The RSPCA has awarded an Honour to a Sergeant from North Yorkshire police who has gone above and beyond to tackle wildlife crime.
Sergeant Kevin Kelly has been praised by the charity for his enthusiasm and commitment to animals and particularly his work investigating horrific crimes such as badger baiting and cock fighting.
He collected his award from RSPCA Vice President and actor Peter Egan at the RSPCA Honours event hosted by John Bishop held at 195 Piccadilly, the famous home of BAFTA in London last night (Thursday June 27).
Sgt Kelly said: “It’s an absolute honour and a privilege to receive this award from the RSPCA. It’s hard to put into words how much this means to me – it’s going to take some time to sink in.
“I’ve always said if a crime has been committed against an animal, I’ll do my best for them – just as I would do for a member of the public who has been a victim of crime. Our animals can’t thank us, but I know they need people like me and my Wildlife Crime Officers to keep them safe.
“Wildlife crime doesn’t just impact the animals who are targeted, it can also have a big effect on the local community, and offenders are often linked to other offences and often organised crime. It’s so important that it is treated seriously, and given the appropriate police resources.
“This award isn’t just about my work – it reflects the huge efforts put in by officers at North Yorkshire Police and in police forces across the country to tackle wildlife crime. There is no ‘quick fix’ for wildlife crime, but we are certainly heading in the right direction, and I always encourage officers to leave their own imprint on wildlife crime. I’m convinced that collectively we can leave animal welfare and wildlife crime in a better state than we inherited it.
“More importantly, the award highlights the need for all of us to work together. Police alone can’t tackle this issue – we need to continue to work really closely with organisations like the RSPCA, because without them many of our successes would not be possible. Our local communities are key to driving partnerships and to protect our natural environment and bring wildlife criminals to justice.”
RSPCA National Wildlife Officer Coordinator Geoff Edmond nominated Sgt Kelly, said: "Sgt Kelly has led investigations into cock-fighting, badger digging and baiting, and the illegal pursuit of hares, helping to give many animals a better life. He has been pivotal in developing training and new investigation techniques to increase the number of people being caught committing these horrific crimes.
"He is passionately committed to dealing with animal welfare issues and works countless hours over and above his everyday work. Enthusiasm drives enthusiasm and he instills this in his work ethos. I am proud to work with him and he is a credit to his police force. He provides amazing support to the RSPCA in the continuing fight to improve animal welfare and tackle high level animal cruelty."
Chris Sherwood, Chief Executive at the RSPCA, said: “The RSPCA Honours are an opportunity to celebrate the amazing animals and outstanding people who work to improve animal welfare. We all share this goal to see a world where animals are treated with respect and compassion and so as the oldest and biggest animal welfare charity in England and Wales, the RSPCA takes great honour in celebrating these amazing individuals, animals, and incredible organisations at the RSPCA Honours awards.”