Ross-on-Wye man receives conditional discharge after drinking four fish in Neck Nomination dare

Paul Wooding, who drank four fish during a neknomination challenge, has been handed an 18-month conditional discharge.

Paul Wooding, who drank four fish during a neknomination challenge, has been handed an 18-month conditional discharge.

First published in News
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Ledbury Reporter: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A ROSS-ON-WYE father facing jail time for drinking four small fish as part of 'Neck Nomination' dare, today slipped the net, receiving an 18-month conditional discharge.

Paul Wooding, from Brampton Avenue, had swallowed the four minnows in a booze-filled pint - but was caught out by the RSPCA when he posted the video on Facebook.

Despite his fish swallowing antics, the court heard that Wooding will be able to keep his pet goldfish as Magistrates declined to disqualify him from owning animals.

Under the Animal Welfare Act, 'torturing or killing' the fish - each several centimetres in length - carries the same weight as killing four horses.

This had left the 33-year-old binman staring down the barrel of a six-month jail term.

However father-of-three Wooding, who pleaded guilty to both counts, was told by head magistrate Jane Hinton that he would only receive a conditional discharge and a bill for £515 in costs.

In the video Wooding could be seen mixing shots of vodka, rum, Malibu and gin in a pint glass before adding the fish, which he called "a special little treat".

The fish, which he had taken earlier that afternoon from a friend's fish tank, are then described as swimming around the glass by an onlooker.

The video - filmed at Ross' Golf Inn - shows Wooding laughing and slurring his words as he describes his drink.

He 'nominates' friends to follow suit with their own videos, before looking into the camera and saying "it ain't big and it ain't clever".

Three days later the video was brought to the attention of the RSCPA by a concerned citizen.

Wooding acknowledged he had swallowed the fish, but said that he did not know he had committed a crime, according to Chris Morgan, defending, at Hereford Magistrates Court.

The case is one of four that the RSPCA are currently pursuing relating to the 'Neck Nomination' craze that swept across Facebook earlier this year.

And Mr Morgan said that the charity was seeking to make an example of Wooding, who they could have simply dealt with by a caution.

He said: "He was stupid, he was irresponsible, but he has learned the error of his ways.

"The risk to his own goldfish and to any future hamsters he may own in the future is zero to nothing."

The viral 'Neck Nomination' craze involved people videoing themselves “necking” or downing alcoholic drinks before challenging their friends to do the same within 24 hours.

The practise came under heavy criticism this year after the “drinks” being consumed escalating to dangerous levels, with several people hospitalised after adding kitchen products to their pints.

In his interview with the RSPCA, Wooding said: "Everyone was doing stupid stuff.

"Obviously I had had a few drinks at the time.

"If I'd know there was a law against it I wouldn't have done it."

Rafe Turner, prosecuting, told Hereford Magistrates Court, that Wooding had been drinking for around four hours.

He told the court: "There was an element of encouragement, but there is also an element of preparation."

Expert evidence from vet David Martin added that, by introducing the minnows to a booze-filled pint, and then to his stomach, Wooding "failed to meet the needs of the fish to provide a suitable environment".

Mr Morgan questioned whether the extra expense incurred consulting experts and bringing the case to court, was worthy of the offence committied.

He said: "I don't accept that this is on par with cockfighting, torturing or prolonged neglect."

Wooding was sentenced to an 18-month conditional discharge for two offences under the Animal Welfare Act; causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and failing to ensure the welfare of an animal of which we was responsible for.

Comments (22)

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12:47pm Tue 19 Aug 14

DaveyJonesLocker says...

"Slipped the net"
Is that HT trying to make a joke of animal cruelty?
"Slipped the net" Is that HT trying to make a joke of animal cruelty? DaveyJonesLocker
  • Score: 11

2:34pm Tue 19 Aug 14

mizza21 says...

Wearing a dress shirt to a court appearance, rather than a demure sensible shirt would have been enough for me to issue the maximum sentence.
Of course the rest of his appearance screams scratter loud and clear so I daresay the Magistrate was in a lenient mood or had no sense of scum.

