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http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/Jail-term-for-drunk-who.5095146.

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Jail term for drunk who threw budgie against a wall

"I thought I was doing it a favour" THE drunk husband of an RSPCA call handler who killed a budgie by hurling it repeatedly at a wall has been spared immediate jail. Brian McGregor, whose wife Jennifer worked in the charity's cruelty call centre, smashed the bird against the wall of his Rawmarsh home, inflicting horrific injuries.

The defenceless creature suffered massive internal injuries, including trauma to its brain, as well as a fractured eye socket and a chipped beak. But McGregor, aged 53, claimed he had been trying to put the bird - his son's pet - out of its misery because he believed it to be ill. Rotherham Magistrates' Court was told that, while in a severely intoxicated state, McGregor threw the bird at the wall in a manner he believed bird keepers used to relieve creatures' suffering. But when, after the first throw, he saw the budgie's feathers move, he decided to do it again. At an earlier hearing he told the court: "I thought I was doing it a favour. To make sure, I threw it again." The magistrates were told Mrs McGregor - who was sacked from her job at the Ventura centre in the Dearne Valley over a conflict of interests after the case came to light - knew what he intended to do when he went out onto the patio. Karen Tunnacliffe, prosecuting, said: "It is clear she was aware of his intention - she took the view that he did not have the gumption to carry it out. She was upstairs while the offence took place." When RSPCA inspector Helen Griffiths arrived at the house in Coronation Road on July 24 last year, the pair were so drunk they couldn't be interviewed until the next day when he admitted what he had done. Because of the extent of the budgie's injuries a vet who examined the bird could not determine whether it had been suffering from a pre-existing illness. McGregor pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a budgie, and to one charge of failing to meet the needs of the same bird.

Steve Smith, defending, said the alarm was raised by a neighbour not out of concern for the welfare of the animal, but because of animosity between the individual and the McGregors. He added: "It was a convenient and regrettable vehicle for them." He said McGregor was remorseful for his actions, and they were out of character for a man who had contact with animals in his family for many years. McGregor was handed a 12-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months, and ordered to carry out 160 hours' unpaid work. Speaking to The Star afterwards Insp Griffiths said she was pleased with the result. "There are so many other ways that a suffering animal can be dealt with far more humanely way," she said. "If someone thinks their animal is suffering they can contact the RSPCA who will be more than willing to come out and provide help and support, without it getting to the point where we are taking someone to court for their reckless actions which have caused unnecessary cruelty. "We are pleased by the sentence given out by the magistrates as it shows they have taken it extremely seriously." McGregor was also handed a five year ban on keeping animals and ordered to pay the 989.43 costs of the case at 20 a week. The full article contains 568 words and appears in n/a newspaper. * Last Updated: 21 March 2009 8:57 AM * Source: n/a * Location: Sheffield