Chipperfield fined but can keep animals

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The Independent Online
THE CIRCUS trainer Mary Chipperfield was pelted with eggs, rotten fruit and abuse yesterday as she left court after being fined pounds 7,500 plus pounds 12,240 costs for cruelty to Trudy, the baby chimpanzee.

Two hundred protesters chanted "Bloody Mary," "Scum," "Bitch," and "Animal hater". More than 60 police officers escorted Chipperfield and her husband, Roger Cawley, who had been fined pounds 1,000 for cruelty to a sick elephant.

The couple were driven away by officers, some demonstrators trying to lie down in front of the vehicle or hurl themselves on the bonnet.

"The monkey will stay with its new owners," she had said in a statement through her solicitor at Aldershot magistrates' court, Hampshire. "They can keep the monkey."

Animal rights campaigners welcomed the news that Trudy would stay at Monkey World, a primate sanctuary in Dorset, but called the fine paltry.

"This kind of punishment doesn't fit the crime," said Jan Creamer, director of Animal Defenders, the group that used hidden cameras to expose how Chipperfield beat Trudy with a riding crop at her training quarters in Middle Wallop.

"The magistrate had the power to remove their licence and he hasn't done so. It makes a mockery of everything that we have done. We are going to have to go back to our own legal team to see what we can do about it."

Chipperfield, 61, was found guilty on 12 counts of cruelty to 18-month- old Trudy in January. Her 64-year-old husband was convicted of whipping the sick elephant round a circus ring.

Jim Cronin, the sanctuary director, said yesterday: "It wasn't until this moment that the Chipperfields accepted Trudy can stay at Monkey World. It is Trudy's third birthday today and Alison [his wife] and I are absolutely delighted."

Chipperfield's statement expressed remorse, but said she would continue to be involved with the "welfare" of animals.

"I will continue to care for all my animals in a humane way in the future," she said.