It is the pre-meditation and the fact that he seemed non-plussed about the seriousness that should have caused the mag to administer a custodial sentence. I would have. Even if he'd been contrite.
Wearing a dress shirt to a court appearance, rather than a demure sensible shirt would have been enough for me to issue the maximum sentence. Of course the rest of his appearance screams scratter loud and clear so I daresay the Magistrate was in a lenient mood or had no sense of scum. It is the pre-meditation and the fact that he seemed non-plussed about the seriousness that should have caused the mag to administer a custodial sentence. I would have. Even if he'd been contrite. mizza21
  • Score: 3

2:53pm Tue 19 Aug 14

RogerLFC says...

Was it really necessary to drag a qualified vet to Court to point out that minnows would not find a small glass, containing 40% alcohol, to be a suitable environment ... ? Surely this would be obvious and uncontested ...
Was it really necessary to drag a qualified vet to Court to point out that minnows would not find a small glass, containing 40% alcohol, to be a suitable environment ... ? Surely this would be obvious and uncontested ... RogerLFC
  • Score: 13

4:22pm Tue 19 Aug 14

swampy says...

This person has been let off far too lightly, and should have had a ban on keeping animals for at least five years. I pity the example he is setting his off spring. How come the Golf Inn are not in trouble for letting this behaviour happen on their premises.
Well done RSPCA for taking this case up, its a shame the magistrates were not so serious about stopping animal abuse.
This person has been let off far too lightly, and should have had a ban on keeping animals for at least five years. I pity the example he is setting his off spring. How come the Golf Inn are not in trouble for letting this behaviour happen on their premises. Well done RSPCA for taking this case up, its a shame the magistrates were not so serious about stopping animal abuse. swampy
  • Score: 3

4:49pm Tue 19 Aug 14

Ubique1 says...

Swampy - agree 100% with your comments - I also agree with Rogerlfc - re the RSPCA Inspector - why ? Think that I know why ................! Some of e £515 costs must have landed in his l !
Swampy - agree 100% with your comments - I also agree with Rogerlfc - re the RSPCA Inspector - why ? Think that I know why ................! Some of e £515 costs must have landed in his l ! Ubique1
  • Score: 3

5:05pm Tue 19 Aug 14

Hereford Common Sense says...

I do not condone cruelty in any form.

Personally, however, I can not look at a Minow in the same way I consider a cat, dog, horse, hamster or any other popular pet. The closest I can get, is with a Whale or Dolphin. I like them a lot. But I do not believe that Flipper, or Willy, are technically fish, so they do not count. I guess I'm struggling to care about the poor old minow.

I did try to connect with my "inner fish" just prior to writing this comment. But I admit, I failed miserably. I was, sadly, only left with the sense that I had wasted a whole 2 minutes of my life. I then considered for a further 30 seconds, if I was missing something for not having to be able to connect with with our underwater friends with scales. I decided "nope".

Any comments from the "Minows have feelings too" brigades will definitely be wasted on me. If you are someone who may fit that category, please do save your oxygen/finger activity, as I will not be converted. I am happy to accept that that there may be fish-lovers, who want the same rights for minows/fish as any other creature. So let us just leave it there and accept we will have a mutual distant respect for each other.

I agree that this Ross man committed a brainless and stupid act. The fact that these neck nominations did result in hospitalisation, even fatalities, also emphasises what a stupid and dangerous craze this was. Yes, this person deserves a "complete dipstick award". What complete and utter moronic behaviour.

But the idea of this case even being granted a court hearing, and so promptly getting to that stage, has difficulty sitting comfortably in my brain. Especially when you consider other atrocious and sadistic acts that exist to both humans and animals that do not get to court, or are still pending.

