A man is on trial after he killed a fox cub by putting it in a wheelie bin, poisoning it and then placing it in a rubble bag. 

Richard Rosen, 63, of Twyford AvenueMuswell Hill, appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on Monday (June 26) charged with administering poison to a protected animal and causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal. 

On the morning of May 19, 2021, Rosen found a young fox in a small cage trap which he'd set up in his garden to catch rats. 

Annabel Eager, who was a tenant in his home at the time, said she phoned the RSPCA after he went into her bathroom telling her “I’m looking for something to kill a fox”. 

Ms Eager said her landlord sounded "proud" that he had caught the fox. 

Describing the fox, Ms Eager said: “Her fur was sticking out of the bars a little bit. She was cramped, stressed, she looked like she had been there a long time. 

“She was having a dig into the corners trying to find a way of getting out of but it was locked, she couldn’t get out.” 

Still in the cage, Rosen placed the fox in a wheelie bin with a bowl of dichloromethane (DCM) - a substance which was used in paint stripper products until it was banned in 2010. 

When the fox was still alive after half an hour, Rosen took the fox out of the bin and covered its cage with a thick rubble bag, Ms Eager said. 

When RSPCA officer Jack Taylor arrived at the property the fox was dead. 

“I asked Mr Rosen why he killed the fox. He told me he caught the fox accidentally and proceeded to kill it using chloroform,” Mr Taylor said. 

“I asked why he didn’t release the fox. He told me foxes are vermin and that would be unthinkable.” 

When he was asked to surrender the fox, Mr Taylor said: “Mr Rosen shook the fox out of the cage as if he was trying to get ketchup out of a bottle.” 

In a formal interview Rosen said he called a vet and the RSPCA but as he was placed on hold he became upset about the fox's position and made the decision to kill it. 

He said he acted out of concern for the fox's welfare and he had been unable to get help. He also said he said he wouldn’t have been able remove it from the cage without getting bitten. 

When asked why he described foxes as vermin, he said: “I was upset, foxes had been s***ing on my driveway, I was annoyed.” 

In the interview he added that he hadn't known that foxes were protected animals and wouldn't have killed it if he had known that.

Sean Taylor, a veterinary forensics expert called by prosecutor Hazel Stevens, said that inside the wheelie bin the DCM would evaporate and cause the fox to suffer. 

“It certainly would cause a fox distress when that substance is inhaled, which of course would have been unavoidable for the fox,” he said.  

He said the fox’s eyes, nose and airways would all be stinging because of the irritant and it would possibly be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. 

He couldn't say for certain what caused the fox to die, the poison or the lack of oxygen, but that in either event the dog would have suffered.

However, David Bailey, a veterinary forensics expert who was called by defence counsel Anthony James, claims that the fox would have “drifted into death” rather than suffering for a prolonged period. 

The trial continues.