Falconer who allowed his birds to starve to death banned from keeping animals for life.

West Yorkshire RSPCA officers found a peregrine falcon, a steppe eagle and a male harris hawk all dead at the Altofts home of falconer Karl Leadley.

A court heard Leadley failed to adequately provide food and water and a proper diet for the raptors in his care.

A female harris hawk was also found in a very poor state, but was alive.

Last year Leadley, 35, denied three counts of causing unnecessary suffering and one of not protecting the female harris hawk from pain, injury suffering and disease.

But he failed to appear at his trial last week and was found guilty in his absence by Wakefield Magistrates.

Leadley was given a disqualification order, banning him from owning, keeping or having any involvement with any animals. He was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison, but the term was suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £500 in fines.

A deprivation order was made for any other birds, but Leadley of Pope Street, Altofts, West Yorkshire  told the court he had given away and rehomed any other animals he had.

Leadley, who was unrepresented, said: “I do intend to appeal against this.”

Ian Drummond, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, told the court the birds were “severely decomposed” and the peregrine falcon was “mummified”. He said the aviaries were filthy, covered in maggots and faeces and officers found a dead rat. He said the investigation, including vets bills, had cost the charity more than £8,000.

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