I can't help thinking that an on the spot fine would have been more appropriate (If possible) and avoided the expense of going to court and any associated costs. And if not possible, then perhaps a review of our whole system is needed. After all, it is my taxes, yours and donations to the RSPCA that has funded this. Now that I do care about.
I do not condone cruelty in any form. Personally, however, I can not look at a Minow in the same way I consider a cat, dog, horse, hamster or any other popular pet. The closest I can get, is with a Whale or Dolphin. I like them a lot. But I do not believe that Flipper, or Willy, are technically fish, so they do not count. I guess I'm struggling to care about the poor old minow. I did try to connect with my "inner fish" just prior to writing this comment. But I admit, I failed miserably. I was, sadly, only left with the sense that I had wasted a whole 2 minutes of my life. I then considered for a further 30 seconds, if I was missing something for not having to be able to connect with with our underwater friends with scales. I decided "nope". Any comments from the "Minows have feelings too" brigades will definitely be wasted on me. If you are someone who may fit that category, please do save your oxygen/finger activity, as I will not be converted. I am happy to accept that that there may be fish-lovers, who want the same rights for minows/fish as any other creature. So let us just leave it there and accept we will have a mutual distant respect for each other. I agree that this Ross man committed a brainless and stupid act. The fact that these neck nominations did result in hospitalisation, even fatalities, also emphasises what a stupid and dangerous craze this was. Yes, this person deserves a "complete dipstick award". What complete and utter moronic behaviour. But the idea of this case even being granted a court hearing, and so promptly getting to that stage, has difficulty sitting comfortably in my brain. Especially when you consider other atrocious and sadistic acts that exist to both humans and animals that do not get to court, or are still pending. I can't help thinking that an on the spot fine would have been more appropriate (If possible) and avoided the expense of going to court and any associated costs. And if not possible, then perhaps a review of our whole system is needed. After all, it is my taxes, yours and donations to the RSPCA that has funded this. Now that I do care about. Hereford Common Sense
  • Score: 20

5:37pm Tue 19 Aug 14

rosslover says...

mizza21 wrote:
Wearing a dress shirt to a court appearance, rather than a demure sensible shirt would have been enough for me to issue the maximum sentence.
Of course the rest of his appearance screams scratter loud and clear so I daresay the Magistrate was in a lenient mood or had no sense of scum.

It is the pre-meditation and the fact that he seemed non-plussed about the seriousness that should have caused the mag to administer a custodial sentence. I would have. Even if he'd been contrite.
Wearing a dress shirt to a court appearance, rather than a demure sensible shirt would have been enough for me to issue the maximum sentence. Of course the rest of his appearance screams scratter loud and clear so I daresay the Magistrate was in a lenient mood or had no sense of SCUM..

I THINK YOU NEED TO GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE.
[quote][p][bold]mizza21[/bold] wrote: Wearing a dress shirt to a court appearance, rather than a demure sensible shirt would have been enough for me to issue the maximum sentence. Of course the rest of his appearance screams scratter loud and clear so I daresay the Magistrate was in a lenient mood or had no sense of scum. It is the pre-meditation and the fact that he seemed non-plussed about the seriousness that should have caused the mag to administer a custodial sentence. I would have. Even if he'd been contrite.[/p][/quote]Wearing a dress shirt to a court appearance, rather than a demure sensible shirt would have been enough for me to issue the maximum sentence. Of course the rest of his appearance screams scratter loud and clear so I daresay the Magistrate was in a lenient mood or had no sense of SCUM.. I THINK YOU NEED TO GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE. rosslover
  • Score: -6

5:39pm Tue 19 Aug 14

rosslover says...

DaveyJonesLocker wrote:
"Slipped the net"
Is that HT trying to make a joke of animal cruelty?
I THINK THATS ABOSOLUTE CODS WHALLOP THAT IT WENT TO COURT
[quote][p][bold]DaveyJonesLocker[/bold] wrote: "Slipped the net" Is that HT trying to make a joke of animal cruelty?[/p][/quote]I THINK THATS ABOSOLUTE CODS WHALLOP THAT IT WENT TO COURT rosslover
  • Score: -5

5:43pm Tue 19 Aug 14

rosslover says...

