Teenager Sean Mullen who bludgeoned a fox to death in a Paisley housing estate has escaped jail.
Horrified families watched in disgust as a cruel teenager bludgeoned a defenceless fox to death. Mullen picked up the petrified animal and placed it in a carrier bag before repeatedly thumping it over the head with a stick. Paisley Sheriff Court heard that the defenceless fox had suffered terribly as it was cornered by dogs who tore at it with their teeth before 17-year-old Mullen beat it to death and dumped it in a nearby burn.
Depute fiscal Rebecca Hoskins told the court that, at around 2.50pm on November 20 last year, residents in Donaldswood Park, Paisley, saw Mullen in nearby Mossneuk Drive holding a white bag with a fox’s tail protruding.
She said: “They saw the accused repeatedly hit the fox over the head while it was in the bag.
“The bag was still moving at the time.”
Police were informed and eventually tracked down the accused and quizzed him.
Sean Mullen previously had sentence deferred for background reports when Sheriff Mairi MacTaggart continued the case and called for a social enquiry report.
When Mullen returned to Paisley Sheriff court yesterday Sheriff MacTaggart was told that reports confirmed he had already been placed on probation and been ordered to carry out community service. So she warned him to buckle down and comply with the court orders – or find himself “in huge trouble.”
Mullen, 17, was originally charged with deliberately hunting the fox with a dog and striking it with a hoe with intent to inflict unnecessary suffering.
When the case against him was called, he would only admit to striking the animal with a stick, with intent to cause unnecessary suffering, contrary to the Wild Animals (Protection) Act of 1996.
Mullen, formerly of Spiersfield Court, Paisley, and now of the Mount Royal Hotel in Linwood, had been placed on probation for another matter in February and had started to carry out the unpaid hours of work attached to the sentence as a community service order, Sheriff MacTaggart deferred sentence for three months to monitor his progress.
After studying background reports, which revealed that the probation order had got off to a “sticky start”, Sheriff MacTaggart warned: “I will call for a supplementary social enquiry report to be submitted when you return, and if it comes back to be in similar terms you will be in huge trouble.”
A spokesperson for the Scottish SPCA said the number of cruel attacks on animals is a cause for concern.
Issuing a warning to callous thugs, the spokesperson added: “Being convicted of causing unnecessary suffering could lead to a sentence of up to 12 months imprisonment, a life ban on keeping animals or a fine of up to £20,000.”