Animal forensics experts disagreed in court over whether a fox cub suffered when it was poisoned and killed by a man who caught it in his back garden. 

Richard Rosen, 63, accidentally caught the young animal in a cage trap he had set for rats in his garden in Twyford Avenue, Muswell Hill

He put the caged fox in a wheelie bin with a bowl of dichloromethane (DCM) - a now banned substance which was used in paint stripper products until 2010. 

When it was still alive after 30 minutes he moved the cub to a rubble bag where it died. 

Rosen appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (June 27) charged with administering poison to a protected animal and causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal. 

During the two-day trial two forensic veterinary experts disagreed on the extent of suffering the fox would have experienced. 

Dr Sean Taylor, called by prosecutor Hazel Stevens, said that inside the wheelie bin the poison 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.  

Dr Taylor said the cub’s eyes, nose and airways would all be stinging because of the irritant. 

He said he could not say for sure whether the fox died due to the poison or due to a lack of oxygen, but that either way he would have suffered. 

However, Dr David Bailey, who was called by defence counsel Anthony James, said the fox appeared to have died peacefully. 

He said: “There was no external trauma. Animals that are distressed in these situations often defecate themselves or urinate themselves. There was no sign of this.” 

Dr Bailey suggested the fox may have died due to a build-up of carbon dioxide rather than due to a lack of oxygen. 

“You don’t suffer, smell or detect a build-up of CO2,” he said. “The fox would have experienced, in my opinion, a very similar process to how they slaughter pigs.” 

Ham & High: Richard Rosen pictured leaving Highbury Corner Magistrates' CourtRichard Rosen pictured leaving Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court (Image: Newsquest/Bolton)

The court also heard from Rosen’s former tenant, Annabel Eager, who called the RSPCA after he went into her bathroom telling her “I’m looking for something to kill a fox”. 

Ms Eager described the fox as looking cramped and stressed inside the small cage. 

After Ms Eager phoned the RSPCA, one of the charity’s officers Jack Taylor arrived at the property and found the fox was dead. 

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

“I asked why he didn’t release the fox. He told me because 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.” 

Ham & High: Rosen pictured holding the cage with the dead fox cub insideRosen pictured holding the cage with the dead fox cub inside (Image: Newsquest)

Rosen had phoned a vet and the RSPCA, but said that when he was placed on hold he decided to kill it because he was concerned for its welfare. 

He said he wouldn’t have killed it if he had been given advice by the RSPCA but he was unable to get help. 

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

After two days of evidence District Judge Denis Brennan adjourned the case until September when he will give his verdict on whether Rosen is guilty or not guilty.