Sting of the Day: Man admits animal cruelty after downing four fish

A 33-year-old man who drank four fish in a cocktail of alcohol has walked free from court after admitting animal cruelty.

Paul Wooding, from Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, appeared at Hereford magistrates court for sentencing over two offences linked to the online drinking craze Neknominate. Wooding was given an 18-month conditional discharge for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and for failing to protect the fish, after being prosecuted by the RSPCA. He admitted both charges in court earlier this month.


In a video recorded at a pub in February, Wooding announces “this is my Neknominate” before downing a pint of wine, gin, vodka, rum and lemonade mixed together – along with the fish. The footage came to the RSPCA’s attention after it was seen on Wooding’s Facebook page. Rafe Turner, prosecuting, said it was a vet’s opinion that “the fish have been caused pain, based on the video evidence”.

The Neknominate phenomenon is understood to have emerged in Australia, and Wooding’s case is believed to be the fifth to come to court in the UK in connection with the craze. After being questioned about the video, Wooding later posted on Facebook: “Some people’s lives must be that sad and boring, to get any excitement they have to report me to the RSPCA for my Neknominate.”

Wooding told investigators he had been nominated to drink by friends and “something was going around to get some fish, to make it different”. Turner said he told the RSPCA the fish were “little minnows” and he had got them out of his friend’s fishtank an hour before carrying out the act.

Wooding said he had drunk about eight pints and six double gins before downing the cocktail at the Golf Inn in Ross-on-Wye. Chris Morgan, in mitigation, questioned why the prosecution had ever made it to court when “other similar matters” had entailed cautions being issued.

He added: “Yes, those fish may have experienced pain and then died, but they are small fish, nothing more.” He said the offences should be looked at objectively, and that comparing the deaths of the fish to, for example, four horses would be “contrary to common sense”.

Morgan said his client was “stupid, irresponsible and ashamed” but had already suffered having been exposed to “public ridicule” and the press spotlight. He said Wooding had had no idea that drinking the fish was against the law. “If it can ever be said of a crime, that a defendant has learned the error of his ways, it can be said here,” said Morgan.

Wooding was also ordered to pay £500 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Article taken from:

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