A Suffolk gamekeeper has walked free from court after shooting a pet dog which he said had been worrying pheasants and sheep.

Gerald Magennis, from the 22,500-acre Elveden Hall estate, told Bury St Edmunds Magistrates? Court that he shot the dog twice with his shotgun after spending an hour trying, and failing, to catch it with a colleague.

The court heard how the dog, an eight-year-old black terrier named Connie, slipped through a hole in a fence and into an area used to rear pheasants. Mr Magennis said that some of the birds were left maimed, though he did not say how many.

However, asked why he shot the dog, he said: ?Because it was worrying the sheep in the sheep fields. I understood I could lawfully shoot a dog if it was harassing cattle or sheep.? He told the court the dog had momentarily gone into one of the sheep fields and scattered the sheep before heading back towards the pheasants.

The rest of this article appears in the 23rd May issue of Shooting Times.

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