TWO Milford Haven teens who stole a chicken which suffered being set on fire before being killed with a garden implement have been spared jail.

The teenage boys, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, were sentenced at Haverfordwest magistrates today, April 12.

They had previously pleaded guilty to identical charges of the theft of a chicken, known as Daisy, on November 17 of last year, and causing unnecessary suffering to the bird.

Prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA after magistrates had considered a lengthy report, Jon Tarrant said Daisy would have suffered during her whole ordeal, from the time she was taken by the duo, to being chased and later being set on fire, and her throat being ‘detached’ with garden sheers.

Daisy was “finished off” with a pitchfork, the court heard.

The body of Daisy was never located.

A victim statement from Daisy’s owner Michelle Owen was read out.

“When I discovered Daisy was gone I blamed myself, I thought I hadn’t secured to coop. My youngest two children were devastated when Daisy had gone, they were crying over her.”

Michelle’s statement said she was shocked when the details of Daisy’s death came out, adding: “Daisy was very tame and friendly, it’s not the same going to the coop. I always thought my garden was safe and secure, now I don’t leave my dogs out in case they disappear.

“When I think about what happened that night and the way Daisy suffered, it goes beyond cruelty.

“She was a part of the family, more than just a chicken.”

Defending, Mike Kelleher, said elements of the vets report were debated, adding: “My instructions are the actual length of time the animal was on fire was between three and four seconds and the wind put it out.

“I’m not suggesting that this is not a reprehensive incident, it certainly is; both boys have lived with it for a considerable amount of time, five months.

“The hardest month has been the last month; having pleaded guilty they have accepted matters and suddenly there’s another month to wait going by, when both of them have been told there’s the possibility of custody today.

“This was a cruel and nasty horrible incident. However it started it went horribly, horribly wrong. They are here today for a second time to face the consequences.”

The older of the two teens had also sentenced for a previously admitted unrelated charge of burglary, with others, from an amusement arcade in Great Yarmouth, when he damaged a ticket machine, at a cost of £100, and stole £200 from it, in the early hours of September 18 of last year.

He had been captured on the arcade’s CCTV using a hammer to break open the machine’s cash box.

Mr Keller said the older youth’s role in the Norfolk burglary was a lesser one than his adult joint offenders.

Both the boys’ mothers expressed their remorse on behalf of their sons, describing their behaviour as “totally out of character”.

Both boys were placed on a 12-month referral order and banned from keeping animals for a year.

The elder was ordered to pay £150 compensation, a court charge of £20, and costs of £200; the younger £200 costs and a court charge of £200.