Harry Potter falconer admits to animal cruelty offencesApril 10th, 2009 - 1:12 pm ICT by ANI
London, April 10 (ANI): A falconer whose owls starred in Harry Potter films has admitted to a string of animal cruelty offences.
Kenneth Lea, 50, who has now had his birds removed from his care, pleaded guilty to 17 charges relating to the animals between March and June last year.
He admitted the offences regarding 42 birds of prey and 11 chickens he kept at Old Park Farm in Wakefield, West Yorks, reports the Independent.
The nine eagle owls were snapped up by Warner Brothers to star in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
The birds appeared in a scene in which Harry goes to the owlry to send a letter to his godfather Sirius Black.
They spent three months with trainers employed by Birds and Animals UK for their acting debut.
Wakefield Magistrates Court was told that the RSPCA were called on June 30 last year as Lea was being evicted from the premises and found a mass of aviaries in disgusting conditions.
Ian Drummond, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said a specialist vet was called who examined the birds and found they were dehydrated or were suffering from debilitating injuries including leg wounds, overgrown beaks and swollen and clubbed feet.
The vet said in a statement: “Never in my entire professional life have I encountered premises this squalid and dirty. The best expression to describe the state of the entire farm would be filthy, squalid abandon”.
Lea, now of Bradford, West Yorkshire, admitted that he struggled to maintain conditions for the birds as he was working night shifts as a driver.
He is now seeking legal advice.
The case has been adjourned until next month. (ANI)
Tags: animal cruelty, aviaries, birds of prey, bradford west yorkshire, clubbed feet, eagle owls, falconer, goblet of fire, harry potter and the goblet of fire, leg wounds, magistrates court, owls, professional life, rspca, sirius black, specialist vet, spent three, warner brothers, west yorks, working night shifts