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Dublin: 5 °C Tuesday 18 February, 2020

RSPCA looks into British barrister’s claim that he killed a fox with a baseball bat

Jolyon Maugham QC claimed the fox got stuck and he “wasn’t sure what else to do”.

jolyon-maugham-investigated-by-rspca Source: Andrew Milligan/PA Images

THE RSPCA IS looking into claims made by the prominent British barrister Jolyon Maugham that he killed a fox in his garden with a baseball bat.

Maugham is the founder of the Good Law Project, through which he has played a key role in bringing to court a number of legal challenges to the Brexit process, which he opposes.

He caused controversy when he posted the following message to Twitter on St Stephen’s Day morning: “Already this morning I have killed a fox with a baseball bat. How’s your Boxing Day going?”

In a series of tweets after this, he attempted to clarify the statement: “No one should relish killing animals – and I certainly didn’t. But if you haven’t been up close to a large trapped fox, perhaps reserve judgment.”

He then tweeted: “To those concerned I have broken the law, I called and spoke to the RSPCA and left my contact details.”

An RSPCA spokeswoman said this afternoon: “We’ve been made aware of this and are looking into it.”

The RSPCA said on Twitter that the incident was “distressing”, after Twitter users tagged the animal welfare organisation in Maugham’s post.

Maugham claimed the fox had “got caught up in the protective netting around the chickens” and he “wasn’t sure what else to do”.

Government guidelines state that if a fox is caught in a trap or snare on a person’s property, they must “humanely kill any fox you catch while it’s in the trap or snare”.

Gassing or poisoning foxes is prohibited.

Maugham later apologised on Twitter to anyone who had been “upset” by the tweet.

“Sorry to those upset by my tweet. My chickens were very distressed by the fox – both before and after I’d despatched it – and I wanted it out of the way quickly.

- with reporting from the Press Association

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