A Portishead teenager punched a chicken after stealing it from a family home, a court was told. He appeared before magistrates at North Somerset Courthouse after leaving a family devastated by the ‘sorry tale’ of abuse. The youth admitted one charge of theft and two animal cruelty charges relating to not ensuring Crombie the chicken was properly looked after and for hurting the animal when he appeared. Two other teenagers also admitted failing to look after the animal’s welfare and playing their part in the theft.
The trio cannot be named because they are all under-18. They were caught after the owner’s daughter posted a message on the social network site Facebook saying: “If you want a chicken buy it, don’t steal it.” She was then contacted by a friend and told how the Portishead teens had boasted about the crime on the site and made jokes about it. Kevin Withey, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said it was a ‘sorry tale’ of abuse that the trio had carried out after taking the bird from its hutch and placing it in a carrier bag before one of them hit it.
Sue Cameron, defending, said the boys had given into peer pressure. Addressing the magistrates, she said: “Nobody in the slightest has given any indication today that this is funny but courtesy of peer pressure and wanting to be part of the crowd.” The three teenagers, all aged 17, apologised for what had happened on August 11 last year. One said: “It was a stupid idea and I should have walked away. It was devastating for my parents and the people who owned the chicken. I wish I didn’t do it. I wish I could say how sorry I am about it.”
A police report labelled the teenager who punched the chicken as the ringleader – a claim rejected by Ms Cameron. He was given an eight-month referral order and ordered to pay £585, including costs and compensation. The other two were handed the same financial penalty and a six-month order. The chicken was killed by a fourth person but no prosecution was brought against them as they did not steal it and it was carried out in a humane way according to the RSPCA.