yeah i think personally he should have got the same sentance as killing 4 blue whales.
that will teach him a lesson.
next time i see someone stepping on a spider i will make sure it goes to court
yeah i think personally he should have got the same sentance as killing 4 blue whales. that will teach him a lesson. next time i see someone stepping on a spider i will make sure it goes to court rosslover
  • Score: 6

5:57pm Tue 19 Aug 14

RogerLFC says...

mizza21 wrote:
Wearing a dress shirt to a court appearance, rather than a demure sensible shirt would have been enough for me to issue the maximum sentence.
Of course the rest of his appearance screams scratter loud and clear so I daresay the Magistrate was in a lenient mood or had no sense of scum.

It is the pre-meditation and the fact that he seemed non-plussed about the seriousness that should have caused the mag to administer a custodial sentence. I would have. Even if he'd been contrite.
If you look at the fish guzzling video (it's on the Worcester News website) you'll see he's wearing the same shirt in that as for his Court case. So he doesn't seem to own many shirts ...
[quote][p][bold]mizza21[/bold] wrote: Wearing a dress shirt to a court appearance, rather than a demure sensible shirt would have been enough for me to issue the maximum sentence. Of course the rest of his appearance screams scratter loud and clear so I daresay the Magistrate was in a lenient mood or had no sense of scum. It is the pre-meditation and the fact that he seemed non-plussed about the seriousness that should have caused the mag to administer a custodial sentence. I would have. Even if he'd been contrite.[/p][/quote]If you look at the fish guzzling video (it's on the Worcester News website) you'll see he's wearing the same shirt in that as for his Court case. So he doesn't seem to own many shirts ... RogerLFC
  • Score: 4

7:53pm Tue 19 Aug 14

CJSSS says...

Absolutely gobsmacked that this case ever saw the light of day in a courtroom with the massive cutbacks faced by the legal system in the curent climate. Penalty tickets are issued everyday for very serious offences with genuine victims. How much this case cost to bring before the court will be much much higher than the £500 which will probably never be paid anyway. A prime example of the PC gone mad world we live in. Surely it must be illegal to fish in the river and kill your catch. I thought people who cook lobster plunge the live animal into a pot of boiling water - much nicer!!!!!
Absolutely gobsmacked that this case ever saw the light of day in a courtroom with the massive cutbacks faced by the legal system in the curent climate. Penalty tickets are issued everyday for very serious offences with genuine victims. How much this case cost to bring before the court will be much much higher than the £500 which will probably never be paid anyway. A prime example of the PC gone mad world we live in. Surely it must be illegal to fish in the river and kill your catch. I thought people who cook lobster plunge the live animal into a pot of boiling water - much nicer!!!!! CJSSS
  • Score: 9

11:36pm Tue 19 Aug 14

RogerLFC says...

HT pounce on the Courtroom for some ridiculous case (I don't condone animal cruelty by the way) when they are conspicuously absent from the Court for most stuff ... I am fed up of their news being copy and paste from the WMP website or some elaborate story generated from a fire brigade tweet about some pile of rubbish on fire ... It's just crazy ...
HT pounce on the Courtroom for some ridiculous case (I don't condone animal cruelty by the way) when they are conspicuously absent from the Court for most stuff ... I am fed up of their news being copy and paste from the WMP website or some elaborate story generated from a fire brigade tweet about some pile of rubbish on fire ... It's just crazy ... RogerLFC
  • Score: 0

3:48am Wed 20 Aug 14

ayelvington says...

Should have cut the heads off first, called 'em sushi, and been done with it.

Ridiculous.
Should have cut the heads off first, called 'em sushi, and been done with it. Ridiculous. ayelvington
  • Score: -5

11:58am Wed 20 Aug 14

DaveyJonesLocker says...

rosslover wrote:
DaveyJonesLocker wrote:
"Slipped the net"
Is that HT trying to make a joke of animal cruelty?
I THINK THATS ABOSOLUTE CODS WHALLOP THAT IT WENT TO COURT
Enlighten me...
What does ABOSOLUTE mean?

