Man on cruelty charge after making chicken drink whisky

A MAN who forced a chicken to drink whisky and blew cannabis smoke in its face before suffocating has been spared a jail term.

Gary Maxwell, 21, smashed another hen's head repeatedly against a shed wall until its neck snapped in Consett, County Durham.

He was sentenced to an 18-month community order with supervision by the district judge sitting at Consett Magistrates' Court after she heard he had stopped drinking and taking drugs.

Maxwell, now of Bentinck Terrace, Newcastle, was ordered to pay 8 compensation to the hens' owner.

At a previous hearing, Maxwell admitted two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to the birds.

He was living at a hostel in Consett when he grabbed one hen from an allotment in July.

He took the bird back to his room where he drenched it in whisky, forcing it to drink the spirit.

He also blew cannabis smoke in its face, then put the bird in a holdall where it suffocated.

Early the next morning, he grabbed another bird and killed it by smashing its head against the shed.

The allotment owner, Kenneth Brown, raised the alarm and Maxwell was arrested.

District judge Mary Hayes told him: "It was a serious matter. You have got to watch that whatever happens, you control any impulses towards cruelty towards animals, which is a horrible crime, something completely defenceless."

She praised Maxwell for being drug and alcohol-free, and urged him to continue with his battle.