years. The Amur leopard habitat is not open to the public, to help ensure the cubs retain their wild instincts and behaviour. Image © RZSS 

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New canine and feline dentistry manual announced

A new canine and feline dentistry and oral surgery manual has been published by the BSAVA. Announcing the news on its website, the BSAVA said this latest edition contains new step-by-step operative techniques, together with full-colour illustrations and photographs.

‘This is a timely publication; veterinary dentistry is a field that continues to grow in importance for the general veterinary practitioner,’ the BSAVA said. ‘The manual has been fully revised and updated to include the most relevant, evidence-based techniques.’

The BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Dentistry and Oral Surgery, 4th edition is available to purchase from www.bsava.com/shop