Hmmm i suspect that you either are the sad man that killed the fish or you were the person filming it? Either way learn to Spell.
[quote][p][bold]rosslover[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]DaveyJonesLocker[/bold] wrote: "Slipped the net" Is that HT trying to make a joke of animal cruelty?[/p][/quote]I THINK THATS ABOSOLUTE CODS WHALLOP THAT IT WENT TO COURT[/p][/quote]Enlighten me... What does ABOSOLUTE mean? Hmmm i suspect that you either are the sad man that killed the fish or you were the person filming it? Either way learn to Spell. DaveyJonesLocker
  • Score: 5

3:12pm Wed 20 Aug 14

rosslover says...

RogerLFC wrote:
HT pounce on the Courtroom for some ridiculous case (I don't condone animal cruelty by the way) when they are conspicuously absent from the Court for most stuff ... I am fed up of their news being copy and paste from the WMP website or some elaborate story generated from a fire brigade tweet about some pile of rubbish on fire ... It's just crazy ...
you have to have gossip about nothing, you aren't a true 'erefordian otherwise imo
[quote][p][bold]RogerLFC[/bold] wrote: HT pounce on the Courtroom for some ridiculous case (I don't condone animal cruelty by the way) when they are conspicuously absent from the Court for most stuff ... I am fed up of their news being copy and paste from the WMP website or some elaborate story generated from a fire brigade tweet about some pile of rubbish on fire ... It's just crazy ...[/p][/quote]you have to have gossip about nothing, you aren't a true 'erefordian otherwise imo rosslover
  • Score: -1

4:58pm Wed 20 Aug 14

bosher89 says...

I think this is crazy an a total waste of court time there r people walkin away from there with lesser charge than this man has got 4 demestic abuse an other things that should be more important than someone eatin mino!!!! There was one of these nek nom videos wer a boy bit the head of a chick an said man up its a grown up egg did he go 2 court NO this is a massive waste of time an money total joke go catch drug dealer murders or some real crime
I think this is crazy an a total waste of court time there r people walkin away from there with lesser charge than this man has got 4 demestic abuse an other things that should be more important than someone eatin mino!!!! There was one of these nek nom videos wer a boy bit the head of a chick an said man up its a grown up egg did he go 2 court NO this is a massive waste of time an money total joke go catch drug dealer murders or some real crime bosher89
  • Score: 2

4:59pm Wed 20 Aug 14

bosher89 says...

What the hell is the comment about his shirt what has the way he is dressed got 2 do with anything
What the hell is the comment about his shirt what has the way he is dressed got 2 do with anything bosher89
  • Score: 0

5:04pm Wed 20 Aug 14

oldergit says...

So if I go fishing and hook a fish am I going to be prosecuted for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal? Surely the RSPCA have better things to spend their time on.
So if I go fishing and hook a fish am I going to be prosecuted for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal? Surely the RSPCA have better things to spend their time on. oldergit
  • Score: 4

8:30pm Wed 20 Aug 14

rosslover says...

DaveyJonesLocker wrote:
rosslover wrote:
DaveyJonesLocker wrote:
"Slipped the net"
Is that HT trying to make a joke of animal cruelty?
I THINK THATS ABOSOLUTE CODS WHALLOP THAT IT WENT TO COURT
Enlighten me...
What does ABOSOLUTE mean?

Hmmm i suspect that you either are the sad man that killed the fish or you were the person filming it? Either way learn to Spell.
jumping to conclusions like a typical 'erefordian who thinks he's the grammer police and the next columbo @ the same time.....now that really is sad.
[quote][p][bold]DaveyJonesLocker[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]rosslover[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]DaveyJonesLocker[/bold] wrote: "Slipped the net" Is that HT trying to make a joke of animal cruelty?[/p][/quote]I THINK THATS ABOSOLUTE CODS WHALLOP THAT IT WENT TO COURT[/p][/quote]Enlighten me... What does ABOSOLUTE mean? Hmmm i suspect that you either are the sad man that killed the fish or you were the person filming it? Either way learn to Spell.[/p][/quote]jumping to conclusions like a typical 'erefordian who thinks he's the grammer police and the next columbo @ the same time.....now that really is sad. rosslover
  • Score: -5

10:23pm Wed 20 Aug 14

Brownface60 says...

