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Man sentenced following animal cruelty investigation by Constabulary’s rural team

11 Oct 2021
  • Humza Saleem pleaded guilty to a string of animal welfare and cruelty offences.

  • He was handed a suspended prison sentence and banned from keeping animals for life.

  • The investigation was led by the constabulary's Rural Operational Support Team (ROST).

A man has today (Monday 11 October) been banned from keeping animals for life and handed a suspended prison sentence, after pleading guilty to a string of animal cruelty and welfare offences.

Humza Saleem, aged 23, was convicted at St Albans Crown Court following an investigation by Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Rural Operational Support Team (ROST).

His crimes came to light after a pig was found dead in Elstree earlier this year. Examinations revealed it had been deliberately killed by a dog.

Saleem’s wallet was found near the scene and he was arrested and bailed while enquiries continued.

The subsequent police investigation uncovered a multitude of distressing animal cruelty and welfare offences.

Examinations of his mobile phone revealed thousands of disturbing images and videos, depicting animal fights, foxes and pigs being killed by dogs and dogs of a banned breed being medicated and trained on a treadmill.

As a result, a warrant was executed at Saleem’s address in Belgrave Road, Hounslow, on 23 June, with assistance from dangerous dog advisors from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Dog Unit and the Metropolitan Police Service.

A dog, suspected to be of a banned breed, was seized from the address.

Saleem was further arrested and charged with several offences, which he initially pleaded not guilty to and was due to stand trial.

However, he later changed his plea during an appearance at St Albans Crown Court on Friday 3 September and was today given a 23-week sentence, suspended for 24 months, in relation to the following:

  • Two counts of causing an animal fight to take place
  • Two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal (fox)
  • Criminal damage (to a pig)
  • Four counts of keeping/training an animal for use in connection with an animal fight
  • Possessing or having custody of a prohibited pitbull type dog

He was also ordered to pay a total of £1,957 in compensation and costs.

ROST Sergeant Ryan Hemmings, who oversaw the operation, said: “This investigation uncovered some of the most disturbing animal cruelty offences I have ever come across.

“I would like to thank everyone involved with the investigation for working under some very upsetting circumstances to get this dangerous individual exposed and banned from keeping animals.

“Our work continues to trace others who are believed to be involved in this sickening criminal network. If you have any information which may assist, please contact police directly. Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, to give information anonymously.”

Ashley Petchey, Senior Crown Prosecutor, said: “This case demonstrates the lengths to which offenders will cause animal fights to take place, regardless of the risks to themselves, their animals and others in the wider community. The CPS worked closely with the police to build a strong case against Humza Saleem and we would like to thank Hertfordshire police for their diligence and hard work during the investigation.

“We will continue to collaborate with the police to bring offenders of these disturbing crimes to justice.”

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