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Ray Allibone of Swampy's animal rescue service on Sheppey charged with causing unnecessary suffering to wildlife

The former boss of an "animal hospital" has been charged with causing unnecessary suffering to wild birds and a seal.

Ray Allibone, 66, from the Isle of Sheppey was expected to face the allegations at Sevenoaks Magistrates' Court today but failed to appear.

Ray Allibone of Swampy's Wildlife Rescue in Sheerness with a boa constrictor
Ray Allibone of Swampy's Wildlife Rescue in Sheerness with a boa constrictor

The court heard that his wife, Brenda, had sent a letter saying her husband, who ran Swampy's Wildlife Rescue from their home in Diamond Court, Sheerness, was ill and unable to attend.

Allibone faces four counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

He is also charged with failing to take "reasonable steps" to ensure that a seal was kept in a "suitable environment" and "providing an incorrect dosage of antibiotic treatment" contrary to section 9 and 32(2) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

He is further accused of keeping "multiple various animals and birds" in a "dirty and unhygienic state" which was an unsuitable environment and "failing to ensure that all animals had fresh, clean drinking water at all times".

It is alleged that between December 28 and January 11 he failed to get a vet to treat an open wound on a sparrowhawk's wing and two similar cases for a kestrel's broken wing. Between January 9 and 11 it is said he failed to get a vet to inspect a broken wing of a chaffinch.

Sevenoaks Magistrates' Court
Sevenoaks Magistrates' Court

The allegations are made by the RSPCA following a raid on his premises on January 19. Rebecca Jones is prosecuting.

Chairman of the bench Shelley Hein adjourned the hearing until July 8.

A request by Tahir Saeed, defending, to have the cases heard at Maidstone or Medway, which are nearer to Sheppey, was turned down as there were no free slots at those two courts.

Allibone broke the news of the raid to his 7,000 followers on his Facebook page shortly afterwards.

He wrote: "Unfortunately Swampy’s is closing down. This is mainly to do with my health issues but also because of an intervention from the RSPCA. "

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