Wanton cruelty to living creatures is appalling, whatever they are, and Mr Wooding seems a poor excuse for a human being.
But I struggle to see the difference between swallowing live minnows and swallowing live oysters - which is the generally accepted way you should eat them. Should not the RSPCA look into that as well, and prosecute all who do it?
Wanton cruelty to living creatures is appalling, whatever they are, and Mr Wooding seems a poor excuse for a human being. But I struggle to see the difference between swallowing live minnows and swallowing live oysters - which is the generally accepted way you should eat them. Should not the RSPCA look into that as well, and prosecute all who do it? Brownface60
  • Score: 5

9:55am Thu 21 Aug 14

mizza21 says...

Most people would eat fish and they are generally treated less well than the four quaffed by this bloke.
The RSPCA are making a statement about someone being so disrespectful rather than eating fish for food.
If I went on the youtube and shot a couple of rabbits and chucked em in a ditch and laughed about it I would expect some moral outrage for it.

It's the level of disrespect for the lives, however small, being taken that is the cause of the outrage.
It belies what is clearly a morally childish character and one who's lack of respect should not go un-punished.

Of course there are animal abuses in food production, but they are not on youtube. If they were they would be prosecuted in the same way.

My comments about Mr Woodings appearance were only flippant. But he does appear to be culturally, intellectually and morally undeveloped based on his actions and his appearance does nothing to dispel that assumption.
Most people would eat fish and they are generally treated less well than the four quaffed by this bloke. The RSPCA are making a statement about someone being so disrespectful rather than eating fish for food. If I went on the youtube and shot a couple of rabbits and chucked em in a ditch and laughed about it I would expect some moral outrage for it. It's the level of disrespect for the lives, however small, being taken that is the cause of the outrage. It belies what is clearly a morally childish character and one who's lack of respect should not go un-punished. Of course there are animal abuses in food production, but they are not on youtube. If they were they would be prosecuted in the same way. My comments about Mr Woodings appearance were only flippant. But he does appear to be culturally, intellectually and morally undeveloped based on his actions and his appearance does nothing to dispel that assumption. mizza21
  • Score: 3

11:07am Sat 23 Aug 14

DaveyJonesLocker says...

rosslover wrote:
DaveyJonesLocker wrote:
rosslover wrote:
DaveyJonesLocker wrote:
"Slipped the net"
Is that HT trying to make a joke of animal cruelty?
I THINK THATS ABOSOLUTE CODS WHALLOP THAT IT WENT TO COURT
Enlighten me...
What does ABOSOLUTE mean?

Hmmm i suspect that you either are the sad man that killed the fish or you were the person filming it? Either way learn to Spell.
jumping to conclusions like a typical 'erefordian who thinks he's the grammer police and the next columbo @ the same time.....now that really is sad.
Once again, rosslover i need to correct you... its grammar.(not grammer)
Dear dear, i would stop now before you make yourself look even more silly.
[quote][p][bold]rosslover[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]DaveyJonesLocker[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]rosslover[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]DaveyJonesLocker[/bold] wrote: "Slipped the net" Is that HT trying to make a joke of animal cruelty?[/p][/quote]I THINK THATS ABOSOLUTE CODS WHALLOP THAT IT WENT TO COURT[/p][/quote]Enlighten me... What does ABOSOLUTE mean? Hmmm i suspect that you either are the sad man that killed the fish or you were the person filming it? Either way learn to Spell.[/p][/quote]jumping to conclusions like a typical 'erefordian who thinks he's the grammer police and the next columbo @ the same time.....now that really is sad.[/p][/quote]Once again, rosslover i need to correct you... its grammar.(not grammer) Dear dear, i would stop now before you make yourself look even more silly. DaveyJonesLocker
  • Score: 1

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